Intermittent fasting is as it sounds. You are abstaining from calories for a period of time (usually 16 to 20 hours). There are a lot of intermittent fasting variations. I personally skip breakfast and lunch and only eat dinner at 7:00 P.M.
After a few weeks of intermittent fasting, I started experiencing the following benefits:
1. Simpler and More Productive Days
My most productive hours of the day are between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Before, I would lose one of these hours to lunch, and I often feel sluggish after eating and have difficulty getting back to work.
When I fast, I can continuously work. As a result, I am able to get more deep work done, without the distraction of lunch or breakfast.
In addition, I spend less time doing meal preparation or cooking. On a daily basis, this in itself saves 30 minutes to an hour.
2. The Health Benefits
Studies have shown the following potential health benefits associated with fasting:
(1) Reduced calorie intake from fasting can promote longevity and reduce aging.
(2) Fasting can also increase autophaghy. Autophagy is the process that your body uses to recycle cells. It is linked to many health benefits including reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
(3) Another health benefit is reduction of inflammation and improvement of gut.
(4) Fasting can increase human growth hormone. Human growth hormone helps increase energy, increase bone density, and retain muscle.
(5) Fasting can improve cognitive function.
(6) Fasting can help you burn fat instead of glucose, resulting in weight loss.
3. Increased Natural Energy
I used to drink three cups of coffee every day. The first cup was in the morning, and the cups that followed compensated for the drowsiness after lunch.
Fasting took a while to adjust, but I now have more energy even without coffee. I can also focus for longer stretches of time and throughout the day.
4. Better Diet Decisions
I also used to crave sweets. After two weeks of daily fasting, my cravings for sweets went away.
5. Better Exercise and Workouts
High intensity exercises are easier in a fasted state. I am not as tired as I used to be compared to doing exercise in a non-fasted state.
Conclusion and Last Words
Ease into intermittent fasting. Do not just go cold turkey!
Start with an 8 hour daily fast your first week. Move onto 10, and then 12, and finally to 16 or 20 hours of fasting. Green smoothies with kale, spinach, and berries, are a great way to get enough nutrients. Lastly, drinking a protein shake is a great way to break your fast after a workout.