I’m hooked on this intermittent fasting thing. In my current life phase, it seems to be the perfect fit. At its core, intermittent fasting isn’t a diet and therefore it’s not about what you eat – as long as it’s healthy stuff. Not at all. Instead, intermittent fasting is focused on when you eat and by association, how often you feed yourself. It puts a lot of conventional wisdom on its head. Which makes it all the more interesting to me.
I’ve been on a light version of intermittent fasting since I landed on Phuket approximately three weeks ago and have continued whilst here in Bangkok. I’ve lost roughly 4 kilograms of body mass since my arrival 20 days ago. It doesn’t show that much yet since, apparently, when your body burns fat, it starts from the inside and works it way out. Eventually the results of my new eating habits will be visible – even if you don’t own a pair of shiny x-ray glasses.
What I really love about this approach to nourishment is that I can eat more or less what I want, just not as often I used to. Since starting, I’ve been replenishing my body with plenty of water and I munch throughout the day on bite-sized pieces of fresh fruit and a handful of nuts – generally whatever’s plant-based and relatively easy for my metabolism to convert into energy. And I only eat one proper meal per 24-hour cycle. Sometimes I’ll eat lunch, but I tend to feel most content and sleep better after a wholesome dinner.
From what I’ve read, the basic philosophy of this fasting method originates from anthropological studies which have determined that since most of our ancestors (going back all the way to Lucy) lived in cirucumstances where food wasn’t so readily and abundantly available as it is today. To them, skipping a meal was not an option, it was a way of life. We, on the other hand, eat when, what and where we want to. Considering how minuscule many people need to move about physically in order to earn a living these days, and how that’s showing up as increasing levels of severe obesity and subsequent cardio-vascular and diabetes related diseases in some folks and both of which are plaguing the United States and now even folks in Asian countries, you have to be doggone ignorant not to see we need a healthier relationship to what we eat, how often and the amount of food we consume.
The food industry isn’t exactly resting on their laurels. For decades, they’ve had their eyes set on cashing in on our naiveté and gullibility. We’ve all read about how they’re doing their best to lure us all to eat more by lowering food prices, sneaking in taste enhancers, shelf-life proloning preservatives, sugars and artificial sweeteners as well as mind-fucking us with subversive marketing campaigns amined at persuading us to think that only by eating and drinking »diet” this and »light« that, will we enjoy a truly slim and trim healthy life.
Yeah, I buy into to the Intermittent fasting concept. And I am convinced that in general, we eat way too much, devouring so many calories during our awake hours, that our bodies are rarely given a chance to recover from trying to absorb the good stuff and cleanse out the bad – let alone burn off any excess fat. That is, unless we exercise strenuously several hours a week. But what happens when we for whatever reason can’t do that any longer? Say, due to an injury or age? Will we stop eating excessively? I didn’t.
Now, most people who know me or meet me for the very first time wouldn’t describe me as fat. On contraire, I often hear that I look healthy and in pretty good shape. At least for my age, whatever that means. Yet for many years, I’ve carried around a thick wad of belly fat that despite whatever I tried, I just couldn’t reduce it. I’ve boxed, jogged, played squash, lifted weights and most recently, done a ton of yoga. Nothing helped and I was on the verge of giving up. Heck, I rationed, I’m old enough now to be able to just give in and give up – accepting the way things are – as folks my age tend to do.
It doesn’t sneak in on everyone equally, but for me, once I hit 50, my metabolism went in to slo-mo. And because I didn’t adjust my calorie intake appropriately and didn’t increase or shift my exercise regimen to one that burned off more calories, I started putting on some weight.
As mentioned above, you tend to gain fat (and lose) on the inside first. So I didn’t notice the »acquisition« so much at first. But it’s been five years now and before I left Sweden for this trip, I weighed in at a hefty 78 kg. No, not obese by any stretch. But still about 5 kilograms more than I should have according to my age and BMI. And since I have a light case of rheumatism, unsurprisingly, all that extra weight added to my already aching knees, back, shoulders and neck during most daytime work related activities.
And better yet, I’m getting really close to what seemed a lofty goal. By the end of this month, when I get on a scale somewhere, I should be a bit below 73kg or even less.