By Renae Leith
Mental health is one challenge during an extended lockdown but keeping extra kilos away is another.
When almost all of our basic human rights & civil liberties have been stripped away, food and food rewards become one of the only things we can freely, safely reach for. And if feels so great to bake a batch of cookies and enjoy them.
Food becomes a safe haven, a reward, a reliable sense of emotional security. And Uber Eats makes it too much fun and even easier to eat a pile more calories. Especially if the household chips in and enjoys a celebratory meal.
So how can we manage the emotional need to feel free to eat what we want to and not put on weight?
Fasting is the solution. Devotees claim it can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, and maybe even extend our life span.
I am on 16/8. That means I eat around midday-8pm each day. I can have water and a black coffee in the morning, but until midday I don’t eat at all.
But once midday hits I can eat whatever I like. This method is also known as the Leangains protocol and was popularised by famous Swedish nutritionist and fitness expert Martin Berkhan. He emphasises high protein meals during the 8 hour eating window. His catch cry is “Fasting results in spontaneous fat loss in obese adults without restricting calorie intake”.
He explains: “Doing this method of fasting can actually be as simple as skipping breakfast and not eating after dinner.For example, if you finish your last meal at 8 p.m. and don’t eat until noon the next day, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours.”
Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson, Ph.D., has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says fasting is in our genes. When human beings were hunter/gatherers we had no choice but to go without any food for long periods of time, so fasting today is nothing new, and our systems are built for it.
Mattson has confirmed fasting does help the body lose weight. H has a term for it called “metabolic switching”. This is when the body runs out of sugar for energy after hours of fasting and switches to the fat sources.
According to Mattson’s research, it can take two to four weeks before the body becomes accustomed to intermittent fasting.
But he also says once someone gets through that period they generally stick with fasting as they feel so much better.
Obviously check with your health professional before embarking on any major change of eating or lifestyle, but for me, fasting is my weight loss lockdown solution.
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