ADF/ Intermittent Fasting Challenge
*please read the medical disclaimer at the bottom of this article.
Fasting has been around since the beginning of humanity, but is just now getting the attention and approval of modern scientists. Some people who have been practicing fasting for generations as part of cultural or religious lifestyle may take offense that it is being commercialized and capitalized upon only because it has just recently been approved by western medicine. Many cultures that regularly incorporate fasting in their life report feeling healthier, more spiritually connected, and have a deeper sense of purpose in life. Truth is, intentional fasting has always been a staple in many cultures and religions for thousands of years.
Fasting: abstinence of food for a defined period of time
Intermittent: occurring in intervals; rotating
Autophagy: auto (automatically) phagy (eating) is the natural mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary and dysfunctional components, in which degradation and recycling of the cell occur
ADF (Alternate day fasting) eating one day, fasting the next, repeat
Insulin: a hormone released by the pancreas that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein by promoting the shift of glucose from the blood into the liver, muscle and fat cells
Ghrelin: a hormone responsible in the communication of hunger
Leptin: a hormone responsible in the communication of satiety (fullness)
Metabolism: the rate and processes in which energy is used in the body
In addition to spiritual and wellness purposes, periods of eating and not eating are very important to promote balanced hormones that affect weight, including insulin, ghrelin and leptin. When it comes to using this as a tool for weight loss, fasting is the abstinence of food for a defined period of time. When there was no food around in the early days of humanity, humans could go weeks without dietary intake, and still be healthy enough to hunt for food. This is why our body is designed to store body fat: so we can tap into it when there is no food around. We don't "store" muscle or carbohydrates in the same way that we do with fat, because when no food is around, fat is the most reliable source of energy.
In modern eating, humans eat more than they need, and too often, which leads to obesity and hormonal imbalances such as with the hormone insulin that eventually leads to diabetes. In order to achieve health and balance, many use fasting as part of their wellness plan. Fasting has been shown to bring positive in many areas of your mind, body and spirit and having positive benefits for spiritual connection, immune system, cellular repair, focus, hormones and weight loss. As a health coach, fasting is a major part of my practice. I teach clients about the use of fasting to help achieve many wellness goals, including weight loss and diabetes management.
Many people have read false and misleading information on the internet regarding fasting, but I am here to reassure you that fasting is safe, effective, and natural for the human body. Depending on your goals, there are different types of fasting regimens that may work better than others.
For this challenge, participants will be completing an autophagy fast, in which we will allow the body to eat away damaged cells- cells that can otherwise lend themselves to aging, cancer, and damage in and around the body. When you fast at least for 18-24 hours, a cascade of metabolic events occur which enable autophagy. Read more about autophagy here. This fast also helps to boost the immune system, promotes gut rest, and also raises your metabolism. Yep, you heard right. When you fast for a day, your body is still burning its usual calories, but from the stored carbohydrates and body fat, which takes a little more work than burning calories that you get from food. When your body burns through the stored carbohydrates (usually after 18-20 hours), it has no choice but to start converting stored body fat into energy.
The fast can be done three different ways:
Eat every other day.
Eat for two days, and fast the third day, repeat.
Fast 3 days per week, always separated by an eating day. You choose the days.
For beginners who have not fasted before, it may be a little hard in the beggining. If this is the case, you can have one meal no more than 500 calories on your fasting day, but realize that you will not reach autophapy this way. You will absolutely benefit from fasting this way, however. Try your best to eventually go a whole day without meals.
What you can have for an autophagy fast:
Unsweetened, non-caloric teas
Good news is that a single consumption of 50 calories or less will not likely stop the process leading to or involving autophagy. So, if you are struggling, or feeling a down on energy, try sipping on a cup of beef, chicken, or vegetable broth, with salt and pepper added for taste. Bone broth with less than 50 calories per serving is an amazing option due to all the vitamins and minerals.
What you should avoid for an autophagy fast:
More than 50 calories
Anything that the body can mistake as sugar: artificial and natural sweeteners
Tips for a successful fast:
Drink plenty of water on both your eating and fasting days
Have warm/hot decaffeinated tea at night before bed
Try to consume a total of one (1) teaspoon of salt throughout the day. I like to drink salted water around noon or 2pm. This helps prevent dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
Don't do too much if you are a beginner. Relax on days of fasting, do not over exert yourself.
Fasting goes much better when you fuel your body with a balance of healthy and whole foods the day before.
Take a high quality multivitamin on your eating days.
When to stop fasting:
When you are sick, or very busy, sometimes we can go a whole day without eating and not even notice. Fasting is generally very safe to do for one day at a time, especially when separated by days of eating. However, if you begin to feel a little weak or tired, and have been consuming the recommended salt or broth, you may need to break your fast and eat a small healthy meal.
This website contains general information about medical conditions, nutrition, health and dietary practices. The information on this website is not advice and should not be used as a substitute of medical care/treatment from a licensed provider. This information and program is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness or condition. Please consult with your health care provider before starting any weight loss or dietary regimen, especially if you are taking medication, are pregnant, under the age of 18, or have a medical condition, illness, or disease.