Autophagy – The Best Kept Secret To Intermittent Fasting

Here I am going to talk about a benefit of intermittent fasting that not a lot of people are familiar with. While fasting, our bodies go through a process called autophagy. Autophagy’s literal meaning, self eating, is a way the body metabolizes and repairs itself. During autophagy our cells are programmed to collect damaged parts and material from other cells and break them down into smaller parts to be recycled. Here nothing is going to waste in our body and damaged cells are broken down and reused.

While fasting our bodies become more efficient and we are able to naturally recycle any and all materials within our system to fuel and repair our bodies. What this implies is that we can stop cancerous growths and put an end to insidious metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Additionally, it’s been observed that intermittent fasting and autophagy can help regulate inflammation and increase immunity. It’s worth noting that when scientists removed the ability of autophagy from lab rates they soon became obese, void of energy, experienced hyper lipidemia and cognitive function was impaired.

If you ever heard of anyone trying to “cleanse” by way of juices or any other drink, this couldn’t be more counter-productive to promoting autophagy. The only true way to cleanse would be by way of autophagy which naturally occurs during intermittent fasting which can be accomplished by skipping a meal or extending a daily non eating window to 16 hours. When we choose to intermittent fast we begin to train the body to cleanse and repair itself because we are not tasking our system with digestion and processing food. Fasting allows for efficiency and redirects our bodies to use what we already have, fat, and get rid of damaged tissue our body no longer needs like cancerous growths.

Keeping repair in mind, research has been showing trends that fasting has lowered the risks of diabetes and heart disease. Not only are the metabolic benefits promising but research is also indicating autophagy in the brain may be effective to lowering the risk of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkenson’s. Since I began fasting nearly 6 months ago, I have noticed that I feel more alert and I’m able to learn and experiment with things I have always avoided. This may in fact be evidence of increased neuroplasticiy.

Autophagy and ketosis both share similar characteristics. With ketosis the idea is to lower our carbohydrate intake such that our metabolism has only one choice for energy and that would be fat. Think of ketosis as a form of autophagy where fat cells are broken down into smaller parts so that we can use the content of our fat cells, triglycerides, as an energy source. The benefit of ketosis is that we can be in this state while eating as long as we consume the right amount of fat and protein which preserves our muscle mass from breaking down into energy.

An interesting analogy that I like to use when describing autophagy is, “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.” How does this apply to fasting and autophagy? From an evolutionary standpoint, our ancestral response to famine was simply to deal with it. After hundreds of thousands of years it makes sense that we as humans have adapted to extended times of fasting/famine. The take away here is that our ancestors have provided an efficient system within our bodies to repair and use alternate energy sources. The most intriguing aspect of autophagy is the evidence that we can repair and prevent diseases through behavior modification using basic food intake principals. Still on the fence about intermittent fasting? Perhaps the time to give it a try has arrived.

Mind Blowing Changes – Transitioning From 3-2-1 Meals A Day

Today’s topic covers some of amazing things I have noticed after fasting for almost 5 months. When I started fasting I started with a fasting to eating ratio of 16:8 hours. My fasting to this day allows for 2 cheat days on Friday and Saturday which coincide with when I do social stuff or when I am working abroad. One thing I have noticed as my daily intake becomes more regulated and weight loss continues are fewer meals per day. Originally I was eating three meals a day with snacks. Within time that dropped to just having two meals a day with no snacks. Now I have arrived to occasionally one meal a day and a snack. What is interesting is that I am now positioning the one meal a day after my cheat days which seems to be working great!

Total Appetite Control – Exiting The Glucose Roller Coaster

Whats going on physiologically now that I am down to just one meal a day? It’s really odd that I was nearly consuming nearly 3000 calories a day to what I am now guessing to be somewhere in the 800 calories a day range? That is a remarkable reduction of nearly 2200 calories a day!  One reason that comes to mind is that I have leveraged the use of insulin and appetite control with glucagon and ketogenesis. Translation, keeping blood sugar and insulin low and using fat as a primary energy source.

You may be wondering how I feel and the answer is just fine. I never thought in a million years that I would be able to go from 218 to 177lbs so effortlessly but I have by simply using some strategy and a tiny bit of planning.  Make no mistake I am not out everyday running marathons.  Perhaps I should be trianing more or exercising with greater intensity but if your schedule has your back against the wall, there are alternative to cutting or mainting your weight without exercise.  To be honest it seems easier to do it without working out but let’s not get cocky.

