Every time we see that something works we hurry to put it into action. We want to achieve the same and believe that if it works for the others it will also work for us. Actually it is not always like that. What we can use are some principles. Every healthy program– nutrition wise or training wise– is based on one and the same principals but looked into through a different perspective. And here comes the moment to ask ourselves which method is appropriate for us and our needs. Which method suits our lifestyle and meets the needs of our body under the requirements set by the surrounding environment and the rate of physical activity we do. Moreover, aims are really significant.
The aim of an average person, having 8-10-hours working day is different compared to the aim of a professional athlete. Their bodies could have the same basic needs but the way of satisfying these needs is significantly different.
I receive thousands of questions concerning fasting. Everyone shares their hardship and wants to find a way to adapt the regime to their lifestyle. In some of the cases it is possible, in others it is not necessary and it can even be harmful. Today I am going to write exactly about these cases – the ones when fasting is not appropriate.
If you are a professional athlete then sport is not a part of your life, sport is your life. I’ve been there and I know what it is – to get up before 5 am, to train two times a day and between the trainings to go to the gym or to do track and field in order to train specific qualities or just to stay more in the gym, at the stadium, in the pool, to perfect certain skills.
The requirements you have on your body are pretty big. Physical activity and good results need to be charged. Only will and motivation are not enough. Fuel is needed.
It is one thing to go in the gym hungry, to train in order to be in better shape. It is quite a different thing to be hungry and to try to set records, to train to the maximum limit and to put your body under superhuman efforts every day.
If someone had made me train after 16 hours fasting, when I was training, I would have said that he is mad. My trainings lasted for 2.5 – 3 hours- I had “dry” training in the gym plus 4.5-5 km swimming. The same training repeated in the afternoon. I have tried not to eat before training or to eat less…that has always ended with bad results, a feeling of weakness, severe hunger and disappointment that I have not achieved the goals I have set during the training.
In such a case, the goal should be taken under account. When it concerns professional sportspeople not only the athletic look is important but also the performance. It does not mean to overeat but 16 hours starvation does not lead to Olympic recrds.
So if you are a professional athlete, I do believe that you should include a little bit more meals and have energy to charge the heavy physical activity.
2.Endurance physical activity
If you know you will be training for 1 or maximum 2 hours, then it is not a problem to try to do it in a state of hunger. If, though, a 6-8 hour cycling trip is ahead, then to go hungry is not a good idea.
I follow the fasting protocol 16/8, but Saturday and Sunday when I go on long bike trips, I do not follow the protocol. I have a light breakfast before setting off, and overall I have 2-3 meals during the day, but without fasting for 16 hours. Not that I wouldn’t bear the trip following the protocol, but the idea is not only to bear it but the way you feel. I avoid making compromises with the way I feel, only to fulfill certain rules and views.
The other day I tried to make an hour of mountain biking, after not having eaten for 16 hours. It was super but it was only an hour.
Here again I recommend you to try and see how you feel and what works for you.
I believe that when a woman becomes pregnant, she should put away the selfishness for the next 9 months and start thinking that inside her body a live organism is developing and its life, health and future depend on her behavior. Whatever goals we have for ourselves and our body, we can do a small compromise and to push it hard only after the baby is born.
Moreover we can achieve our goals by choosing different methods that are more gentle to the body and therefore for the developing child.
If you are from the women who do not have breakfast and eat around 10-11am, there is no problem to continue doing this during the pregnancy. Recently I have read a book about some tribes that are very healthy and do not eat until 2-3 o’clock pm. (pregnant ones also). But this is a consequence of something that is a part of you. It is not a new habit to be adopted.
So if you are pregnant and you read about the benefits of fasting – do wait. Better stick to 3-4 meals a day, equally divided, that are not sudden stress for the body. Pregnancy itself is a kind of stress, a different experience for the body, and it does not need an additional one.
4.People with leptin resistance
The fasting is an effective method for losing weight and gaining better health because of the hormonal answer of the organism. The fasting period followed by a period of feast, activates ways of metabolism in the body and this leads to the satisfying results we see.
However, when there is a leptin resistance (HERE) then the brain does not receive adequate signals. You know that leptin sends the signal for being sated, and when we put ourselves through starvation it is very important to be very sensitive to leptin, so that the body does not panic that it does not have enough energy supply.
When there is leptin resistance, even if the quantity of leptin is enough, the brain does not receive this signal. When the body feels threat to survive, it always pushes us to change our behavior. If your body thinks it does not have enough energy, it will push you to eat more, so it can gain it.
Moreover, leptin resistance goes along with a disorder of the inner body clock – its ability to recognize the phases of the day and what should be the hormone answer of the organism. That is why we should act in such a way so that we send the right signals to the body so it can adjust its inner clock and function according the circadian rhythm.
If you have leptin resistance, I advise you not to skip breakfast. Start eating in the morning and when you recover, you can start applying the fasting statements.
5.People with eating disorders
Before I used to write a lot about eating disorders. Even though I realize that they have nothing in common with food but the attempt to control the eating habits is only a symptoms of psychical problems, there are things that could only do harm. All strict diets, statements that state strict rules can worsen the situation.
Eating disorders are illnesses that spin us in a vicious circle of the feeling of guilt, self-punishment and self-disappointment.
If you have an eating disorder and follow the fasting you may harm yourself.
Many people previously suffered from anorexia have shared with me that they have started with anorexia particularly through periodical starvation. These periods of starvation give them a sense of pleasure, ease and a sense that they have control over themselves. This motivates them to try longer and longer periods. Periodical starvation, followed in the right way can have many advantages but not if it becomes an obsession.
To add up, the periodical starvation has some rules – if broken, it is not crucial – when you do not have a psychical problem. But if you have an eating disorder, one breaking of the rule, i.e. to eat before the fasting window has passed, it could push you in the vicious circle of the feeling of guilt and self-punishment.
Therefore, if you have an eating disorder do not run over to periodical starvation. Choose a method of eating that has more equally spread meals.