BY MORGAN GILL
Welcome to Part 2 of the Healing Your Body With Food Series!
I am so excited to chat with you today about a program I’ve been on for the past month that I started to heal my gut, reduce bloating and actually get healthy.
I have always been the one to count calories, run, exercise and watch my weight, but that isn’t true health.
True health is feeling confident that what you’re eating is helping your body function, not tearing it down.
It’s having a mind-body connection and realizing which types of food and exercise mess with your personal hormones and what food and exercise helps.
Well I’ve found something that has helped me, and I believe it can help you too.
You may have heard of the hot topic that is blowing up in the fitness/health industry: Intermittent Fasting. I’m here to break it down for you! So if you’re ready to dive into the benefits of intermittent fasting, the science behind it, and how to start implementing it into your life, let’s get started!
HAPPY NEWS: Intermittent Fasting is truly not as hard as it sounds.
It mainly consists of limiting the time you eat to a scheduled window of time during your day. Sound difficult? It’s not. If you tend to eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same time everyday anyway, you’ll find this pretty easy to stick to.
The benefits of intermittent fasting are so amazing!
You’ll likely experience decreased bloating, high and stable energy levels, sharper mental focus, better sleep, and natural weight loss! How? By letting your body HEAL itself!
When you are constantly snacking, eating, putting some type of carbohydrate or protein in your body, your insulin spikes. Insulin is your storing hormone. This spike soon results in a fall in insulin, which causes you to be more hungry, crave more food, and experience low energy levels. So you eat again. It’s a cycle.
Why is this bad?
For a couple reasons:
1. You’re not giving your body time to run its Migrating Motor Complex (a series of wave-like contractions that occur in the intestines that cleans out your gut, and removes bacteria build-up that could be preventing nutrient absorption in your small intestine).
This is shortened to MMC Pathway, and is essential to decreasing bloating, according to Autumn Bates, CCN.
One natural way to heal your gut, allow for maximum nutrient absorption from your foods, and decrease bloating is to allow your MMC Pathway to fully run its course. It takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes to run, and it only occurs when you haven’t eaten anything. Eating in shorter intervals than 3 hours and 45 minutes prevents your MMC pathway from ever fully completing its job. (Also, sleep doesn’t count. According to Bates, CCN, studies have shown that the MMC Pathway slows while your body is asleep, so you don’t get the full benefits.)
One easy way to fix this is by Intermittent Fasting! From when you wake up, to when you break your fast (around 12pm) you’ll have allowed your MMC Pathway to run! As well as from the time you end (around 8pm) to when you go to sleep, (depending on how early you go to sleep, it may not get to finish completely). This alone will help with decreasing bloating, acid reflux, heart-burn, indigestion, as well as increase nutrient absorption which could lead to increased energy and vitality.
2. Studies have shown the human body naturally begins to self-heal via autophagy during prolonged fasting periods (typically only seen past the 12 hour fasting mark, and increases with every hour past 12.)
Autophagy is your body’s natural cellular clean up crew, which is increased possibly 5-fold during fasting when insulin levels are low.
The whole process involves cells destroying or “self-eating” the damaged, barely working cells or organelles, and leaving behind the best, hardest working, most healthy cells. This results in more room for healthy cell reproduction, and can even allow for production of more mitochondria in the cell. (That little powerhouse organelle is your energy source! So more of these results in, you guessed it, more energy for you!)
One of the reasons fat loss is normally associated with Intermittent Fasting as well is because of the fact that you are tapping into your body’s natural fat-burning mechanisms when you fast! The long period of low insulin levels encourages your body to tap into fat for energy, and can lead to weight loss as well as increase your mental focus and sharpness because ketones, the by-products your body produces when it burns fat for energy, are actually the preferred energy source for your brain. (Wait, that rush you experience from high-sugar foods isn’t your brain’s favorite fuel?? Who knew?)
****My mom has been Intermittent Fasting with me for 6 weeks now, and we typically eat ½ cup of carbs at night, as well as a few during lunch in our salad (carrots have carbs!) yet, my mom tested positive for ketones in her urine, and the test was done after she had broken her fast with a salad. So, this effectively shows that IF does help your body tap into fat-burning mechanisms even when consuming carbs! It is important to note that our meals consist of a lot of healthy fat, moderate protein, high-fiber foods. We do not consume many high-carb foods unless it’s a treat meal.
So, by now you know that Intermittent Fasting is super good for you. I personally have been using this technique for around a month and a half, and I truly feel amazing.
The best way to incorporate it into your daily lifestyle is to start now.
When you finish your last bite at supper tonight, check the time. Then count 16 hours from that time. That’s when you’ll break your fast the next day. So if you finish eating at 7:36 p.m., you can break your fast at 11:36 a.m. the next day. If you finish supper past 9 p.m., you may want to try and aim for an earlier dinner tomorrow and start then.
I’m so excited to share with you the health tips and tricks that can change your life! I do use certain products to help achieve my goals in my daily routine, and if you’re interested in learning more about what I specifically use, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
I also receive a ton of my information from Autumn Bates, CCN. Her blog and YouTube Channel are gold mines for nutrition nerds, and can really teach you a lot about your health! Check them out!
Morgan Gill is a Clinical Exercise Physiology major at Mississippi State University. She's multi-passionate, running a business while also pursuing other dreams. Her fitness has always remained a priority. Her workouts consist mostly of consistent weight training mixed with runs, yoga, and HIIT.