One Meal A Day – Making Each Calorie Count

How is it that I can only be eating one meal a day and still feel fine? Sure I mentioned a lot of that has to do with insulin and blood sugar control and using fat as an energy source but the other part has to do with food choice. The way I see it, if I have to choose one meal a day it has to be packed with of vitamins, minerals, fiber and fats. If you guessed I have a salad with some lean protein selections then you would be absolutely correct. The past few “one meal a day” have shapped out to look something like a bed of leafy greens, cup of broccoli, shredded carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, one hard-boiled egg, 2 ounces of chicken, and a creamy vinaigrette. I’m finding the creamy vinaigrette provides a decent amount of fat to keep me satiated.

I don’t think I could consistently just eat one meal a day and for me it does seem extreme. As I mentioned before, I do cycle the one meal a day fasting days usually on Mondays and or Tuesdays when I feel like I want to detox from my “cheat days”. Once Monday and Tuesday are past I usually resume the two meal a day plan until Friday or Saturday cheat days return. Again the beauty of intermittent fasting is the flexibility it has if you can stay disciplined and focused.

It’s perfectly OK to let yourself have those days of excess if the occasion is right but after a few months of fasting I have found that my body appreciates not being bloated and inflamed from high carb choices, alcohol and sugary food. Within time I have found I have developed a new baseline normal that has led me to a new standard of how I want to feel a majority of the time. Food for thought!  The old “I feel fine” has been replaced with I feel very good bacause I love how I look and feel which is the reason for intermettient fasting in the first place.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible!

Intermittent Fasting – The Day Dieting Died Forever

Welcome to justintermittentfasting.com. I’m John and I’ll be your host on this site as we discuss and discover the benefits and challenges of transforming your body through fasting and exercise. So what is this thing called intermittent fasting and why does it keep picking up momentum in mainstream media? Is it something that is here to stay or are we cycling through yet another eating craze that will soon be replaced by another catchy diet plan that is endorsed by a few celebrities? Let’s do some digging and start looking closer to what the hype is all about.

 

Intermittent Fasting – The Definition

Intermittent fasting is simply having set times during the day for eating and not eating. Studies show that when people ate for 8 hours and fasted for 16 hours they had the best results with weight loss than people who ate and fasted with a different ratio. Additionally, people that fasted and ate low carb foods during their eating window had significantly better results than those who just fasted with a 16:8 ratio. And let it be no surprise that people who fasted, ate a low carb meal and exercised 3 times a week experienced the best results for loosing belly fat than other groups.

 

How Intermittent Fasting Changed Me Forever – Living The Life I’ve Always Wanted

To be Born in the 70s, I was bombarded with the FDA’s nutritional guidelines for daily food intake. Let’s just revisit those shall we? My entire life growing up I was told 60% of my daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 25% from protein and 15% from fat. Throughout grade school I struggled with weight and later in college I would also have that struggle as I continued into my adult life. Food was always a source of anxiety for me because of choosing the right foods to eat and the effects bad choices might have on my body.

Up until a few years ago I had finally hit my peak weight of around 218 pounds. Now mind you I’m not exactly tall either at 5’9″. My doctor had put me on medication due to high triglycerides and scans of my liver were showing I had fatty liver syndrome and if unchecked I was well on my way to cirrhosis of the liver. I seldom drank alcohol but just bombarding myself with the overeating of carbohydrates and food in general was causing my system to fail. Essentially I was literally eating myself to death while living a stressful lifestyle with work.

So at this point I was on a collision course with disaster and something had to change. My brother who has always been a highly motivational person, it’s his gift, got me to start running with a phone app called Nike Run Club. The importance of exercise apps can’t be overstated. This app was so motivating for me because it told me how many calories I was burning, distance, time and GPS route of my workouts. I was immediately hooked and I slowly reversed the trend on the scale in my favor. Within nine months I had gone from 218lbs to 190lbs. Thank you Nike Run Club and my Android phone for fueling my journey with accurate feedback on my runs. I truly believe this made all the difference in the world and allowed me to stay motivated by joining a running club with friends on my phone to stay motivated and in the game.

At this point I was still eating without a game plan and as soon as I eased off with my mileage just for a week my weight would reverse. So here I was about 28 pounds lighter but the second I stopped running nearly 100 miles a month I would immediately gain weight back and most likely return to 218 or even more. Sound familiar? If so I’m very excited to share with you next on how I was able to ease back to virtually no running while maintaining 190 pounds and even loose another 15 pounds while not even running at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love running however not as much as my knees loved running which I felt was becoming very problematic.

Taking My First Steps With Intermittent Fasting – Kicking Bad Habits For Good

In fear of gaining all my weight back and knowing I had to reduce my mileage I soon took on weightlifting 5 times a week with a highly detailed program that trained total body 5 times a week. Weight lifting worked very well with keeping fat off but weight was slowly creeping up and soon I was back at 195 and depressed about gaining the weight back and having trouble with my knee.

