Hey Angels and Alphas,
Over the last couple of years, intermittent fasting has gained a ton of traction for its potential benefits on weight loss. However, recent research has shown us time and time again that this ancient practice has innumerable benefits to the human body that go way beyond slimming your waistline. One of these benefits is helping you live longer.
THE RESEARCH BEHIND IT
How could something as simple as not eating for a portion of time help you live longer? The answer lies in a few pieces of evidence found in both human and animal studies.
For example, in one study, fasting has shown improvements in the blood pressure and resting heart rate of individuals, making it advantageous for your cardiovascular health. This, along with several studies, has suggested that intermittent fasting can be a great strategy for losing weight, preventing obesity and diabetes (both of which have been related to shortened lifespans.)
A 2018 animal study actually showed that when animals (in this case mice) ate only one meal a day, and had a long fasting period, they not only had longer lifespans, but also demonstrated that they experience significantly less risk for age-related liver diseases or metabolic disorders.
In study reviews, experts note that fasting improves blood sugar regulation, lowers inflammation throughout the body, and increases the body’s resistance to stress. All of these can have a significant impact when it comes to longevity.
SHOULD YOU TRY A FASTING WINDOW?
Like any strategy that is all about changing how you eat, results will vary from person to person. Especially if you make initial missteps such as overeating during your “food window”, being sedentary, choosing unhealthy foods, and making drastic changes.
Also, you should keep in mind that you may need to play around with all the different variations of intermittent fasting so that you find one that best works for you. Although experts have noted that time-restricted windows of 6-8 hours seemed the most effective, neither of those may actually be the right fit for you. But that’s OK! You can still do intermittent fasting your way.
For example, you might expand your eating window to 10 hours, or you can start playing around with the number of days in which you’re going to fast. A 5:2 plan can easily be tweaked into a 7:1, based on how you want to implement fasting in your day-to-day life.
If you’re just getting started, it’s much better to look at fasting as a long-term strategy so you can actually experiment with some different schedules, rather than think you need to stick to just one specific schedule because it happens to be what worked for your friends/family members before.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Intermittent fasting does not involve specific foods. Instead, it’s just a strict schedule regarding *when* you eat. That being said, attempting to get into intermittent fasting is a great opportunity to overhaul your entire diet if you’ve been getting just a little too fast-food-reliant lately.
One of the major advantages of intermittent fasting is that it can become a part of any other eating plan you’re following. It can be a great kick off to changing your health habits entirely so you can include more healthy foods (if you’re not doing that already.)
The easiest way you could go about intermittent fasting is to do the most common variation first. This is an 8-hour eating window, followed by fasting time that includes regular sleep. For example, if you “break your fast” at 9 a.m. and have dinner at 5 p.m., then not eating again until the next morning would be an example of the 8-hour eating window.
Giving yourself at least a couple of days (or ideally more) every time so you can switch strategies is very important. This allows you to see your improvements in other areas of your life such as better sleep, mood, and more energy. Just as you might do so with food tracking, recording the effects of intermittent fasting daily will help you determine how well you’re adjusting (and if this approach is right for you.)
It’s also possible that fasting is just not your thing. And that’s OK, too! But most likely, simply trying out this eating plan is likely to help you become more conscious of what (and when) you’re eating.