Why intermittent fasting and exercise have a big impact on your health

Three years ago, I wrote a column about intermittent fasting. I had researched it and was intrigued by what I found, but I wasn’t a practitioner. In other words, I wrote an informative column but did not have any personal experience or insights.

Frankly, I didn’t give it much more thought until it was published and I received an incredible response from readers, far more emails on this topic than just about any other topic I have covered in my 43 years as a health columnist. What’s more, the responses were extremely enthusiastic, touting amazing effects and benefits. As a result, I decided I needed to have more first-hand knowledge, so I took the plunge.

Let me begin with the differing types of intermittent fasting. First is the type I follow daily in which I compress my eating into a narrow window. At first, that window was eight hours, meaning I would consume everything I was going to eat for the day between approximately 1-9 pm, and fast (nothing but water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee) the rest of the day. This was easy and presented no problem for me as I had become a firm believer in eating when I’m hungry rather than eating on a fixed time schedule, and typically I’m not hungry when I wake in the morning, so skipping breakfast was not big deals.

Intermittent fasting refers to an eating style where one eats within a specific time period and fasts the rest of the time.

By about 1 pm, I would start getting hungry and would have some lunch. But I would go easy on the food, and typically consume 24- to 32-ounces of a nutritious homemade blend with lots of leafy green vegetables and a few carrots, fruit (an orange, apple, blueberries, etc), high protein soy powder (chocolate-flavored), raw walnuts, and soy milk, mixed in a high powered Vitamix blender. There are other blender brands from which to choose, but the key is high-powered, as a regular blender cannot do the job.

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