Forget juice fasts! Intermittent fasting is the new best-body obsession of dieters and health gurus everywhere!
Sounds like self-inflicted torture, but really, aren’t all diets about hating yourself to love yourself? Dieting isn’t about being happy, it’s about mind over matter and short term pain, long term gain, and intermittent fasting (IF) takes calorie restriction one step (or giant leap) further than your typical carb-free menu. But while diets are always temporary, IF becomes a life-long eating style for most practisers.
We’re not just talking about consuming calories through photosynthesis or swallowing buckets of air for lunch or gobbling cotton balls like runway models, intermittent fasting has been practised for thousands of years in many different cultures and religions around the world. And because of this, there’s a whole host of research that’s been done on the benefits of IF and why it may help you lose weight, decrease your risk of disease and increase your lifespan!
IF isn’t a one-size-fits-all system, either. Some of the most popular methods are meal skipping, eating only within a 4-8 hour window (like noon-4PM or 1-9PM), the warrior diet, or alternate-day fasting, but no matter how you choose to consume your calories, there’s many benefits of IF for your waistline and overall health!
Here’s 5 reasons why intermittent fasting may be a bandwagon you should hitch your HITT class-loving high tops to:
1. Intermittent fasting causes autophagy
Autophagy is a fancy way of saying that your body begins eating the diseased, damaged and redundant cells when new calories aren’t being consumed. Restricting calories and prolonging time in-between meals has been proven to kickstart autophagy in many of our organs, reducing fat build-up and prolonging healthy function.
2. Intermittent fasting will increase your metabolism
Eat less and burn more? Bananas, right?!
Forget the myth of ‘starvation mode’, it’s been proven in one study that limiting food in the short term will actually lead to a spike in our metabolism! We’ve discovered that our basal metabolic rate increases after 36 and 60 hour fasts, also increasing fat metabolism! Not only that, but it isn’t until the end of day 3 before muscle breakdown begins.
Three days of fasting is quite extreme, but for a well-practised faster, both doable and beneficial.
3. Intermittent fasting spikes human growth hormone
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a hormone made by our pituitary glands which spurs growth in children and adolescents, but for adults, it helps to regulate body composition, muscle and bone growth and metabolize sugar and fat. When fasting, levels of HGH spike in our body as much as 5-fold. The results? Both fat loss and muscle growth increase! Win win!
4. Intermittent fasting reduces insulin resistance
IF has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3-6% when practised long term. Insulin resistance precedes the onset of type 2 diabetes and is also linked to heart disease, which is the world’s leading cause of death.
5. Intermittent Fasting reduces oxidative stress & inflammation
Want to slow down the aging process? Skipping meals has been shown to reduce both oxidative stress and inflammation in the body- two leading causes of accelerated aging! Inflammation is also linked to many chronic diseases and when we eat fewer meals we tend to choose more nutrient-dense foods when we do eat.
So there you have 5 reasons why intermittent fasting may be a beneficial addition to your arsenal of healthy lifestyle habits!
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