I wish I knew then what I know now!
Some of you will remember when I had some middle age spread.
When I reduced to my current size, some were worried that I had cancer or other illness.
In fact, my health and mind are the best they’ve ever been.
It’s at least partly due to intermittent fasting. I started it a couple of years ago.
I thought intermittent fasting was not possible
Prior to fasting, I’d banished the thought of ever doing it.
I thought of course that fasting would make me hungry. But worse, I thought that being hungry would make me irritable and angry!
In Ayuvedic terms, I have a so-called Pitta personality. It’s a sort of A-type personality, typical of achiever, impatient types.
I knew that more anger would not be kind to those around me!
Even though it is an issue for some, I was not worried about having the will power to fast. As I mention below, yoga had already built my self-discipline and mindfulness to a point where I knew I could do it if I chose.
But I did think about whether fasting would interfere with my mental focus, or capacity for work.
I now know that all of those thoughts were wrong.
I found that intermittent fasting, where I don’t eat for at least 12 or more hours a day, or more, is fairly easy to do, and it actually increases my mental and physical performance.
Obviously, seven to nine of those hours are when I’m sleeping, so that makes it even easier to achieve.
Your capacity for intermittent fasting also grows steadily as you do it over months and years.
If you are going to try it, I definitely suggest getting into it in stages.
I didn’t fast to reduce size
Before I continue, let me say that I did not start intermittent fasting to reduce my size.
I’m small any way. And I enjoyed ice-creams!
I also have no issue with whatever size people are. It’s clear that people of all sizes and ages can do yoga very well.
I got into intermittent fasting because of the many other health and longevity benefits it has.
In the process, to my surprise, it helped me do yoga better, and it reduced my size.
But neither of these reasons were what led me to any type of fasting in the first place.
Intermittent fasting, yoga & human growth hormone
Yoga has at least these connections with intermittent fasting.
First, the mindfulness that I get from yoga makes it easier to control my eating. This is confirmed by Dr Tim McCall, a medical doctor who has, for decades, reviewed all the studies on these matters. Google him speaking about weight if you want. I’ve also written about it on Flametree’s Facebook page, here.
Second, intermittent fasting causes the body to produce more human growth hormone. In turn, this hormone increases your muscle tone.
The increase in strength has certainly allowed me to do better yoga poses, and some entirely new yoga poses. On the Flametree Facebook page, you can follow my steady progress with the advanced yoga poses that are part and parcel of being a certified Senior Yoga Teacher.
I’m making the point because about yoga pose progress because most would see it as surprising that anyone in their late 60’s can still be getting better at advanced yoga poses. So do I! But I love the ability to do so.
Third, the reduction in the size of my waist, and especially the loss of fat on my back, has made some yoga poses, such as twists, easier to do well.
Sometimes, when I grasp my waist with both hands, or reach around it to grab other limbs, I’m surprised at how easy it is. It’s a constant surprise to see there is less of me!
I hasten to add that my actual weight is now not dropping further. The kilo measure is constant. As I steadily shed some abdominal fat, I’m replacing it with mainly internal, abdominal muscle.
As you probably know, muscle weighs more than fat. So the weight is constant, but my middle looks more trim due to the a more muscular core, and less fat surrounding it.
Medical doctor on why intermittent fasting works
Dr Jason Fung is one of the world’s experts on intermittent fasting. He uses it himself, and in his medical treatment, including for a range of conditions.
Dr. Fung is the site chief of medicine at Scarborough General Hospital; scientific editor of the Journal of Insulin Resistance; and a kidney specialist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
He outlines how intermittent fasting causes the body to turn to your stores of fat, access ketones, generate human growth hormone, and make your mind sharper.
There’s much more it does as well, but I’ll leave you to read his books, or watch Dr Fung’s YouTube videos, if you wish.
Dr Fung’s very accessible, recent book on intermittent fasting is “Life In The Fasting Lane”.
He’s also written a new book on cancer. Among other things, I was surprised to hear that weight is now connected with some cancers, including breast cancer.
In mid-April, 2021, he summarised a lot of his work in a podcast on Bulletproof radio, here.
Fasting, inflammation & COVID
The latest research on intermittent fasting also shows it reduces inflammation.
In turn, the research suggests that reducing inflammation also reduces COVID19 fatality risk.
I discussed this research here.
That post also outlines more about how and why intermittent fasting works.
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