Obesity is now such a major concern that it’s recognized as the largest health problem on the planet.
A decade from now half the population of America will be obese.
Even more worrying is the expectation that many of these obese people will be classified as severely obese.
So what’s going wrong?
When we eat too much we keep our bodies in the metabolic state of burning glucose for energy.
When we eat a meal, we have a corresponding surge in blood/glucose levels which initiates a sharp rise in Insulin production.
The hormone Insulin deals with the blood/glucose levels, and keeps them within a healthy range.
It does this by directing the glucose out of the blood to be used for our immediate energy needs.
Any extra glucose is stored in the liver and fat cells to be used at a later time when food is in short supply.
The problem is, food is never in short supply.
We are in a position where we can eat more or less all day, every day if we want to.
Unfortunately all too many of us do just that.
Are they just plain greedy?
Maybe a few are, but there is a lot of evidence that points the finger at the day-long spiking and dropping of blood/glucose levels.
This is caused by eating too often. The resulting multiple drops in blood/glucose leaves us feeling tired and hungry.
We seek food even though we don’t need it, and the interplay of blood/glucose levels and Insulin is the reason why.
To make the problem even worse, the diet followed by most people is far too carbohydrate heavy.
All carbs, especially simple carbs initiate this over- eat/ hunger cycle and get it running at full speed.
We end up hungry, eating too much and eating the wrong foods.
There are carbs in just about everything, including many foods you’d think were carb free.
To top it all, we are surrounded by dietary advice that says it’s healthy to base our diet on carbohydrates.
Furthr, we’re all encouraged to eat many small meals throughout the day.
This style of eating and this bat- crazy advice arrived at just about the time that we all started to pile on the pounds.
Strangely, it’s taken a lot of time for people to see the connection.
If you want to lose weight quickly and keep it off, you need to find a way to get out of this damaging pattern of eating.
You need to stop eating anything, at least from time to time.
Just stop. No food, just water.
An amazing thing will happen to your weight and your health when you allow your body to experience times without food.
It’s what we’re designed to do.
Wait, fasting is healthy?
I made this point in the beginning, and it’s worth saying it again.
Fasting is the quickest, healthiest and cheapest way of losing weight and keeping it off.
When you stop eating from time to time (Intermittent Fasting) your hormones balance and stop ordering your body to store fat.
Your mood improves, your health improves and you switch to your body’s secondary metabolic pathway.
You stop using glucose for energy, and start using your fat stored in your cells instead.
That’s why you have a fat store, to use in the absence of food.
Fasting won’t make you sick, or kill you.
We evolved at a time when the supply of food was intermittent, and we as a species are well adapted to making the most of the times when there is no available food.
The fat we stored when times were good can be used to fuel the body and meet all its energy needs when food is unavailable.
But here’s the amazing thing: Not only will you be using your stored fat and losing weight but you will also be benefiting from an enormously long list of health gains at the same time.
You will be reducing any inflammation you have in your body, improving your mood and balancing your blood/glucose levels.
This will result in less hunger, not more.
Plus, as you use the fat stored in your body, you will also be releasing excess water stored with that fat.
You’ll be losing weight, and losing that bloated feeling caused by excess fluids.
The other amazing result of fasting is that you’ll be triggering autophagy. If this is a new thing to you, read all about it here.
The benefits of fasting (and Autophagy)
When you fast, your body uses fat for fuel instead of glucose.
Once you are in full fat burning mode, you will produce ketones which are used as a source of energy.
This state of being in ketosis is super beneficial for every system in your body.
There are actually too many benefits to list them all , but here are more than enough to convince you that fasting is something you should be doing:
Weight loss – fasting is the quickest way of losing weight. When you fast your metabolic rate increases. When you diet by keeping to a calorie deficit, the opposite happens. Your metabolic rate decreases. Fasting causes you to burn your fat stores for fuel.
You improve your sensitivity to Insulin – this is a major benefit to anyone with type two diabetes, someone who is pre diabetic or someone who is Insulin resistant. Fasting will cause your Insulin levels to drop and remain stable.
Reduces your chances of heart disease – fasting will reduce your bad cholesterol, lower your weight and reduce your blood pressure. All three are risk factors for heart disease.
Prevent Cancer – the growth of certain cancers is inhibited with fasting. Cancer cells like to feast on glucose, which is depleated during a fast.
Improves your mood – fasting increases the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This is related to many cognitive problems such as depression.
Reduces your risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson disease – There seems to be an issue with the uptake of glucose in the brains of people who develop these conditions. Fasting forces the brain to use ketones instead of glucose of fuel.
How long do you need to fast to reach your weight loss goals?
There are several methods for fasting, and generally a daily fast of about 18 hours, with a window of eating of only 6 hours does very well for weight loss.
This is a popular method and you can read more about it here
For some of you, this will be a little too difficult especially if you haven’t fasted before, and so you’ll need to ease yourself into the habit.
How to prepare for fasting is a great place to start, and will give you all the information you need to get moving with your weight loss plans.
Once you are able to comfortably manage a short intermittent fast, you will be ready to try a longer 24 – 36 hour fast.
You would not need to do this any more often than every week or so for a 24-hour fast and every few months for the longer 36 hour fast.