*GASP* You don’t even breakfast?! You, Miss Health Nut, fitness pro, not eating breakfast?! For shame!
That’s a direct quote.
It came immediately after revealing my reason for scarfing a gargantuan lunch post-workout to a friend who had dropped by [for tea…oops].
I get it. The media and even mainstream health resources have beaten us over the head with all sorts of diet advice that places breakfast on a throne and instills the fear of god into anyone who allows four hours to pass without a snack.
It’s easy to get inundated with “facts” from advertisers and to consequently forget the motives of our “knowledge providers.” Thus, we begin believing a hefty two-serving bowl of Neon Sugar Bombs is a far superior way to start our day than to skip eating during the the morning hours altogether.
The actual scientific research about Intermittent Fasting (IF) tells a different story.
Pat has written about it pretty excessively, so it is NOT my intention now to describe it and provide you with an exhaustive list of its benefits. Trust me (or trust Pat), it holds benefits for fat loss and has also been linked to myriad other health improvements.
Instead, I’m going to use personal anecdotal evidence to provide you with…
9 Reasons You Should Try Intermittent Fasting (aside from goals of weight loss)
I had done IF before, but it didn’t suit my fancy.
This time, it happened quite naturally–incidentally, even.
I wasn’t hungry for dinner one night, and I didn’t feel particularly ready for my eggs until later than usual the next morning.
Because of my day’s schedule, I ended up eating all of my meals/calories within a 6-8 hour window that day, and–Lo and Behold–I began a very loose 16/8[ish] IF routine, going moment by moment, sort of just watching with curiosity to see how long it might last without any effort on my end.
My IF pattern was further encouraged when I engorged myself on a huge mid-day Mexican feast that Sunday, and felt no desire to eat afterward until mid-morning on Monday.
I felt great, my energy levels were good, my stress levels were steadily low, PLUS I ate alllll of the refried beans, cheese, and guacamole without thought about excessivity.
I was sold. Even putting a little effort into maintaining it seemed undeniably worth it.
And it had nothing to do with weight loss.
The following are several reasons I have discovered as to why anyone should try a minimal 3-week commitment to IF.
- You really get to know yourself in times of hunger.
- I can’t put this into words. Just know that you may experience a staggering increase in self-awareness. Fasting is psychological.
- It’s good to practice feeling hungry.
- It’s totally okay and actually beneficial to get hungry. IF teaches you to feel hunger that is unaccompanied by any sense of panic. It teaches you to handle hunger with patience and mindfulness, without going into scarcity mode, losing control, and/or giving into binge-eating tendencies.
- You realize all of your reasons for eating that are not related to your actual need for nourishment.
- When you fast, you realize all of the instances in which you’re led to eat due to boredom or other extrinsic influences, such as the time of day or the fact that others are eating. Suddenly, you begin eating only when you require a refueling.
- Huge meals are fun.
- This cannot be overstated. Having one mega-meal is uncannily satisfying. If you are accustomed to devoting some thought to “managing nutritional comprises” (as I wrote about the other week), then IF flips that on its head. When it comes to sharing a protein-packed, fat-layered, carbohydrate-rich meal with family and friends without concern of balancing macronutrients, IF wins in the fun department. I mean, it’s hard to go over your calorie allotment when you’re only eating a meal or two.
- Hydration becomes second nature.
Grab a Snickers.Craving? Gulp some water. My hydration has been on point, as I find myself reaching for my water bottle during my fasting periods.
- It’s convenient.
- Seriously. It’s such a relief to not worry about eating every few hours! What can be simpler than NOT packing food or making sure you have a snack with you?!
- You are able to discover your natural patterns of eating, working out, resting, etc.
- I comfortably settled into an IF schedule that perfectly suits my natural rhythms. I feel better, I workout better, I sleep better.
- It’s one way of hitting reset on your diet/nutrition.
- Whether you tend to overeat or undereat, whether you have a weird relationship with food or not, IF will quickly force you to become more in tuned to your natural hunger and satiety signals.
- It facilitates insightful practice in self-discipline, resulting in empowerment.
- Sometimes sticking to fasting windows and feeding windows requires self-discipline. With iron-clad self-discipline, there’s no fear or second-guessing, or planning ahead for events or planning around events. You are not a slave to your hunger or your temptations. It’s likely that you’ll notice this level of empowerment the first time when you’re out to dinner with friends during a fasting period, and–instead of just snacking on celery or getting a salad because you “aren’t hungry”–you actually just don’t eat. And…yeah…there’s just something cool about that.
Thinking about taking the plunge into IF?
Have you taken the plunge already? What have you experienced?
Share your comments below!
30s hop squats (stay in a deep squat, but keep bouncing!)
30s reverse lunge R
30s reverse lunge L
30s hop squats
30s sprawl outs
30s side lunge R
30s side lunge L
30s sprawl outs
45s plank mountain climber crosses (R knee to L elbow, L knee to R elbow)
P.S. Pat writes an awful lot about IF and tons of other interesting topics–related to weight loss as well as general well-being–in his daily emails. If you aren’t on the list, subscribe HERE!