Skip to main content

My Experience With Intermittent Fasting

Yoga Wellness Educator. Certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, and Reiki. Oracle card reader. Yoga Therapy Foundations program.

Reach your optimal weight for good health.

Reach your optimal weight for good health.

This year, I decided to completely cut refined sugar and white bread from my diet. I woke up on April 28th and decided then and there, “no more refined sugar or white bread of any kind”. I had been wanting to do that for a long time but kept backing out.

I kept my promise to stick to this improved diet for two months until I received a box of chocolate and felt too shy to refuse it. I do not regret eating those chocolates as it made me realize that I no longer have a taste for refined sweets. The natural sugar in fruits is more than enough for me.

Everything else in my diet and eating habits remained the same until I decided to lose weight. I had heard about the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) but had not given it much thought.

I first heard about intermittent fasting when I viewed a YouTube video by Dr. Eric Berg, a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis and Intermittent Fasting.

18-6

Two weeks into my “no refined sugar and no white bread’ diet, I decided to follow the 18-6 rule in IF: 18 hours without food with a 6-hour window of eating during a 24-hour day.

The 18-6 rule is one of two approaches; the other one is the 16-8 rule, which is 16 hours without food with an 8-hour window of eating.

My sister reminded me that the window of eating does not mean that I eat for the whole six or eight hours.

When I first started the IF diet, I expected to suffer from pangs of hunger and shakiness. In fact, I found it easy to cope with feelings of hunger. I drank black coffee (or coffee with almond milk), tea with a splatter of lemon juice, and water with a splash of apple cider vinegar between six in the morning and noon. This was plenty to make me hold without solid food from six o’clock in the afternoon to twelve o’clock the next day.

I did lose weight, not much, but still noticeable. What was more valuable to me was the feeling of freedom from addiction to refined sugar, as well as the improved energy level and the overall feeling of well-being.

Despite the faux-pas I recently made by not saying no to chocolate on one occasion, I am still committed to a no-refined sugar diet in any form it comes.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting or IF is also known as time-restricted feeding where you eat within a six-hour or an eight-hour window and fast the rest of the day. The choice of the time of eating is flexible between morning people and people who want to be awake and active at night.

The mistaken beliefs about the IF diet are that it burns the body’s muscle mass, slows your metabolism, and makes you binge on food during the eating window of time.

Benefits on Cardiovascular Health

The IF diet is a recent model in the approach to weight loss and the reduction of inflammation. It has possible long-term health benefits.

Scroll to Continue

A study[i] published in the MDPI journal in 2010 explained the benefits of the IF diet on cardiovascular health. MDPI is a publisher of peer-reviewed and open-access journals aiming to foster open scientific exchange in all forms and across all disciplines.

This study found that the IF diet limits some risk factors that could cause cardiovascular disorders. When we are on the IF diet, fatty acids and ketones turn into the primary source of energy fuel. Ketones are a chemical made by the liver when it breaks down fats. The body uses ketones for energy mostly when we fast, during extended periods of exercise, or when we do not eat a lot of carbohydrates.

The IF diet lowers the concentration of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol, which has been my main focus lately.

The positive impact of the IF diet is primarily for obese and diabetic people. The lowered amount of food eaten causes a decrease in body weight, improves glucose metabolism, and increases the sensitivity of tissues to insulin. It also limits cardiac hypertrophy, which is associated with many forms of heart disease.

Benefits from this form of restricted eating were confirmed in research on the development of atherosclerosis when plaque builds up in the arteries of the heart. The IF diet prevents atherosclerotic plaque development by reducing the concentration of inflammatory markers. Inflammatory markers are signs of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation shows as redness, swelling, and pain, and can result in loss of function.

This study emphasized the beneficial effect of the IF diet in preventing hypertension. This feeding-restricted diet helps lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS prevails in calm rest-and-digest situations, preserves energy for later when it is needed, and controls bodily functions such as digestion and urination.

The IF diet curbs many risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases. Fatty acids and ketones become the main energy fuel.

Intermittent fasting can help decrease body mass and weight.

Intermittent fasting can help decrease body mass and weight.

Caution

Periodic fasting is helpful and safe for the majority of people, but there are cases where people must check with their medical doctor before starting a fasting program.

People who must check with their medical doctor first are those who have diabetes type 1 or 2, take prescription medication, have gout or high uric acid levels, or have a serious medical condition like a disease of the liver, kidney, or heart.

The IF diet is not recommended for people who have hormonal imbalances, women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, and people who have eating disorders, have a body mass index under 18.5, or are underweight.

No Undesirable Effect

Fasting, especially the IF diet, had no side effects for me. For some others, a few irritations might occur that are linked to salt and water intake. Headaches have to do with salt imbalance, and constipation has to do with not drinking enough water.

Fatigue due to fasting is not as common as people think. If a dieter feels a little fatigue, the remedy is to take a walk to force the body to burn body fat and use it for fuel.

Summary

Consuming too much food often leads to metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance and excessive accumulation of the fat that is stored deep inside the belly —and wraps around the organs, including the liver and intestines— especially with a sedentary, inactive lifestyle.

The IF diet lowers body fat and body mass that support the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system. It has a positive influence on the working of the nervous system. It helps with slowing the ageing process by affecting the reduction of free radical formation in the body and stress response systems and protecting our neurons from harmful environmental and genetic influences.

Reference

[i] Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders—An Overview. Bartosz Malinowski, Klaudia Zalewska, Anna Wesierska, Maya M. Sokołowska, Maciej Socha, Grzegorz Liczner, Katarzyna Pawlak-Osinska, and Michał Wicinski. (20 March 2019).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Liliane Najm

Related Articles