Monday: oh, the duality of it. I love Monday and I also hate it with a deep passion. I hate that it will take a full 5 days for the weekend/nachos to arrive. I hate that I have to answer my emails. I hate that my alarm goes off and wakes me from my Sunday slumber. Yet, once I'm conscious I remember that I love waking up early on a summer Monday, hitting the streets before 8am when the city is still sleepy and heading out for a slow sweat at SLT. I love hitting the re-set button and having another chance to do and be. I also love fasting on Mondays, my chosen day of the week to detox until dinnertime (if you're forced to begin your week, you may as well dive in head first).
My Monday fast falls under the category of an "intermittent fast": an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Long-term fasting (like for a few days) is not my jam, and it shouldn't be yours either. It slows down your metabolism and if you're trying to lose weight and make it stick, no doctor would recommend you go down this path.
If you're careful though, and fast thoughtfully, there are many proven health benefits that come with just consuming liquids for the first chunk of your day (think Lemon water, coffee, green tea, bone broth). Don't trust me - trust the studies that have been done that show why intermittent fasting is a great idea for your health:
Cells Repair, Insulin Drops, and HGH Increases
When you don't eat for a while, the body goes into repair mode, making body fat more accessible as your hormone levels change. This study shows that when you do alternate day fasting for a month, your insulin levels decrease making fat burning in the body much more accessible. Human growth hormone increases when you fast, leading to additional fat burning and muscle growth (more info here). And here this study shows that intermittent fasting results in profound cellular repair throughout the body.
You Lose Weight and Raise Your Metabolism
Unlike a long-term, very restrictive fast, intermittent fasting actually raises your metabolism and can help you to lose weight. Why? Because lower insulin levels, higher rates of HGH, and an increase in norepenephrine all increase the breakdown of body fat for energy usage in the body. This study right here shows that intermittent fasting can even increase your metabolic rate from 3-14%! Plus, you're eating fewer calories when you fast in this way (obviously) which leads to weight loss (obviously). Over a period of 3-24 weeks in this study, intermittent fasting caused weight loss of 3-8% in the participants.
What's Good For the Body Is Good For the Brain
Yay, I love BRAINS. I love anything that's good for them! And intermittent fasting makes the list! Cool, right? When you skip a few meals your metabolic features improve, leading to a reduction in insulin resistance, lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, and reduced oxidative stress. Fasting causes nueronal autophagy, which Mark Sisson teaches us is: "the process by which cells recycle waste material, downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves."
Clear body, clear mind, y'all.
In addition, a whole host of other studies show that intermittent fasting also reduces inflammation throughout the body which can prevent chronic disease from settling in, that it may be beneficial for heart health, and that it can even help prevent Alzheimer's Disease.
So, what are you waiting for? The facts are conclusive: intermittent fasting is good for your health, both long and short-term. I may be a little hungry, but dinner will come soon enough.