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Intermittent fasting

August 17, 2011

Lately it doesn’t feel like I have much self experimentation in my life. Low carb has become a way of life for me. I know it works, and I don’t have any intention of ever returning to how things were. Right now I am doing cheat days, and those may or may not stay. As I get closer to my goal and reach my goal I will start incorporating some foods that I am staying away from right now like small amounts of fruit, nuts, nut butter, and nut flower.

So today I decided to start experimenting with fasting. I had read about people doing “intermittent fasting” where they fast one random day of the week, every week. So I did that. I ate dinner last night at about 9:30pm and didn’t eat again till about 9:30pm tonight. The awesome thing is I was not even hungry all day! I didn’t start to get even slightly hungry till about 8:00-8:30pm. I was unsure as to how long a fast should last so I did some googling. Even though I heard people calling a random weekly fast intermittent fasting when I searched google it seemed that meant something else.

It seems that intermittent fasting is where every day of the week you have a set 16 hours where you don’t eat and then 8 hours where you do eat. According to some when you do this you can even get away with eating some pretty junky food and still shed weight like crazy. I’m not interested in eating junk on normal days, but it was interesting. These days I just don’t trust science the way I used to and I don’t care what this study or that study showed. What I want is to hear how something effected a real individual, the n=1 approach.

So I thought about people I know and was reminded of my dad. He typically eats one meal a day, and not always a very good one. I remember him sitting down with a box of Ritz crackers, a jar of peanut butter, a block of cheddar, and a bottle of scotch and pretty much finishing it all. My dad is not the most fit man in the world, but he is pretty lean and in pretty good health. So my dad seemed to follow this approach with out even knowing it.

Then I thought about myself. I don’t really get hungry. I say I am hungry a lot to justify eating, but really I just love the taste of food. When my wife and I first started dating I lived off of Taco Bell kids meals and Denny’s. Not good food at all, but I lost tons of weight. How? I only ate when I was hungry and that was usually every 2 or 3 days.

So it seems to me that the idea of 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating would fit me pretty naturally. So when I got home today I went ahead and ate even though I wasn’t really all that hungry. For now I am going to experiment with this intermittent fasting, but more in the way my dad did it. Monday-Thursday I am only going to eat at night when I get home (9pm), Friday I will eat from 4pm to 12am (but I usually go to bed at 10-11pm), Saturday is cheat day and I will eat what/when I want, and then Sunday will be like Friday. If this doesn’t work out and I start feeling bad in any way or getting too hungry I will obviously stop it. The goal is to find what works well for me and experiment with new ideas, but not to hurt myself.

 

Have any of you experimented with intermittent fasting or any form of fasting before? How did/does it work for you. One thing I noticed is that my mind was much clearer today. Ever since going low carb I have not been tormented with thoughts of food like I used to, but still think about food a lot. Today however I found that I very rarely thought of food. This was a very nice change for me, and if that is something I can always expect I am going to love intermittent fasting!

 

 

(I think I may start including pictures I take with my posts)

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6 Comments
  1. Lynn permalink
    August 18, 2011 06:17

    Hi Aaron,
    I tried a fasting day just a few days ago. Like you, I was kinda surprised at how easy it was. There were a couple minutes in the afternoon where I thought a hamburger sounded delicious, but I wasn’t feeling actual hunger. In fact I can’t remember what hunger feels like very much.

    I, too, know someone who eats only one meal a day usually. It’s my daughter, who is in her 30’s. She’s not fixated on food and simply would rather smoke and drink iced tea and just eat a good supper. She’s more a night person than a morning person and gets revved up to start doing stuff in the late afternoon.

    I also have a daughter-in-law who I don’t think really eats much during the day. They eat dinner really late each night. She also is a smoker. Another factor is she enjoys drinking beer in the evening, so I’m sure that helps her postpone eating til later.

    I’m not recommending smoking or drinking-lol-just telling you the factors. So I think the people I know who eat only one meal a day most days are not like me (carb addict, fixated on food.) I think it’s probably good for them that they only eat one meal, because think about it-they probably generally take in many fewer calories than most people, day after day. They are both slim, by the way.

    Right now, my experiment is similar to yours. I’m starting it today. I want to eat breakfast, then wait til about 3 pm before I eat again. The reason that’s big for me is that I tend to start eating lunch in late morning and it kinda drags out for several hours. So midday is the time I’m most likely to overeat. I’m thinking I’ll wait til 4 pm after that, then 5, then 6. Then at 6 pm approximately, I’ll have a low carb meal with the family. I think I can do it, but it will be a big change. And you’ve inspired me to be free to try something different if that doesn’t really work for me.

    I’m excited, which sounds silly, but just thinking it through now to realize that if you eat only one meal or two per day, your calorie intake is generally lower than other people’s and I think that is a great benefit for your body. I don’t think I’ll ever be indifferent to food, but just fasting that one day made me realize that it’s no big deal to go a day without eating. Plus the beauty is that our bodies adapt to things after awhile-just like we used to couldn’t imagine living without potato chips and cookies and now would they are way less enticing.

    • August 18, 2011 06:45

      My dad is a smoker too… I think it helps suppress your appetite. When I first started dating my wife I was also a smoker, but have since given that up! I think though that since we do not consume high level of carbs every day that our blood sugar is able to stay more steady throughout the day and we are better adjusted to having a lunch of body fat instead.

      Your experiment seems like a great personalized way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and find what you can handle.

      Lately I am very focused on my body & mind. I don’t want to force anything anymore. If I am hungry I will eat, if I am thirsty I will drink, and if I feel like burning up energy I will work/play/exercise. It is amazing, like you said, how well our bodies adapt to new stuff and when we take the time to listen to our bodies we will learn to follow what our body needs and not eat just because it’s “lunch time.”

      I don’t think I will ever be indifferent to food either, I just love it too much, but I think that I will think about it far less with intermittent fasting. We’ll see though!

      Thanks for the input!

  2. Lynn permalink
    August 18, 2011 06:24

    Oh, one more thing (and I was determined to be brief today-lol). I was chuckling imagining your father sitting there happy and healthy and slim enjoying his little repast-while watching a video of the government showing the food pyramid-where you’re supposed to eat 6-11 servings of grains, etc. Do you see the absurdity of it all?

    I think it would serve people better if the government instead had an ad campaign-“America: next time you want to eat-DON’T. Skip a meal a day!”

    • August 18, 2011 06:48

      It is a funny image to picture!

      Personally I think it would serve the people better if the government wasn’t in the business of telling us what to eat. I just can’t trust that their recommendations aren’t influenced by economic factors and not real evidence.

  3. August 18, 2011 10:12

    Hi Aaron,

    LIke you, I only eat when hungry, with the exception of protein shake which I drink before and after my workouts. I feel that my mind is clearer, my body moves more fluidly, and I don’t think about food as much as before.

    Apparently we think alike with regard to government “science” as well. I am always skeptical of government sponsored studies/recommendations…always concerned about the motivation.

    Good luck in good health,
    David

    • August 18, 2011 16:00

      This is day two of my intermittent fasting and I am really loving it. I feel better in every way so far.

      I have come to the point where I just don’t trust our government to make certain decisions for me. Especially when I find from personal experience that what they say is just flat out wrong. I want my government to protect me from major threats and that’s about it.

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