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Intermittent Fasting and Its Benefits

You may have seen my previous blog published on 04/01/2021, in which case you read that I was complaining about being a lazy pandemic slug (is that a thing?). Recently realizing that about a year ago I had begun my gradual descent into a CCP (Chronic Couch Potato), I knew that it was becoming increasingly worse with each month. Well, about a month ago by chance (or was it one of my famous synchronicities?) I came across a program designed for Intermittent Fasting (IF), just the thing I needed at exactly the right time. Yes, synchronicity, indeed!

Hearing the IF term for the first time a couple years ago from a friend, as a recommendation, Intermittent Fasting was a terrifying project to contemplate. No way! Not knowing much about it at the time, I believed it was something that only a monk could do, perhaps a for day, a week or a month at a time. I put it off until now.

Research shows that fasting is a spiritual discipline that is taught in the Bible. Jesus expected His followers to fast, and He said that God rewards fasting. Fasting, according to the Bible, means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate your intake of food for a specific time and purpose.

Intermittent fasting exists in some other religious practices. These include the Black Fast of Christianity (commonly practiced during Lent), Vrata (Hinduism), Ramadan (Islam), Yom Kippur and other fasts (Judaism), Fast Sunday (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Jain fasting and Buddhist fasting.

According to Boulder Medical Center, although fasting can sometimes be challenging and uncomfortable, the mental and physical benefits can:

  • Boost cognitive performance
  • Protect from obesity and associated chronic diseases
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve overall fitness
  • Support weight loss
  • Decrease the risk of metabolic diseases

Fasting for Your Health: What You Need to Know

I like those benefits! Fasting is a practice that has also been associated with a wide array of potential health benefits, including weight loss, as well as improved blood sugar control, heart health, brain function and cancer prevention.

For a deeper dive into different types of fasting, see:

Eliminating my favorite obsession/addiction, sugar, has helped me lose quickly, as well as helping to regain some energy and, well… gumption. And keeping by blood glucose levels in check. I’m not a diabetic, but have found very high levels when bingeing on an entire bag of heath bars. Yes, sugar is an addiction and some sources and studies liken it to the addiction level of opioids. I believe that! Surely there are many other sources confirming this is a “drug” to which I am hooked, but below I have attached some links supporting this theory:

How to Do a Sugar Detox

There are many more articles to be found on intermittent fasting and the treatment and prevention of cancer. Do a search on those; they are very interesting and quite thought-provoking!

Regarding the IF program I’m currently using, I am very pleased with the way this is progressing for me. In four weeks, I have dropped 15 pounds, and am feeling quite proud of my progress. I don’t have to walk around with my jeans undone and don’t have to (and refuse to) buy bigger clothes. I will be very happy to, and with significant anticipation, buy smaller ones though.

At any rate, my goal is to lose another 25. This program (DOFASTING – provides meal suggestions, specific exercises from beginner to advanced and step goals with tracking. There are also meal and snack suggestions, documentation of the foods that you eat along with their calories, plus recommendation and tracking of your daily water intake – hydrating is very important. I weigh in every morning, entering that into the tracking record.

It feels good to see the progress even though it may only be a difference of a few ounces every day. Also offered are interesting and pertinent articles, a daily tip and emails with suggestions, recommendations and encouragement. I love it, and it keeps me involved!

I use this program – for now, only accessible on your mobile devices – synced with my FitBit, which helps to track steps, types of exercise, heart rate, calories burned, etc. Not to discount the hard work I’ve done, thankfully the chosen program fits my needs very well. You select your desired “Fasting Window” and “Eating Window”, according to your wishes and needs. I have chosen the 16/8 windows; 16 hours fasting and 8 hours eating, and have found that I quickly adjusted to these hours and gratefully, at the same time eliminated the sugar cravings.

Sugar! Just like any other drug, however, I recognize that one bite of a wonderful sugary treat will pull me back down into the nasty cravings, the muck and the self-disgust at the lack of respect for my own body and health. I have committed to be very careful about this. Please don’t offer me cake!

A wise old man once said to me something to the effect that if sugar were to be submitted today to the FDA for approval for consumption, it would promptly be deemed illegal. Whether this old man was accurate in his assessment or not, I have no idea, however in my opinion and from my perspective, it feels so correct.

At times, and more so in the past week or two, while getting involved in a project, e.g., gardening, making jewelry, golfing, blogging, etc., I can easily become side-tracked (ADHD?). Perhaps this is due to the lack of previously noted cravings, and so sometimes I miss my opening of the 9:00a.m. Eating Window, which consequently lengthens my Fasting Window. As a result, I may start eating closer to lunchtime, at 10:30 or 11a.m., and log that in as lunch. Having done that, I find I’m not hungry again until closer to 3 or 4p.m. I then log that as my supper, inadvertently avoiding additional calories. My appetite overall had noticeably decreased also. Yay! Obviously, the ultimate goal is to burn more calories than you eat. Make sense, doesn’t it?

Ultimately, this path was sorely needed for my own health – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, intellectual, and most certainly social; financial and occupational, not so much. But I was so ready for it; I just needed to take that scary first step…rather than buying new LARGER clothes.

UPDATE 5-29-21: Down 19+ lbs. This IF is working for me. Yay!

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