What happens during the night?
When you stop eating in the evening, something significant starts to take place. Whatever it is that you have eaten during the day will become fuel for your body to burn until it is that you eat again the next day. When you stop eating, your blood sugar will begin to decrease, as well as your insulin levels. More and more of the fat that you ate, more and more of the carbohydrates that you ate during your day will start to be released from your fat storage, which is in your fat cells. The more time passes without eating while your sleeping, the more fat you will burn. The fat that begins to flow out of your fat tissues keeps fuelling your body until the next morning, and that is why you can sleep during the night without being constantly bothered by hunger pangs.
It is important to realize that during the day your body is in constant flux. When you eat, you add fat to your fat cells and once you start digesting what you have eaten, then you start releasing that fat from your fat cells. The more fat you release from your fat cells, the leaner you become.
When what you gain in fat during the day is equal to the amount that you burn during the night, this allows you to maintain your weight. However, if you want to lose weight, then you would actually have to burn more fat during the night then the fat you gain during the day.
It is the insulin you produce that is the driver of this cycle. When insulin levels go up so does the storage of fat, and when insulin levels go down, the fat is being used as fuel, and being burned. That means if your insulin levels are elevated for an extended period of time you are also extending the period of time you are storing fat. It is also shortening the period when the fat is being burned, and when this is happening it won’t actually take long to start to pack on the pounds, slowly but surely over time.
The other thing that happens when you are sleeping, is that you are actually entering into ketosis. The lower the carbohydrates are in your diet, your body starts to run on molecules called ‘ketones’. Ketones are mobilized from fat tissue when eating carbohydrates at a minimum, resulting in insulin levels being low. Ketones can provide as much as three quarters of the energy that your brain uses. That is why carbohydrate restricted diets, are known as Ketogenic diets. Carbohydrates are fattening while fat and protein become the fuel for the brain.
So over night, when you are sleeping, you are burning your excess fat for fuel. Your liver takes some of this fat, converts it to ketones, and your brain works off of that energy. This not only happens when you are sleeping, but it happens anytime you skip a meal. As the night progresses, more fat is burned, and the liver increases the production of ketones. It has actually been reported that your body runs more efficiently on ketones, and as such, it is a healthier way of being.
Some people actually use this process to their benefit in order to avoid feeling hungry. They put themselves to bed. Going to bed can be a great avoidance strategy. So, going to bed is actually a strategy for fasting. Keeping yourself busy and occupied away from food is another. It is good to remember that you won’t have to be concerned about starving yourself during the day, because when you have already fasted for 8-10 hours during the night, you have done a good job for ketosis as well as weight loss.
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