It was always interesting watching from the sidelines ‘religious peeps’ fasting around the beginning of the year. With my right hand stuffed with a sandwich, my other hand holding a bottle of soda, I would sometimes ask, ‘so are you hungry yet?’.
For me, it was like ‘how can you miss all the good stuff from people celebrating the new year’. Then there was that one time that my mother declared a fast for the family. Me, fast?! Like why! Because of answered prayers? Don’t you need faith for answered prayers? There have been people who did very well without fasting. So I would ‘fast’ but with suya that’s well hidden under the staircase of our two-storey house in Ibadan.
Up until last year, I told a friend that I believed in the benefits of fasting but I wasn’t cut out for that. But sometimes you grow up. Or maybe sometimes you have spiritual problems that prayer only can’t solve(you should hear what Jesus said about casting out demons). 2018, I joined my new church in the New Year’s Fast. Do you know where I hid the suya this time? In my Intermittent Fast experiment!
24,000 YouTube videos and numerous research papers later, I am Intermittent Fasting. Perhaps, this is the likely candidate to deliver me from the belly fat that has been my property for a few years now. What if Intermittent Fasting would actually help me add some extra muscle mass? What if it were another weapon in my Focus arsenal? What if it could also help improve the quality of my health etc.
Before I talk about what I have discovered and how it has helped me, I’d give a summary definition of what Intermittent Fasting is.
What the heck is Intermittent Fast
Intermittent Fasting is a pattern of eating and not a type of diet. When you fast intermittently, what you do is you give yourself an 8 hour window to eat while you stay without eating within the other 16 hour period. Typically, this could mean skipping breakfast. So instead of eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the plugs in between, you just have something to eat at 2pm(as an example), and stop anything from entering your mouth by 10pm. This is my own schedule. Easy, right?
In my opinion, this is super easy. The main problem is the way our minds have been programmed to eat. I have an article written about Intermittent Fasting and Hunger.
How does it work for weight loss
To explain in the simplest way how and why it works understand this – when your body doesn’t receive food, a phase called the post-absorptive phase- usually at night when you go to bed, insulin levels drop. But this phase properly kicks in 12 hours after your last meal. Insulin levels drop and so the body looks for fat to burn since no sugar is coming into the body. It then uses available stored up fat.
Yale University School of Medicine did a study on intermittent fasting that proved that intermittent fast increased metabolic rate and increase calorie burn down by increasing gene activity that burned the fat. What happens here(said in layman speak) is that when you are fasting, your body needs to burn calories so you can function optimally. It doesn’t find enough carbs to burn so it goes for the fat and so burns it.
My recently concluded 21-day Intermittent Fast challenge has yielded obvious results with belly-fat reduction something my 30-day Belly Fat to Abs challenge couldn’t achieve.
In addition to the loss of fat, Intermittent Fasting makes available genes that help heal and speed up muscle growth through HGH(Human Growth Hormone). A study shows that when we first wake up, that is the perfect time to maximize fat burning. Human Growth Hormone rises, shifting your body into a fat burning state, while preserving muscle mass.
Is this relevant to the woman who doesn’t care about muscle building? I would say, yes! You see, when you build muscle, you burn fat and stay lean. In fact, weight and resistance training is faster for burning weight than jogging on Lekki Ikoyi Bridge all year long. This is something that I expect to be so obvious! Like if you drank a bottle of Coke, that’s about 200 calories. To burn that you have to jog for 30 minutes or walk for 1 hour. If you weight train, you may lose 200 calories in 14minutes. I go to the gym very often. Not as often as I did when I was in Nigeria but I have gained more mass with less work since integrating my workouts with Intermittent Fast. I go to the gym right before I break my fast.
I may just be self-gay as I scope my body very often. I would show you a picture if I wasn’t so careful about pictures on the internet. 🙂
According to Dr. Marc Bubbs in his article, 7 Scientifically Backed Benefits of Intermittent Fasting, “One of the most common questions I get asked by clients is how to improve their focus and concentration at work. Fatigue, brain fog, and inability to stay on task are common symptoms that people experience throughout the day. These symptoms are made worse by high blood sugars, insulin and weight gain.
Intermittent fasting may hold the answer for you. A recent study showed that Intermittent Fast in overweight mice led to much greater learning and memory scores. They also had dramatic improvement in the structural function of their brains”.
When I first started Intermittent Fasting, the first distraction I had was hunger. About 4 or 5 days down the line, my body adjusted to the new schedule but I have been able to get more work done since I started that the last couple of months, now fully identifying external distraction that I would normally not have figured out if I had not been able to appreciate the insane focus I have been getting. Not only does it allow you focus on tasks, it allows you to focus on important things because now you don’t have to worry about what to eat for breakfast.
The ancient greeks are believed to use fasting for insane focus and clarity. Hippocrates said, “Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.”
“Instead of using medicine, rather, fast a day.” This was Plutarch’s own saying.
Do you know when you are ill and you lose appetite, it’s a natural response to encourage fast?
General Health and Immune Functions
The plug here is insulin! You see, when you eat, insulin is secreted. When insulin is not pumped, your body’s insulin sensitivity is called into question. Prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases becomes the bi-product.
This one of the first reliefs I gained from IF. No need wondering if eggs have finished or bothering myself to get the bacon to thaw. No need to wash dishes. No need worrying about getting so full I am too sleeping to go out and carry out prescheduled tasks.
There are loads and loads of resources on Intermittent Fasting. You can do a quick YouTube search and see 100s and 1000s of testimonials about what Intermittent Fasting has done to help people’s lifestyles. I am convinced that IF is beneficial to me. I am determined to make this a lifestyle and not just an experiment. Try this for 2 weeks and see how it affects you. Do let me know what you think in the comments.