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Hungry mostly isn’t comfortable. We live in a world with instant gratification on so many levels and satisfying hunger is definitely one of them. At the first inkling if hunger, we normally start to look for means to fix the problem, like quick chocolate bar at the convenience store, grab a muffin at the café, or duck into Macca’s super quick. Hunger solved, you can get right back into your day. Now with a 1 year old, I understand how we have developed that need to satisfy the pangs of hunger quickly (lest you suffer through agonising screams of anguish). But does that really translate into adults. Is feeling hunger such a bad thing?
It may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it isn’t such a terrible thing for your body, metabolism or weight management. Our lives have evolved into a steady, reliable and consistent 3 meals/ day. With fairly standard size bowls and plates that we have learnt to understand as the “right” portion size (who decided they were going to be that size anyway?). And when we skip one of those regular consistent meals we feel “hungry” as our body has developed that habit of always eating around those times and approximately that portion size. Without knowing it, the body is very good at maintaining status quo, like most of our conscious minds it prefers not to have big dramatic changes. So when you skip a meal, your first response is “I’m hungry”. But the interesting part is when you decide to ignore that hunger, drink lots of water and just move past it. After a time, the pangs of hunger start go away. Your clever body switches to alternate sources of energy, which can be your fat stores. I am currently doing our Schkinny Days program (which will be launched in the New Year), and yesterday I got up at 3:30am and didn’t have a thing (except water) until 12pm. Sure I was hungry about 7am, but I just drank lots of water and decided to ignore it. At about 8:30am, I no longer felt hungry, I went for a quick jog, drank lots of water after the jog and then had a salad around midday. I felt fine, not once did I think I was going to pass out or lose concentration. Psychologically I knew I had some fat stores that would keep me from fading away so I just kept reminding myself that being hungry meant my smart little body was going to help keep me in shape!
This past week my partner was away for work and I have finished breast feeding so thought it would be the perfect time to get my cleanse on. There a lot of obvious benefits to a juice fast, like all liquid to be easily assimilated into the body, allowing the body to detoxify and cleanse naturally and boosting my system with massive amounts of fruits and vegetables. I know exactly how much produce goes into each juice, so when you are drinking the juices it just feels good to know I am putting all the right things in. But there were a couple of other benefits that I had completely forgotten about:
1. I forgot how nice it was to have someone else prepare my food. There was no thought, no effort, nothing involved. With an almost 1 year old and a full time business, it is easy to neglect me in the whole picture, so having everything pre-prepared was so GOOD. I didn't have to think about the babies food, milk, snacks, nappies, clothes, toys, etc, then think, what I am going to eat/drink today. It was such a pleasure to be totally taken care of, like my fairy god mother totally had my back for a week.
2. I forgot how much extra time you have when you don’t have to prepare meals. I had such a productive work week and got so many jobs finished because I wasn’t spending the 40-1hr prepping, making and cleaning dishes that is involved every night. It was such a good feeling. Like a mini holiday. Time is the only thing finite in our lifetimes, everything else is infinite, so having a little bit more of it to be productive, read my book, do some exercise, watch the baby explore and discover or just be was a little luxury.
There is now evidence that fasting could help contribute to regenerating new cells in the body to help fight against disease and ageing. One of these studies looked at how prolonged fasting (for periods of 2 to 4 days) not only helped protect the immune system but also helped to induce immune system regeneration in people who had undergone chemotherapy.
Here is how it works:
When you starve your systems tried to save energy and one of the things it can do is to recycle a lot of immune cells that are not needed, especially damaged ones. So the white blood cell count does go down, but then when food is re-introduced back into the diet the cells come back. Prolonged fasting has also been associated with lower levels of a particular growth-factor hormone , IGF-1, that has been linked to aging, tumour progression and cancer risk.
This research seems to have supported the recent study that showed that a low calorie diet that mimicked a fast can yield a wide range of health benefits including cutting belly fat, elevated stem cell renewal in the brain and slowed ageing. The study looked at a group that ate normally for 25 days/month and for 5 days per month did a low calorie diet based mostly on fruits and vegetables, with plant based fats and very little animal based protein. It’s about re-progamming the body to enter a slower aging mode but also rejuvenation through stem cell based regeneration! Exciting times ahead!
For more info, check out these links: https://news.usc.edu/63669/fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-of-damaged-old-immune-system/