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If you’re looking for ways to eat healthily, you’ll have noticed that the foods you include on your plate aren’t the only factor to be considered. In the end, you should thrive for better metabolic flexibility: better use of sugar and fat for energy purposes. The solution, according to functional medicine practitioner Will Cole, is a combination of intuitive eating and intermittent fasting: intuitive fasting. Learn what it is, together with how to practice it and which benefits you’ll experience!
Metabolic flexibility: What is it and which benefits does it provide?
As you may already know, there are two elements from which your body can get its energy. Both sugar (in your blood, as glucose) and fat work as “fuel” to carry out the activities that your body performs. The difference between them, however, is that sugar is used in the moments after its consumption for short-term energy, while fat is usually stored for a more sustainable source of energy that works in the long-term.
This means that your body will alternate between sugar and fat as “fuels” according to the situation you’re in. Metabolic flexibility is directly related to this process, as it’s the optimum fuel burning of fat and sugar. The keys are keeping a good balance between both energy sources and quickly adapting the body to the one available.
As opposed to metabolic flexibility, metabolic rigidity can happen when your body is stuck on one energy source and continues to burn that one instead of alternating with the other one. This can have several negative effects on your mind and body, including irritability, bad mood, fatigue, and insatiable cravings. The latter, for example, occurs when the body only uses sugar as fuel, which works only in the short-term and regularly leaves you needing more.
Intuitive eating and intermittent fasting: How do they work and why do they help your body?
Many people rely on intuitive eating to achieve a healthy diet, and that’s great. Paying attention to what you’re eating and its effects on your body can bring you more happiness and consciousness with every meal. However, people in a state of metabolic rigidity can’t carry out this practice properly. Their imbalance makes it harder to tell intuitive and stress eating apart, and what may seem like a good eating habit can take a wrong turn very quickly.
Instead, functional medicine practitioner Will Cole proposes a new approach that takes some elements from intuitive eating and combines it with another eating habit: intermittent fasting. This practice is commonly used to achieve healthy leptin levels and a healthy weight. Leptin is the hormone that controls the use of fat stored in the body by signaling the brain when to use it. If the brain becomes indifferent to these signals by becoming leptin-resistant, it’ll believe it’s in a state of starvation and will make your body store all the fat it consumes. As a consequence, the body won’t let you lose weight even if you exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet.
Intuitive fasting: The way to metabolic flexibility
Intuitive fasting, whose name derives from a combination of “intuitive eating” and “intermittent fasting”, is a new eating habit created by Will Cole to achieve metabolic flexibility. By including two practices followed to gain food satisfaction and energy restoration, he believes intuitive fasting to be a great way for your to get in touch with your body’s needs.
The professional’s plan towards metabolic flexibility includes both eating and fasting cycles that are contracted and expanded. The goal isn’t a restrictive diet or starvation: it’s like a yoga class that helps you enhance your intuition and connect with your body. For this goal, Will Cole has come up with scheduled fasting windows that are combined with a clean and largely plant-based diet known as the ketotarian diet.
A ketotarian diet boosts your body’s ketones production, which is also benefitted from intermittent fasting. This molecule has several positive effects on your body, as it acts as a way to burn fat as well as a signal for the body to reduce inflammation, increase stem cells, create healthier mitochondria, and more. To follow a diet of this type, you’ll need to choose vegetables rich in sulfur, low-fructose fruits, seeds, nuts, sea vegetables, coconut derivates, and a periodically increased amount of clean carbs.