Intermittent Fasting is not a 16-hour Fast
Simply by not eating, you are not in a fasted state.
The fasted state begins hours after eating when the hormonal profile shifts from the fed into the fasted state.
This could take anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on the person, their diet and last meal, and their metabolic health status.
So if we say 4 hours after your last meal, you start into the metabolic fasting state that gives you 12 hours, assuming you eat 16 hours after.
12 hours is not a fast.
12 hours will not bring you any metabolic benefit in and of itself.
If eating in an 8-hour window is relatively new to you and you are cleaning up your diet of all the hyper-unnatural insulin magnifiers, then you can see a benefit.
That benefit is not due to the 12 hours of not eating but rather not overloading your hormonal system with the main offenders and not staying in a poor hormonal state all day by grazing.
You have not changed your metabolic profile or improved any function at this point, but you have stopped insulting it.
This doesn’t mean that an 8-hour (arbitrary) window is not a good idea. Just about anyone will benefit from moving from multiple meals, multiple snacks, 10-hour plus grazing period to 8 hours.
Although not truly fasting it is a step in the right direction. The following are great beginner steps to starting to make a physiological improvement to their metabolic health:
- End your eating window by 6:30 pm
- Eliminate all hyper, unnatural insulin magnifiers (anything made from a powder and cooked starches)
- Walk 10 minutes after each meal, three max, while not snacking
- Creating a sleep enhancement routine
- Functional Fasting
When it comes time for true fasting, remember, a dinner-to-dinner is not a full-day fast but just 24 hours without food consisting of hours from different days. They are not the same.
The biggest variables that can hinder a comfortable fast are:
- Carb addiction cycle
- Poor prep work leading into the fast
- Hydration Status before and during
- Poor metabolic health
The most common signs of these variables interfering with your fast are:
- Strong Irritability
- Drops in Energy
- Inability to Focus
- Intense Hunger or Cravings
- Inability to Continue to Workout
The biggest mistake made in completing a functional fast is the post-fast Reinforcement Phase (phase 4 of 4 of the complete fasting cycle).
The entire reason one does a fast, whether for weight loss, mental clarity, health restoration, blood sugar conditions, or regenerative healing and anti-aging, is achieved in this fourth phase when you return to eating.
The most common mistakes ending a fast are:
- Eating Fiber
- Astringent Oils (coconut, essentials) and hot spices.
- High Insulin producing or hyper-insulin-producing foods
- Sweet Drinks from any source (artificial, sugar, fructose, stevia, etc.)
Fasting is an ancient and hard-wired health promoter already within our body that functions naturally in everyone.
Our current standard lifestyles make fasting very complicated and are compounded by conflicting advice from people who have yet to study fasting physiology or worked with many people through fasting.
Take these tips to heart and try working your way into true fasting. If you have tried it and had issues, apply these and do it differently next time.
For more information on fasting and metabolic/hormonal health, keep following and join my group, “Insulin Friendly Fasting Secrets.”
We can do better!