The subtle art of self-discipline and gluttony
One less popular but incredibly effective diet is known as intermittent fasting. Like other lifestyles (e.g., paleo), this takes its roots from our primitive ancestors, for whom food was never guaranteed. They would spend their days looking for food and—if they were successful—their evenings feasting on the bounty. Intermittent fasting suggests adopting the same strategy of feast and famine. Of course, we like to focus our energy on the first part, because while fasting is easy, eating right is much harder.
We don’t suggest traditional fasting. You should never feel like you are suffering or starving yourself. Everyone is different—some people can fast all day without even noticing, while others get grumpy if they don’t eat every three hours. Our intermittent feasting strategy is designed to help anyone fast without ever feeling like they are starving.
This diet strategy works because it targets both of our obesity culprits. Most important, it decreases the amount of time per day that you spend eating, which often decreases overall calorie intake. Additionally, the long breaks between feasts will likely result in lower blood insulin levels.
This diet strategy is the least popular of those we suggest, because most people tend to find it intimidating. But don’t fret! It really isn’t that hard.
If you choose to adopt this strategy there are two common myths we should quickly bust.
· Myth: If you chose not to eat, your body goes into “starvation mode” and decreases the calories you burn at rest, making it impossible to lose weight.
o Truth: If you eat fewer calories, you’ll lose weight. If “starvation mode” was a real thing, anorexia would be impossible.
· Myth: You have to eat many small meals a day to “stoke your metabolism.”
o Truth: Your metabolism isn’t like a campfire that needs to be tended. Think of it more like a gas tank: You can put a few bucks of gas in at every station or fill up all at once. Either way, your car gets the same miles per gallon.
This strategy is great for people who:
· Have high levels of self-discipline
· Don’t feel hungry in the morning
· Are NOT diabetic or prediabetic
· Prefer big meals
How do you do it?
1) Consume nothing but water, coffee, or tea until noon.
2) Eat your food for the day in an 8- to 10-hour window. (Most people go from noon until 10 p.m. and build up to noon to 8 p.m., but any window works.)
If fasting until noon becomes too challenging, feel free to eat leafy green veggies during that time. Again: at no point should you ever be in extreme discomfort.
Finally, remember you still have to feast on healthy foods. Do not use 16 hours of fasting as an excuse to eat junk. Aim to cut out processed foods and you’ll have no trouble finding success with this strategy.