This episode covers the basics of intermittent fasting. Learn the benefits of fasting, how to get started and whether IF is a good option for you.
Check out these additional resources:
The Complete Guide To Fasting by Jason Fung
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Episode 14 Transcript
Brigitte Factor 0:13 Hello, and welcome to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm your host, Brigitte Factor with truth seeker, researcher, scientist, nutritionist, teacher and truth teller, and awakening is coming. Get ready for it.
Brigitte Factor 0:47 Hello, and welcome back to the hungry for truth podcast. I'm so glad that you're listening in today, it's gonna be another great episode today is a topic that I've been wanting to tackle for a while we're going to talk about intermittent fasting today. This I've been getting a lot of questions about intermittent fasting. So I'm going to spend some time going through intermittent fasting. But first, I want to share some food for thought something I've been thinking about contemplating lessons I've been learning in my life. And there is a meme or a quote that you see floating around social media. And it's about a boiled egg and a potato. And it says the same hot water that boils the egg softens the potato. And when you first look at that you think Yeah, I'm strong, I'm tough my challenges, my hot water, my trials makes me stronger, makes me tougher. But then you can also look at that. And think if you're in a potato moment where you're feeling pretty mushy, that your challenges are actually breaking you down and making you softer. And either way you look at that you're placing a judgment on the boiled egg or the potato version of that. And what I have realized is that both the boiled egg and the potato have value. And that if we can step back away from the judgment that we place on stories that we tell ourselves, and we when we remove that judgment, we can start to see the value of the situation that we're in. Because when we remove that judgment, we're taking away that shame and that negativity in that story, we may be telling ourselves, and we can just sit and look at it. And there's no shame in being the boiled egg or being in the mushy potato. I have been in situations in hot water situations where I felt like the potato. And I have been in hot water situations where I have felt like the boiled egg. And both of those situations taught me very valuable lessons. And so this is a quote that I would like to share with you to contemplate on. And that is curiosity is the antidote to judgment. If we can stay open and curious about the situations that we go through, we will learn a lot more than if we stay closed minded and judgmental. So I just wanted to share that thought with you think on that, chew on that. And let me know how that impacts you.
Brigitte Factor 3:42 So now let's talk about intermittent fasting. This is a hot topic floating around the web and in the nutrition sphere. And it can be a really wonderful tool for people to use to incorporate. But it can also be just an added stress for some people and some people may not get the results that they want trying to do this. So I kind of wanted to dig through this and explain what it is and how to use it and when it's useful. But this idea of intermittent fasting is also interchangeable with another phrase called a time restricted or time restrictive eating. Basically, we're restricting the window of when we eat and expanding the window of when we fast when we don't eat and intermittent fasting. So fasting is something that we do overnight, like we fast from the time we stopped eating dinner to the time we eat breakfast again. And in our culture, we eat a lot we snack a lot, we eat a lot we're always eating, and we actually don't get much time in a fasted state except for being overnight. So you can think of a very general definition of this term of intermittent fasting is just reducing food intake over a 24 hour period. And there's different ways to do that, you know, typically you start or aim for a 12 hour fast or a 12 hours of digestive rest, where we're giving our digestive system a chance to rest, and reset, we're giving our pancreas a chance to rest because every time we eat, we secrete digestive juices, including insulin and other hormones as well as enzymes and those other types of digestive juices that our body produces. So fasting allows that to take time to rest that system, which is important. So we can think of that 12 hour, overnight fast is a fast, but really, the benefits of intermittent fasting, start to kick in, if we can extend that window to 16 or 18 hours of not in taking any food.
Brigitte Factor 6:13 Now, I just want to mention a disclaimer here. You don't want to take this on, if you're taking blood sugar regulation medications, without your doctor's direct supervision, because you don't want to find yourself in a low blood sugar moment, because that can be very dangerous. And I've talked about reversing insulin resistance in the past two episodes. So that's definitely a place to start before you think about doing intermittent fasting. And I will also list some references for those that want to take a deeper dive into this topic. But if you are someone who is ready to dive into this and you're healthy and metabolically flexible, then you could potentially start with a 14, 16 or 18 hour window of fasting. And what that means is just stopping dinner, or any type of food intake at 6 or 7pm. And then not having anything to eat until 10, 11, or 12pm the next day. So you have that long window of not eating and why do we want to do this there are actually many, many benefits to fasting if you're at a place where your body can tolerate that. And that is fasting has been shown to reverse insulin resistance, which I talked about in the last episode. So it's been shown to help with weight loss and fat loss and blood sugar regulation. It's also has a beneficial impact on brain function, and longevity and healthy aging. And what what happens when we're in that fasted state is there are a few mechanisms that kick in to compensate for that fasted state. And it's triggering some different pathways in the cells in the body to help clean things up and reduce inflammation. So it will turn on some pathways called the NRF2 pathway and that helps increase antioxidants and detoxification and decrease free radical production. And what all of that means is it just helps decrease the compounds in the body that are producing inflammation so it helps decrease inflammation. It can also turn on autophagy, which is another word for cellular cleaning, where the cells go through a cleanup process and clean up any damaged or inflamed tissue.
