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In this post I discuss why fasting is so good for us, and introduce a new concept that flipped the entire diet world upside down: intermittent fasting.

With the holy Jewish day of Yom Kippur right around the corner, I figured a post about all the wonderful benefits of fasting would be appropriate. Yom Kippur is the first week of the Jewish new year. It consists of a  25 hour fast where Jews repent in order to start the year on a clean slate. For me, it’s a day to unplug from technology, business, reflect on the past, and plan for the future.

You may be surprised to learn that a large amount of my readers and online clients come from the holy land of Israel. Before starting ShaboFit, I trained people out of a posh little gym attached to a boutique hotel on the beautiful Mediterranean coast of Tel Aviv.

What is Fasting?

We all practice fasting every single day. It’s simply abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink. It’s why the first meal of our day is called breakfast – we’re literally breaking our overnight fast.

While we’re fasting – our bodies are in an Autophagic state – which means the body is healing and cleaning our cells.

According to the American Journal of Cardiology, Autophagy caused by fasting protects our cells from the oxidative stress that is usual cause of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. To back this point up, another study coming out of the University of Utah found that out of 500 people who fasted just one day per month, 40% were less likely to suffer from clogged arteries.

And living longer is only the beginning of the many benefits that come with fasting.

Introducing Intermittent Fasting: The best “diet” ever

Now that we know what fasting is, and why it makes us live longer – let’s talk about Intermittent Fasting (or IF for short), the new dietary concept that is taking the fitness world by storm.

Intermittent fasting is simply A pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually water and low calorie drinks such as black coffee or green tea) and non-fasting.

We all practice some basic form of IF – fasting while we sleep, and eating when we wake up.

There’s a good reason that IF is taking the fitness world by storm: IF completely rips apart conventional weight loss advice being spread by well, everyone. Dietitians, Nutritionists, Physicians, Fitness Gurus, and uninformed Personal Trainers are all out there touting outdated information that has been proved wrong in many ways.

Breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day

But it sure is delicious.

Growth Hormone (or GH for short) is one of the most powerful hormones in our body – it controls how much fat our bodies burn, how much muscle we build, , how we age, and much, much more. The increase in GH also offsets our stress hormone, Cortisol, which plays a huge part in how much fat we store on our stomachs.

GH peaks at night while we sleep, and shuts off the moment we have our first meal of the day – breakfast.

Cardiologists at the Intermountain Heart Institute concluded that adding fasting to your lifestyle can cause a 2,000% increase in Growth Hormone.

IF proponents also argue that larger eating windows (the amount of hours during the day you are consuming food) are related to more fat storage. As soon as you have your first meal of the day you create a feeding window, and your body begins to expect calories. In other words, eat less, and you will feel less hungry.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies concluded that by cutting down how many hours you eat per day – your body becomes much better at metabolizing your fat, glucose, and cholesterol levels.

So why the not push your first meal of the day back a few hours and:

  • Shrink your eating window, and total calories through the day.
  • Enjoy huge meals with friends later in the day without feeling guilty.
  • Boost your GH and prime your body to burn fat and build muscle.
  • Do something productive with the time and money you’re going to save from always preparing and eating food.

There are many different styles of intermittent fasting, each with pros and cons. The one I follow seems to be the simplest: push breakfast back a few hours.

The 3 Reasons You Should Fast This Year

You’ll Save Time (and money)

You’d be surprised at much time we spend preparing and consuming food.

Incorporating some kind of fasting into your life means you’re not a slave to eating all day. You’ll have much more freedom and flexibility in your meal choices too.

What’s more surprising to me, is how productive I’ve become in the morning ever since taking breakfast out of the picture. I get most of my most important stuff done in that time. Apparently coffee is much more potent on an empty stomach, too.

It’s literally changed my business, which brings me to the next point.

You’ll Be Smarter (and more productive)

You know that feeling after eating a meal where you’re mentally and physically slower? You kind of don’t feel like doing anything?

Regardless of how delicious your meal is, eating is a stressful activity for the body. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food (or TEF for short) – how much energy is required to break down the food you’ve taken in.

Side Note: Protein has the highest TEF. It is the most stubborn nutrient for your body to break down, which means it will burn the most calories.

Side Side Note: TEF is also the driving force behind the biggest fitness myth of all time – eat every 2-3 hours to speed up your metabolism. The total effect is no different regardless of how many times you eat  – all that matters is the total amount of calories. That means you can eat 12 small meals, or 2 feasts. The only difference is that people who eat less meals report feeling more satisfied. [1]

Fasting induces profound Neuronal Autophagy and promotes Neurogenesis – which means your brain is going to clean up all the “bad cells” and grow new, better brain cells, and you’ll become super smart [2].  Autophagy also increases levels of BDNF – which is referred to as miracle-gro for the brain by professors at Harvard; it basically controls how good we are at learning new things.

And that’s not all. New research coming out of the National Institute of Aging in Maryland discovered that intermittent fasting protects us from common mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stupidity.

You’ll Be Leaner, Stronger, and Sexier

I could write a 4 post series about Growth Hormone (I might), but in the simplest form:

GH controls how fast you melt fat and how fast you build muscle. It helps slow down the aging process and counters stress hormones like cortisol, which is directly related to belly fat storage. Fasting and GH also help with insulin resistance ­which controls how your body uses and responds to carbohydrates.

I’ve cited this study already, but I believe it’s worth repeating:

ADDING FASTING TO YOUR LIFESTYLE CAN CAUSE A 2,000% INCREASE IN GROWTH HORMONE.

And one more time in red bold:

ADDING FASTING TO YOUR LIFESTYLE CAN CAUSE A 2,000% INCREASE IN GROWTH HORMONE.

Basically: The more GH you produce, the sexier you will be (mentally and physically).

Fin

Even if you have no intention of trying out intermittent fasting after reading this post (I promise you wont be as hungry as you think) – the fact remains:

IF and the research behind it has flipped the entire diet world upside down because it is the most easy to follow, effective, and flexible “diet” out there.

If you’re looking for a simple and effective plan to get started with intermittent fasting, check out Eat Stop Eat by one of the original godfathers of IF, Brad Pilon.

!גמר חתימה טובה

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