fasting, fit mama, nutrition, fitness, food, health, life, nutrition, self care, surviving motherhood

Diets work…until they don’t

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As most of you know, I am very passionate about fitness and nutrition. Our bodies are machines and if we don’t give them the right fuel, we eventually burn out and get sick. Never have I ever believed something to be so true. For years, I just ate and ate and ate and could care less what I was putting in my body, as long as it was good. I didn’t know anything about nutrition growing up and “old school” ways used to be to just keep feeding everyone to make them happy, “eat low-fat diets,” “eat 6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism going,” etc. We have ALL been steered in the wrong direction and it’s sad to me. Who even has the time to learn about nutrition? This world is so chaotic that no one has time to even learn about what’s right and wrong for YOUR body because everyone is different. Studies actually show America is the fattest country, but the most disturbing part is that we are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And when we “diet”, only 5% of people are able to keep it off. If you look around, there are food chains and restaurants everywhere. I mean, we have a Dunkin’ Donuts on every street here in New England. Look at every commercial FOOD, FOOD, and more FOOD. Everyone wants money. Let’s just keep feeding everyone, but let’s not tell everyone what’s in it- the FDA doesn’t actually have to tell you EVERYTHING in a product.

You wanna know why we are SO fat? I am reading this AMAZING book called Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle by Gin Stephens and she explains everything in HUMAN terms that makes SO much sense. As Americans, we are SO fat because 1) we all eat way too much and we are too busy to work out- conventional diet says we need to eat less to lose weight and when we do that, we actually deprive ourselves so much that we want to eat more = vicious cycle, our portions are notoriously bigger, everyone gets coffee with more processed cream than the actual coffee because it tastes so good and let’s face it, the sweeter, the better/sugar is a damn drug and has us all roped, we all eat out at restaurants more because again, we are so damn busy/convenience over everything, some people argue that our food supply is different because soil is depleted from essential nutrients due to years of farming so we just keep adding crap to all the food, and the BIGGEST reason–> we are all CONSTANTLY in a fed state keeping us from tapping into our stored fat. Our bodies are NOT designed to constantly be in the fed state. As human beings, it is not natural to be in the fed state all the time and then when you throw in processed foods- oh hello sicknesses, exhaustion, depression, WEIGHT GAIN…It’s sad really. And some of you may pushback at this blog because FASTING is not for everyone and this blog is about how fasting works. I wish I discovered it sooner and not just for weight loss because I don’t have tons of lose, but for the benefits.

Gin does an excellent job at describing fasting and why we should TRY it.

When your body becomes adapted to fasting (and you don’t spike insulin during the fast, you become a fat burning machine during the fast. Your body finally taps into your fat stores, and the energy you have stored on our body can power you throughout the day. That is what it is stored there for…Because you have PLENTY of stored energy right there on your body, AND you can finally access it efficiently, your body does not get the signal that you are in an energy deficit (your mind does). Your metabolism DOES NOT slow. -Gin Stephens Chapter 3 pg. 27

Why should we fast? Our bodies are designed to go into “autophagy,” which is a process that breaks down excess cellular junk/a recycling system for your body, Gin describes. That cellular junk is MOSTLY responsible for diseases related to aging. If you stopped taking out our trash in your house, it’s going to get out of control, right? It’s INSANE how the body works. Most people I know will pushback on the topic of fasting. Most of my family and friends have said they can’t imagine fasting or they will get sick and pass out. Or why can’t they just eat low-calorie instead? How can I ever fast for 16 hours? It really is hard, but if you don’t know enough about it, it doesn’t seem sustainable/worth it, right? If you are going to stick with low calorie, chances are you will deprive yourself so much that you will “cheat” or overeat when you are hungry and the body will start sending signals of hunger. When our bodies enter autophagy, all that crap in our bodies are now naturally detoxing. Autophagy is reached at about 24 hours of fasting which is recommended about once a month. What’s soooo cool about fasting too is that your body is technically eating its own fat and excess proteins so you don’t get that saggy skin like you would with a conventional low calorie diet.

What the hell is insulin and what does it do?

