Fasting for Fat Loss

Fasting has become increasingly popular over the years, especially in the fitness world. However fasting is not a new concept, it’s been used for centuries during times when food was scarce and it even plays a central role in many major religions. Think about this for a second – anybody who goes to the hospital, regardless of their disease is asked to fast the night before! Why?

  1. Fasting allows better blood supply to all your other tissues besides your gut.
  2. You allow your Microvilli to recover and reproduce faster. Microvilli are the little tentacles in your gut that help you absorb and assimilate nutrients.
  3. You allow your pancreas and liver to rest. When you are not eating you also let your gall bladder rest.
  4. When you fast, insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases. Your cells also initiate important cellular repair processes and change which genes they express.
  5. When you fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.

The most common types of intermittent fasting are 24-hour fasting, the 5:2 fast (5 days of normal eating, 2 days fasting) and the 16:8 fast (16hrs fasting, 8 hrs normal eating). They all work, it just depends on your lifestyle to find the right one for you. If you travel regularly (every 7-10 days), I recommend you use those days as your fast, starting with the 16hr fast. What if, like me, you don’t want it lose weight? Why would I want to fast? The answer is very simple – rest. Fasting allows your digestive system to fully rest and recover.

My Experience with Fasting

I tried fasting for the first time on recent flight to Australia and back. Both fasts were about 24hrs each – I had no jet lag, no problems sleeping on the flight, no bloating or gas on or after the flight. I drank plenty of water and had a few cups of green tea only in that 24hr period. You’re probably wondering if I ate a mountain of food after these 24hrs. Actually quite the opposite, after around 14hrs my hunger subsided and the last 10hrs were fairly easy. I broke the fast with some protein (about 100g), green vegetables and smart fats. Fasting is something that I will be doing once a week, starting with the 16:8 fast.