I start this report after
having 'broken' my 12-hour intermittent fasting
-before getting up early and going to the gym to train for 45 minutes- with a delicious breakfast made up of two eggs (sometimes three fall) scrambled with avocado and a black coffee (the second of the day) which, in addition to knowing me to be blessed, have given me the
long-lasting and sustainable energy
that my body and mind need to face the day without demanding continuous 'snacks' of dubious nutritional quality.
This 'inspiring' rant that, although it may seem like it, is not taken from one of Pantomime Full's 'sketchs', it describes my usual morning routine (sorry for the horrible rhyme) (with some variation) during the last year, period in which that, advised by the nutrition specialist Javier Fernández Ligero, I was encouraged to try
a 'nutritional strategy'
that counts among its most prominent apostles such statuesque celebrities as
Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky or Chris Hemsworth
and, even, with athletes as 'top ' like
(who links that
state of full consciousness
that fasting induces with the
irrepressible awakening of the hunting instinct
characteristic of a feline that pushes it to look for a prey with which to feed).
What need did I have of it?
Probably none and, of course, my motivation had nothing to do with trying to emulate that multitude of earthly gods who confess, in each interview, how
intermittent fasting changed their lives
because their reality and mine (ours?) they look like an egg to a chestnut.
I did it because Fernández Ligero -an expert in the field, not an 'influencer', nor an actor, nor a model-, had spoken to me profusely about the
multiple and visible benefits
that, beyond what science has corroborated in this regard so far, someone like me can experiment when practicing it.
My goal was not to lose weight
My goal was not to lose weight
(rather, I was fighting against the opposite), but rather to check if, indeed, I was changing my body composition, I felt stronger and, above all, I was improving my, already reasonably
good state of health
and with a
prior blood test
that confirmed my 'fitness', I embarked on an 'adventure' of practicing the
most 'light' form of intermittent fasting, the 12-hour
one, with the occasional foray into of 16 (the others already seem to me as unattainable as unnecessary and even dangerous).
And I say 'adventure', in quotes, because 'enduring' those 12 hours without eating (at most you can have a black coffee, an infusion or a broth and, of course, drink water), which are the ones that elapse between the moment In which I have dinner and the one in which I have breakfast, it does not seem like an overly ambitious challenge to me, but rather the adequate time that my body needs to
and start again at full energy.
So where is the mystery in that 12-hour intermittent fasting?
Well, in two very important keys that Javier Fernández Ligero gave me before starting the matter:
taking maximum care of what I eat,
both at dinner and breakfast, and doing some
before breaking the fast.
Because the objective is not, as was done when it was fashionable to skip a meal, to stop eating and then binge when those 12 hours have passed, but to choose
the foods that are best for our body from the start .
nutritional point of view
That is to say, in loading it with 'quality fuel'.
"Although, before designing any plan, the ideal is to determine what each person's goal is, it is best to break the
fast with 'good fats'
, with a scrambled egg with avocado, smoked salmon or a can of sardines or tuna, to give a few examples. In this way, all those benefits of intermittent fasting in terms
of fat oxidation, increased energy and improved glycemic control
will be enhanced, "explains this nutritionist.
Because if, as has traditionally been done at
we go for the cookies, muffins or cereal, «what we are going to do is
break that vigilance with carbohydrates
, which will make us secrete a
glucose spike in blood
(which will make us prey to continuous pecking to mitigate the subsequent downturn)".
In this sense, it is important to remember that "
instant but short-lasting energy
On the other hand, "
(avocado, oily fish or olives), due to their nutritional characteristics and the gastric emptying they cause (slower digestion), produce
longer lasting energy
, favoring glycemia (blood sugar) to hold constant for longer.
And what about
Well, it depends on what we are going to do the next day, but, as with breakfast, "it is advisable that we have a dinner
rich in those good fats with vegetables
and introduce, on occasion,
chicken, turkey or meat
red (more occasionally)".
Well, all that (with some small adaptation) is what I did, adding that 'plus' of gold that
training on an empty stomach
brings , which, by the way, did seem like a rather complicated challenge to me.
So I started gradually.
With only a
(sorry for the redundancy) in my body, I began to
very early in the morning (which is the most compatible physical activity with the daily life of almost anyone).
Then, to do short sessions, of about 15 or 20 minutes, of
that alternated with CaCos (walking/running) to, later, try
(plus some mobility, rowing, etc.) in the gym.
Little by little, the sensations began to change and
from the initial 'laziness' I began to feel much better than when I went to train with a full belly
(to go with an empty stomach it is necessary to get up at dawn and there is no need for that either).
And, after the effort, the reward came in the form of scrambled eggs, salmon with avocado or any of those delicacies that Fernández Ligero recommends.
One year after starting intermittent fasting, here comes my Pantomime monologue again,
I wake up more rested
(even with less puffy eyes) and I not only feel that
my mornings are much better
(I have more energy and I don't have to fight with the imperative need to snack every two by three because I'm feeling down), but, although I haven't lost a kilo (nor did I intend to), I do
appreciate a notable change in my body structure and fat distribution
I have also noticed some improvement in my
ability to concentrate
(although this may be more attributable to exercise than not eating breakfast).
