Feeling Like You Need A Reset?
Are you fed up feeling sluggish, foggy and unmotivated? Are those pesky carbohydrate and sugar cravings controlling your thoughts and decisions? Has your metabolism slowed right down and the dial on that scale ticking steadily in the wrong direction? You’re done with the latest fad diet and can't bear the thought of calorie counting and portion controlling yet again? Do you need a metabolic boost, but don’t know how to reset your ‘norm’? Could Intermittent Fasting be your answer?
Be prepared to feel empowered! It’s time to regain control of your eating habits and retrain the body to work more efficiently, as it was built to do. The goal of intermittent fasting is to reprogram the body to burn its existing fat stores to produce ketones for fuel. In the hunter-gatherer days, people could go for long periods of time without eating. They would still have the energy to carry out their daily tasks, as their bodies burned existing fat stores for fuel efficiently. Our modern-day habits of continuous snacking and our subsequent reliance on the next intake of carbs for energy has caused us to switch off our inherent ability to burn our fat stores and has put us into constant ‘fat-storing’ mode.
We have become so far removed from our natural ‘fat-burning’ abilities, that we start to feel shaky, weak and sick if we don’t get food right away. We are constantly hungry, even if we’ve just eaten. The reality is that we are not actually hungry, but rather nutrient deficient. The body looks for the nutrients it needs from the food we’ve just ingested, but can’t find them. So the stomach sends signals to the brain telling us we need to be fed, yet again. Time for a reset!
Intermittent Fasting involves leaving longer periods of time without eating. It does not mean starving ourselves, risking malnourishment or becoming obsessed about the food we’re not allowed to have. The most effective way to make fasting an integral part of our routines is by gradually building up to it. If you’re one who relies on the next influx of sugar or carbohydrate to get you through the day, then leaping into a 20 hour fast will leave you feeling completely depleted! The key is to start with ’crowding out’ the nutrient-deficient foods with those higher in beneficial fats and proteins. This retrains the body to become more metabolically efficient and re-learn to burn fat stores as fuel. Once this becomes more our ‘norm’, we will naturally be able to extend the period of time during which we do not eat.
How to Begin
It is easiest to stagger this ‘intermittent fasting’ period around bedtime, as we are hopefully not eating during this time, but rather healing, cleansing and repairing while we sleep. Once we are less reliant on instantly reaching for food when hungry, we will be able to delay our first meal of the day by an hour or so. So if we finish dinner at 7pm, and normally reach for breakfast at 7am, we can try delaying the ‘breaking of our fast’ until 8am, thereby technically fasting for 13 hours. I recommend trying this first perhaps a couple of times per week, with the view to gradually increasing this period by an hour or so at a time.
You will find that, with regular fasting periods like this, you are naturally able to increase the length of your fast. I think the most profound feeling that will result is the renewed sense of empowerment and control you have over your thoughts and actions, making you want to include this practice in your regular weekly regime. The body is truly a miracle. It wants to heal and feel great. We just need to give it the tools to do so. I believe passionately in this being one of those powerful tools. However, don’t forget the importance of maximizing nutritional intake after these fasting periods. Remember, we are not ‘starving ourselves’ or risking malnourishment, but rather taking advantage of an incredibly healing reset!