Intermittent Fasting

Is this some kind of torture? Is it worth it? Just the word fasting alone can make any person run and hide. But before you stop reading, hear me out.

Something you may not know about me is I LOVE being my own guinea pig. Why not trial things on myself before my patients? I heard in a great podcast (Abel James' The Fat Burning Man) this morning that my own results are the most important data point. Not the hundreds or thousands of people that have proven something to work in clinical trials (don't get me wrong, those are good too), but what I saw and experienced first hand. 

With that being said, and after a little convincing from my coworkers, I decided to experiment with intermittent fasting (IF). IF is a way of eating that involves alternating cycles of eating and fasting. There are two ways this can be done: option one is to choose several days within the week to participate in strict calorie restriction (between 500-700 calories). Option two is to fast for 16 hours each with the ability to eat freely during the remaining 8 hours. For example, you would be able to eat from 12PM-8PM but would fast from 8PM-12PM the next day. 

 

Now why would anyone try this?

  1. The first, and more obvious answer, is that if you are consuming food for less hours of the day, or just strictly reducing the amount you eat certain days, you overall will consume less calories and therefore, in turn, lose weight. 
  2. When you fast, you increase levels of certain hormones that promote weight loss like norepinephrine (essentially adrenaline that is released when the body and brain need to be awake) and human growth hormone (stimulates cell regeneration).
  3. Insulin levels decrease which allows for excess fat to become accessible for use. 
  4. Improved health (may prevent cancer, improve brain health, heart health, insulin resistance, and more).

I ended up trying option one, restricting calories to between 500-700 two days a week. I tried it out for a week and although I didn't measure any weight loss and was definitely hungry, I did feel more alert on those restricted days.