We have been hearing these two words for a long time: intermittent fasting, but we are not very clear on how to do it, what it is for and if it is really beneficial for health. It has become very fashionable lately because many celebrities claim to feel much better since they practice it, but if you want to embark on it, you should know everything about this type of (not a diet), the types that exist and if it is suitable for you. Marcos Vázquez, certified in nutrition (although an engineer by training) and author of the Fitness Revolucionario blog, told us about the benefits of intermittent fasting, the false myths that surround it, and how to easily adapt it to your daily life without going hungry.
“When you eat several meals a day but are not satisfied with any of them, you are always hungry. But when you fast but, when you eat, you get satiated, the feeling of hunger is mitigated”, this is what Vázquez told us about intermittent fasting. And it is that, when we face a change in our diet, we are always afraid that the feeling of hunger will ruin all our efforts. There are many types of fasting and the ideal is that you find the one that best suits your pace of life and your customs, so that it does not become a passing fad and you leave it because it makes your existence difficult.
So how to start?
Marcos Vázquez gives us his guidelines. “The first thing is to start with gentle approaches, such as 12/12 (12 hours of fasting, 12 hours of normal eating) and gradually progress according to your pace of life and your needs towards a 14/12 (14 hours of fasting and 12 of feeding), 16/8 (16 hours of fasting and 8 of feeding)…». Seen like this, on paper it seems like a world, something difficult to apply, but if you think about it, it’s not that complicated. “Try to eat dinner earlier to extend the night fast, have lighter dinners, have breakfast later…”. And it is that we are used to making copious and very late dinners, so we go to bed with a full stomach and that not only results in weight gain, but in a worse functioning of our digestive system. If, for example, you finish dinner before 9:00 p.m. and extend breakfast time until 11:00 a.m., you are already achieving a 14-hour fast. It’s not that difficult, is it?
Make it a natural process
Even so, Vázquez advises not to obsess over the hours or force yourself to make it a natural process and not abandon it the first time. During fasting hours you can introduce some liquid to ‘trick’ the body such as water, coffee, tea or other infusions (without sugar, of course), bone or vegetable broth… Coffee can even improve the effects of fasting, preferably without mixing, but if you find it too strong, you can put a little milk, cream or, better, coconut oil.
Marcos Vázquez started intermittent fasting by chance, since he saw that a gym routine and a traditional balanced diet had no effect on his body. So he turned his gaze to the past and discovered that everything is much simpler than it seems: «Our ancestors evolved in an environment of scarcity because they had no other choice. Our genes are more adapted to scarcity than to abundance. What do you mean by that? That we eat too much for what our body really needs, therefore we are accustoming it to a level of food intake and constant work to digest it.
And it is that, in addition to losing weight (which is neither the goal nor something too relevant), intermittent fasting provides other benefits such as greater mental clarity, faster cell regeneration and slowing down the aging process of the body. As you can see, it is not that difficult to introduce fasting into your life as long as you do it progressively and adapt it to your routines.