Beyond the Paleo, Eden, and Cyclical Ketogenic Diets (which I discussed in The Art of Eating (part 2 of 3)) another great thing to try out is Intermittent Fasting. I find it to be a very enjoyable and worthwhile thing to try out when it comes to eating and dieting. The basic rules revolve around alternating from periods of fasting (no food consumption) to short periods of non-fasting. All in all, your body still gets the necessary calories to stay healthy and nourished.
I realize many people may stop in their tracks when it comes to the word “fasting” – but trust me, there is NOTHING to worry about. You will not starve. I repeat, you will not die from starvation if you fast. In fact, you will most likely PROLONG your life if you fast!
Back in the hunter and gatherer days, early humans did not likely eat three convenient meals everyday. In fact, they went weeks without food at times (believe it or not, it is possible to survive without food for weeks on end). In those days, people had to go out and search for food because they didn’t have an HEB or Walmart down the street.
As explained in The Art of Eating (Part 1 of 3), early humans had to walk miles on end and hunt game and gather fruits, veggies, nuts, roots and whatever else they could find to consume. Once they found food, they would replenish their bodies until they were satisfied.
That being said, humans are not built to continuously consume food without temporary periods of fasting. For more than 99% of our existence, we did not have refrigerators and freezers to keep food from spoiling. Additionally, we did not have restaurants, food markets, and grocery stores to eat whenever we had a hunger craving. Food was not readily available like it is now.
“Humans are not built to continuously consume food without temporary periods of fasting.”
The Intermittent Fasting Guidelines:
The rules for Intermittent Fasting are quite simple: go for long periods of time (usually 16 hours for men and 14 hours for women) without food, and then eat for the remaining time (in a 24-hour period).
Rinse and repeat.
Interestingly, most of us are set in our daily routines of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating more or less than 3 meals a day (or skipping a meal or two) is considered abnormal. In fact, within our society, our family and peers likely worry about us if we skip meals – or God forbid, all THREE meals in a day. While undergoing Intermittent Fasting, one must break the cycle of the 3-square-meal habit of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In all honesty, as a born and raised American, I’ll be the first to admit that it feels strange to do this initially: I noticed a significant amount of peer pressure to stay devoted to three meals a day because my friends, family, and coworkers would ask me what I had for breakfast and lunch. Many times they would ask me if I wanted to join them for a meal, and when I told them that I wasn’t eating until later, they would look at me strangely. Some even came to the conclusion that I was somehow starving myself and needed to eat more.
Little did they know that I was not losing any weight whatsoever.
When you are intermittent fasting, you alternate from fasting and breaking the fast. This period is known by many as the fabled “eating window” and usually lasts around 8 hours. It is also recommended by many sources to eat 6 or so meals during this time but this is not mandatory.
The first meal when you break the fasting period should typically be the largest. Then the next five or so meals are rather small. You can feel this out for yourself and play around with different food quantities – just be sure to consume your normal daily caloric intake. I like to listen to my body and simply eat when I’m hungry and stop eating when my hunger subsides. Makes sense, right?
There are MANY health benefits of intermittent fasting including increased fat loss, increased life span, improved cognitive function, protection against some Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease effects, and possible decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
So give Intermittent Fasting a try. I think you’d be missing out if you didn’t!
I’ll leave you with this entertaining video of two Intermittent Fasting body builders. **Viewer Discretion Is Advised (explicit content)
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I am an enthusiastic explorer of life, modern philosopher and life coach. I write about optimal living and the pursuit of happiness. I also host the Find Your Greatness health podcast on iTunes and interview experts, coaches, authors and inspiring entrepreneurs every week. Follow me on Facebook.
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