Thursday, 24 May 2018
Is fasting bad for your health?
Rob Stehlin, 55 w/ six pack - fasting, vegan, running dad
NO - Fasting is amazingly GOOD for your health. Recent studies from multiple major Universities suggest a fasting lifestyle can add 30% to ones life expectancy. I am a faster and I have the blood work and body to show the benefits of fasting.
To get the most out of fasting I combine it with food and fitness, but it is definitely the foundation of my health and lifestyle. I have the results to show for it.
If you are interested in just what I have done to get to where I am at age 55, here is an outline.
The number one way to lose weight and live healthy is to adopt a diet and lifestyle that is fun. One that is sustainable, indefinitely, because our current lifestyle is not working as the majority of Americans and most of the world are obese or overweight.
Calorie counting is GONE. The key to your success will be a strategy that will lower and regulate your insulin levels (Insulin will cycle and that is OK, it is when it remains high that causes all the problems). Remember, once you reach your goal, you will definitely have some flexibility, and the tools to stay on course.
INSULIN OVER CALORIES
Focus on your INSULIN levels and not on CALORIES (counting calories does not work) in order to lose fat and build muscle. To successfully lose your excess fat it will not be about reducing calories, but about reducing INSULIN levels. Calorie reduction (restriction) does not provide you with permanent plan because it reduces your metabolism and in the long run you will gain back all the weight you lost and more. Calories restriction is down right miserable.
Here is how you can regulate your insulin in just 4 WORDS: Fast Daily & Eat Responsibly. These 4 simple words are the proper diet plan you are looking for. Hold to these words every day and you will be successful in losing body fat around the belly and the waist. The most effective way to reduce your insulin levels is by FASTING.
Fasting is CRITICAL to your success - more so than food and more so than exercise. First and foremost, fasting is not starvation. It is just a period of time where you stop ingesting food and the body utilizes stored fuel. We are designed to operate this way. There are many different styles of fasting (I am only referencing WATER ONLY FAST) that are effective and supported by research. No Juice fast, no veggies fast - just water ( black coffee and tea with no additions) The key is to reduce your insulin levels in your body in order to burn the excess fat stored in your body. No fat burn no weight loss - that simple. I recommend a combination of intermittent fasting techniques: Time restricted feeding TRF and Periodic “water only” fasting.
TRF - TIME RESTRICTED FEEDING
TRF is when you eat in a defined eating window and fast the remainder of the day. You want to start out with the 16:8 strategy eating all of your meals in an eight hour window and fasting for 16 hrs. Most start by skipping breakfast eating lunch around 12 - 1 pm and dinner around 8. The sooner you can compress the feeding window down to 4–6 hrs the better your results. I personally practice TRF with a feeding window of 4–5 hrs. An alternative plan that could be even more beneficial but a little more difficult in a family setting and supported by current research, would be to have your breakfast at 8am and your last meal at 4 pm with no snacks after 4 pm and 8 am in the morning. Please note you need to stay hydrated while fasting. Consuming 3–4 liters of water per day should be adequate.
PERIODIC “WATER ONLY” FAST
In an effort to accelerate weight loss and cell rebuilding, everyone should have an annual fasting schedule. General health issues would require less frequency and shorter periods while those working to lose large amounts of weight and dealing with major health issues would increase the frequency and length of the fast. I would recommend starting with a monthly PERIODIC fast in combination with Daily TRF. A periodic fast is when you will fast for 2 - 5 days with water, coffee or tea ONLY. During this time your body will run on fat stores accelerating your weight loss (can burn up to a pound per day). The key to long term benefits is when you break your extended fast. DO NOT GORGE, take it easy and eat high quality veggies and proteins (preferably plant proteins). At the end of your fast your body has developed high levels of HUMAN GROWTH HORMONES and will generate stem cells to rebuild organs and muscles.
The one question I see a lot is “Will you gain the weight back when you stop fasting?” The answer is NO But I always ask, “Why would anyone go back to a place where they were miserable and on a road to an early death”? Enjoy your new life. Fasting adds 30% to your life expectancy for those that practice it throughout their life. I tell people don’t worry once you cross over, you will never want to go back. Fasting comes in so many forms you will always have a variety of ways to maintain your health utilizing fasting. For managing your optimal health, I always suggest once you reach your target weight to change up your routine: Periodic, TRF, 5:2, 24/24 etc.
Next is to minimize your insulin spikes by making smart food choices. Change in diet can and should be gradual starting with the elimination of sugar and refined carbs. Carbs are not bad, just eat them WHOLE. In order to maintain your gut microbiome, you need to make sure your food has 30–40 grams of dietary fiber found in what we call MAC’S (Microbiota Accessible Carbohydrates). MAC’s are required food for your gut bacteria and without them our body does not work properly including weight loss. 80% of immune system in in our GUT. Please be good to your gut and feed it daily. High fiber minimizes insulin spikes and that is good. To get the best out of your diet, I recommend a predominately whole foods plant based diet (veggies (some fermented), beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and small amounts of plant based oils) In the beginning limit the foods that will spike your insulin and it by eating plants you can never eat to many calories. I recommend staying away from any of the processed vegan and plant based foods other than say plant burgers (Impossible, Memphis, Beyond) and TOFU (Non-GMO and organic). The whole plant is always better than the manufactured plant.
(optional in the beginning BUT required for muscle gain): I recommend just doing bodyweight exercises in the beginning with some cardio. I do mostly pull ups, push ups, dips and squats. if I go to a gym (just occasionally, I do dumbbells). I run for the health and mental benefits - serotonin. Next add more intense resistance exercises to increase your muscle mass. Heavier the weight and less reps build bigger muscles and lighter weight more reps will increase tone and definition. The key to burning MAXIMUM FAT is to always exercise while FASTED. Fat burning athletes are 6-8% more efficient when it comes to oxygen consumption. The coolest this is the bodies ability to adapt to fat burning over glucose.
Remember fasting is a TOOL and you use it when you need it - active periods and maintenance periods. Combined with a proper plant based diet you will be able to go from the “brake” to the “accelerator” with the most success. The one question I see a lot is “Will you gain the weight back when you stop fasting?” The answer is NO - as long as you stick with your responsible eating. I always ask, “Why would anyone go back to a place where they were miserable and on a road to an early death”? Enjoy your new life. Fasting adds 30% to your life expectancy for those that practice it throughout their life. I tell people don’t worry once you cross over, you will never want to go back. Fasting comes in so many forms you will always have a variety of ways to maintain your health utilizing fasting. For managing your optimal health, I always suggest once you reach your target weight to change up your routine: Periodic, TRF, 5:2, 24/24 etc.
Health should be an adventure you want to go on and not one that is dreaded every day. In my quest to make 60 the new 30, I use this strategy on a daily basis. I enjoy it and feel the benefits daily. This lifestyle will give you total control over your body, mind, weight, and health. All you need to do is embrace it. CHANGE IS INTENTIONAL - are you ready?
Let me know if this has been helpful as I am always evaluating how effective my answers are on Quora. If you have any questions use the message feature here on Quora and I will help as much as I can. Always seek the advise of a medical professional if you do not feel comfortable or are experiencing medical conditions that require their assistance.
Rob Stehlin - 55 year old fasting vegan - walking the walk to help others with the daily struggles of life. Join me on my 5 year journey to make 60 the new 30 -Rob's Healthy Living Page - 5 Steps to a Better U - and instagram / twitter @RobStehlin