To eat or not to eat?

Fasting – that is the question

Sometimes when we endeavour to achieve something, we need to go against the accepted grain. So it is with periodic fasting, preferably supervised, as intermittent, alternate day and extended fasting. We all believe perhaps that we should eat plentifully in order to maintain health or that we should diet and then magical things will happen to our weight. But actually fasting may be the answer to resolving ill-health and weight issues which might not have been considered by most.

Primitive man/woman went for days without food because there were no supermarkets or ready-meal deliveries back in those days – and yet the caveman survived in order to ensure that so-called modern society could emerge. The caveman also did not have a diet rich in carbohydrate. But somehow we have lost sight of the existence of our ancestors and their heritage even though our physiology has not changed.

The benefits of fasting

Fasting is a lot easier that you might imagine. The body is pre-programmed to cope with temporary food deprivation as an integral part of our survivalist instinct. Ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone, usually subsides naturally after about 48 hours without food. Fasting means abstaining from food for a short period in order to cleanse, to heal and to regenerate just as you do every night when you sleep. A total water fast is by far the most effective way of achieving weight loss, optimal brain functioning and anti-ageing benefits – to name but a few. Additional benefits include reduced inflammation, reduced blood pressure, cholesterol lowering, fatty liver resolution and arteriosclerosis clearance. 

Weight management

Insulin will transfer energy-generating glucose, via the bloodstream, from ingested food into body cells but only if the cellular environment is able to accept it. High insulin levels arise when the cellular matter cannot utilise the blood glucose. This glucose will then be stored in adipose tissue (fat cells) if it cannot be stored naturally as glycogen in the liver. Over-eating or comfort-eating – particularly of high carb, high-sugar and nutrient deficient junk food – will often cause the cellular environment to reject the uptake of glucose for energy. This situation can result in a pre-diabetic state known as insulin resistance which can be potentially life-threatening.

Glucose stored in adipose tissue will thus mean that you will be heavier than you might wish because insulin levels will remain high and, in order to survive, glucose will be stored as body fat. Fasting will, however, reduce insulin levels which, in turn, will encourage the glucose to disperse from body fat. 

Brain functioning

When primitive humans were forced to abstain from eating, they needed to be mentally alert in order to be able to obtain food and, consequently, cognitive functioning, memory, reasoning, concentration, creative thinking and energy levels will be enhanced during fasting. The protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which supports learning and memory functioning will actually increase during food abstention. 

Anti-ageing

Autophagy is the process of cellular cleansing which breaks down worn-out cellular matter, recycles cellular debris and clears dead cells from the body. Once the autophagy process has been activated the regeneration of new cells can then actively take place. This renewal process will only occur during periods of fasting. The process is prevented, however, when carbohydrate and protein are regularly consumed both of which raise insulin levels significantly. The anti-ageing process, of course, prevents fatal disease and stimulates growth hormone in order to promote cellular health. 

Help for yourself 

Further information about fasting can be found in The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung published in 2016 by Victory Belt Publishing. 

If you feel any distress about abstaining from food, even though you might earnestly desire to fast, or your appetite feels utterly out of control, then please seek the assistance of a practitioner who can help you to address your fears or your unhealthy tendencies. Visit the “Find a Practitioner” page of the JMHT website (www.jmhypnotraining.co.uk) in order to help yourself to overcome this imbalance. 

Jacquelyne Morison

Jacquelyne Morison Hypnotherapy Training