My Experience with Intermittent Fasting

Hey, tribe,

I’d love to share explanation of what happens to the body while fasting. This not-so-new lifestyle “hack” has been a part of many culture’s lives for various reasons including to detox the body and to achieve mental clarity for meditation and spiritual practices.

While fasting, similar to when you're weight lifting or stretching, there's an element of breaking down the muscles on a cellular or tissue level in order for them to build themselves up stronger.

The dead cellular matter is then scooped out and new proteins can be created for health promoting benefits like decreased inflammation, better digestion and higher brain function, in addition to the weight loss benefits for which fasting is most popular, and in particular intermittent fasting.

We know there are different methods of fasting, but the two most effective ways as listed in this article by Human OS (my new online obsession): it can either be a single day fast (eating only 20% of your average daily calorie intake) or a daily fast (eating for only 8 hours of the day rather than 15).

I chose the daily version, eating only between the hours of 10:00am and 6:00pm. It’s not as hard as you’d think! My experience has been a noticeable difference in elimination - much more frequent and reliable! And that’s all I’m going to say about that. As someone who has suffered from digestive issues since I was a teen, I’ve learned to appreciate these subtle changes in my body.

Benefits I’ve seen so far…

Energy! There has definitely been a clarity of mind and lack of grogginess that comes with fasting, probably due to the fact that my body uses less energy at night and during the day to digest food. I do sleep better at night when my stomach isn’t filled to the brim and bloated. I can actually get through a 14 hour workday without any caffeine!

I enjoy my morning (decaf) coffee (in my adorable new pint-sized Chemex) or any other liquids I enjoy consuming during fasting hours - like Mama J’s loving green juice - that much more slowly because I’m freed up from having to make breakfast as one of my daily morning activities. I have a pretty full morning routine already and I love that I now get take my time with my spine dance and meditation and I get to sip sweetly and pour again while writing my morning pages and filling in my activity matrix, staying mindful and connected to my energy levels before heading out on my commute to the city. And not having a full belly in the morning makes me travel lighter!

Weight loss? Maybe a little… being a tall girl and very active I’ve hovered around the same weight for years. However, I believe that I am eating less by letting go of snacking and the elimination of the unnecessary 2nd breakfast (hello, croissant lovers!). As long as you’re organized and always have a fridge full of prepared and semi-prepared food, you can get all the calories you need (1600-3000 per day for an average adult) in a day without seeing dramatic changes in weight. Though if that’s the goal, I know that some people who fast will eliminate breakfast altogether and eat only 2 meals a day instead of 3.

Productivity has improved… When I get to break-fast, I thoroughly enjoy taking a mid-morning break with a light and healthy snack after I’ve logged about an hour or so worth of email catch-ups and scheduling for the week ahead, often before anyone else has a chance to get to their computer or workplace for the day. This is much easier to do when you have the option to work from home or in a flexible work environment, which is important to me in feeling successful. It makes me feel like I’m staying ahead of the day, rather than chasing time. Post-breakfast, I might have an herbal tea to pace myself for another couple hours of work on a particular project or set of tasks before lunch. I’m loving the herbal berry essence by Davidson’s found at my co-working space.

While my meal times are spaced closer together, it feels like I get full faster and won’t need as much food to sustain me in my most active times of the day. Therefore, decision-making during meal times are not spent on an empty stomach, which can sometimes lead to poor food choices that have an immediate gratification. Post-dinner at 6pm, I’ll have a full evening ahead to connect, digest, move, read, relax, take a bath, or whatever my heart desires. This only works if you go to bed early, otherwise you’ll go to bed and wake up starving. It’s all about playing with your daily rhythms and finding out what works best for you.

I’d love to hear your experience with fasting or feel free to email questions! I know folks who have been fasting for years! And if you want to learn more about intermittent fasting and other health hacks, I recommend subscribing to the podcast created by my family, Dead Set on Living. <— featuring voiceover by my talented hubs, Kyle Guglielmo!

Questions, Comments? Write below or email hello@lillimarkle.com.

Enjoy today & travel gently,
Lilli

greenjuice

Why moving to Canada was the best decision for my health

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Back to School days have got many of us thinking about our goals and how to get in the flow now that our free-spirited summer is winding down. While we can stay adventurous year-round, the cooler and shorter days allow many of us, especially those of us on the East coast, to turn inward and take stock of the resources we have and prepare to harvest for the Fall. 

While I speak with some of my colleagues, most sound pretty tired and melancholy. I couldn't help but feel guilty for the gifts of rest and nourishing food I've given myself over the past couple weeks, regardless of how busy work becomes, because I actually felt energized and excited to dive into the work and start creating projects and managing time. Why should anyone feel bad about being productive? But sometimes the "busy" syndrome kicks in and we feel like we're not giving enough of ourselves, to work, to study, to family or friends. It gets to the point in our Western society where it becomes sexy when we're too booked to be social and too exhausted to care. 

The other day I was grateful to have spent some time connecting with a dear friend (which we both had to schedule INTO our busy lives) who reminded me of the difference between nervous system fatigue and pure exertion fatigue. One leads to burnout and anxiety while the other leads to a good night's sleep and satisfaction.

The City that Never Sleeps (aka The Big Apple) comes to mind when I think about nervous system fatigue because it forces your system to function at such a highly sympathetic (fight or flight) level that certain hormones start overproducing which can lead to chronic dysfunction of vital systems like digestion, reproduction and the ability to process our own emotions. With so many new experiences in our lives these days, the nervous system must keep up with each new experience, monitor it, and control the rest of the body's reaction to it. And that's a full time job! We need prolonged periods of rest between these bursts of activity and adrenaline to achieve homeostasis - the state where the body is in balance and can optimally function - which can only be done when the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system is engaged. Oh hi, Yoga! 

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Anatomy & Physiology aside, moving to Canada has been one of the best decisions I've made for my health. I drink less coffee (more beer, but that's a story for another time) because my breaks between work involve stretching in my backyard or in our spacious living room that actually fits area rugs and wall hangings(!!), nature walks on the Bruce Trail near my home, freshly prepared meals with my partner and, most interestingly, conversations in our new community here in the City of Hamilton with a diverse group of friendly and open individuals from various ages, classes, backgrounds and interests. 

 

In a rapidly evolving city (for better or worse, depending on whether you take an economic or humanitarian standpoint), that has become a hotbed of renovations, artistic and culinary collaboration, as well as a leader in innovation and sustainability; conversations with my new neighbours have challenged me to stay open-minded and present, considering others' perspectives and paths - something I was not invited to explore as much as I thought while in NY due to the path I chose to pursue and its corresponding network of similarly-minded, mostly millennial group of ambitious theatrical and spiritual dear ones. 

It is this group of harlequin hippies to whom I am grateful for continually inspiring me to keep going when the burnout was real and to keep considering the dreams, philosophies and life's simple joys.

Stay well, my friends! xo

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