Much has been discussed about the newest spin on fasting, most often called intermittent fasting. It goes by other names as well – timed eating, delayed eating, windowed eating and various other nicknames that describe what it is in essence.
Fasting most often conjures up images of going days without eating solid food, or trying the latest concoction (usually mostly liquid), or simply doing a water-only fast. This is very tough for most people.
We’ve been conditioned through not only our individual habits, but also years of evolution to eat at designated times of day. Going without food for long periods of time, after your body is used to getting foods at fairly specific intervals, is a big adjustment.
The Compromise: Intermittent Fasting
I started to read about this type of fasting about 10 years ago. It was just entering mainstream awareness at that time, although it had been practiced for many years prior by devotees who knew it could have potential health and longevity benefits. Related: Easiest Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Diet
I had tried fasting in the more traditional sense before, and although some enjoy its vast benefits, it felt like something akin to torture to me. I tried the infamous water, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne fast. I’m sure if I would have stuck it out, that feeling of several depravation phase would have passed, but I couldn’t make it past 2 days.
I also have to add I was trying to do it with my now-husband and he quit earlier than I did, so it probably is important that if you’re doing this with a partner, you commit to it together. Otherwise, it’s tough to smell and see foods in your home when you’re not actually partaking in them.
Intermittent More Realistic?
Intermittent fasting is basically just taking longer periods of time between eating than what is considered “three square meals”, and a more normal eating schedule in the western diet. Typically and traditionally, breakfast is consumed within an hour or so of waking. Then you eat lunch around noon. Dinner comes in around 5:00 or 6:00 depending on your schedule.
When you convert to the intermittent schedule of eating and removing calorie consumption for extended periods of time, you’re essentially just compressing your eating window. To many, this seems a lot more practical as well as a more viable option. Related: Flax Seeds for Weight Management
If you, like me, have an occupation that often requires focus and undivided attention, then you really can’t afford to be running on empty when on an extended fast. Intermittent fasting gives you the flexibility to gain some of those benefits, without forgoing food for long periods of time.
An Added Benefit
Skipping breakfast adds another benefit not often talked about. It not only simplifies life and give you back the time you take to prepare breakfast foods. It also cuts down on your food budget by a bit. But there is a catch to that part.
Some people don’t love intermittent fasting because they say ‘ok sure I’m skipping breakfast, but then I feel like I make that up and more during the day!’ I totally get that thought process, and sometimes I feel like I may actually do that too. But overall, I tend to eat the same amount during the day time, in my eating window, than I would have if I had consumed a breakfast meal. I love the fact that life is simple in the morning,
I get a cup of coffee, without any cream or sweetener, and that's all I have to worry about in the morning. Overall for us, I do think it’s made us actually eat less food and less calories.
So it’s really a personal decision in the end. You could try it, and see if it’s doable for your lifestyle. And more important if it actually makes a difference in your fitness, weight and overall health goals! Related: Why Trans Fats are Destructive