There is an overwhelming amount of information on the internet about dieting plans, fat burning pills and miracle solutions to help you lose weight fast.
While searching for a program that fits your needs, it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt and make sure your research is presented responsibly.
After all, science is still catching up to many of our modern-day trends, and as consumers, we sometimes have to accept that we don’t have the long-term studies necessary to make adamant conclusions.
Intermittent fasting is on the tip of every nutritionist’s tongue, and fasters are reaping the benefits of putting their bodies on fasting cycles that work best for their lifestyles.
There are various types of intermittent fasting, but the science points to a mutual end goal.
Intermittent fasting aims to condition our bodies to burn fat effectively, becoming “fat adapted”.
Traditionally it has been shown that having a modern-day diet will result in our body using sugar as the primary source of fuel, and leaving fat to be secondary.
With sugar so readily available in most processed goods, our metabolism becomes used to having a regular store of sugars and never needing to burn fat.
Primitive humans would very rarely have had access to an all-you-can-eat buffet or a Sunday brunch.
They would have instead eaten quite opportunistically, gorging when food was available and conserving energy when it wasn’t. The human body catered to this unpredictable cycle of feeding by more readily converting fats into ketones, a far more efficient energy source.
By converting fats into ketones and slowing the consumption of sugar, the body enters into ketosis, a metabolic state characterized by lower blood sugar and insulin levels. Ketosis has been shown to have dramatic effects on maintaining and healing the body.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) has not been touted by professionals as a one size fits all program.
In practice, all intermittent fasting looks at extended periods of “starvation” or depriving yourself of food, and instead, indulging only during eating windows.
A common example of this is the 16:8 model, where you fast for 16 hours of the day (every day), and allow yourself to eat during the other 8 hours.
For many, this 16:8 model might prove too eager of a start or doesn’t necessarily fit easily into their schedule or routine. There has also been a small amount of research that points to daily IF as having disruptive effects on hormone balance, especially in females.
Crescendo fasting (CF) is a form of IF that was constructed to deal with the obstacles mentioned previously.
It is a milder form of IF that can be more effective for women with sensitive hormone levels, but also for men or women who are brand new to IF or have a lifestyle that needs more flexibility while dieting.
What is Crescendo Fasting
Crescendo fasting is a type of IF that suggests non-consecutive fasting days rather than daily fasting.
With many other types of intermittent fasting, people struggle with the initial shock to the system, get frustrated and quit. The idea of cutting “cold turkey” often results in the desired effects not being validated.
Crescendo fasting recommends that instead of fasting every day, we limit ourselves to 2-3 non-consecutive days a week. This allows the body to start conditioning the fat burning, but does not shock the system to the point where we start to feel strong negative side effects.
What many fail to realize when fasting is that it’s not about starving yourself so that your body has nothing at all to burn. It is about gently slowing your metabolism so that it prioritises burning fat over burning sugar. Slow and steady wins the race, and we can’t expect the body to adapt overnight. For most results aren’t felt for weeks, so patience is key.
These diets are lifestyle changes, not miracle solutions. Once you condition the body to burn fat first, you will begin to see incredible results that extend far beyond just losing weight.
Men vs. Women
There are many articles and studies out there that make dramatic claims about IF being detrimental to women, and CF being the obvious solution.
It is essential to understand that the research on IF and CF is still young and that each study should be fully dissected before being used to state strong claims.
Research has shown that heavy dieting and extreme fasting can affect the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH), two reproductive hormones in women that can be linked to irregular periods and reduction in ovary size.
As women are thought to be more sensitive to dramatic changes in hormone levels, crescendo fasting has been recommended as a way of easing into a new diet routine.
The body will adapt if given enough time, but those with a history of hormone imbalance, eating disorders or an unhealthy relationship with cravings are recommended to start slowly and seek the guidance of a professional.
This does not mean CF is reserved only for women. For anyone who understands the importance of slow adaptation and consistency, starting off with crescendo fasting instead of jumping headfirst into a more aggressive form of IF could be a safer start.
Benefits of Crescendo Fasting at a Glance
While the mainstream goal of IF is weight loss, there are numerous other health benefits that come from the body going into ketosis.
- Increased Energy Levels
- Improves Insulin Sensitivity
- Digestive Health
- Improves Mental Health
- Reduces Inflammation
- Promotes Cellular Healing
If you are thinking of incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, but are hesitant about making dramatic changes that could stall progression, crescendo fasting is a good option to allow your metabolism to adapt. As your body begins to favor fat over sugar as a form of energy, you will start to feel a dramatic change in energy and lifestyle. Like anything else, start slow and learn to enjoy the process rather than focusing on the result.