At the suggestion of two subscribers, I've been experimenting with intermittent fasting. Here's what happened.
It was the comments from subscribers Geoff and Annette on the post ‘Get Started Getting Healthy’ that peaked my interest in intermittent fasting.
I did some research and thought I might as well experiment on myself for the benefit of readers.
I was also inspired by my youngest son (18) who did a full five day fast and felt better for the experience. His was more a personal challenge than for health reasons but it was an amazing effort for a young man.
There are so many different versions of fasting ranging from the 5:2 diet through to the more extreme fast my lad pursued. I chose a middle ground where all the calories I consume would be within an eight hour daily window.
It reminded me of a business partner who told me the most important meal of the day is the one you decide to skip!
That prompted me to make my first decision based on some self-analysis.
In the past I have enjoyed the benefits of not eating dinner but I generally enjoy a wine in the evening so that was out. I always loved breakfast foods but didn’t like eating in the mornings despite being told for years it was the most important meal of the day.
Both personal choices narrowed the 8 hour eating window. It led to me deciding not to consume calories before 2pm or after 10pm. Given my lifestyle this is a little flexible but whenever the last calorie is consumed, I am allowing sixteen hours to elapse before the next.
I have to level with you that this approach has challenged almost everything I have experienced in respect to losing fat and staying lean. My previous experience has always emphasised regular small meals free of simple carbohydrates (basic sugars) coupled with a daily exercise regime.
Anyway, I gave it a go and after only two weeks here are some thoughts.
Firstly, I can’t give you any weight changes because I do not use scales. I gave those up long ago when the ‘metrics’ defined me as overweight even though I was rowing for Australia and had 6% body fat!
Now I’d rather focus on how I feel in respect to mental clarity and physical energy. In the parlance of that famous move The Castle it’s always about the vibe.
And I have to tell you the vibe is pretty good.
For the past fortnight I have not eaten until after 2pm every day and sometimes it has been much later than that. Incredibly, I haven’t experienced any loss in energy although my wife might suggest I am an enthusiastic consumer when the eating hour arrives.
So after a couple of weeks what’s the take out?
From my experience, skipping meals doesn’t do any harm. It might even do some good. My clothes are a little less snug and I feel a bit ‘sharper’. That’s a hard thing to define but mental acuity seems better.
This morning I went for a near 20 km walk and felt great despite the absence of food.
The last couple of weeks are likely not a long enough period to assess the long-term implications of intermittent fasting but my experience has encouraged me to give it a crack for another period of self-experimentation.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress but if you are into intermittent fasting, please share your experience or suggestions in the comments section below.