Fasting is defined as a willing abstinence from food for a given period of time. This practice has been used by millions of people during the existence of mankind.
The 24 hours fasting is a form of intermittent fasting that is becoming popular as it offers several benefits over the classic habit of eating several meals per day.
Let's see which are these benefits and how the 24 hours fasting works...
The rules in a 24 hours fasting protocol are pretty simple. We basically have one meal per day and we don't eat for 20+ hours. That is typically 20-22 hours window.
For maximum benefits, it is important to keep the fasting time over the 20 hours (see more about this in the following).
Drinking water is allowed (and recommended). Coffee and tea are also allowed with the only restriction of using no sugar.
In modern society, there is a tendency to criticize and ban everything that gets out of the "ordinary" and fasting indeed does break the schemes. However, fasting has been used by millions of people during the existence of mankind. All major religions prescribe days of fasting throughout the year and this is seen by many as a normal practice.
We are told by nutritionists to eat 3-5 times per day and I am now telling you that you can live a happy life, a better life, when eating once per day. I must be crazy, right?
As a matter of fact, 10 000 years ago would have been impossible to eat 3-5 times per day and so our body adapted to the condition of maximizing energy levels when eating only a few times per week.
If you look at it from this perspective it doesn't sound crazy after all.
Fasting (starvation to be exact) is a very natural process to which the human body has adapted during tens of thousands of years of evolution.
Today food is always available in large quantities, for most of us at least. The result is that starvation is no longer an option and we forgot how life used to be when there were no supermarkets... and so we eat.
We wake up in the morning and we eat.
We walk to the office (or worse get there by car) and we have our coffee, paired with croissants or donuts.
We snack in the middle of the morning cause we are told that our brain has to stay high on sugar.
We have lunch.
We get back to work and now we feel sleepy, time for another coffee. Perhaps it is a good idea to add a few cookies a well... sugar helps to keep the mood up.
We manage to get at the end of working day and we hit the gym... hey, gotta stay healthy, right?
Time for an energy drink. More sugar goes in.
We arrive home. We have dinner.
We spend a lazy evening on the couch, sipping some wine and snacking a bit more before hitting the bed.
We wake up.
What if we have it wrong?
What if eating less would actually lead to a better quality of life?
It is a well-known practice to skip a breakfast and lunch from time to time to perform what is known as "detox". Most of us do not see anything wrong with it and truly believe it helps.
This one-day fasting for detox is universally recognized as a good practice.
What if you can extend this one-day event to many days?
Would that be good?
That is exactly what we're doing here with the 24 hours fasting.
Fasting can improve many areas of your life, starting with the most obvious one: weight.
If you don't eat for a long time you eventually die. This is a well-known fact. What is not known is how long it takes for death to occur.
Most of us erroneously think that death by starvation occurs in just a few days. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
"Naked and Afraid" is a recent TV Show where one man and one woman are dropped naked in the jungle for 21 days. In the Show, we have seen men and women going through three weeks of starvation with no evident sign of physical distress, if not for the weight lost in the process.
As a matter of fact, 1 kg of fat contains enough energy to power our body for up to 4 days. Today it is pretty common to be overweight and so, if one has 20 kg of fat to spare, he/she can in theory survive 80 days with absolutely no food.
That is an intriguing thought.
How many extra kilograms do you have?
How many days could you survive without food?
Think about it.
Being overweight is very unhealthy and getting back to a normal weight should be one of our primary concerns.
Modern Society taught us three things:
- breakfast is the most important meal of the day;
- you must eat like 5 times per day;
- carbohydrates are very important for your diet.
Well, believe it or not, all these things are NOT true.
The myth of breakfast being the most important meal of the day was introduced by the "cereal's Industry" in the attempt to sell more cereals. This marketing strategy worked so well that today we are still hooked on it!
You can read more about this on the book "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg.
What about carbohydrates?
One of the main reasons why the rate of obesity has increased in the past 50 years is the abnormal consumption of carbohydrates.
When eating carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into glucose which is used to fuel our cells. The problem here is that when you eat too many carbs you end up having too much glucose in your bloodstream and this can become a disease, known as Diabetes Type 2.
In order to defend itself from too much glucose in the blood, your body produces more insulin.
Insulin is a hormone, responsible for pushing the glucose inside the cells. Insulin is also responsible for signaling your body to store fat. Therefore, if you have more insulin in the blood (because you have to counteract the effect of the concentration of glucose), you inevitably have the tendency to store more fat.
As you can see, the mechanism calorie-in-calorie-out has nothing to do with the fat storage and fat burning. Insulin is responsible for that and in order to stop storing fat one must lower the insulin level.
No amount of workout in the gym will help you to do that... it all depends on what you eat.
Fat burning is a complex process and it cannot be explained in a couple of paragraphs. Just be aware that eating less and exercising more does NOT lead to fat loss but it simply lowers your metabolism to the point in which you won't be able to lose any more weight.
...and then you gain weight back.
This yo-yo effect is the most common consequence of diets based on the calorie-in-calorie-out principle. These diets do not take into account the role of insulin in the fat burning process, therefore they are doomed to fail.
If you have been basing your diet on the calorie-in-calorie-out principle and you have been hitting the gym with the goal of losing weight, then you have been wasting your time.
24 hours fasting effectively lowers the insulin level. As a matter of fact, after 20 hours fast, insulin level in the blood is close to zero and this allows effective fat burning.
On top of this, if one avoids eating carbs, he/she can effectively avoid the production of glucose, entering then ketosis in just a few days.
