Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. But in the beginning, there is a rather abrupt adjustment period. Once your body gets used to fasting you can start to enjoy the benefits.
Benefits of fasting include:
- Rapid weight and body fat loss
- Increased insulin sensitivity (which aids in the prevention of type 2 diabetes)
- The reduction of inflammation in the body (inflammation is the root cause of many common diseases)
- Enhanced clarity and focus (after an adjustment period)
- An improved relationship with food
To reap these benefits most people begin with the 16:8 protocol seven days a week. Essentially this means that you fast for 16 hours a day and have an 8-hour eating window.
But this way of fasting may not work for you.
Frequent Digestion Creates Havoc in Your Body
Digestion is a lengthy process. It also takes an incredible amount of energy to completely digest your meal. One of the reasons why diseases in the West stem from food and lifestyle is because many of us never give our bodies a rest from digestion.
A study done in the 1980’s found that food in the large intestine alone took 47 hours for women and 33 hours for men to completely move through.
In fact, sometimes it takes two to five days for you to completely digest and excrete waste.
To help your body with this process, it’s best to practice sporadic eating.
- Allows the process of autophagy. This means that the body has a chance to breakdown damaged, diseased cells.
- Creates a better environment for your brain which can lead to a reduced chance of dementia and Alzheimers.
Besides the 16:8 protocol, one of the most popular forms of fasting is the 5:2 protocol.
5:2 allows you to eat normally 5 days a week and have two days of eating 600-500 calories. This equates to a small meal with minimal carbohydrates.
One study done with 107 overweight/obese premenopausal women practicing 5:2 found:
- Reductions in leptin (the hormone that signals hunger)
- Reduced LDL cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Reductions in fasting inulin and insulin resistance
There are not many studies done on the 5:2 protocol. But you are able to lose weight if you eat whole minimally processed foods.
Studies like this prove that any form of sporadic eating can improve your health.
Fasting 5 Days a Week Is a Great Beginner Protocol
When I first started fasting I too practiced the 16:8 protocol. It was easy to adapt and I saw rapid weight and body fat loss.
But I only fasted five days a week. On weekends I worked a stressful job and I wasn’t able to break my fast mid-day.
So I ate breakfast instead.
I’m convinced that I avoided burnout because I didn’t have the same eating schedule every day.
Long-term compliance is low for beginners. Start by fasting five days a week. You’ll have a much better chance of sticking to a protocol.
Now I fast every day. But for over a year, I did 16:8 five days a week.
To ensure positive results fasting 5 days:
- Create a diet filled with minimally processed foods low in sugar
- Have a robust exercise routine
- Develop a spiritual practice to improve the relationship with yourself and others
Eventually, you may want to extend your fasts but I recommend you gradually increase the duration.
A balanced lifestyle will help you achieve your goals for years to come.
Here’s a Guide That’ll Help You With Hunger As You Start Fasting
Download the Stop Hunger Guide. Implement the 5 tips suggested. You’ll have a smoother fasting experience.