I started doing intermittent fasting five years ago after doctors told me to quit the gym for a year. I had injured my abs and back, and doctors advised me not to exercise, not even do cardio, till I`m fully recovered.
Things went down from there since all I was doing, besides work, was eat anything I can get my hands on (I`m a foodie, or that`s how I used to think of myself.) I gained 50 pounds in no time, and I had to find a way to control my appetite and lose the extra weight without breaking a sweat.
Thankfully, I found out about intermittent fasting in a book (God I love reading), and it`s been changing my life since then. I`ve lost all the extra weight and experienced tons of physical and mental benefits some of which I`d never gain without fasting.
So, and because I love fasting so much, here are my six reasons why intermittent fasting can be right for you.
Benefit #1: You can lose weight faster (and safer)
Sixteen weeks of intermittent fasting will make you lose weight, even if you don`t count calories, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Cell Research. This makes sense because you only get a very limited time to consume your daily caloric intake.
It`s almost impossible that you consume 3,000 or 4,000 calories in a single meal or a 4-hour window. Even if you did it once, you won`t be able to do it regularly; thus the least you can do with fasting is keep your weight unchanged which is excellent for emotional eaters.
Scientifically, fasting reduces blood insulin and facilitates the process of breaking fat down into energy. Fasting also overrides the effect of a high-fat diet and, according to studies, it can increase metabolism by 3 to 14 percent.
Benefit #2: Addictions can be broken
I once watched a YouTube video for Will Smith saying that everybody should run every day. Not because it burns more calorie than any other cardio exercise, but because it teaches you how to defeat that voice in your head telling you to quit. And the more regularly you run, the quieter that voice will become, and the tougher you`ll get, both physically and mentally.
Fasting does the same thing to you: it gives you the opportunity to smack that quitting voice in the ass every single day. I asked four friends who`ve fasted a year or more, and all of them said they drank and procrastinated less with fasting.
Benefit #3: Fatty livers can be cured
A fatty liver takes place when fat accounts for more than 5 to 10 percent of your liver’s weight. It happens to heavy drinkers and overweight people when the body becomes unable to metabolize fat fast enough and, if left untreated, fatty liver can develop into cirrhosis.
What does fasting offer to a fatty liver?
According to a 2016 study by the German Research Centre for Environmental Health, fasting makes the liver produce a protein called GADD45b (Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible) responsible for controlling the absorption of fatty acids in the liver. The increase of this GADD45b protein in your system normalizes fat content in the liver and reduces the sugar levels in your blood.
Benefit #4: You save a lot of time (and money)
Eating healthy requires a lot of meal prep which, for many people, is very time-consuming. I just watched Josh Brolin being asked about his diet for Deadpool 2 and he seemed annoyed that he had to eat every two hours.
With fasting, however, you save a lot of time and get more fun. Instead of preparing five or six meals every day, you get only to prepare one or two meals. Not only this will save you time, but you`ll also enjoy what you eat a lot more as you`ll combine your daily macros in fewer, but much bigger, meals.
Benefit #5: Increased Growth Hormone
There are very few natural ways to improve your growth hormone levels, and fasting is one of them. Enough levels of Growth Hormone (GH) means faster recovery, more strength, and better metabolism. The body also uses GH to preserve protein which makes it benefit even your hair, nails and skin.
Fortunately, not eating for long periods of time helps those hormone levels of yours get a real kick. In fact, these two studies (here and here) suggest that fasting can increase GH levels by 300 to 1,205 percent. (WOW).
Fasting makes you lose weight which automatically elevates your GH. Moreover, it also keeps your insulin levels under control so it doesn`t disrupt the production of GH.
Benefit#6: Fasting can improve your libido.
I`ll totally understand if you`re a woman who doesn`t want more testosterone in her blood. But the truth is, both women and men need testosterone in their system because of its many benefits, especially to men.
Proper T levels can make you leaner, increase your bone strength and, for men, it will improve your libido. Men with high T levels usually have high sex drive compared to men with low T who usually suffer from mood swings and, possibly, depression.
The good news? Increasing Growth Hormone usually comes with a similar increase in T levels. And since intermittent fasting improves GH levels, it will ensure your T stays at an optimal level.
Marwan Jamal is a soccer-playing, food-loving, joke-cracking New York-based wellness writer. You can say hi to me here
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.