Last year at my peak, I worked out six days a week, sometimes twice a day, and I was in pretty good shape (now I’m down to once a week). I never quite got the hang of my diet though, I was working with a personal trainer in the gym, and she drew me up a diet plan to help with this.
It had three complex meals per day, all of which required cooking from scratch, it also had snacks that required preparing between each meal. The prep and cooking time for the week was sky high, and the cost of the ingredients was 2-3 times what I was used to paying.
As you can probably imagine, due to the complexity of this plan, it didn’t last very long at all, only a few days in fact, and I knew it wasn’t going to work.
Then a friend of mine told me about intermittent fasting. How it works is that rather than eating and/or snacking throughout the day, you have set periods to eat and set periods to fast, where you only drink water. The most common setup of this is an 8-hour eating window and a 16-hour fasting window.
Humans were never supposed to eat, drink and snack all day, but modern lifestyles and convenience foods have led us down this path, and poor health has followed.
By giving your body a sustained period of time without eating or drinking anything other than water, instead of making your body work to process food constantly, you’re actually giving it time to reset itself.
There are many benefits to fasting, but personally, the main one which drew me in is fat loss. While fasting, after a certain period of time, rather than using food for energy and doing all the things your body needs to do, it instead uses your fat stores. This is a natural and healthy way to maintain a good weight.
For a few months last year I would aim to intermittent fast for five days out of seven, from 7pm until 11am. I’d skip breakfast and have brunch at 11am, and dinner at around 6pm, with a protein shake in the afternoon. It worked really well and helped me feel healthier and lose a few pounds.
The best thing about fasting is that once you get your head around it, it’s relatively easy. There are no complicated meal plans, you can eat the same sorts of foods as you do now (although it’s better to eat healthy), all you have to do is not eat for a certain part of the day.
I haven’t yet done a multi-day fast, but I will. Incorporating fasting into my everyday life is my primary goal at the moment. The main reason is that I believe diet is about 80% of the battle for having a healthy body, with exercise the other 20%. If I can nail fasting (and healthy eating), that’s the part which will have the most impact.
Having a healthy body and healthy mind improves all aspects of a person’s life, it helps me feel happier and more fulfilled… I can think better, work better and be more creative as a result. That’s what I’m striving for.
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