In this case, our 24 hours fasting becomes a form of "ketogenic fasting".
Improving Energy Levels
Our body is amazing. It can effectively run on glucose OR it can run on fat.
Over the evolution of our species, this ability played a fundamental role for our survival.
As we mentioned above, there were times when we didn't have food available at hand 24/7. Think about times like 10000 years ago. Life was very different back then.
At that time, it was very difficult to find food containing proper amounts of nutrients. In order to stay alive and fully functioning, the human body had to adapt. The ability to get energy from stored fat kept us alive in those difficult times.
But can the body switch from using glucose to using fat at will?
No, it can't... and this is why it is so difficult today to tap into the lost ability to run on fat.
When the body burns fat as primary source of energy, chemical bodies are released into the blood. These chemical bodies are called "ketones".
The good thing about ketones is that cells are able to use them as fuel, effectively replacing glucose.
When ketones are present in the bloodstream in sufficient quantity to provide energy to the body, the body enters in a stated known as "nutritional ketosis".
Note that until there is glucose available in the system, the body will NOT start using ketones as source of energy. This is why adapting to ketosis is sometimes very difficult.
Fasting effectively helps the transition from glucose to ketones. If you practice ketogenic fasting (avoid eating carbs while daily fasting) you can quickly start running on fat. If you are interested to know more about this, you can read how fasting can kick-start your ketosis and effectively avoid keto-flu.
Ketosis (the presence of ketones in your blood) is the only way to say for sure that you are burning fat: if you don't have ketones in your blood it means that the diet is not working you are not burning fat
Now what is so amazing about ketones and running on fat is that, since you have fat wrapped all around your body, you don't have to go looking for food. In fact, you will be burning your own fat at a constant rate and your energy levels will be always constant (and high).
You will not have to eat at certain times and you never again feel low on energy like when you are "low-on-sugar".
Running on fat gives extraordinary energy levels because fat is always available.
Also when you're running on fat you are in a state of increased alertness and mental focus.
Many think that if you don't eat you will feel lethargic but that's not really the case.
Think about it: in Nature when you don't eat for a long time you need to get food. A perfect option would be to catch a rabbit. In order to catch a rabbit you can't be lethargic... you need to be alert and quick.
Nature made it so that if we don't eat our alertness and our energy levels improve.
On the contrary, after you eat a good meal, you do feel lethargic. Think for example at those times when after eating at work you feel sleepy and heavy.
This never happens while you practice 24 hours fasting.
If you want to feel better and achieve more, ketogenic fasting could be the lifehack you are looking for. It can quickly improve your lifestyle and help you to become a super-achiever.
This is a big one.
You have been going all your life eating as much as you need it, as much as you wanted. Today you are making the conscious choice of abstaining from eating for 20+ hours.
This requires you to focus on what you really want, on what is important for you, and make a firm decision. You will be acting on this decision, you will keep doing that every single day. It requires a massive amount of commitment.
Then you will start to see the results and the results will be really good. In fact, when fasting you lose weight at a very impressive rate... in the first days, you can lose as much as 1 kilo per day.
This will motivate you to push even farther.
As a direct result of the weight loss and of the fact that you are acting on your decisions, your self-confidence will skyrocket.
You will feel really, really, good. Fasting is a real confidence boost.
When you manage not to eat for 20-plus hours each day for a long time, you will feel like nothing is short of reach. You will feel like you can achieve everything if you set your mind to it.
Knowing that you can trust yourself to make a plan and stick to it consistently, will reshape image you have of yourself. In the end, your self-image will be highly improved by fasting and you will no longer see yourself as that person that cannot say no to temptations.
Daily ketogenic fasting will greatly improve your willpower and this will reflect positively on many aspects of your behavior.
Obviously, if you buy less food you spend less money.
A typical lunch at the office cost between 4 and 6 EUR (on the cheap side). If you eat lunch for 20 days in a month you would spend anything between 80 and 120 EUR.
If you drink alcohol as a habit (wine in the evening for example), cutting on that will also reduce the cost of your life.
I have been running an entire week with just 50 EUR of food!
While this might not be a primary concern, it is indeed a good benefit.
If you save 200 or 300 euro per month you can use this money to buy yourself new clothes or to improve your lifestyle.
Basically, on top of giving you a better shape and a better health, 24 hours fasting pays off in real money :)
Last but not least: Time.
Think about the time you are saving when you skip breakfast. Think about the time you are saving when you skip lunch.
Skipping breakfast means you can get to work earlier in the morning and skipping lunch means that you can work continuously saving 30-60 minutes.
If your work is flexible enough, you can spend less time in the office and you have gained more time for yourself.
That is up to ONE extra hour per day!
...in the end of the month, it sums up to 20 extra hours of FREE time.
It is your call how you are going to use it... but on my book, this is super valuable!
I am a big fan of saving time and I really really like time-saving effects of fasting.
How long can you fast?
The World's record belongs to a Scottish man, Angus Barbieri, which in 1965 started to fast and kept fasting for 382 consecutive days.
During this period, he didn't eat any solid food and he lost 133 kilos.
That counts for a weight-loss of about 340 grams per day.
Angus was under strict medical supervision and fasting has been proven to be a to be a healthy and effective way to lose fat.
Not only fasting can improve your energy levels and your self-confidence, on top of that it can save your money and give you more time during the day.
So what the hell are you waiting for to start fasting?
Leave your opinion in the comments section below...