For many of us, quarantine life has left us couch-bound and restless. Some have succumbed to the idea of indoor exercise routines, while many of us have used it as an excuse to completely veg out. Down time is totally necessary from time to time, but when that falls in conjunction with a negative relationship with our eating habits (overeating, snacking on junk food etc.), then we start to notice side effects on our mental and physical wellbeing. So what can you do to kick start your body into gear again, whilst still stuck indoors?
Have you heard of intermittent fasting?
There’s a good chance that you most likely have. And although this diet can be terribly challenging due to the number of calories we burn during the day. There’s no time like now to try it out while your calories are happily kicking it on the couch with you all day.
Intermittent fasting is a general term for a period of time where you limit your food intake or don’t eat at all. Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, research demonstrates that intermittent fasting has the ability to significantly bring down INFLAMMATION markers in the body. In fact, there are now studies that prove that intermittent fasting eliminates inflammation in various types of ways. Including:
- Brain Inflammation: Mental health problems like anxiety, depression and brain fog are on the rise and studies are proving that intermittent fasting improves brain function and mood. Interestingly enough, this diet also has the ability to slow down the ageing process of the brain.
- Hormone-signalling inflammation: Intermittent fasting decreases insulin resistance, a hormonal problem that affects a staggering 50 percent of American adults. It also increases the production of beneficial enzymes that increase your body’s ability to adapt to stress and fight chronic disease.
- Chronic pain inflammation: Intermittent fasting improves the ability of your brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections in response to new information. This is great as it plays a big role in managing chronic pain
- Lung inflammation: Generally, we wouldn’t prioritize this, however, due to covid19, it’s important to highlight that intermittent fasting decreases asthma symptoms and oxidative stress.
- Autoimmune conditions: Fasting twice per week has demonstrated to reduce symptoms of autoimmune conditions dramatically.
- Gut inflammation: Without noticing, people generally fast when dealing with symptoms of bloating, stomach pain, nausea and diarrhoea and that’s because the body is naturally wanting to eliminate inflammation. So listen to your gut when this happens.
Society (especially American culture) is obsessed with food and it goes to show when looking at the obesity statistics. Humans cannot get enough food, and unfortunately, this is challenging our judgement of whether we’re actually hungry or not. We’re no longer listening to our bodies, rather developing a relationship with food where we’ve become co-dependent on its existence to help us during times of celebration, remorse, comfort and boredom.
How can we eliminate this negative relationship? Well, intermittent fasting can truly gain freedom from cravings and eating out of bad habit, or emotional reasons.
What are the best ways to fast?
There are various ways that you can fast. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you our favourite route…
- The 8-6 window plan: Eat from 8 am to 6 pm. This allows for a longer fasting time that stretches from the early evening to a reasonable hour of the morning.
- 12-6 window plan: (this is one we love) It’s the same as the top but extends the fasting period until lunchtime. Doing morning tasks on an empty stomach really fires up your energy levels, making you feel really good. Just drink herbal teas and water in the interim.
- The 2-day plan: Eat regularly for 5 days, then pick two days where you restrict your diet to 700 calories.
Intermittent fasting does not mean that you can eat what you want outside those windows…
It’s especially important to remember that you should not eat a bad diet when outside those windows, otherwise it defeats the purpose of ‘an anti-inflammatory’ approach. Your body needs time off to fight inflammation and heal. The last thing you want to do is pump your body full of inflammatory foods (gluten, corn, dairy, processed meats and refined sugar), when you’re eating. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of fasting.
Do we recommend this for everyone?
Unfortunately, this is not recommended for everyone. People who deal with adrenal fatigue and other circadian rhythm issues don’t usually do well with this. These people need to prioritize their fatigue first. Also, it’s important to note that if you do try intermittent fasting, transition slowly into it so that your blood sugar levels do not dramatically drop.