Intermittent Fasting… Intermittently

I first heard about Intermittent Fasting while listening to a Tim Ferris podcast a few years ago. I don’t think the person being interviewed called it Intermittent Fasting, but he didn’t eat his first meal of the day until 3pm or 5 pm. Crazy! The thought of it gave me hunger pangs.

Two years ago, I read The New Primal Diet by Art De Vany. He proposed Intermittent Fasting and periodic full day fasting. The reasons behind his theory kind of made sense… Our body systems were built for life prior to agriculture. We still have a hunter and gatherer system. And food wasn’t always readily available. So it made sense that people didn’t have breakfast and might not eat their first meal until later in the day, after “hunting” or “gathering” it.

Skip breakfast though? That’s crazy talk! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, isn’t it? Isn’t it??

I got “hangry” just thinking about it.

Even after reading De Vany’s book, I wasn’t sold on the idea, but I kept hearing about more and more people that swore by IF. (It’s what the cool kids call “Intermittent Fasting”.)

A couple of months ago, I read an article about “autophagy”. That’s when your body eats up the old, damaged cells in your body. It gets rid of inflammation and stuff. But it only eats those things when there’s nothing else for it to eat. So, when you increase the time between meals or reduce the time window when you eat, there’s more opportunity for autophagy to take place.

That’s what IF does. You wait longer for your first meal of the day, so that your eating window is shorter. Most people eat breakfast shortly after they wake, eat periodically through the day, and might eat some snacks at night. So, the longest time between meals is the 8 hours when they’re sleeping and their eating window could be 16 hours. With intermittent fasting, you delay when you start eating and decide when you will stop eating.

For example, if your eating window was six hours, you could start eating at 2pm and stop eating at 8pm. And then, your body would be “fasting” for 18 hours. My friend Kevin likes to eat late at night, so he has a six hour window starting at 5pm. The thought of being at work all day on an empty stomach sends shivers down my spine.

But, it was the idea of autophagy that made me decide to try IF out. I only do it intermittently. Usually during the week because I find it’s easier to be pre-occupied at work. Lunch is my first meal and I’ll have it around 1 or 2pm. When I’m at home on the weekend, it’s too challenging to stay away from food. And I still love breakfast.

Believe it or not, starving yourself a little bit everyday does help you lose weight. And it’s easier starving yourself than being on a regular diet where you watch what you eat. When you fast intermittently, you can eat the way you usually do; but just not for as long.

I was at my sister’s for a barbeque and had two helpings of dinner and some dessert. The next morning when I weighed myself, I had lost half a pound! Although, to be fair, I had a short eating window that day. And dinner was my first and only meal. But it was a lot easier to do than I thought.

I’m closer to my KFC weight than I have been in four years! And it seems to be mostly due to IF.

I’m not sure if it is a forever thing, but it’s a lot easier to IF than I thought. It’s still early days. But for now, I’m happy intermittent fasting intermittently.

 

© 2019 Peter Gruner

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