Brigitte Factor 9:02 Fasting has also been shown to improve blood cholesterol numbers blood pressures, it lessens the risk of neurological degeneration because of its benefit to the brain. It also has been shown to lessen the risk of certain cancers. A lot of people try it because they want that boosted energy. And so if you're become fat adapted, and you can really dial in this fasting formula for you, you can start to get that sustained energy, you have more mental clarity or brain function is clearer. And that has to do with reduced inflammation as well as lower insulin levels. One of the things that gets turned on in the brain is a hormone or a pathway called BDNF. And this is like a growth hormone for the brain where it tells the brain to make new neural connections. And this is really fascinating because because for so long, you know, we used to think that you couldn't repair the brain, you couldn't make new connections after a certain time. But now we're finding that that's not the case. And there's things that you can do to help with that. And that's something I learned working in a neurology clinic and learning about this process for the benefit of the brain. So there's multiple benefits to trying out some intermittent fasting. It's not for everybody in every situation, and I'll talk about that in just a minute. But I want to share some more benefits of what happens when we switch on that those fasting pathways. This also sends a signal to ourselves to make more mitochondria. mitochondria are the organelles that create the ATP. So it actually stimulates ATP production as well as tells the cells to make more mitochondria. Because there's a greater man to be more energy efficient, we need to be able to produce energy in this fasted state. And so that's sending that signal to the body to do that. It also enhances the production of the body's most important antioxidant. And that is glutathione and glutatione has a lot of benefits in the body and functioning as an antioxidant, meaning it's scavenging those free radicals. And free radicals are just compounds that have a lone pair of electrons, that's that lone pair of electron is causing damage to the cell. So I like to think of it as little electron zappers, free radicals or electron zappers that are going around causing damage in the cell, and in the body as well. So this is why we're told to eat a lot of antioxidants is because they help scavenge or reduce the number of free radicals in the body, which helps reduce inflammation, and helps promote tissue repair and all kinds of things. So intermittent fasting as a way to turn on some of these pathways that have a lot of benefits. These benefits can get ramped up if you extend the fasting window to a 24 hour period. This increases the autophagy or the cellular cleanup processes. It also increases growth hormone, which is great for weight loss, and muscle building. So there are an anti aging. So there are benefits to extending that window. Again, only if you're at a place where you can tolerate that.
Brigitte Factor 12:38 So some things to think about if this is a good thing for you to try Are you want to consider are Can you go three to four hours, or four to five hours without eating? Or do your blood sugar starts to drop? Do you get really shaky or headachy or hungry or angry or Moody, if you can't go that long of a time between meals. If that's the case, that's where you want to start, you want to start by increasing the amount of time that you can go between meals, unfortunately, we're told as a society that we're supposed to be eating every couple of hours. And that's not actually how we are designed to live it to me, it's if you have to eat every couple of hours, it's just a very poor way of managing blood sugar response. Because our body is metabolically designed to have these longer periods of time. Where we don't have to eat we should be able to tap into our metabolism and subsist on our stored energy. And that is called being metabolically flexible. So what that means is that you can switch from burning carbohydrates as your source of energy to burning fats are ketones as your source of energy, and enzymatically in that metabolism pathway. Ultimately, the carbohydrate molecule and the fatty acid molecule get broken down into acetyl. co a and everything in the acetyl. co a is what gets fed into that Krebs cycle sorry to get really nerdy with you. But it's just a matter of being able to switch back and forth. And if we're insulin resistant, that makes it really really hard for us to switch and use those fatty acid molecules as a fuel source, in times of need. So that's where we want to start first is being able to eat a balanced meal of nutrient dense Whole Foods, where we can keep our blood sugars balanced and be able to go longer periods of time between meals, and then you want to be able to have that 12 hour window overnight of not eating and once you are at that place, then you can consider extending that window to that 16 to 18 hour range and trying that once, maybe twice, and then if it feels good, or if it's working out for you, then you can do that a few times a week. And the gauge that you want to use is looking at how you feel, are you is your energy level sustained? Are you having fluctuations with energy? Is your sleep quality doing well is it if fasting is affecting your sleep, then that's a sign that it's too much of a stress.
