I receive so many questions from The Made To Thrive community regarding fasting. This ancestral practice is by far the topic people express the most interest, curiosity and also some trepidation. But I want to say this before going anywhere else – fasting is not starvation. Fasting is a deliberate choosing to go without food for a specific amount of time for a specific purpose, ranging from health to religious and spiritual.
Fasting, or a no-calorie protocol, develops a very interesting and powerful type of adaptation I call metabolic flexibility. What that means is through fasting your body is adapting to using multiple sources of fuel for energy versus the mainly glucose-based fuel the vast majority of people are running on. Metabolic flexibility is crucial to health outcomes, healthy living and performance maximisation.
During a no-calorie protocol the glucose levels in the body, including in muscles, blood and the liver, steadily decrease. Therefore the body has to find another energy source, and that source is body fat. That’s why adopting a fasting lifestyle will show major gains for anyone trying to lose body fat.
That isn’t the only process that occurs during fasting. Fasting also kick-starts a metabolic function called autophagy, which is when the body cleans up old, damaged, dead and senescent cells. Just stop and think of it as the garbage removal system. Now imagine what your house would look like without a garbage removal system. That pilling up of toxic, smelly garbage is what a body without sufficient autophagy will resemble.
One of the most frequent questions I get is, Hey Steve Stavs, how long does it take to start burning fat? The answer to the question is it depends. Everyone is different when it comes to health. But typically, between 16 and 18 hours of a no-calorie fasting protocol is needed before meaningful fat burning begins. That’s for instance how long it takes me to drop my blood glucose to 4.2 or 4.3 mmol/L and my ketones to reach 0.8 to 0.9 mg/dl, which are measurements that indicate my body has entered a steady state of fat-burning or ketosis.
Anyone seriously considering fasting should make a small investment into hardware in order to take those measurements. That information is priceless before someone becomes a practiced faster. I use and recommend a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for glucose readings, which is a very easy and convenient instrument, and for ketones, I use a standard blood ketones monitor.
So drop me an email if you want to partner up with a Made To Thrive coach and start living with this very important ancestral practice under the expert and supporting guidance of a health coach. This will mean you stay surrounded.
And like I always say, remember to delight in your purpose. So don’t see fasting as starving, see it as a purposeful practice to take your thriving to the next level.