For many years our parents professed breakfast as the most important meal of the day and many health professionals discouraged individuals to skip this first opportunity to break the fast after sleeping. New research however, shows that this might be less of an important meal than we thought, and that in fact, there are benefits to be gained from forgoing breakfast altogether as part of an intermittent fasting routine. If you’ve never been a fan of early morning fuel or having to eat soon after waking, here’s what you need to know.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Involving alternating cycles of fasting and eating, this current health trend is backed with scientific evidence to support its benefits and is not about simply “not eating,” restricting food, or starving oneself. Instead, it involves a carefully planned period of going without food, followed by a carefully planned period of food consumption. How long each of these lasts varies from person to person and depends on the fasting regime you are adopting.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
While adopting an intermittent fasting program may seem daunting at first, or at the very least, make you think “but don’t you get hungry?”, there are a lot of benefits which have been shown to come from this method of eating:
- Helps clear fat from your system, in particular helping keep arteries clear and thereby decreasing blood pressure.
- Protects your brain by forcing the brain to call on other forms of energy within the body which in turn help nourish the brain and facilitate autophagy.
- Slows aging by improving metabolic system and teaching the body how to use its resources more effectively, thereby breaking the body down with less speed and intensity.
- Improves energy levels, immunity, memory and mood.
This is just a handful of the researched benefits that have been found to come from intermittent fasting. There are many more, which the body takes advantage of, and each individual will find their own personalised paybacks when it comes to skipping out on that bowl of museli. For me, I have been fasting for over 16 years and as the research pours out about the positive impact Intermittent Fasting has on our health, I plan on sharing it with as many people as possible so we can learn to truly heed our internal cues of ‘real’ hunger’ and become the fat burning machine are bodies are designed to be.
One option, for example, is to observe the natural fasting period, where an individual eats dinner and then fasts for 12-16 hours afterwards. For many people this option involves skipping breakfast or delaying breakfast several hours past the traditionally accepted “normal” breakfast time. The length of the fast is determined individually and is affected by things such as gender, activity level and your metabolism. However, the Brave Method which embraces this style of fasting is a gentle but very effective way of receiving the wealth of benefits that IF has to offer without the associated hunger of morning fasting.
How to Incorporate Intermittent Fasting
If you are interested in adopting an intermittent fasting program for your own health and wellbeing, and to take advantage of many of the benefits it can offer, keep the following in mind.
- An intermittent fasting program isn’t a diet, but a health habit to adopt as a preventative strategy against chronic disease, specifically diseases associated with metabolic or neurological decline.
- You may be hungry initially as your body gets used to burning your own fat stores for energy rather than relying solely on glucose for energy.
- To start off, determine which type of intermittent fasting you will adopt. If you are choosing to skip breakfast but are always hungry in the morning then try the Brave method and start by having a 12-hour window of fasting (for example, 8pm to 8 am), and then gradually work your way up to 16 hours of fasting, and only 8 hours of time where you consume food.
- Remember to fill your eating time with nourishing healthy whole foods, that are mostly plant-based and unprocessed. This ensures you are filled up and won’t binge each time you can eat again or be tempted to break your fast too early.
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