Insulin is the key to fat storage vs. fat burning. If you keep insulin as low as possible in your body, you are able to burn fat. If insulin is high, your body wants to store fat.

Our bodies have 2 hormones that tell us when we are hungry and when we’ve had enough. Babies and kids have these 2 hormones that work perfectly in sync with each other. They won’t eat if they aren’t hungry. Unfortunately as we get older we are exposed to all these hidden messages and nasty processed foods that have crazy chemicals that make us believe we want to eat more and more and more. We all want to diet and restrict and diet and restrict. No one can figure out a diet that works because realistically diets are NOT sustainable. You will lose weight for sure, but keeping it off can be so hard. With fasting, your body learns to regulate the hormones and you only eat when you are hungry. If you are starving throughout the process, chances are you are doing it wrong. Fasting has been around literally FOREVER and not a lot of people know about it. It takes a while to figure out a plan that works for you. There are several different ones from fasting for 16 hours then eating for 8 (16:8), eating normally for 5 days then fasting for 2 days/consuming a certain amount of calories, fasting for 20 hours and eating for 4 hours?OMAD- one meal a day. Personally, I fast for about 17-18 hours a day and eat for 5 or 6 hours. For a more aggressive approach/if you are obese and need to lose weight quicker, it is recommended to do OMAD. Instead of trying to fit all your food in one window, just eat one meal and a few snacks within those few hours.

This all sounds scary and honestly, it’s hard at first. The hardest part is the beginning because your body is used to being in the fed state ALL THE TIME. And when you have a snack or eat, you immediately feel better, right? Well you just fed your sugar stores because your body is used to running off glucose for energy. When you are fasting, you have to IGNORE those signals to eat and that’s when people may feel light-headed, dizzy, etc. This is when most people give up because they are afraid of these temporary feelings. Personally, I jumped into 16:8 cold turkey and felt fine. I got hungry the first few days, but keeping busy helped. I also did TONS of research on fasting. Resources include Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Fasting Abstract

Unbelievable Freedom: How We Transformed Our Health and Happiness with Intermittent Fasting

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

AC: The Power of Appetite Correction

The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting

These are all worth reading. My favorite was Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle and most of this blog was from her book. Please give this a try- and after a week if you can’t commit, then you are allowed to say you don’t want to do this. Fasting has CHANGED my life. I will be honest- 12-13 hours is okay to start out with and play with it, but if you want more of a weight loss/ benefits of fasting, 16-18 and eventually working your way up to 20 is much more effective. I fast about 17-18 hours daily and I am still nursing my beast of a 2 year old son with plenty of supply. The more hours you fast, the more benefits you get.

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I wouldn’t recommend doing longer than 24 hours daily. Autophagy at 24 hours once month is a great approach. Remember this too- our bodies are not naturally designed to be eating all the time and they are not designed to break down processed food. So yes, you will cook more, but really you are saving money because you aren’t cooking 3 meals a day. The best part? Fasting is a lifestyle that is free.

I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Before you make any decisions at all, please consult a physician. I am a fitness nutrition specialist and I have research MANY different diets and lifestyles- weight watchers, diet pills, ketogenic diet, Atkins, Mediterranean, Paleo, vegan, calorie restriction, ideal protein, whole 30, carb cycling, counting macros, tracking every calorie, juicing, etc. THERE ARE SO MANY it’s kinda scary actually. I do love the low carb versus KETO. Keto is amazing, but difficult to sustain 20-30 carbs daily.

I love low carb and Mediterranean in combination with fasting. For reference- I lost 12-14 lbs in 3 months and a total of 8% body fat. During your fasts too, go ahead and eat things you want. The best part is your body has time to digest and heal now. Challenge- try it for a week. If you are doing 12 hours for a few days, ramp it up and try the 16. Chances are you won’t see a dramatic change if you’re only doing it for 12 hours because the body just enters the healing process at 16 hours. As a mama of 2 active babes, this lifestyle is perfect for me and the research on fasting is stellar.

Any questions?! Please reach out to me. My email is tracy.brastow@yahoo.com. You can also find me on Instagram at zumba_tray or Facebook at TLC Fitness &. Nutrition.

 

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