A friend of mine who is a doctor and a fitness competitor has quite a following on social media. Recently she just won a few national competitions and received the status of being a professional in the industry. One day I reached out to her and asked her what does she eat? Her response would change my life forever. She mentioned she has her first meal at 12 noon and her last meal at 8pm. She added that she trains in the mornings and after her workout she will then break her fast. This was something I wanted to try so I made the decision that on the 1st of the month I was going to commit to this way of eating which is called intermittent fasting.

In the past 4 months of fasting I have gone from 195 to 175 pounds. It’s been 16 years since I weighed 175 pounds but I was training fanatically during that time to just barely tip the scale for a minute to achieve that weight and I was in my 20s. Now 16 years later in my 40s I casually plan my workouts, mostly bike rides, and can maintain 175 with little to no effort and stress. How is this? By doing something I had never done before called intermittent fasting.

I started off very simply.  Monday through Friday I would break my fast at noon and then start my fast at 8pm. During my fast I only consumed liquids with no sugar or artificial sweeteners. The results were amazing. The scale soon became my best friend as I was back at 190 with no running. As I moved into my second month of fasting I now broke the 190 mark and was consistently living in the upper 180’s. I couldn’t believe it, intermittent fasting worked. Keep in mind I was fasting only Monday through Friday and on the weekends I allowed myself to have carbs and eat early or late which was how things were before fasting. Eventually I stopped having cheat days because I just didn’t like how I felt when eating using old habits. I soon noticed on my cheat days my old eating habits made me feel sluggish, bloated and very uncomfortable. So I stopped having cheat days because I felt gross. Don’t get me wrong occasionally I still have pizza which is my favorite food.

 

Fine Tunning Intermittent Fasting With A Low Carb Diet – I’ll Never Eat Another Way Again

So the first few months of my fasting went pretty well but eventually I did hit plateaus with my progress. Now stuck at about 185 pounds, which I still couldn’t believe I achieved, I still wanted to hit my goal weight of 175 which my doctor and I had agreed would be ideal for my height. What was the missing piece that was preventing me from breaking through this 185 barrier? The answer I found, through a little bit of research, was I still was addicted to carbs and I was still afraid of consuming fat due to anxieties I had from my earlier days. The time had come to do some fine-tuning without abandoning fasting. To break my fast at around noon I began to eat 4 strips of bacon and 3 sausage links and one scrambled egg. this worked great and I was satiated all the way to 4 to 6pm. Then to keep my carb intake low I would have a giant spinach salad with veggies and a hard boiled egg. For salads I would use oil and vinegar and what happened next was amazing.

By switching to a low carb diet while fasting I broke the 185 pound mark and almost instantly was at the 180 pound mark. I was speechless when I saw this happen. Again, I wasn’t running 100 miles a month at this point and I had eased off of weight lifting due to a shoulder injury. At this point I was just cycling and loving my bike rides. Now very motivated and excited I began to up my cycling and began riding 3 times a week and trying to ride 1 to 2 hours which I loved and so did my knees! Eventually it happened, I was at 175 pounds and I had become the new skinny guy in town. That is my story and that is how intermittent fasting changed my life. What I really like about intermittent fasting is that I never felt deprived or that I was making a sacrifice. Technically you can eat whatever you want during fasting and will achieve results assuming you don’t overeat during your eating window. The best part of intermittent fasting, aside from hitting my goal weight, was it provided a stable eating game plan that eased my anxiety and fear with eating.

About John…

Welcome to Justintermittentfasting.com!

While growing up during the 70’s and 80’s in the United States the FDA nutritional guidelines stated that the cornerstone to a health diet was three meals a day with 60% of daily calories coming from carbohydrates, 25% of calories from protein and 15% of calories from fat.  This change was made in 1977 and it was from this year America’s obesity epidemic was born.  Extensive evidence and research show epidemic was a direct result of excessive carbohydrate intake which leeds to insulin insensitivity creating the worst eating habits America had ever seen.

By 1984 at age 10 I was an obese kid growing up with these nutritional guidelines and soon I would struggle with body fat issues into my early adult life. After years of struggling I eventually came across intermittent fasting. Out of curiosity I tried it and soon realize that I had finally found a way to maintain my body weight indefinitely. Since I started using the simple techniques of intermittent fasting I have lost 40 pounds and have kept it off for over two years.

The goal of my site is simple and that is to give people the opportunity to take back the life they want to live. We all deserve the chance to be the best version of who we are.  We all deserve the best information possible to live the best and healthiest life we can.

John P