A Post Holiday Clean-up & Longevity Tweak!
“…Almost any periodic fasting diet that does not result in malnutrition is likely to put your longevity genes to work in ways that will result in a longer, healthier life.” David Sinclair, Lifespan
Did you know that on average we gain about a pound a year?
And most of that comes on during the holidays?
But what’s a pound anyway?
Sure doesn’t seem like much until you start doing the math… 20 years … a pound a year… 20 pounds in 20 years… you get the picture.
You may already be there, scratching your head and wondering how you went from that nice sleek youthful profile to… well… 20 or 30 additional pounds on that beautiful frame of yours.
Wanna change it up?
Here’s a strategy that can help.
It’s Called Fasting.
Unless you’ve been hiding out, you’ve probably heard about it in its many forms…
- Intermittent fasting
- Time-restricted eating
- Early time-restricted eating
- The 20:4, 16:8, 5:2, and 24-hour plans
- Fasting Mimicking Diet
If you’ve missed all this, keep reading as this may be the most astounding way to heal deeply, get healthier, grow stronger, increase your energy and mental acuity, guard against cognitive decline, feel calmer, and even drop some of the extra pounds that have mounted up over the years.
And – added bonus – it can make you biologically younger.
The beauty here – it’s one of the easiest approaches I know.
The impact of evolution.
We are products of years of evolution and for thousands of years, food was not so plentiful.
We often went hungry or lived on scraps we could scavenge from nature – nuts and seeds, roots, edible plants, and even insects. Not what you would consider a substantial meal.
That’s when evolution stepped in.
Our Natural Survival Mechanisms
“By engaging our bodies’ survival mechanisms… we will push our lifespans far beyond what we can today.” David Sinclair
David Sinclair, Ph.D., a pioneer in genetics and longevity, and author of the groundbreaking book, Lifespan, points out that the body developed natural “survival mechanisms” over years of evolution to protect us in times of stress and adversity – like when we didn’t have enough food and the body thought it might just starve to death.
At times like this, says Sinclair, our cells “…hunker down to improve survival by boosting DNA repair, calming inflammation, cleaning out cellular trash (autophagy), stimulating stem cells, and gearing up their strength to protect us from the major diseases of aging…”
… and giving us the extra strength we needed to get out there and find some food!
Great plan. However, today with food within reach 24/7, our evolutionary adaptation is not working out as planned. The systems that were sparked into action when food was scarce have been permanently silenced.
Dr. Valter Longo, Director of the Longevity Institute at USC, in his book The Longevity Diet, goes on to say…
“… our modern diet and the constant consumption that characterizes the way so much of the first world eats keeps (our regenerative) mechanisms permanently switched off, leaving us prematurely vulnerable to disease and degeneration beginning in our thirties and forties.”
So… how do we get ’em started up again?
The beauty of the fast
“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.” Hippocrates
Fasting is one of the oldest therapies man has used throughout history to heal and renew the body and spirit. The ancient Greeks believed it awakened the body’s “inner physician” to clean house and “burn off the dross.”
And it’s now resurfacing for its miraculous ability to transform our health.
A 2019 study highlights its mind-blowing benefits…
- Reduces body weight
- Improves glycemic control
- Lowers insulin levels
- Reduces blood pressure
- Lowers cholesterol
- Diminishes belly fat
- Diminishes inflammation (the root cause of chronic disease)
- Protects against cancer
- Increases lifespan
Pick your approach
There are many ways to go about this – some you may already be doing without even knowing it.
#1 – Intermittent Fasting – AKA Time-Restricted (TR) eating – Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that cycles between periods of eating and periods of not eating. It essentially limits the timeframe in which we take our meals – fasting for 12 hours (or more) from dinner to your first meal the next day – e.g. 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
There appears to be added benefit when we extend the time to 14 hours, or even 16 to 18 hours which is believed to be the “sweet spot” in which we see the greatest drop in insulin and thus the greatest impact on fat loss.
Another way to look at this involves shrinking the window of time in which you eat to 8 hours or even less if you’re so inclined. For example, taking meals between 10:00 am – 6:00 pm or noon to 8:00 pm.
#2 Early Time-Restricted Fasting – Studies show that eating in alignment with circadian rhythms, increasing food intake at breakfast time and reducing it at dinnertime improves glycemic control, weight loss, and lipid levels and also reduces hunger
#3 – 5:2 Plan – This plan calls for eating normally five days a week and dropping to a low-calorie diet of 500-600 calories two non-consecutive days a week.
#4 – Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) – This remarkable program was developed by Dr. Valter Longo and his research team at the Longevity Institute at USC. It provides a 5-day fasting food plan to “induce the body’s natural protective & regenerative capabilities”. You get the benefits of a 5-day fast without the hunger. (Look for details in my next post.)
Cautions and considerations
Don’t starve yourself!
The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) in their 2018 conference stressed that while starvation (i.e., fasting) primes the system for rejuvenation, it is the refeeding that rebuilds the new cells and organelles to increase health.
Chris Kresser, Practitioner of Functional and Integrative Medicine, warns that fasting diets are not for everyone. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, if your hormones are off, or if you’re a woman trying to maximize fertility IF may not be for you. Eat a sensible diet, rich in whole foods – the kind of food your ancestors would have eaten.
Peter Attia, MD, another of the longevity gurus, warns that timing is not everything and what and how much you eat is also an important contributor to your health and longevity. He advises removing the sugar and processed foods and, in general, eating a little less.
If you’ve never fasted, start slow. Maybe one day a week fast from dinner to mid-morning the next day. Drink plenty of water. That will help to stave off any hunger.
And remember, fasting is only part of your longevity regimen. Sleep, exercise, relaxation, taking time for yourself with those you love all contribute to your health, wellbeing, and longevity.
With love in 2020! ♥
PS – Need some help getting started? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do this together.