Many of you have probably heard of certain practices need to ‘fast’ for so many days, meaning that the person riff of eating any solid food for a certain period of time. Many see this as a “starving” yourself and frown on the idea, especially because we have been told again and again that we need to eat many small meals throughout the day to keep our metabolism running smoothly. I’m going to break this myth and show you why what you think you know is far from the truth.
Most of us have been told that our bodies need constant fueling in order to produce the energy we need to get us through the day. While eating frequently throughout the day may be fine for some, for most it is a problem because they are simply consume too much, too often! When you eat a small meal, your stomach can take one to two hours to break it down and to fully digest it. When you eat a larger meal though the stomach can take up to 8 hours to digest what you eat! The problem is that many people constantly feed their bodies more and more food to the point where the body can not possibly digest it all without sacrificing some things, such as energy and brain activity. Ever notice how after you eat a heavy meal tired and sluggish? This is because all the blood flow in the body ran to the stomach to help break down the food you just ate. This leaves less blood, which provides energy and oxygen, for other parts of the body, including the brain. So, if you choose to stick with the 6-meal per day philosophy, at least cut down on the portion size so that you do not overload the system and offer much-needed energy.
Metabolism Myths (One meal or Six meals?)
Our body is a machine, intelligent one at that. Let’s compare it to a car in terms of fuels. Usually, fill your car with gas once, and then the gas can (or soon) empty where you have to fill it up again. We need to start looking at our bodies as if they were a car that needs fueling. Just as you would not fill the car with gas if it had a full tank, you should not force your body with food that you’ve already eaten enough to last for days, not to mention the body fat you have stored that could last months. I realize that eating has become a compulsive habit, so it is difficult for someone to go a long time without food, but what I’m trying to make here is that you do not need 3 to 6 meals a day to lose weight or stay healthy. One common misconception is that we need to eat often in order to fuel our metabolism, and not eating will send our body into starvation mode and will then store fat. The truth is that when you eat a meal, the metabolism of the body is then increased so that the food can be digested. When food is digested, however metabolism back to the level it was before the. The metabolic increase is directly proportional to the energy needed to digest food. Therefore, you will not burn fat by eating more. In fact, you are more likely to store fat because you are likely to exceed the needs of the body. You should not try to increase your metabolism by eating. It does not. One thing that works is exercise. Exercise is great for burning fat because you’re expending energy, not take it. Fasting is also great for burning fat because it forces the body into a catabolic state. Let me delve into this further ..
Degradation vs anabolic
Anabolic refers to the process of building or using smaller components (amino acids, molecules, etc.) to make larger components (muscle tissue, skin, organs, etc.). The breakdown meant to break down larger objects into smaller parts that can be used for energy. For example, the breakdown of fat tissue produces fatty acids and glycerol which are used by the body directly for energy. When we eat a meal, our digestive system break the food into small particles that can be used to build muscle tissue, organs, blood, etc. This puts the body in an anabolic state. When all of this material is used up, the body begins degradation state. It then begins to break down fat and stored sugar for energy. A period of fasting will cause the body to maintain this state of degradation long as the body can detoxify themselves, break down excess fat and repair of damaged tissues and organs. Contrary to the belief of some people, being in a catabolic state will not make you lose muscle. The body will break down stored sugar and fat in the body long before you turn on your muscle! Being in a state of degradation is useful for many other reasons, such as hormonal regulation.
In the society we live in, where we are taught that it is good to eat many small meals, most of us are in an anabolic state majority of the time. Our bodies are always in the ‘build’ mode and never get a chance to cleanse and detoxify itself, not to mention get rid of unsightly fat. Fasting is a great method to lose fat, cleansing the body and build muscle at the same time! So how do you do that exactly?
There are many ways to fast. Some methods are extreme and difficult to meet, while others are suitable for just about anyone. There are two ways of fasting that I would recommend. Decide which one is for you and try it out. They are not difficult when you adapt. The first method is a weekly fast. For one day of the week (you choose) you eat not any solid food whatsoever. Just make sure to drink plenty of water. For example, you eat dinner on Sunday night and then go to sleep. You wake up Monday and did not eat anything all day. Go to bed Monday night, wake up Tuesday morning and then break the fast, which is by the way the reason for the name “breakfast”. This would mean that you fasted for about 36 hours. This can be difficult for people, but I assure you that it will be easy for the first few times.
Easier method and one that I personally use is daily fasting. Every morning, I wake up and go to work without packing a lunch. It is because I do not eat breakfast or lunch. I do not eat all day until I get home at about 4 pm and I do not eat past 9 pm usually. This shortened eat window means that when I wake up every morning, my body is in a catabolic state. So all day while I’m at work, my body is able to repair itself and burn fat stores for its energy. Since I do not eat, no energy is used for digestion and overall I have much more energy throughout the day, but if I were to eat breakfast or lunch. Also, since eating my window is so small, I can eat a lot more food at once. This is very pleasing and it helps me sleep better too. I recommend daily fasting for someone trying to become healthier, more lean, or even someone trying to build muscle and get ripped.
Use caution when fasting and do your own research before you start. I’m not an expert. I’m just sharing information that I have learned through research and experimentation. Best of luck on your journey to a healthier, happier lifestyle.