The holidays are over for most of us, unfortunately. We were able to enjoy some quiet time under the sun with our loved ones, leaving our work worries behind us as we savoured some fresh local delicacies (think delicious Italian thin crust pizza with an Aperol Spritz for lunch or warm French baguette with gooey brie and a bottle of wine for dinner… mmmm heavenly..!).
However, once home our tummy feels bloated, we’re fighting constant sugar cravings, and our concentration is awful. And what’s happened to our energy?
How can we restore our energy and start feeling vibrant again? Most of us panic at this stage and immediately want to start dieting. Unfortunately, as a fully certified Health and Wellness Coach, I can firmly state that this is not a good idea. Why? Well diets can help us lose some weight initially, but they soon force the metabolism to slow down because the brain thinks, ‘I’m not getting enough nutrients, so I’ll hold onto what little I have’. From this moment on, losing weight becomes increasingly more difficult and when normal eating resumes, weight gain is both quick and inevitable, with people often gaining more weight than they had before they even began.
So, what is the solution? As a professional, I know the impact that changing a few habits and adopting new lifestyle choices can have. Although ‘health’ is made up of many different components, they are all related and one thing I would strongly advise people to do is to introduce a form of ‘fasting’ into their lives. Most of us have heard of ‘Intermittent Fasting’ to some degree. I believe it’s an effective tool for losing weight but even more so for burning fat, which is what we’re really after.
When we eat, our blood sugar rises, and insulin is released to re-balance these levels. The level of sugar in the blood then drops and the sugar is transported to the liver, where it is stored for energy. If our blood sugar levels spike too often and the resulting energy isn’t used, the stored sugar accumulates and gets stored as fat in the liver. When there is too much fat for the liver to store, the extra fat gets stored in the muscles and fat cells. This is what happens when we eat too much food, or foods with a high glycemic index, like refined carbs (pizza crusts/warm baguette) alcohol, (Aperol Spritz/wines), and refined sugar products (ice cream/tartes), which are usually exactly the foods we thoroughly enjoy on our holidays! Don’t get me wrong, however. I’m not saying never enjoy these carefree perks of a holiday. I’m simply saying that Intermittent Fasting is a great and effective tool to rebalance the body and get ourselves back in healthy shape again!
How does Intermittent Fasting work? When we stop eating around 8pm at night, for example, our blood sugar levels drop dramatically during the night. This means that when we awaken the following morning, our blood sugar levels are very low. Rather than eat right away, try extending the fast for up to 14 hours (delaying breakfast until 10.00 or 11.00 am, for example). This forces our body to begin using the stored fat for energy, which results in us burning up our fat reserves. We are also cleaning out toxins at the same time and helping our body to function better, restoring our energy levels, curbing any cravings, and rebalancing our body composition.
I can even take it a step further and explain the benefits of Sport Fasting.
Sport Fasting is a 10-day training where fasting is combined with 30 minutes of cardio training at a level that is based on your heartrate. This protocol ensures that your body switches the metabolism from sugar burning to fat burning within 4-6 days, with the extra by-product of not only burning a great deal of fat but especially visceral fat!
Multiple universal double-blind studies have shown the tremendous impact sport fasting has on improving one’s health and wellbeing. The metabolism becomes more adaptive and flexible so that our whole body functions better. It lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, it improves mitochondrial capacity (energy production), endurance, muscle mass, and emotional wellbeing. After 10 days, one feels more energetic, vibrant, less toxic, and generally so much healthier. It’s even possible to lose up to 4-6kg of fat! Such a great jumpstart towards a better lifestyle.
Are you ready to kickstart your new life and improve your health and wellbeing? Stop dreaming and start doing!
ICF, NBHWC and BLCN certified Health and Wellness Coach