Namaste! I’m back again. Before we delve into today’s topic, I just want to make sure that everyone has seen our new name and logo, which we are very excited about. For those that may not know, Siddhi means ‘to attain a goal’ and is another name for Ganapathi/Ganesha, the God of Prosperity and Luck. So, we are hoping to reinforce our goal of helping you attain good health and happiness! It’s also a play on words, could sound like health ‘city’!
Today, you’ll notice that we have a different backdrop for our talk. We’ll try to show a different place with each video, to mix things up a bit. Behind me is Castillo de San Cristobal, which was completed in 1783 and at one point wrapped around the entire city of San Juan. It is the largest fort in the Americas! How lucky are we to be able to teach our children about world history despite this pandemic. Making lemonade out of lemons!
In this video, I want to give a little more in-depth information on what exactly intermittent fasting (or I.F.) is, and the benefits that I’ve seen in my patients (myself included). Let’s break it down…
First, Fasting: To many of you, fasting isn’t that foreign of a concept. In many religions, fasting is part of particular holidays or observance periods. Of course, ‘fasting’ has many different definitions depending on which religion or culture that you’re talking about.
In the case of IF- a fast, in order to have the best health benefits (which I’ll talk about shortly), should be a true, ‘clean’ fast. This means- nothing other than water, tea or coffee with no milk or sugar. The good news is, you can have unlimited amounts of these liquids during your fasting period!
And then, what is the ‘intermittent’ component? Intermittent means not all the time- and the amount of time that you fast will depend on your body and how long it takes you to get used to the practice. The best part? Sleeping counts as fasting time!
Here’s a simple way to think about it- if you finish your dinner by 8pm→ 16 hours later is 12 noon the next day. So, really, you’re just fasting through breakfast – something a lot of us do anyway!
HOW DOES I.F. WORK?
In the simplest terms, IF gives your body time to rest and heal. (healing repair pic) Essentially, when you eat, your body has to work hard to digest, to let out some hormones and suppress others. It is fully concentrating on that process and often ignores other things that might be going on and may need it’s attention.
Getting a little more into the science of it: you probably have heard of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that’s released to decrease the amount of sugar/glucose in your blood at a particular time (remember- high blood sugar is not good for you). Over time, your body gets used to the constant higher levels of insulin and this leads to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes. Ajoy will talk about this in depth in a forthcoming video – “What causes diabetes”.
What is the primary result that you will see, from IF? Weight loss! Think of it like a fridge and freezer. When the food in the fridge is gone, you go for your stored food in the freezer! When the glucose reserves are gone (ie, when you’re not eating), the body has a calorie deficit and it’s then that it uses fat as energy.
And there are other bonuses in addition to weight loss- you will likely see less arthritis pain, less gut inflammation (IBS, crohn’s, celiac), less heart inflammation (lower BP, lower cholesterol), less liver inflammation (no more fatty liver) less brain inflammation (decreased incidence of dementia and improved memory/concentration) better skin, etc!
I.F. can even cause improvement in other hormonal imbalances (the hormonal or endocrine system is basically a huge feedback loop- so, if one hormone is better regulated, it generally affects other hormones)- women’s health (improved period regularity, possible treatment for infertility), mental health (affects serotonin, dopamine, etc), thyroid health.
So, you get the idea. IF allows your body to heal, to get back into a good balance, and to concentrate on the functions that it should be concentrating on→ leading to a thinner, happier, healthier you! (fat to slim pic)
WHY SHOULD I DO IT vs OTHER DIETS?
One of the biggest points that I want to highlight is that IF is *not* a diet… it truly is a lifestyle change. And, in medicine, lifestyle changes are what drive long-term results and benefits. And this is what we want our core message to you, in all of our videos, to be– change your lifestyle for the better, and you will reap unbelievable benefits. So, if you decide to adopt IF into your life, it really should be a long term commitment.
One of the biggest pluses that I have noticed is that it’s convenient – no calories to count (really!!), no special foods to buy, very limited rules to follow as I already said. It’s low stress! And, it’s forgiving. If you mess up one day or even for one week, the weight is not going to jump back on, and the benefits are not going to be erased. Also, it will save you money and time!
Even if you are the only one in your family doing IF, you will still have less groceries to buy, etc. It’s also flexible. (pic of shopping cart) If you have an event coming up, or a vacation , a meeting, etc- you can plan your eating window around that particular time, no problem. It doesn’t have to impede your life. And finally, the best part of I.F.?
You can eat what you want! Really! You don’t have to fear carbs! You don’t have to count grams of protein! You don’t have to drink 60 liters of water! Now, I would love if you ate whole-foods-plant-based during your window … but that’s a topic for another video 😉
Oh, and one more advantage, which was initially very difficult for me to accept… you absolutely can exercise while in your fasting ‘window’!! In fact, I’ve found that my exercise endurance has actually improved, and I prefer to exercise while fasting! Additionally, this can really rev up your body’s fat burning capabilities, and who wouldn’t want to do that?
OK OK, BUT *HOW* DO I DO I.F.?
By now, you must be super excited to give this way of life a try! SO, how do you get started? One of the most important and exciting things to know about IF is that there are really no rules. The only rule is that you fast during a particular time period. Beyond that, you eat what you want, and how much you want. Believe it or not, your healing body will control your hunger signals, it’s all part of the hormonal changes that I described a few minutes ago.
I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve been IFing (yes, I made it a verb) since September 2019 (so, for about 9 months now). When I first started, I set a date, and began with a 14 hour fast. I would typically finish dinner by 8 pm and then 14 hours later is 10am.
So, basically I pushed my breakfast back by 2-3 hours. I had a black coffee or plain black tea on my way to work, and drank plenty of water if I felt hungry until 10am. After a few weeks, I increased to a 16 hour fast, and so on, until I now can routinely do a 20-24 hour fast without difficulty. Simple, right? But certainly not *easy*.
There are times initially, when I would feel nauseous or dizzy- I would drink a bunch of water and sometimes have a little bit of salt [side note, when people think their blood sugar is dropping/’hypoglycemic’ without eating- it is usually either dehydration or low sodium, NOT low blood sugar. It’s actually super rare to become hypoglycemic unless you’re taking certain medications or have a rare disease.
Most health benefits that I spoke about earlier won’t start happening until you can reach that magic 16:8 fast. And I found that I didn’t lose weight until I was able to get to at least 19 hours.
Of course, everyone is different, and you may also notice weight loss with just 16:8. Just compare my weight loss to one of my patient’s. She lost weight a lot faster than I did, for obvious reasons. She simply had more to lose.
There are other IF regimens beyond what I just described- extended fasts, alternate day fasting, etc. If there is interest, I’m happy to go into more detail about how to approach these, and their unique benefits, in a later video.
I hope this has been a good overview of how IF works and how it can help your body adapt and heal. Again, for the 5000th time, I want to emphasize how this simple (but not easy) way of life can reboot your system and reward you with benefits that you never thought were possible.
Give it some time, even if you try it for just 3 weeks, I promise you will start to see changes. I encourage you to take pictures and measurements for comparison and encouragement.
We want to say thank you again for tuning in! Please like and subscribe by clicking on the subscribe button and the bell icon….and, as always, please leave us some feedback and any suggestions for new topics that you’d like us to discuss. Bye!