Fitness,  Health,  Nutrition

The Twelve-Hour Fast for Health

Recently, I’ve been focusing on adopting healthier eating behaviors as a form of self-care and weight loss. One of the eating behaviors I have adopted is Intermittent fasting (IF). Fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions. IF has been associated with a wide array of potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, heart health, brain function, cancer prevention, and a decrease in inflammation. Defined as abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period, there are many ways of fasting. The fasting technique that I have adopted is probably the easiest. It is a twelve-hour fast. I eat between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M., and then I shut down my kitchen, walk away, and I do not eat again until the next day, breaking my fast at 8:00 A.M.

Theoretically, abstaining from all or certain foods and beverages should decrease your overall calorie intake, which could lead to increased weight loss over time. Some research has also found that short-term fasting may boost metabolism by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which could enhance weight loss. If you decide to try fasting, be sure to stay well-hydrated and fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods during your eating periods to maximize the potential health benefits. Additionally, if fasting for longer periods, try to minimize intense physical activity and get plenty of rest. During the fast, you can drink water, black coffee, tea, sparkling water, or apple cider vinegar, but no cream, sweeteners, or anything containing glucose or sugar. Intermittent fasting, or IF, means consuming your daily calories during a specific time window and avoiding taking in calories outside of that timeframe, so talk to your doctor first if you have any underlying health condition or are planning to fast for more than 24 hours.

Additionally, fasting is not generally recommended without medical supervision for older adults, adolescents, or people who are underweight. Whether you’re looking to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle or working for health benefits, a 12-hour fast is long enough to reap the benefits. The digestion of food, while it might seem simple, is quite an involved process for our bodies, so when we provide our body with 12 hours without being involved in this activity, it can do other essential functions like repair cells and tissue, focus, increase energy, and more. While the minimum time for intermittent fasting to be most efficient hasn’t been proven, a most recent study on the subject points out that somewhere between 12 and 18 hours are beneficial, and many have found that instead of depriving themselves of food; simply restricting the window in which food is consumed helps them achieve their weight loss goal. The main reason for choosing the 12:12 intermittent fasting schedule is the ease with which it can be incorporated into an active and busy lifestyle. Not eating between 8 pm and 8 am isn’t as difficult. In the end, choosing a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle and day-to-day commitments that you can stick with consistently is the one that will work best for you and yield better results. Again, this 12-hour strategy works best for me. 

The purpose of this post is to give you a simplified and practical version of the 12-hour fasting method; it is not to provide any professional/medical advice. First, you should consult a licensed medical physician before jumping into intermittent fasting. Follow our fitness journey for more articles on health and fitness and what Marty and I are doing for our health journey. 

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