This is the third part of the ‘Eat’ intervention and follows on from Part 1 and Part 2 that I have already covered. Dr Chatterjee explains these interventions in his book ‘The 4 Pillar Plan‘ and as I have previously explained, this is a really brief view of the plan and you need to read or listen to the book yourself to get the best benefits to you, a link to the book is here).
This is quite a small part and I thought I would get it out there quickly for you as it’s a really easy one to manage.
Eat all your meals within a 12-hour time period!
Our bodies are used to only having food at certain times, it is used to feast and famine, food was sparse and we made it last, but now, you just open your phone, click on an app and hot food is delivered within half an hour or less. In your fridge are leftover foods that are easy to eat, or microwave meals you can ding in a minute.
We are inundating our bodies and giving it no time to rest and clear out. It’s like leaving your house and never cleaning up, your body is just filling up and up with waste products – not a nice thought.
As soon as you give your body a break from this constant gorging, amazing things begin to happen.
- After 6-8 hours, the liver has used up it’s fuel stores and soon after this, the body will begin to burn it’s own fat.
- After 12 hours, a process called autophagy would have well and truly kicked in. This is a detox process your body undergoes to clean out damaged cells and regenerate new ones, it’s the process of ‘cleaning your house’ that I mentioned above.
- It is also thought that when we don’t eat for several hours, the liver stops secreting glucose and instead uses it to repair cell damage.
Other reported benefits are known to be:
- Lower levels of inflammation
- Improved blood sugar control
- Improved mitochondrial function (see below)
- Improved Immune Function
- Enhanced Detoxification
- Increased production of Akkermansia Muciniphila, that fantastic little gut bug mentioned in Part 2
- Improved appetite signalling
Itchy Mouth Syndrome
Don’t put yourself under stress by doing more than 12 hours until you are ready for it. We have enough stress and we don’t need to add to it by putting ourselves under more pressure.
Dr.Chatterjee explains that a good time is probably don’t eat after 7pm or before 7am – that’s a pretty good window for most people.
He said, when he tried it he realised it was just a habit and feeling hungry was also a habit. Try not having food easily available and if you feel like a craving for food, ask yourself, ‘am I really hungry or do I just have an itchy mouth?’
I am aiming for 8pm to 8am, as my husband is often home late so we tend to eat anytime up to 8pm so this works for us. We also tend to snack in the evenings, so this is our ‘itchy mouth’ time and we find that it’s usually down to boredom and convenience, so we are trying to eliminate these.
Mitochondria – the batteries of life
Pretty aren’t they? But they also convert the fuel we put in our bodies (oxygen and food) into energy, they are our energy factories, so the more we enhance our mitochondria functions, the more energy we will have.
As they also create oxygen, which can cause a ‘rust-like’ effect on our bodies, eating foods high in anti-oxidants like the vegetables explained in Part 2 can really aid your systems, so be careful and make sure that you take on board all the aspects of these pillars and make sure you use the right foods to help your systems – more details on this can be found in Dr Chatterjee’s book The Four Pillar Plan, which I urge you to read as it has a much more detailed explanation of these interventions.
Your Circadian Rhythm
There is so much still to learn in this area, but one of the things that seems to be key is that making sure you have an early evening meal or skipping it completely is more beneficial than not having a breakfast.
This is because certain functions in your body start shutting down in the evening and don’t function properly.
WE ARE NOT MACHINES! We are organic and our bodies work in routine cycles and rhythms.
We operate to our circadian rhythms and we are messing them up with the 24-7 world that we live in. Night shifts, eating late, staying awake, we are completely out of sync with our natural rhythms and wondering why we are ill.
Tools to help you with this intervention are:
- Choose a 12-hour period for your fast that suits your lifestyle – as I said, ours is 8pm to 8am, but yours may be different. It is from your last meal to your first meal, with no cheats.
- Stick to the same times each day, even weekends, as you will then sync your body to work at it’s peak for these times. Don’t worry if you have to change, but try to get back to your set times as soon as possible.
- If you are in your fasting window, try drinking water or herbal tea, or try black, decaffeinated tea or coffee (no sugar) so you don’t upset your sleep.
- Try to involve others to keep yourself motivated.
- If you slip up, don’t worry, try again, just don’t get off the bandwagon.
- Get comfortable with 12 hours before you look to change things or lengthen the time of your fasting.
These are all things I am trying to do. Fasting is the easiest as long as I don’t have snacks anywhere near, they are my downfall. I try to have something in the morning to break my fast (see what I did there! ) and then some fruit or nibbles (olives, etc., as I can’t eat nuts) so I am not over-eating where I am hungry. Water is also my friend here as it fills me up.
How about you, what will you do from this?
Until next time,