I personally do One Meal A Day which is an aggressive form of intermittent fasting, but from my experience, and literature, I want to emphasise the benefits of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting in a nutshell, is fasting for a set amount of hours a day, usually between 16-23 hours a day, and only eating during the other time. For example, in a 24 hour day, a 16 hour fast means you have only 8 hours to eat all your food. A 20 hour fast means only 4 hours, 23 hour fast means 1 hour etc.
First let’s start with the key benefit of intermittent fasting, especially OMAD, is that you get great mental clarity. When your body isn’t preoccupied by digesting, more blood flow is available for the brain. Furthermore, after fasting for 4-5 hours, your body releases ketones. So instead of using the glucose available from the most immediate meal, the body taps into its fat storage for energy. The brain loves ketones because it provides a steady flow of energy, for more consistent usage. Also, intermittent fasting has been proven to improve neurogenesis (creation and maintenance of neurons) resulting in clearer thinking, better memory and less mental fog.
The other key benefit is I don’t have to worry about counting calories as much, I know that if I eat filling foods, high in protein and nutritious vegetables, I’ll be fuelling myself well for the next day. Whereas if I eat sugary, processed foods, I know it’s not filling and I’ll have wasted my meal on high calorie, low nutrient dense foods which only leave me feeling hungry. Intermittent fasting helps you want to eat more healthier foods and the stress behind picking the perfect dieting fades.
Also you notice that since you spend a lot less time thinking about what you’re going to eat, you end up having a lot more time in your daily life. Time which can be used productively, available at your disposal.
Another benefit is a noticeable uptick in motivation. We’re often driven by our feelings, and success comes from consistent hardwork which is a result of discipline. Being able to feel the hunger, accept it and still continue on without it interfering in our productivity is vital to help you feel more in control of your actions, and subsequently your life. Being able to resist the temptation to eat outside my eating window better equips me mentally for the challenges in my life. Plus you learn to battle your urges to eat, and you realise that all urges come in waves, and intermittent fasting creates a great environment to learn yourself better.
To be totally honest, this is one benefit I don’t really consider in my top 3, and that is weight loss. As a consequence of restricting your eating window, you’re less likely to snack unhealthily, thus reducing your calories in and that will mean accelerated weight loss. Over the course of a month, using OMAD I lost 10 kilos, granted I was eating quitely unhealthily prior. Intermittent fasting is a great tool to help you achieve your weight loss targets.
Ideally, the maximal benefits can be seen at OMAD, but I urge you to start with a 16 hour fasting, 8 hour eating window. Then as you grow comfortable, reduce the eating window gradually. It took me 6 months to be able to OMAD, it takes time to adjust, especially with your body learning how to use ketones for energy effectively. So give it time, and challenge yourself slowly.
I hope this helps and see you next time.