I was considering for a long time fasting. I thought that if all the main religions in the world have this concept, in one way or the other, there must be something to it. Meanwhile, new discoveries are backing up this lifestyle:
“Autophagy is the process of utilizing and recycling unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components—the so-called cellular rubbish which accumulates in cells. The term “autophagy” originates from two Greek words which summarily mean “self-eating.” Autophagy is intrinsic to living organisms, including those of human beings. Thanks to autophagy cells get rid of excess parts, while an organism gets rid of unnecessary cells.
Autophagy becomes especially intensive when an organism is under stress, for example, when it fasts. In this case a cell produces energy using its internal resources, that is, cellular rubbish, including pathogenic bacteria.” Source.
One of the ways to trigger this autophagy process is fasting.
There are several types of fasting:
- 16/8: You eat all your meals within an 8-hour period and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
- 20/4: This involves a 4-hour eating window and a 20-hour fast.
- 24: hour fasts This involves fasting from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch).
- 5:2: fast This means five regular eating days and two fasting days. However, on these two fasting days, it is permitted to eat 500 calories on each day.
- 36-hour fasts: This involves fasting for the entire day. For example, if you eat dinner on day 1, you would fast for all of day 2 and not eat again until breakfast on day 3.
Some of the advantages you find online about fasting are these:
- Fasting is an excellent tool for weight loss
- Fasting has been found to have good effects on body mass as well as other health markers in professional athletes.
- Fasting is great for normalising insulin sensitivity
- Fasting can normalise ghrelin levels
- Lowering triglyceride levels
- Fasting can slow down the ageing process
- Fasting is Good For Your Brain
- Fasting May Help Prevent Cancer
With that in mind, let me tell you about my fasting.
More than six months, weekly. In 6 months I failed to keep my fast four times. Twice in Portugal, one time during the holidays I think, and another time respecting my only rule regarding fasting: break the fast if not feeling ok. Till now it happened just once. As I am fasting for 36 hrs, I need to have this rule set and follow it.
Fasting. Not one of the easiest things I have ever done, actually one of the most difficult. I have set my day of fasting on Monday. I have more reasons to make it like this:
- I plan to compete this year and the races are during the weekend. I can’t fast
- On the same idea, I can’t fast at the end of the working week, I would not have energy for the weekend
- I don’t like to do it in the middle of the week, and I rather eat the frog first as they say, and do the nasty things at the beginning of the week so I get read of it ( on the same idea, Monday is cleaning day)
I eat a regular dinner on Sunday and then next meal is Tuesday morning’s breakfast. During the fasting day, I drink a lot of water, tea, and sugarless coffee. And when I mean a lot … that is a lot. I drink plenty of water even on a typical day, but Monday I drink more.
How did fasting change me?
After six months of doing the one thing that I am very sure about is that I am looking forward to Monday to arrive, so I fast. I need fasting; I need that day when I do not eat. During the day this sensation passes, however.
I always feel better on Tuesday, and I have much more energy, and I am in a better mood overall.
When I was training for my marathon, in the beginning of 2014, my goal for my weight was to be below 90 kg. I was training a lot, doing a lot of cardio, and even like this in the day of the marathon, I managed to be 88. That was a huge success for me. Now, with fasting and a high-intensity training period, 12 weeks (the plan that Paulo from The Green Scene developed for me) I reached my lowest level in like ever: 81,7 kg. Although I am not training as much now, I am just doing physiotherapy and yoga, and besides fasting, I do not have any other food restrictions, and I am not passing 90. I am always below 90 kg.
Soon, in 1 or 2 months I will do my yearly blood tests. I will then be able to compare, as I do have some blood tests made last year, before fasting started. I am rather curious.
However, I can say that I am happy with the choice I made. It is a lifestyle that suits me. I do not recommend it without thorough investigation and testing. I tried several other fasting types before settling for the 36 hrs one. See what is right for you, if it is good for you, double check with a doctor if in doubts, take a decision and stick with it.
More about fasting you can find here, on Helen’s blog. Enjoy!