Intermittent fasting beats laziness

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Students who feel a lack of energy to do their school work should try intermittent fasting. It is a proven way to beat laziness and increase energy that lasts throughout the day.

Intermittent fasting is a way of eating where you limit the window of time in which you eat to a smaller portion of the day. Some types of intermittent fasting include the 16/8 or 5:2 methods.

This fasting, no matter which method, does not specify what to eat but rather when to eat. The 16/8 method makes you fast for 16 hours and eat in an eight-hour window during the day. 

For example, you can generally eat lunch between 2-3 p.m. in the afternoon and a big dinner around 9 p.m. One would not eat breakfast in this case, but you can drink coffee, tea and water.

On the other hand, the 5:2 method consists of eating as you normally would for five days, then fasting for two days out of the week. So, you would be restricting your eating for only two days out of the week.

Be mindful of your own dietary and medical needs, however, as this type of fasting is not for everyone. 

An aspect of intermittent fasting is decreased appetite, so not eating for long periods during the day is not so bad for most.

Scientists found that this type of eating can increase productivity by making one more clear-headed with more energy to complete tasks. After a big breakfast, on the other hand, one can feel more lethargic due to digestion and may just want to take a nap.

Normally, eating throughout the day makes our metabolism go up and down through cycles to break down carbohydrates and make them into blood sugar. This sugar is used or saved for later. But, after the blood sugar is used or stored, your energy and mental performance drop.

Then, after blood sugar drops, we usually feel hungry and eat again, making our energy also go through this cycle of up and down. Intermittent fasting, however, helps you feel this up and down cycle less often.

Fasting uses fat for energy instead of blood sugar. Fat is slowly digested before being used as energy. Therefore, one feels a more prolonged, sustained energy rather than a burst of energy followed by crashing. This way, we can concentrate better and beat laziness with more energy.

This eating schedule means that, between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., you get the vast majority of difficult work done. You would not have eaten yet, therefore you would not have the lethargic effects of digestion yet. 

In addition to having more energy, research from the National Institute on Aging shows that intermittent fasting increases the number of neural cells in a person, enhancing brain function.

Students should try intermittent fasting to feel more energized and be more productive.

Opinion editor Maryam Baldawi is a biology junior and can be reached at [email protected].

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