Have you ever tried “fasting”?

This is a trick question, because everyone fasts every single day.  ‘Fasting’ simply refers to the period of time that we are not eating.  We all ‘fast’ every day when we don’t eat between meals.  Typically, the longest time that we fast is the time that we don’t eat between dinner and the next day’s breakfast.  This is actually why we call it “breakfast” because we’re breaking our fast.

What happens when I fast?

When you eat food your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin.  Insulin is very important because it moves the sugar that’s in the blood stream into our cells, which can then be turned into energy.  When we overeat, however, insulin causes excess calories to be stored as fat.  As we consume extra calories, insulin helps our fat cells increase in size and number.

When we are fasting, we are reversing this process because we are no longer producing insulin.  When insulin is not being produced our body starts to break down fat stores to use it as a fuel source.  We will efficiently burn fat in the fasting state, and store fat in the fed state.

How can intermittent fasting help me to lose weight?

As explained above – we burn fat when we’re in the fasting state.  If we can maximize the time we spend in the fasting state, then we can maximize our fat burning every day.  This can help us to lose weight just by altering the timing of our eating.  I’ll provide an example below to better illustrate this point.

Jane eats her breakfast at 7:00 am, lunch at 12:00 pm, dinner at 7:00 pm, and a snack after her dinner at 9:00 pm.  Since she eats food often, Jane spends less time in the fasted state throughout the day.  The longest time she spends in the fasting state is 10 hours (9:00 pm to 7:00 am the following morning).

Liz eats her breakfast at 10:00 am, lunch at 1:00 pm, dinner at 6:00 pm, and does not have any snacks after dinner.  The longest time she spends in the fasting state is 16 hours! (6:00 pm to 10:00 am the following morning).  Liz is spending 6 more hours burning fat every single day!

How can I make intermittent fasting work for me?

The number one habit that will cut down your time spent in the fasting state is snacking after dinner or late at night.  You can start getting used to intermittent fasting by simply stopping having any food or calories of any kind after your dinner.  This will ensure that your body spends more time burning fat until the next morning.

Your next step in using intermittent fasting to your advantage is to have your breakfast a little later.  Instead of having breakfast at 6:00 am, maybe have your breakfast at 7:00 am or 8:00 am.  The larger the time gap between your dinner time and breakfast time (the following day), the longer your body will spend burning fat for energy!

Please contact our naturopathic clinic to discuss how we can better utilize intermittent fasting in conjunction with our weight loss program to help maximize your weight loss.  If you have any issues maintaining blood sugar balance (i.e. diabetes or hypoglycemia), please make an appointment with us to discuss if this weight loss strategy is right for you.

Yours in health,

Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
Newmarket Naturopathic Doctor
16655 Yonge Street, Newmarket, ON
905-898-1844 ext. 135