Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity over the years. It’s a favorite among dieters, regardless of weight or sex.
There’s some validity to intermittent fasting. There have been incredible results of weight loss from this diet.
But it’s not only great for weight loss. Intermittent fasting can do many amazing things. Having the right intermittent fasting plan can do more than just fat loss and help insulin levels. Changing your eating pattern and food intake can also increase your productivity.
It’s worth giving intermittent fasting a chance if your productivity has gone downhill.
In this article, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about intermittent fasting and productivity. All the way from how the fasting works to impressive success stories.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
So, what exactly is intermittent fasting? Well, it’s any fasting period where you go back and forth between eating. There are several different types of intermittent fasting.
Fasting can mean that you don’t eat at all or that you don’t eat more than a quarter of your usual calorie intake.
The number one goal of going on an intermittent fasting schedule is weight loss. And how does this allow you to lose weight?
When we eat, our bodies create energy. But we can’t burn all that energy right away so our caloric intake is stored for later.
During this process, the insulin in our bodies goes up. It’s what helps your body store what you’ve eaten and affects other aspects, like body weight and blood sugar levels.
Carbs are broken down into sugar and get sent to your liver and your muscles, but there’s only so much room for the sugar.
Anything extra goes to your liver to be turned into fat. The majority of that fat is sent to other fat deposits. This is how fat builds up on your body and you gain weight.
When you’re not consuming food (fasting), your insulin level will fall. As your insulin falls, your blood glucose falls. This leads to your body pulling glucose out of storage to burn.
The glucose molecules give your body extra energy that can last around 24 hours, sometimes longer. Once that’s gone, your body starts burning your fat for energy.
The top three types of fasting include:
- Alternate Day Fasting: Alternate day fasting is when you eat normal calories one day. The next day you fast. You go back and forth.
- Time Restricted Fasting: A time restricted fast is when you only eat during certain hours of the day. The most popular is the 16:8 fast. You get an eight-hour window to eat. Then you go for 16 hours without eating.
- Whole Day Fasting: Whole day fasting is when you fast for so many days of the week. The rest of the days, you eat as you normally would.
Intermittent Fasting and Productivity
We discussed how intermittent fasting helps you lose weight. But it’s time to discuss how it affects your brain.
When you fast, your body starts creating brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This is also called abreneuren. BDNF is a protein in your nerve cells.
Your brain is in what’s called “starvation mode.”This is when your body goes into starvation mode and turns energy into fat.
The BDNF protein plays a part in a lot of functions that come from your brain. It’s active in your basal forebrain, cerebral cortex, and hippocampus.
These areas of the brain work with your learning, your memory, and your cognitive function. That’s just for starters.
The basal forebrain helps you with your attention. Your attention is considered your ability to focus on what’s relevant at that time.
Sustained attention is an executive function.
For example, instead of scrolling through Facebook, you need to work on a work project. Good attention will have you working on the project instead of checking out social media.
That attention helps you focus. What does more focus mean for you? It means you have higher productivity and you’re not distracted by unimportant things.
See, the nucleus basalis plays a large role in stimulating areas of the basal forebrain. In the basal forebrain, the nucleus basalis is part of the neuromodulatory system.
The neuromodulatory system controls behavior by regulating your attention.
The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the top of your brain. It’s also the largest part of the brain.
The frontal lobe, one area of the cerebral cortex, deals with your ability to plan. Cognitive planning is also an executive function.
In your frontal lobe, there’s the ventrolateral frontal cortex. This area and your hippocampus work together to help you plan and make decisions.
In planning, you know what you need to do. So, you go through with the actions needed to reach your goal.
Once you know what you need to do, focus is much easier. And the ability to focus leads to what? Productivity.
You can find your hippocampus under your cerebral cortex. The hippocampus is packed with neurons.
It’s also part of the limbic system, a cortical region. This region helps regulate motivation, emotion, learning, and memory.
For motivation, the amygdala does most of the work. Motivation is a requirement to hit your productivity goals.
The nucleus accumbens makes a link between the limbic system and your motor system.
The mesolimbic system works to move dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by neurons. Neurotransmitters send an electrical signal to a neuron. The neurons then pass the neurotransmitter back and forth in the central nervous system.
Then, dopamine is moved to the nucleus amygdala, hippocampus, and nucleus accumbens.
It creates a happy feeling when it comes to rewards for your actions.
