3 Things You Should Know About Controlled Fasting
Fasting can be perceived and practiced in many different ways. Some only consume water or certain nuts and seeds. Some go for weeks to even month long periods. And now with the Intermittent Fasting techniques flooding the fitness forums, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the different benefits to this way of eating. Here are 3 things you should know before jumping in.
Before we begin, understand that I am not a metabolic specialist. I’m not a nutritionist nor am I trying to sell you supplements. I’m a fitness coach who strives to help people accomplish their health and fitness objectives.
You should also know, that in my personal fitness journey, my eating habits have always derailed my gains. I’m not naturally lean or strong. I have to work hard and be very focused, or it all goes to shit!
So in my pursuit of a healthier and happier life, I was recommended a book called “The Warrior Diet“. In it, author Ori Hofmekler talks about “controlled fasting”. Needless to say, this way of thinking and eating has completely changed my execution of nutrition and I’ve seen more benefits than you’d care to know about.
Benefits of Controlled Fasting
Controlled fasting can be thought of as a cycle of under-eating and over-eating. During the under-eating phase, or “dematerialization”, your body is removing and eliminating more material than it’s consuming. This has many well known benefits, such as
- decreases insulin levels
- promotes fat burning
- increases growth hormone production
- detoxification occurs
- and boost in energy and mental stimulus
This under-eating phase should only last as long as needed. Going beyond 24 hours will encourage your body to draw energy from lean tissues, which is not what we want.
This phase should also be done during your waking hours, since that is the best time to produce energy from matter. Plus your body won’t be distracted by digestion and can assist you in creating, working or doing whatever it is you do throughout the day!
Sounds pretty great right? Well, before you go off shunning breakfast tacos, here are a few things you should consider in order to truly benefit from this way of eating.
#1: Fear of Hunger
There’s an inherent fear of hunger in our society. We’ve been led to believe that hunger should be avoided at all costs. Turns out this is not a very healthy viewpoint and it’s misleading.
When you take control over your fast and subsequent hunger, it isn’t going to hurt you and you shouldn’t be afraid of it. In fact, it’s going to elicit some amazing results to your energy levels, performance andfigure.
During a controlled fast, the hunger sensations usually don’t last longer than a few minutes. It might feel like longer, but afterwards your body adapts to the stress of hunger and the feeling dissipates.
There is a difference in feeling hunger and feeling malnourished. If you truly feel malnourished, eat! Just keep it clean and light. It fasting not starvation.
#2: Fasting vs. Starvation
There’s a pretty significant difference between fasting and starvation. Especially the controlled fasting I’m describing here.
Starvation usually occurs by accident and effectively slows down the metabolism for the sake of survival. Starvation also leads to overconsumption of unhealthy foods.
Controlled fasting, on the other hand, is more of the art of manipulating the metabolic system. When you reach the peak time of fasting, usually by the end of the day, and consume a large and nutritious meal, your metabolism is boosted to take full advantage of the nutrients. Which means that you’ll need to choose your foods wisely.
#3: Food Selection
Your controlled fast should start upon waking and last until your evening meal. But during the day, when you feel hungry, eat.
Just be sure to eat only fresh fruits, raw veggies, light protein or fresh juices. I usually encourage my clients to make it through 2 “hunger periods” before eating a light snack of veggies.
Don’t be afraid of the coffee and teas either, but more water than anything.
At the end of a long day of fasting, it might seem reasonable to be allowed a large pizza. I mean, after all, you did earn it right? Wrong! Your big meal should be not be viewed as a reward to your emotions, but as a source of nutrients to your body.
In general, your big meal should follow this sequence of consumption
- Raw leafy greens
- lean protein and lightly cooked veggies
- smart carbohydrates
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