Not too long ago I met a nice guy. A tall, athletic guy looking to join the military. He wasn’t overly fit but he certainly wasn’t fat either. Compared to the average male I’d say he was lean and athletic looking yet he thought he was fat. (Isn’t it strange how we can look in the mirror and see a different person to the one everyone else sees?) So he decided to go on a new diet called intermittent fasting.
Now I don’t quite know which version of the diet he went on. I don’t know if he followed it to plan. Or if he went off on a crazy tangent and took it too far (maybe he got a little carried away and fasted too long). I don’t know the details but… What I do know is that he ended up in the hospital. He ended up so hungry that his stomach acid started to erode and digest itself. That’s right – his stomach was digesting itself. He ended up with ulcers which made him seriously ill and put him in hospital for a couple of weeks.
What is it?
This intermittent fasting. What is it? To cut a long theory short it’s where you only eat during small windows of the day. For the rest of the day, you go without food. You fast – intermittently. There are lots of different variations of intermittent fasting you can follow. For example, you might only eat between 9 am and 6 pm which means you fast for 15 hours between your last meal and breakfast the next day. Or you might eat one-quarter of your daily calories for 5 consecutive days of every month. That’s a more limited style fast where you drastically cut your calories for 5 days. The nuts and bolts of intermittent fasting (IF) are that you eat for a period of time and you fast for a period of time.
Is it Good or Bad?
Now I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of intermittent fasting and who it is (or isn’t) good for. What I do what to say is… Going hungry is GOOD! Now you don’t have to fast. Sometimes just go hungry. Why? Well… You see we live in a society where food is readily available and – quite often – we eat before we are hungry. Which means we’re never really getting hungry. How ridiculous is that? In the 21st century, we have almost forgotten what hunger really feels like. It’s crazy. And often we can’t mentally cope with hunger. No wonder we are getting fatter as a nation!
The slightest hunger pain and it’s off to the kitchen. This is where I think fasting is a good thing for us. It doesn’t have to be for a cycle. It doesn’t have to be a regular thing. Just once in a while trying to go without food. See how you feel? See how long you can go (within reason). Can you last 6 hours? 12 hours? 24 hours? Are there benefits? Yeah, of course.
For one, you’ll know you can go without food for a lot longer than you realize. Two – you’ll be able to go without food for longer without bitching and moaning about how hungry you are. And three – you’ll see there’s a mental toughness that’s strengthened with fasting.
It’s forged self-discipline. It’s about learning to be mentally strong when your mind is telling you to give up and grab a snack. Plus a short fast gives your digestive system a break. Think about it…Your digestive system works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your entire life. So give it a break. Give it time to empty.
Give it a shot!!
Try a 6, a 12, or even a 24 hour fast. Test yourself. You’ll find out how disciplined you really are and come out the other end a mentally tougher person – I guarantee it!
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