I NEVER thought I’d say this, but….I have become a big fan of the intermittent mini fast!
WHAAT, you say? Settle down! And I’ll tell you all about it.
IMF is the NEW acronym I’ve invented for what I call intermittent mini fasts.
Here’s how it came up, what I learned, and what I did about it.
Taking Another Look
First, some personal history. Years ago, I dabbled in fasting as a weight loss tool. Horribly unguided, white-knuckle fasting that would pretty much go on as long as I could tolerate it. Then I’d try to “break the fast slowly” as all the experts advised, but I would run fast lane into binges and overeating. Stuff-starve at its worst!
Interestingly enough, over the past couple of years, as I am an avid reader and researcher of what’s going on in the health and fitness fields, the idea of fasting seemed to be resurfacing as a health and longevity tool.
Because of my prior experience, and all the work that I had done to heal my relationship with food, eating, and my body, I dismissed and ignored all of these references. And as someone who enjoys everything they eat (and won’t eat anything I don’t like, so there!) I was especially, shall we say, trepidacious!
However, references persisted, and I thought, OK Lani, let’s take an objective look at see what this is all about. After all I am a new person, different from those years way back when. I’ve learned from experience, but I’ve also become able to look at things more objectively than ever before.
And I decided to take a new, objective look and see what truths I might uncover if I would allow myself to “unbudge” from my previously cemented position regarding intermittent fasting.
What Caught My Eye
As I began to let the material about fasting filter into my domain, I saw references that made me sit up and take attention.
Particularly these 5 potential benefits of intermittent mini-fasts:
- reduce inflammation
- increase insulin sensitivity
- decrease stress hormones
- increase human growth hormone production
And of course:
5. reduce body fat stores without sacrificing muscle.
What? I’d been thinking since forever that fasting eats into our muscle mass. That it decreases your metabolism, and does all kinds of other things to wonk up our efforts to be trim!
NEW Research Proves “Fitness Fasting Mythology” Wrong?!
There is lots a growing pile of documentation that refutes these common beliefs about fasting.
But let me show you an easy place to find out a little bit for yourself.
The simplest, most direct presentation of this information is by my friend Brad Pilon, who has written a book about intermittent fasting called Eat Stop Eat. Brad is a nutrition researcher and fasting specialist who did exhaustive, objective research on fairly recent studies done with intermittent fasting on a variety of subjects. It is all very well documented in his book, and it is an impressive collection.
Evidence To The Contrary
Here’s what Brad found out.
First, many of the ill effects that we may associate with fasting occur after extended periods of fasting. Short-term fasts, as Brad details in his book, do NOT demonstrate negative effects and have been shown to improve many of the biomarkers as I have listed above. His documented research and “sciency” audio files available had me sit up and take notice!
Brad’s “Fasting Files”, as I call them, which are part of the Eat Stop Eat book, include all kinds of nuggets, such as this one: after several hours without caloric intake of any kind, there is a marked increase of fatty acids in the blood stream. If no food has been recently eaten to account for this, then where do the fatty acids come from? Possibly stores in the body?
The Benefits Are In The “Intermittent Mini”
In Eat Stop Eat, Brad promotes fasts of no longer than 24 hours. And only one or two times a week, depending on your goals. The beauty of this is you never go a day without eating! A common pattern is dinner to dinner, or lunch to lunch. So, if you ate dinner at 6 one day, your IMF would be until dinner at 6 the next day. And it is very flexible – you can work your way up!
I have found intermittent minis to deliver to me personally in many ways:
~ great energy on fast days
~ trimmer in my middle
~ excellent returns for my clients who have been utilizing this technique themselves.
This mini-fast schedule has delivered in terms of gentle weight loss, good energy, improved relationship with food and eating, appetite moderation (quite possibly the increased insulin sensitivity), and detected decrease of inflammation in the system.
Now, you might be thinking – as I did – if you were to fast for the day up to dinner, that all you-know-what would break lose when it came time for dinner. C’mon, I know that’s what you’re thinking! Because I was certain of it.
But you know what? That didn’t happen. And it hasn’t happened for me during the several weeks that I have been enjoying the many benefits of the IMF. As I already, said, I never thought I’d say it, but….me likey!
AND a glance at the literature available in research journals shows promise….watch for details in future posts right here!
In the meantime, I’m curious about YOUR experiences with Eat Stop Eat, or other fasting experiences. Post your comments below and let’s talk about it!