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Intermittent Fasting: An Amazing Health Tool

February 16, 2019 By , , , , , , , ,

In my experience, intermittent fasting has been one of most life changing tools I have used in my practice. I find that most patients have some improvement in health with intermittent fasting alone.  I find some have dramatic changes in weight, sense of well-being and energy levels while others have subtle benefits!  In my own life, I can tell you that I feel more energetic and alive when I am fully in the groove of intermittent fasting.  After 16 hours have gobe by without food, the body turns on it’s cleansing mechanisms!  When I meet with my HCG Diet patients for the first time, I begin planting the seeds of intermittent fasting and by the end of the protocol, most are fully on board!

In todays world, intermittent fasting goes against the grain of what many have learned is a healthy way to eat.  We have to remember that the amount of food we have today is actually our downfall. Human genetics has been around for 120,000 years and we foraged on nuts, seeds, plants, meat, etc. In many places, food was not prevelent and eating was for survival. Our ancestors went days to weeks without food.  We live in a wolrd where a hunger pang seems to be followed by popping food into our mouths.  I encourage my patients to look at their relationship with food and consider eating 2-3x per day without snacks.  It takes some adapting, but within a few weeks the habit gets created!

My Personal Way with Intermittent Fasting

I practice intermittent fasting 6 days per week and provide my body with one day in which I just let the parameters go. On the days I practice intermittent fasting, I give myself 16-18 hours a day of fasting with a 6-8 hour eating window.   I generally break my fast around 11 or 12 and eat until 6-7 pm.   In the morning, I enjoy apple cider vinegar in water to prime my digestion and then have some black coffee or green tea.  I get my exercise done in the morning in the fasted state.  I try to push my eating out to 11 or 12!  I generally have some chicken or white fish with vegetables as my first meal and if I need to snack during the day, I will have cucumbers, celery or bone broth.  For dinner, I have a giant salad with lots of tahini and avocado! Some days, I skip the animal protein and will have pumpkin seeds and veggies as my lunch and a big salad at dinner. The more in tune with my body that I become, the more I feel better eating a simple diet.

Steps to Success with Intermittent Fasting

It goes against what many have learned, but, I find leaving breakfast out seems to work for most people.  I find that most people seem to do this instinctively.  Spend the morning drinking water and herbal teas and enjoying the energy that you have.  At first, you may have some hunger pains if you have been used to eating in the morning. Our bodies are so behaviorally inclined. Hunger comes in waves and is not dangerous. I promise, you will begin to adapt to your new routine and you will need to remind yourself to eat lunch!

If you absolutely must have breakfast then go for it and skip dinner. You can pick any 6-8 hour eating window that works for you!

My next tip is to increase the intake of healthy fats.  This does not mean fat bombs and going overboard with fat.  This means adding in avocado’s, olives, salmon, full fat coconut milk, and some healthy oils.  The most available form of fuel for the body is glucose.  The body can convert protein and carbohydrates from our food into sugar (glucose) that is utilized for energy.  If we eat more than we need, the excess glucose gets stored as fat. While you are in your 16-18 hours of fasting, the body is not receiving glucose and the energy will need to come from stored glycogen.  Once the stored glycogen is depleted THEN you can shift to using fat stores for fuel.  This is very important. As you adjust to intermittent fasting this will be easy to do. It can take a couple weeks of hunger pangs to get there! This is called becoming “fat adapted.”

Once you have become “fat adpated,” your body will be able to shift into fat burning with ease and ketones will be a well known fuel source in your body.

Another bit of advice as you set sail on your intermittent fasting journey is to stay consistent!  Fasting is like running a marathon, it can take some time, dedication and discomfort to get adjusted to it. However, it is worth it!  The real benefits come when you stick with it and give it the test of time! Give yourself 90 days and then see how amazing you feel!

Yours in Health!

Dr. Cara



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