Brigitte Factor 15:36 So intermittent fasting is a hormetic stressor, which a hormetic stressor is a beneficial stress to the body to make it stronger and adapt, just like lifting weights is a stress to the muscles, which help them to build and become stronger. But in some people, if their stress levels are high, and their sleep quality is poor, and their blood sugar's are all over the place, then intermittent fasting is not going to work for you, it's just going to be another added stress. So that is definitely something to consider before trying this type of strategy. Another thing to pay attention to is your hunger levels during these times, Now, of course, you're naturally going to be hungry. But if you do it fast, have you know 16, 18 or 24 hours, and then you dive headfirst and just binge eat into whatever you want, and you just overeat following that, then that's a sign that your body is not ready for that intermittent fasting, just yet, you need to ease into it. Because really one of the benefits that another benefit, I should say, of intermittent fasting is being able to naturally tune into your body's own hunger and satiety mechanisms. And that and when you get to that place where you're in tune with your body, and you can tell Okay, today is going to be a good day for me to fast, I'm not feeling that hungry, I'm feeling pretty level and stable, then that's what makes it beautiful is you're you're tapping into that intuition. And learning that now some people are gonna have to start off with boundaries, until they can learn to tap into that internal intuition of understanding our hunger and satiety signals. But if you're starving and shaky and angry, and your mood is not in a good place, it's probably not a good idea to intermittent fast that day, or to attempt this. Again, the benefits come when you're at that stable place. And you can just take it up to that next level. By introducing some of these intermittent fasting strategies, you also want to make sure that you're staying well hydrated if you're trying this, again, checking in on your sleep, your energy, your mood, and your stress levels. Some people can have a cortisol response. So as they come out of that fast and they break their fast again, if you break your fast, you want to you start small with a small meal to break that fast. And some people can have a cortisol response to that which causes our blood sugars to disproportionately increase breaking that fast. So that's, again, something that you can pay attention to if you're measuring your blood sugars during this time. It's also really, really important to make sure you're getting adequate protein. A lot of us are protein deficient, we don't get enough protein in our diet, that's going to help us feel very satiated, help us to be able to go long periods of time. So without eating so like the night before getting lots of protein, lots of vegetables, lots of fiber, some good healthy fats is going to help sustain you if you're going to do a fast next ended pass the following day. So those are things to think about as you're going into this.
Brigitte Factor 19:17 People who need to be very careful about fasting or should avoid fasting again, are going to be children. Fasting is not for children, we want to send the message to a child's body that they're growing and that we're nourishing them. We don't want to send a different message. So fasting is not for children. If you're underweight, it's probably not a good idea disordered eating. So if you have any type of disordered eating patterns, again, this fasting can seem very rigid and and trigger some of that disordered eating. So being careful, they're elderly. Generally, you know, it depends. Again, if they should try this, again, having the guidance of a trained practitioner in this field is going to be important if this is something that you want to implement, if you're in an in any of these categories. Also, if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, if you're nourishing a child, again, you need to make sure you're staying well nourished, to nourish that child. So that's it's not a good idea. In those cases, again, there are always exceptions. So that's taking responsibility for what's best for you, instead of just relying on someone to tell you what to do, I am a huge fan of taking responsibility. But I like to put this information out there for people to think about, as well, because it can be beneficial. I have worked with clients that have tried fasting, and they just weren't ready for it, you know, there were still too much stress on their system for different reasons. And they weren't getting the benefits that they wanted from it. And so in that case, we work on those lifestyle factors first, and start to identify and remove some of the stressors in the system, to help them get to a point where they can benefit from intermittent fasting.
Brigitte Factor 21:06 So again, if that's something that you're curious about and want to talk to me about, you can reach out to me through my website and set up a clarity call. And I can be happy to talk to you about working together and figuring out how to implement this kind of plan for you. There's also resources available. Dr. Fung book, The Ultimate Guide to fasting is an excellent book. And he goes through the different types of fast from these short, intermittent fast, where you're, you know, fasting for less than a day. And then he talks about the benefits of doing a longer fast, you know, three days, five days, seven days, as well. So it's a really, really great resource for looking at the different ways that you can implement this into your life, and determine if that's going to be a benefit to you and how to do that. So I hope that has given you some information on intermittent fasting that you can think about and see if you're at a place that you want to try that. Or if you need a little help implementing it, I'm here to help out those that want to work together one on one to do that. Also, you know, a lot of the population is has blood sugar dysregulation and insulin resistance like I've talked about before, I have a really great group program to help people start down that path of stabilizing their blood sugar's you know, reframing how they think about food and dieting, because I've talked before about getting out of that diet mindset in this program is called Finally Free. And I'm starting another session in May. So you can check out my website at BrigitteFactor.com/finally-free. And I'll post the link in the show notes. If that's something that you want to embark on. It's a really great group program, it's a great way to introduce yourself into some of this. And it's about intuitive eating. So it's about learning to self regulate around food. And that is one of the things that, you know, I feel that intermittent fasting is good as teaching you how to tap into your own internal hunger and satiety signals, as well. So we don't talk about intermittent fasting in the first part of that program. So it's really a great place to start if you're not ready to implement intermittent fasting, or you're just starting on trying to figure out what's the best approach for you, and you need consistency and support and implementing a healthy diet, as well as reframing our mindset about food and our bodies. And it's, you know, getting away from this idea that there's bad foods and good foods. And you know, I just need to try harder. Oftentimes, when we're in a place where things aren't working. And we think, oh, we just need to try harder and harder. That's why it's not working. Well, sometimes we just need a reframe. And this program helps us to set up that reframe, as well. So I'm super excited about it. I'm loving this program and want to offer it more. So check that out. And also make sure you get on my email list. And so we can stay in communication you can be aware of when I offer programs and offer updates and all that stuff. I will post a link in the show notes. And you can also go to my website and sign up as well.
Brigitte Factor 24:43 So, again, I thank you so much for listening. I really hope you found this information helpful. I would love to hear from you see how it's helping you and until next time grace and peace to you.