What my blood tests say
So far, my 'perceptions' but, as I wanted to go a little further on the subject, I decided to send my post-fasting blood tests to Fernández Ligero so that he could compare them with the previous ones and this was his interpretation: "When comparing one and the other , no significant change in
is perceived , thus refuting the myth that fasting can cause blood glucose levels to plummet;
, linked to protein intake, also remained fairly stable Despite having reduced the window of food intake,
was not only not affected, but
levels were also experienced .
But what this nutritionist emphasized the most was on this point.
"In the first test, the
which marks the status of the thyroid axis,
came out with a slight slowdown
. However, after a year of intermittent fasting with exercise without eating food and a good state of hydration (it is very important to drink water nothing more getting up), it has been possible to improve this marker and, therefore,
activate the metabolism
With all this information, together with the external and internal changes that I myself have appreciated, Fernández Ligero did not hesitate to once again advocate "intermittent fasting, always supervised by a professional, as an
effective tool to improve glycemic control, boost metabolism and improve body composition
without making it a panacea for weight loss."
An opinion shared by Lina Robles, nutritionist at the Sanitas La Zarzuela University Hospital (Madrid).
"It is true that, according to various investigations, intermittent fasting
does not favor significant weight loss
(although you can lose a couple of kilos)
, what it does promote is a loss of volume and the body changes a lot
. Why? Because, by fasting,
the body throws away the fat that it has accumulated.
The metabolism is constantly burning fat and there is a redistribution of the fat that it needs for the organs to function."
In addition, he told me, it is known that "intermittent fasting
substantially improves symptoms in patients with digestive problems
(slow digestion, abdominal swelling, etc.) who do not have any type of intolerance or allergy.
The swelling disappears
and, when eating,
they are tolerated much better food
He also agreed with me about the energy rush.
"It is true that people have
much more energy in the morning
, but always starting from the premise that previous meals are well planned."
Something that, according to what she confessed to me, she herself has been able to verify: "Since I didn't believe anything, I did the test for some time and it is true that it
generates a lot of well-being in the morning
because, among other reasons, by not going to bed with a very full, we
favor a more restful
rest.What is clear is that intermittent fasting works very well as long
as the meals that are eaten during the intake window are complete
A person who has a tupper salad for lunch in front of the computer, because he does not have time, will hardly be able to consider doing intermittent fasting.
It would be unbearable."
In any case, Robles recommends that, in this, as in any other issue related to health, we act sensibly and not letting ourselves be carried away by fashions.
"I always advise
consulting a specialist for
any type of diet change. Not everyone can do intermittent fasting. It depends a lot on the state of health of each one."
What the science says about intermittent fasting
Well, still a little, really.
Something, but little.
Because, although the biochemist Valter Longo, a biochemist, points it out as a
passport to longevity
tool in the fight against cancer
, the truth is that there is not enough scientific evidence to firmly ensure that this is the case.
there are still no clinical studies that demonstrate a direct relationship between fasting and longevity.
There are epidemiological studies that find associations between aspects of maintaining health with fasting. Similarly, various short-term clinical studies term (up to 24 months) on different modalities of intermittent fasting, they are demonstrating
the positive effect
of this type of intervention on health and in association with some therapies", says Rafael de Cabo, a Spanish scientist, head of the Gerontology branch Translational Fellow of the National Institute on Aging, a division of the US National Institutes of Health and author of 'Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease'
Its value as
a 'weight loss strategy
', apparently, is not as decisive as it is painted.
As concluded in 'Intermittent fasting: No advantage over conventional weight loss diets' (published in 2018), although intermittent fasting helps lose weight and promotes health,
its efficacy is not superior to that of conventional caloric restriction diets.
Three years later, in 'Intermittent fasting for the prevention of cardiovascular disease', it was concluded that, despite the fact that "individual meta-analyses show that intermittent fasting is helpful in
reducing weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, total cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure.
However, these changes appear to be
clinically insignificant beyond the short term
Furthermore, it ensures that "
more research is needed
to understand which groups of patients would and would not benefit from intermittent fasting. This includes patients with diabetes and patients with eating disorders."
At present, they highlight, "there is also insufficient evidence on the role of intermittent fasting in the
primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
However, this review supports its benefit in
reducing certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease
, although the quality of the available evidence is low.
What are we left with, then?
It is clear to me: with my current characteristics, lifestyle, etc.,
an intermittent fast of 12 hours is worth it, even 16
(going further seems, in my case, absolutely unnecessary).
And not because Chris or Elsa tell me that it comes in handy (because neither their lives nor their bodies have anything to do with mine or mine), but because
it 'resets' me, helps me rest better, feels good
and, so far,
Which does not mean that I conceive it as a potion for eternal youth, much less that I dare to recommend it to someone, because, as the specialists say,
not everyone can or should practice it.
"Social life suffers, but I
'm at my best physically and mentally
," say the guys from Pantomime Full about intermittent fasting.
And, although it sounds like a joke, it seems that they have made me 'a tailored suit'.
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