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  • Julien Demaret

I am fasting 21 hours per day

It's not about what you eat, it's about when you eat.


Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash made by the author on Canva Vegetarian, Vegan, Keto, Paleo, Carnivore, Gluten-free, Lectines free, and the list goes on… Nowadays, there are so many trending diets that we can end up being lost. It gets difficult to understand the benefits and disadvantages of each one. It might be hard to choose the one that fits us. We are overwhelmed by information, and we do not act anymore. I would like to remind you that, ultimately, we eat for 2 major reasons :

  • get Energy to fuel our body ( carbohydrates and fats)

  • allow the regenerative process of our cells to happen (proteins).

With this in mind, I tried many things, and after many adjustments and experiments, I understood that I was not searching in a good direction. I was focusing too much on what I eat, but It started to work well for me when I focused on when I eat instead. That is why I started focusing gradually on extending the time during which I was not eating in the day. Nowadays, I fast for 21 hours every day. I know it can sound a bit extreme, but let me explain. Limiting Beliefs and Habits When I was young, I was told that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. I was told that I needed to eat at least 3 times per day to be healthy. A bit later in my life, when I started working out, I was even eating 6 times per day. Sometimes I was not even hungry; I was just eating because it was time to eat or because I thought I had to. Otherwise, I thought I would suffer some illness of some kind or lose my muscles. I couldn’t have been any further from the truth. We are so deeply accustomed to eating that we do not even question it anymore. Habits are strong. Beliefs are even stronger. The urgency to fit in socially also plays a role. What if we dare question? What if we simply start eating because we feel low in energy instead of eating because it’s time to eat. We are not going to fall apart if we do not eat for 12 hours. Our body knows what to do. If we do not have external energy sources, we start using our internal storage (fats). Let me explain the issues linked with overconsumption of food, the effect fasting has on us, and why it is beneficial. Overconsumption of food First of all, for thousands of years, we have been facing a scarcity of food resources. Our body has naturally evolved during those periods to be able to handle the lack of resources. But since the invention of agriculture and, more recently, the development of the industrial era, in most of the world, we are dealing with excess consumption of food. We did not have enough time to adapt to that excessive consumption. We do not know how to handle it. When our body is processing food, the available energy is redirected for that purpose. As a consequence, the immune system is paused. If we eat 3 times a day and get some snacks in between meals, we are always digesting food. Maintaining and repairing functions of the body are paused. This is when cancer starts to spread. Indeed, every day we have cancerous cells in our body, and the immune system works to target and destroy them before they spread. This is a natural mechanism, but excessive food gets in the way, and illness happens. Fasting mechanism and benefits As I said earlier, we are eating for 2 major reasons: to get energy (fats and carbohydrates) and to rebuild our cells (proteins). Let’s have a look at how those two things are fulfilled when we are fasting. In the absence of an external source of energy (fats and carbohydrates), our body uses glycogen stored in our liver and muscles, but this is not lasting long; shortly after, our liver starts using our internal fat to produce ketones that can provide energy to all our organs, including our brain. When we are fasting, we are directly burning fat to fuel our body. This ability that our body has to rely on internal sources of energy instead of external sources is what Mark Sisson calls metabolic flexibility in his book “The Primal Blueprint.” He says that this ability has been lost by many people because of the excessive consumption of carbohydrates and the associated peaks of insulin released as a consequence. Indeed, insulin is preventing us from producing ketones and relying on our body fat. But he also says that intermittent fasting can help us regain this ability. In regards to the second reason why we are eating, which is to rebuild our cells and regenerate our body, this is when fasting gets really interesting. After 16 hours of fasting, our body starts the autophagy phenomenon, which consists in identifying and recycling the oldest and weakest cells in our body ( including the cancerous cells) to use as a source of protein to synthesize new cells. In other words, while overconsumption of food pauses regeneration of the body and the elimination of damaged cells, fasting accelerates and optimizes this process. This is the true power of fasting. Fasting allows you to recycle your damaged cells and regenerate your body effectively. Something else is noticeable when fasting; energy levels are higher than usual. Indeed, there is less inertia in your body because there is less work for the internal organs to process food. Fasting allows us to eat less and have more energy. To finish with the benefits, as far as training is concerned, fasting dramatically increases the growth hormone level to promote muscular growth and regeneration. Fasting promotes muscular development.

How to give it a try If you are interested in this intermittent fasting process and would like to experiment with it, I suggest you go into it progressively. You can start by delaying the time in the morning in which you usually take your breakfast. For example, if you normally have your breakfast at 7, try to eat it at 8 for one week and see how it feels. Then, you can try 9 am for the next week and continue like this until you can even start to skip breakfast and get lunch around noon as the first meal of the day. Maximum benefits are reached when you do not eat for more than 16 hours, as I explained earlier, for the autophagy phenomenon to kick in. So you can, for example, start eating at noon, and then nothing after 8 pm. If it feels great, you can even extend it to 18 hours or 24 hours! But gradually. Skip breakfast is a good way to start. Another thing that will help you to achieve this is to rely on fats more than carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrates, as stated earlier, a high level of glucose comes into our blood. As a response, insulin kicks in, and this glucose is stored as fat. In the end, we are getting even lower blood glucose than before eating. So we feel hungry again. On the other hand, fat is not triggering insulin and is more effective in training our body to rely on our internal fat as well. Hunger will not be an issue anymore. Less carbohydrates, more fats, and cravings will stop! Final words This is just my experience, and I suggest you not take my words for granted. Try it for yourself and see what happens. I can guarantee you will feel amazing. If not, then go back to normal. You have nothing to lose.

If you are ready to try, let me sum up the key points to start :

  • We handle scarcity better than overconsumption

  • gradually increase your daily fasting time to 16 hours +

  • more fats, less carbohydrates

  • When you eat is more important than what you eat

And the benefits :

  • more energy

  • less body fat

  • no more cravings

  • improved health

  • improved muscle growth

  • overall improved well being

 

PS: If you like my work, you can receive it in your mailbox every time I publish a new post. It will be greatly appreciated. I’m sharing my life experience with you in the hope that It will add value to your life and inspire you to grow. Thank you for reading. Quotations and claims are derived from my experience unless specified otherwise. My views and opinions on topics are not intended to replace yours but are offered to broaden your perspective of life.

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