Exploring the Power of Intermittent Fasting: My Personal Insights

Exploring the Power of Intermittent Fasting: My Personal Insights

I write about Intermittent Fasting, a dietary approach revolving around scheduled eating and fasting periods. It has garnered attention globally in the context of losing weight. Intermittent Fasting doesn’t dictate food choices but rather focuses on timing e.g. the 16/8 method that is the most common (16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours during which you eat), the 24 to 36 hour fast once a week, etc.

Over the years, I have experimented with various configurations of fasting, with my success metrics being my blood biomarker improvements (e.g. lower levels of triglycerides, visceral fat, inflammation) as well as for more qualitative improvements like better energy levels, less brain fog, etc. The latter are hard to measure but you know when you feel better.

I want to highlight a few benefits of Intermittent Fasting that I have observed.

- Cellular Repair: Fasting initiates autophagy, a process of clearing out damaged cells, promoting cell health. How long a fast is needed to trigger autophagy isn’t clear but it is believed that it starts happening around the 16 hour mark and therefore the 16/8 protocol.

- Brain Health: Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may have neuroprotective effects and improve brain function. I can qualitatively state that I felt the benefits in terms of clarity in my thinking.

- Inflammation Reduction: Intermittent fasting has helped reduce my inflammation marker (hs-CRP) by about 20% (see post #6 for more context).

- Weight and Visceral Fat Loss: Intermittent fasting can improve metabolism and fat-burning processes. This is because after glycogen depletion due to Intermittent Fasting, the body turns to fat stores for energy. It is useful to note that most of us have enough fat reserves in our body to keep us going for days. Not that we should fast for long periods, because there are certain mechanisms that kick in during very long fasting periods that may signal to the body to accumulate fat rather than use it. I found that I lost visceral fat (9 down to 3) due to different forms of fasting coupled with eating right.

- Improved Insulin Sensitivity: My HbA1c dropped from pre-diabetic to normal levels using a combination of zone 2 exercise (walking at 60% to 70% of my maximum heart rate) and Intermittent Fasting.

I also want to talk about a few useful tips that I keep in mind when doing any form of fasting:

- I break my fasts with fiber followed by fat and protein and then carbs. I avoid breaking my fast with carbs because I have noticed even larger spikes in my glucose levels when I do that.

- I engage in weight training to ensure that I don’t lose muscle mass, especially when I undertake 24 - 36 hour fasts, which I do about once a month.

- I drink slightly more than my usual amount of water because I have found that it helps me adhere to my fasting periods that much better.

As always, speak to your doctor if you have any health issues before embarking on any fasting program.
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Rahul Khairnar: Great post again Nickhil Jakatdar. Thanks for sharing your personal improvements with IF. I am relatively new to IF but already experiencing some of the benefits you mentioned and this post reinforces them. Your tips were new to me and will definitely try to follow them. IF requires lot of discipline esp on holidays or social meetups especially to someone like me who loves to eat :) But IF will now always be part of my healthy lifestyle improvements.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Glad to hear that. Good luck with IF

Amit Fulay: Thanks for sharing! I have been doing intermittent fasting for 7 years now and can vouch for the positive benefits

Nickhil Jakatdar: Glad to hear that Amit. Any specific tips and tricks that helped you stay on it so consistently ?

Rahul Khairnar: You should have introduced this to all your followers like me way back then Amit Fulay :)

Rahul Khairnar

Aditya Godse: Again great post Nickhil. I had a question for you after Post #5 for intermittent fasting and you answered that here, as promised. Thank you for that. I will try to make another attempt on IF and use some tips that you are recommending, especially on diet choices/sequences when breaking the fasts.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Aditya pls do try it out and let me know whether it works out better this time

Aditya Godse

T.M. Ravi: very interesting, Nickhil Jakatdar

Nickhil Jakatdar: T.M. Ravi thanks! I know you are into HealthSpan so keen to hear what resonated or what was new for you

T.M. Ravi

Evette Tai: We are also enjoying doing the intermittent fasting, feeling better than before.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Evette that’s great to hear. I assume you are following the 16/8 protocol.

Evette Tai: Yes, however we have not done the 24-36 hrs fast yet

Nickhil Jakatdar: Evette it’s worth trying if you are otherwise healthy. I found it helpful but can’t do it more than once a month

Evette Tai

Archana Joshi-Paranjape: What do you Recommend as a fasting period for people with high physical activity (no desk job) as a beginner?

Nickhil Jakatdar: Archana I suggest starting with even 12/12 and then slowly building it to 16/8. Finish dinner by 730 or 8 pm if possible and then push breakfast out slowly but surely and then try finishing dinner earlier over time.

Archana Joshi-Paranjape: Nickhil Jakatdar what do you eat for breakfast usually? I need energy whole day with grazing like host every 4 hours 😅

Nickhil Jakatdar: Archana my breakfast 😀 most days. A beets and green salad with avocado, a spinach omelette, mixed nuts, mixed berries, cheese, yoghurt

Archana Joshi-Paranjape: fanas😍… I am assuming this is break/lunch and dinner after this. Going to give it a try with 12 hr, omelette/avocado bf

Nickhil Jakatdar: Archana that’s correct. It’s breakfast and then I usually directly have dinner most days. And yup that’s fanas 😀. Man lot of control on “Jibheche chochale” you have. I need to control on desire to eat 😁

Archana Joshi-Paranjape

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