This can be a good thing. For example, when you finish a work project, you can receive a hit of dopamine. You’re feeling good and ready to start your next project.
You’re getting stuff done.
Now, this has been known to cause addiction, too. It’s the same chemical released when someone is using drugs.
They get addicted to the high and the euphoria they feel when rewarded with dopamine.
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
We know about the weight loss and productivity that intermittent fasting brings. But these aren’t the only benefits of this unbelievable diet.
If you’re going to fast, you need to know everything there is to know about this type of fasting.
Improves Your Memory
When BDNF (the protein we discussed earlier) is increased by fasting, there’s also an increase of mitochondria in your nerve cells.
This increases their ability to form synapses, as well as maintain these synapses. It’s the synapses in the brain that deal with memory.
This process also increases your ability to learn and maintain what you learned.
Fights Inflammation in Your Body
Your body shouldn’t be dealing with inflammation all the time.
When this happens, your body is open to chronic conditions. The most common being rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Constant inflammation in your body is no joke. But fasting helps treat inflammation and chronic inflammatory conditions.
During intermittent fasting mode, the amount of pro-inflammatory cells is cut down. These cells exist in your blood circulation.
When you fast for a long time, the same pro-inflammatory cells just stop.
Helps You Control Your Blood Sugar
Remember how we discussed how your insulin drops when you’re intermittent fasting? Well, when the insulin drops your blood glucose drops.
With less insulin, your body can move glucose to your cells easier.
If you have high blood sugar, that’s going to drop. Instead of only hanging out, the glucose is working for your health.
A study from 2017 observed patients with type 2 diabetes. These patients had a high drop in blood sugar after intermittent fasting.
Tips for Intermittent Fasting
If you’re going to intermittent fast to boost your productivity, we have tips for you. You’re walking into something new and that can be scary.
But our tips will help you out so you can feel secure in what you’re doing.
You Need to Find the Right Method for You
Not any intermittent fasting diet is going to work for you. You need to find the right method that suits your body and your lifestyle.
Examine the methods and analyze how these methods will match up with your life and schedule.
Once you find an intermittent fasting diet you think fits you, test it out. If there aren’t results after three or four weeks, switch it up.
With motivation, you will find a fasting method that will have you checking off your to-do list.
Don’t Jump Head First into Your New Intermittent Fasting Diet
Intermittent fasting is new to you and it’s new to your body. So, you don’t want to start a fasting diet where you don’t eat for 24 hours.
There’s no shame in going slowly. It gives your body time to get used to the idea of fasting.
Otherwise, it can be a difficult process. You’ll feel weak and irritable. And you’ll be hungry, of course.
Make the time to Meal Prep
You’ll thank yourself for prepping your meals for each non-fasting day.
Prepping your meals means you can take the time to build something nutritional. Instead of grabbing whatever is in the vending machine at work.
Just because it’s your eating day, doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with junk food. Otherwise, your productivity results will be minimal.
Intermittent Fasting Success Stories
Nobody was kidding about the results from intermittent fasting. This includes an increase in brainpower and cognition. Which leads to productivity.
Here are some quotes from intermittent fasting lovers. These people have gone through the process and have felt the increased productivity for themselves.
Dr. Rahul Jandial is a neuroscientist who researches cancer. His experience with intermittent fasting has helped him keep focused and has improved his cognition.
“I recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their mood and hit peak cognition.”
Mayo Oshin graduated from the University of Bristol in the U.K. He’s a Qualified Reinsurance Broker. But he’s also a self-help writer who uses science to better himself and his readers.
“I’ve scheduled my most important tasks before I break my fast. This allows me to match my peak energy levels with my top priorities, resulting in higher levels of productivity.”
James Clear wrote a New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits. He focuses on self-help topics, from creativity to productivity. He’s also a self-help public speaker for large companies.
“I’m most productive during the first three hours of my morning.”
Shashank Mehta writes on the subject of health and weight loss. He likes to try out new diets to see how they go.
“I’m a lot more focused. I make work-lists and actually get through them. I work non-stop, without feeling the need for a break. And, here’s the crazy thing, I also need lesser coffee!”
Intermittent fasting can do wonders for your productivity. And for your brain health, in general.
CEOs, artists, doctors are all going through this diet for the boost in productivity. They might be on to something. The science is there, after all.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a good idea for anyone with an eating disorder, pregnant women, minors, and anyone with Type 1 diabetes.
Source of Featured Image: canva.com