It's time we chatted about IF again. What's IF? It's how we in the intermittent fasting world refer to our decision to restrict the hours in the day we eat not what we eat. Some choose to combine a ketogenic diet with IF; in that case you are restricting WHAT you eat. I don't. I eat what I want; I eat whatever I want in my "feasting" window. Let's discuss the basics: when you eat, you release insulin. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. Ask any diabetic, both Type 1 and 2. The minute they start insulin, they gain weight. Insulin is what ushers glucose to your cells so it is important in your daily digestion. But too much insulin-no bueno. (DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional and am NOT giving medical advice. Check with your physician if you have diabetes before starting this program).
I began the IF journey the day after Thanksgiving in 2017. My son who is interested in health and fitness asked me if I knew about intermittent fasting. I thought that was a brazen thing to ask a woman who was a thyroid patient and was experiencing a change in her hormonal health that produced weight gain. He said he was only telling me because I had similar interests. All right, I thought. I will give this a try. But I said to him, "I have hypoglycemia." I only had low blood sugar because I was eating every three hours and what goes up, must come down. Mainly my blood sugar. I believed the lie to eat every three hours. There is no scientific evidence to support that claim. There IS scientific evidence to restrict the hours in which you eat. It reduces inflammation; it decreases cancer risks and dementia. It is the "cure for obesity and type 2 diabetes" according to Jason Fung, MD, a nephrologist in Toronto, Canada, who deals with obese patients every day.
In my case, I started the day after my son mentioned this crazy way of eating by eating from noon to 6:00 p.m.. I skipped breakfast. NBD, as the kids say (no big deal). The first day was easy. The second day was easy. Day three was hard. That is when I woke up at 4:00 a.m.. to host a radio show. I knew I couldn't eat until noon that day. HOW WOULD I SURVIVE? I normally ate breakfast, sipped on stevia-flavored drinks and then ate again at 9:00 a.m.. and noon and so forth and so on. I was hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Why? Because insulin not only stores fat but it spikes hunger. That's why diet-soft drinkers are eating more. They are hungrier. Yes, even your zero-calorie drinks with artificial sweeteners spike your insulin. That's because your brain doesn't know you are going to consume something with zero-calories. It just recognizes something is entering your digestive tract that needs to be digested. Remember that insulin ushers glucose to your cells. It's important. But too much of it IS NOT A GOOD THING.
Here's how I do this everyday. I wake up now at normal hours now because I am no longer on the radio. Like at 6:30 a.m.. I eat around noon or 1:00 p.m.. depending on my day. This is what we call a "feasting window." I'm either "feasting" or "fasting." I fast around 19 hours a day. I have lost inches; I have lost weight. But the scale is a liar. Use a tape measure to measure your results. I have to stay away from sugar because it's hard for me to keep my weight down while eating sugar. I drink a glass of wine at least four nights a week. So I eat a lunch, many times with friends, and then close my "feasting window" with a snack like a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers or hummus and crackers. I don't know how many calories I eat. Get calorie-counting out of your head. Dr. Fung is the one who scientifically explains that the "calories in/calories out" method does NOT work long-term. He asks, "Have you ever seen a reunion show of "The Biggest Loser?" No, you haven't. That's because they ALL, I mean ALL OF THEM, gain their weight back and then some. The body knows you are depriving it and finally bites you in the butt with the weight re-gain. That is why IF works. There is no caloric-deprivation here. All you are doing is changing the amount of hours you are consuming calories.
Here are three must-read books for anyone with interest in this WOE (way of eating). #1: Dr. Fung's "The Obesity Code." #2. "The Diabetes Code" also by Dr. Fung. #3: My favorite: "Delay, Don't Deny." This is an easy-read as to why this is a lifestyle anyone can endure. The first two are more scientific so I listened to "The Obesity Code" on audible.com. He uses a lost of clinical research so it was easier for my ADHD brain to listen to it than read it.
Am I ever hunger? Not really. And I'm the one who says I have been hungry since I was 12. It's because I had been eating every three-hours for so many years. What is allowable during your fast? Black coffee, unsweetened black tea and water/sparkling water. This is what we call a "clean fast." Your goal is to release ZERO insulin during the time you're giving your digestion a break (translated:fasting). When you open your window to eat, eat what you want. I started with a six-hour feasting window. Some days I do a four-hour window; other days, because of LIFE, I have a six-hour window (like on weekends). Don't overthink this. It's so easy that you'll be mad that you thought hunger was going to kill you. It won't. TRUST ME: YOU WON'T DIE. I mean, not from this.
Any questions? Send me an firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be happy to answer. I feel so much better fasting. I have so much energy. I do my best work in the fasted state. It's when the body reaches ketosis which means you're burning ketones and fat for fuel. It's fascinating. And then a month in or so, you'll experience a phenomena known as "appetite correction." You won't be able to over-eat. Google it.
And join the Facebook support groups for intermittent fasters. Your jaw will drop when you see the ridiculous weight loss of other IFers. My favorite is this one.
One thing I can tell you: I will never go back to all-day eating. The end.