Humans used to only eat when they were hungry, mostly because the food was harder to come by and took significant work to procure. And in the process of finding or hunting their food, they burned any stored fat to hold them over until they ate. Now humans not only have easy access to tons of food, but much of that food is full of excess sugar, fat, and preservatives. Add in the fact that, for most of us, the most effort we put into hunting our food is walking to the fridge or ordering food from an app, we aren’t burning the calories our ancestors were.
So how do we get back to a healthy way of eating that our bodies adapted to over millennia? Fasting. You may read “fasting” and think “restriction” and while there are obviously some parameters around food when you fast, fasting is actually about adding more of the good stuff to your diet.
Eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods, drinking tons of water, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all a matter of adding healthy habits to your life.
The Science Behind Fasting For Weight Loss
Fasting works by prolonging the time when your body has burned through the calories you ate most recently and begins burning fat. The body basically exhausts sugar stores and starts burning fat instead. Some researchers call this metabolic switching.
Basically, if you are eating constantly (as most of us do during waking hours) your body is burning calories from the food you eat rather than your fat stores. As you begin fasting, your body starts to produce a hormone called ghrelin, which sends cues to the rest of your body that you are hungry.
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Some data show that intermittent fasting can decrease ghrelin production, which makes it easier to avoid hunger pangs. Another hormone associated with fasting is leptin, the hormone that indicates satiety, and some data show that this hormone increases with intermittent fasting. But perhaps the biggest impact fasting can have on your hormones is in the case of insulin. Insulin regulates your blood sugar, and it’s triggered in your body when you eat. It is the primary driver of fat storage in your body. So by taking a break from eating you are letting your insulin levels regulate, and you are preventing extra fat from accumulating in your body.
Benefits Of Fasting
There are multiple benefits of fasting, from concrete benefits like a reduction in insulin resistance (and thus the chance of developing diabetes) and less concrete benefits like learning to enjoy every bite of food you take. Fasting can boost your cognitive performance, reduce inflammation, and help you lose weight (protecting you from being overweight and associated issues). Many people who fast find that their food tastes better, they feel fuller longer, and they are better able to make nutritious choices about the food they consume.
Common Myths About Fasting For Weight Loss
There are a lot of misconceptions about fasting for weight loss out there. Some myths you may have heard of include that fasting puts your body in starvation mode, that it might make you lose focus, that it’s just a matter of skipping breakfast, that you can eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you want during your eating window, that fasting is a miracle cure for weight loss or that it is the best option for everyone.
Your body won’t go into starvation mode in short-term fasting—think weeks of fasting to hit your body’s threshold for starvation. You likely won’t lose focus, again, in order to experience brain fog associated with starvation you have to fast for multiple days in a row with absolutely no caloric intake.
You certainly cannot eat whatever or however much you want during your eating window. In fact, your eating window should be jam-packed with highly nutritious, filling, and satisfying meals. While treats are always okay in moderation, turning exclusively to sugary, salty, or fatty treats during your eating window will do more harm than simply not fasting at all.
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Finally, not everyone should fast to lose weight. Not only will fasting not work for everyone for a myriad of reasons, some populations won’t benefit at all from fasting. If you have had an eating disorder or disordered eating, fasting is not for you. Focus on caring for your mental health first, and make sure you are working with a team of professionals to ensure your emotional and physical health are on the right track. Additionally, pregnant or nursing mothers should not engage in fasting. If you are struggling with a larger diagnosis you should not fast. Children and adolescents should not fast as a way to lose weight as their bodies are rapidly changing and need the consistency of nutritionally dense food to keep them healthy. As with any significant change to your diet and exercise habits, talk to your medical team before you make any changes.
Tips For Successful Fasting For Weight Loss
Fasting for weight loss is, ultimately, pretty simple. There are a few ways to go about it, but once you’ve decided the type of fasting you want to do there are some simple tips that can help you lose weight successfully by fasting.
Decide On Your Type Of Fasting
There are a few types of fasting, from the Warrior Diet (eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and then one large meal at night) to the 16/8 fasting (fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8) or alternate-day fasting (fasting every other day). Before you decide to start fasting, research the benefits of each type and decide on one, with the understanding that you can change your mind if that type of fasting doesn’t work for you.
Drink Tons Of Water
You are likely dehydrated even before you start fasting, but when you fast you need to drink even more. Early in your fast, you burn through glycogen, which is how your body stores carbohydrates. As you burn through glycogen, your body releases water into your bloodstream. As your fast continues, your body runs out of those stores of carbs and water, so drinking enough water to keep your body hydrated is even more important.
Eat Nutritionally Dense Foods
Your eating window isn’t a free for all—don’t line up a row of cupcakes and consume them in one sitting. Your body needs nutritionally dense food during your eating window. Think lean meats, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes. Not only will these foods boost your body’s overall health with extra nutrients, but nutritionally dense food usually takes longer for our body to digest, helping you feel fuller longer.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
Not only is sleep crucial for your overall health (sleep is when your body repairs itself, and not enough can lead to multiple conditions) but it’s especially crucial during a fast. Sleep allows your body to process everything you ate during your eating window, helping you to feel satisfied during your fasting time. Sleep also uses lots of your fasting time—if you are doing the 16/8 fasting regimen, sleeping is a great way to eat up some of your fasting hours.
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You can certainly reward yourself with a food-based treat (never eating your favorite indulgent food again isn’t practical and likely won’t happen), but if you can find a non-food reward opt for that. Whether it’s the new swimming suit you’ve had your eye on, that new throw pillow, or a night out with friends, make sure that fasting isn’t a punishment. Use it as a tool but never a weapon.
Fast The Smart Way With X Advanced
Fasting can be an excellent tool to help you lose weight and manage your eating habits. Losing weight by fasting can lead to fewer overweight-related conditions and issues. You might find that fasting helps you fully enjoy your food, every bit a delicious moment to savor. You might even start sleeping better by fasting. When you fast, it’s even more crucial that your body and its systems are working properly, so nutrient-dense foods and high-quality supplements are a must.
Getting enough protein, antioxidants, omega-3s, probiotics, prebiotics, and other nutrients will help your body lose weight in a safe, sustainable way. That’s why Xyngulars X Advanced kit is a perfect option for people interested in fasting.
Not only do the products in X Advanced add the right nutrients to your diet, but the kit comes with everything you need to manage your weight during your fasting window or your eating window. The X Advanced kit focuses on adding the good stuff to your body, helping you feel full, satisfied, and healthy regardless of where you are in your fasting cycle. Give your body the support it needs when you start your intermittent fasting journey by trying the X Advanced kit from Xyngular. Contact us or log in to your account to start your health journey today!*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.