Have You Heard the Term “Metabolic Flexibility?”
It means having a metabolism that uses either carbs or fat for energy. Most of us rely on carbs to fuel our bodies, but there is a growing body of research that switching to healthy fats for energy can have powerful anti-aging effects. These are hot topics in the health world. and there are lots of different ways to become more agile in your metabolism. One of the popular tools for becoming more metabolically agile is fasting.
For the past few years, I have experimented with a modified intermittent fast on most nights. In general, I try to stop eating before 6 pm and don’t eat again until 8, 9 or 10 am in the morning. I have been doing this primarily for my stomach which feels much better if I stop eating earlier in the day. But little did I realize that there were so many other benefits of intermittent fasting. This past week, I took an online course with Dr. Will Cole, Functonal Medicine Doctor, and author of many books including Intuitive Fasting, a New York Times Bestseller.
What is Intuitive Fasting and Why is it Worth Trying!
Dr. Cole promotes “intuitive fasting,” which he describes as a mindful approach to eating for a shortened window of time “foods that you love that are loving you back.” What does that mean? It means you need to notice how the foods are affecting how you feel, how you sleep, and how you think!
- Benefit #1: Ketosis: Fasting is shown to switch your body from a sugar burning system to a fat burning system, which is known as Ketosis. Some of the studied benefits of ketosis include less chronic inflammation, better sleep and improved mood and brain function. In addition you are training your metabolism to run from a different fuel which contributes to metabolic flexibility.
- Benefit #2: Gut Health: This is the most important one for me. According to Dr. Cole, “fasting gives your digestive system a break from digesting and processing food, allowing your gut lining to repair itself.” Each night instead of having to work hard to digest food, my body can repair itself.
- Benefit #3: Autophagy: Autophagy is an interesting concept. It actually means death. So during autophagy (which should happen at night when you are sleeping, bad cells are cleaned up and killed off to make room for healthier cells.
- Benefit #4: Inflammation: Fasting lowers inflammation in two ways:
- it slows down the activity of pro inflammatory cells
- it rebalances your immune system.
- Benefit #5: Fat Loss: Fasting can help you lose weight, but not in the traditional way. Most people restrict calories to lose weight, but with fasting the calories don’t matter as much. It works from a different system known as the Human Growth Hormone. (HGH).
If Fasting is Such a Panacea, Why aren’t More People Doing It? A lot of Misinformation!
- Fasting is not good for women.
- Fasting can mess with your blood sugar.
- Fasting is about restricting calories.
- I will feel starved if I don’t eat for long periods of time.
- I will be hungry all the time.
- I can eat whatever I want during my eating window.
Dr. Cole says if you fast the right way, you will not feel hungry, you will stabilize your blood sugar and most women can benefit greatly from it with a few tweaks.
- Fasting Troubleshooting
- Here are a few specific symptoms with options for troubleshooting:
- Hanger: Irritability and anger when you are hungry, leaving you craving sugar and junk food. This is common for people who rely on sugar instead of fat for fuel. It will improve as you get more metabolically flexible
- Fatigue: Feeling more lethargic or experiencing brain fog. You might not be fueling your body with enough of the nutrients it needs. Try to increase healthy fat.
- Digestive distress: Constipation or other digestive issues. Make sure you’re eating fiber (i.e. plenty of fruits and vegetables) and drinking enough water.
- Headaches or nausea: Both of these can be a result of a lack of electrolytes. Make sure you are including electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium when you hydrate.
If You Want to Try “Intuitive Fasting,” Let me Know!
I never recommend something to a client that I have not tried first and I am a great cheerleader and guide. Reach out if you want to schedule a 20 minute one time FREE consult to see if we are the right fit by clicking here.
Wishing You An Easy Fast,