When I first heard about intermittent fasting, to say I was skeptical is an understatement. Being told breakfast is the least important meal is pretty mind-blowing.
While, skipping breakfast runs contrary to the traditional view, which says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day fasting may allow you to enter into a state of efficient fat burning, detoxification, and repair. Feeding yourself too frequently may actually work against you by impairing hormones and inflammation in the body. Key message here is delay eating and not eating less food! And don’t worry you can still drink coffee!
The main idea of fasting is to restrict your caloric intake for a set period of time. That means you can consume sugar–free items during your fast, such as water, coffee, coconut oil or unsweetened tea. Should you want an added energy boost, and something to help improve nutrient absorption, add 1-2 Tablespoons of liquid coconut oil with flavored stevia to your coffee and stir-in.
After a year of skipping the traditional breakfast time, here are seven of my most positive observations
Not thinking about eating in the morning keeps me much more productive. Not only has this improved my productivity but also convenience, as this has saved me time from meal prep.
Fasting has shown to protect the brain AND promote neurogenesis through the growing of new brain cells..
3. Fat Burning
It also promotes fat loss through the halting of insulin and the boosting of growth hormones. There are multiple actions that support the body utilizing fat as energy, I’ve found that this helps with staying lean more effortlessly.
4. Putting the fire out
Small frequent meals every 2-3 hours can lead to inflammation in the body which can trigger pain, digestive issues and more. Fasting, can limit excess inflammation while easing digestive distress. This equals less gas and discomfort for many.
5. Happy Belly
The fat burning process begins in the liver and if it’s overworked processing food, that’s less time for breaking down fat. With less distraction, your digestive system including your liver have more time to digest and detox, overall, making your belly happier.
6. Peace of mind
Fasting helped me get over my fear of “losing muscle”. I’ve noticed a sense of dietary freedom to eat a larger meal in the evening free of guilt.
Most likely, what we call hunger is really a learned reaction to a combination of metabolic, social and environmental cue to eat. Consider that most people get noticeably hungry or irritated if they have gone more than two to three hours without eating. But during this time, metabolically speaking, they are still in the fed state.
7. Less garbage
A smaller window of eating equals a reduced exposure to many variables of snacking that begins early in the day. If you are someone who has food intolerances, this can make your life easier.
Okay, sounds too good to be true. It’s easy to cherry pick the positives, but how about the disadvantages?
This may not be for you if you already have a tough time eating enough food. A reduced window of eating might add extra challenges to getting your food in.
How to get started:
As with anything new, make sure to research for yourself and see if this is something that will suit your lifestyle. Eating less food or skipping meals is not the end goal! The end goal is taking advantage of food freedom’s and natural health benefits.
There are no rules and this is not a fad diet, it is an eating pattern that can add freedom and benefits to your current lifestyle.
Here is what a typical day looks like for me:
• Eating window 12PM-8PM
• 8:00 AM – In the morning, I still have coffee or tea which helps hold off hunger. The key is avoiding any sugars that will take you out of your fasted state.
• 12 PM – Large first meal, eat until I am full and satisfied built around lean protein, vegetables, healthy fat and possibly some fruit.
• 3 PM – Second meal dinner like meal that consists of just about anything I’m craving. I try to focus on anti-inflammatory foods, of course.
• 8 PM – Third meal is similar to lunch or could add some clean carbs to spike serotonin for optimal sleep and muscle recovery.
Note (Commonsense Caution):
Of course there is a wrong way to fast so if you have any medical issues or concerns, talk to your healthcare provider before starting a fast. Fasting is not recommended if you’re pregnant, nursing, underweight, diabetic, or struggling with mental illness or eating disorders. If you don’t feel well on a fast, cut it short.
Jason Sani is the author of Making Healthy Taste Good. He is a trained and licensed Culinary Nutritionist that has worked in the athletics and sports medicine industry for over 10 years. Jason practices what he preaches and leads an energetic lifestyle by example. His focus is Nutrition and training towards the active population. Jason is a resource of inspiration while spreading energy in and out of the mind and body. Follow him on Instagram: @jasonsani