Intermittent Fasting 101
Where It Started, What It Is, and How to Do It
The History of Eating
Let’s backtrack a few years. More like 10,000 or so years, back to the dawn and ripening of our human civilization. For starters, we can agree that life back then was not near the glamour and advancement that life in the 21st century is today—not even close. Back then, the average life span was, on average, say twenty years. That's considering you weren't mauled by a Saber Tooth tiger or suddenly died from the common cold that, in today's world, is fixed in nearly two days with modern medicine. Clearly, life back then wasn't a walk in the park, nor was it pleasant in any shape or form. Nevertheless, we are still the same people on the insides, and in terms of our DNA structure and, more specifically, our metabolic functions. As a kid, I’m sure most of us were taught the famous "Darwin’s theory” and how, through natural selection and random variation, the genetic sequences cause us to, in a sense, "upgrade" our DNA and become more fit for survival. For the most part, this is true. Our evolution since the dawn of our civilization has made us a taller species, immune to many of the viruses and plagues that originally wiped out half of our population, a larger brain to body ratio (a sign of greater intelligence), and many others. Despite these changes in our genetic code, the one thing that has had little change since the start is our diet. Back in the early days of our species, we were hunter gatherers. Now you may be asking yourself why the f*** does that matter and why I’m talking a bunch of nonsense and when am I going to start talking about diet already. Well, this is where it comes from...
Prior to our grain-crop fueled, overweight epidemic that we have today, humans were healthier than they are today, despite shorter lifespan. This was due to not only our diet that consisted of whole grains, high animal and nut fats, and clean sources of protein, but it was also due to when we ate. Due to the inconvenience of no drive-thru McDonald's, back then, if you wanted food, you had to go find it. So for most days, the hunters of the family would go searching throughout the day for animals and would return at night with the game that they had secured—if they found anything. In essence, they would go for most of the day without eating and only eat at night, or if they didn’t catch anything, the next day. Contrary to popular belief, not eating does not make you lose energy and is not bad for you; it’s actually good for you. The intermittent fasting diet is not actually a diet at all, rather, it’s an eating window that tells you when you can eat and when you can’t. The evidence and science behind intermittent fasting is lengthy and complicated, so here’s the gist of it. When your body is in a fasted state, your metabolism actually increases and your body burns fats instead of glucose—your primary source of energy—as a secondary form of energy. Not only that, but during your fasting states, your body releases more energy into your muscles that mimic the hunter-gatherers that needed the energy to capture and kill their prey. The added benefits of the diet are much more in depth and include a longer lifespan, anti-cancerous properties, and a release of the human growth hormone responsible for higher fat loss and muscle gain.
How do I do the intermittent fast?
As soon as you wake up in the morning, no matter what the time, take note: Your first meal must be calculated so that it is no more than eight hours after your last meal. If you decide that your first meal will be at two PM, then your last meal can be no later than ten PM. This means that you will be in a fasted state for 16 hours of the day, and your eating period will last for eight hours of the day. During the eight hours, make sure not to overeat and just eat what you normally would in a day. But try to eat healthy to make the fasting more effective. If you are a beginner in the fasting world, start slow and maybe start with a 10/14 period for the first week so that your body adapts to the fasts.
How often should I do the IF?
How often you fast completely depend on you. To start off, once a week is fine, and you can do it more times per week as time goes on. Be careful, though. You don’t want to overdo it. If you start to do it every day, you risk your body adapting to the cycle and the benefits will become less effective. Aim for three to four times a week for the best results. Happy fasting!