Have you ever heard of intermittent fasting? There are a few ways to do it. I recently tried the 16:8 method of intermittent fasting and this was my experience. It surprised me!
When I was a kid, my dad fasted periodically. He was really hard core about it! He would go 10 days without any solid food at times, drinking only water. I remember him saying that he had a lightness and clarity during that time. He also mentioned it was great for weight loss.
I don’t need to lose weight, but I decided to experiment with intermittent fasting for different reasons: mostly because I struggle with low energy. I had also come across lots of research citing numerous benefits of intermittent fasting. The ones that interested me most include:
- Better sleep (and needing fewer hours of sleep to feel rested)
- Better digestion once normal eating resumes
- Improvement in inflammatory and chronic conditions
- Decrease in mental “fog”, greater mental clarity
And various studies have shown that intermittent fasting may:
- Decrease the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Increase longevity
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Burn visceral fat
- Improve metabolism
- Increase human growth hormone (HGH)
From this article:
“There is indeed a large body of research to support the health benefits of fasting, though most of it has been conducted on animals, not humans. Still, the results have been promising. Fasting has been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress and preserve learning and memory functioning…
There are several theories about why fasting provides physiological benefits, says Mattson. “The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress,” he says. “And they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease.”
It’s the old “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” concept. As I talked about recently, scientists are discovering that stress isn’t really bad for us. It’s what we BELIEVE and THINK about stress that harms us!
What I THOUGHT Would Happen if I Did Intermittent Fasting
Over 20 years ago, I attempted a fast based on a “recipe” I read in an old, famous book on health. I can’t remember the title, but I remember it was very well known. It involved juicing lemons in water, adding cayenne pepper and sipping on that throughout the day instead of eating.
That was a big mistake for me, at least at the time. I had so little energy I struggled to move. I couldn’t think clearly. As a kid, I had hypoglycemia and had to eat every couple of hours. And in my late teens and early 20’s, I had a lot of health issues. I just wasn’t strong enough to fast.
Now, the situation is quite different. I’ve found that my appetite has naturally waned as I got older. I’m no longer ravenous in the mornings. So I thought I would give it another shot.
What ACTUALLY Happened When I Did Intermittent Fasting
I decided to stop eating after dinner (6 pm) one day, and not eat again until dinner the following day. There are a few popular “styles” of I.F, and this one seemed the most sustainable to me.
I was surprised to find that I didn’t feel very hungry. I worked all day from 11-7 and was on my feet for several hours. But I found that I was thinking clearly and had no mental fog. In fact, I felt MORE sharp and clear than I usually do, when I’m eating normally!
I did have a shot of espresso in the morning so I wouldn’t have a caffeine headache, but after that I ate no food until dinner the following day at 6 p.m.
That night when I went to bed, I was surprised that I didn’t feel tired! I’m typically exhausted and ready to collapse at 9-10 p.m. But as I lay in bed, my mind was swimming with ideas. I kept thinking I should get up and work! And I got out of bed easily the next morning at my usual early rising time.
I decided to do the experiment again a second time. My results were the same. The second time I felt slightly hungry, but not enough to cave and eat before supper. Although I was REALLY excited about dinner that night!
I plan on doing intermittent fasting periodically. I posted to Facebook asking if anyone had tried it and if yes, what their experience was, and I got dozens of responses, all positive. That shocked me! I didn’t realize it was such a popular thing.
What’s your experience? Have you ever tried intermittent fasting and would you? Note: This post is in NO WAY to be construed as medical advice. I am simply sharing my personal experience. Fasting is inappropriate for pregnant women and those nursing a young baby.