Thought for Food

Intermittant Fasting is a diet plan for fat loss, where each day is split into two parts.

In the larger window you eat nothing, and in the smaller you eat sensibly. The larger is typically 16 hours, running from (say) midnight when you go to bed, through to 16:00, giving you an 8 hour window to eat at your discretion until the next cycle. Some people make it 20 and 4 hours, or other variations. You can do it every day, every second day, every weekday, or whatever suits you.

I've been trying it for a month, and can now reveal that: I lost a stone. Then gained two pounds.

My problem is not a sweet tooth. It's that once I start eating, I don't want to stop. Even if it's good healthy food with no carbohydrates, something in my brain says too much is not enough.

Two things I can tell you about the human digestive tract:

(1) It's completely incapable of digesting celulose. Dietry fibre as it's known, it makes up about 5% of most vegetables, almost all of the rest being water. It is nothing but bulk, making you feel fuller...and generating quite a lot of gas as a by-product when your gut tries to digest it. So yeah, it can make you feel bloated. And fart.

(2) If you don't eat it, you get constipated. As in: literal tough shit.

So, if you want to avoid a growling empty stomach, and an easy time on the toilet, eat plenty of vegetables. Or a fibre supplement like Psillium Husks. These are basically an edible sponge - absorbing supposedly 14 times their dry mass of liquid, first filling out your stomach with calorieless bulk, then giving your intestines a nice smooth flow.

You can eat them as grains or powder suspended in water or fruit juice, or as capsules. Either way, drink a glass (250ml) of water before, and 2 or 3 glasses immediately afterwards. Skimp on the water, and you can ironically wind up constipated again.

You can use them to replace meals, or as a starter which takes care of the initial hunger, making the meal itself a small-scale indulgence.

The problem is: most of us don't eat because we've got an empty stomach. We eat because we're bored, or because the clock says it's time for food, or the food's there in front of us, or we just like the taste. Or for night owls like me, because we're tired. Exactly what idiot god designed humans to get peckish when sleepy, I don't know. Presumably one invented before electric lights.

You can either think, or digest, but not both. So it makes sense to schedule your food according to when you'll need to be mentally active...or vice versa.

So, as if today, my new diet plan.

(1) A 16:8 day. In the 8-hour windows, one large normal meal. Keep carbs to a minimum. Zero sugar if possible. Sugar-free sweets allowed. Occasional psillium as needed, with at least 1 litre of water.

(2) In the 16-hour window, fast for as long as reasonably possible. When I really need to eat something, one dose (2-4 500mg capsules) of psillium with water. Sugar-free squash allowed.

(3) Tea/Coffee/Water/Squash at any time.

(4) Get enough sleep.

1 comment:

  1. I am fascinated by the intermittent fasting diet. I know people who are on it. And I've seen positive results. I am especially impressed with those who did it as a way to avoid gastric bypass surgery. Admittedly, it wasn't easy. But after a month or two, it became a habit, and I can say they've been steadily getting slimmer and fitter as the months go by. So good for them! They didn't get obese overnight. It took time to get there and it's going to take time to get back.

    I would be interested in your progress. Most days off, I eat twice a day. If I work, I add a third meal, like you said, necessary for energy boost in the middle of work. But I'm usually a brunch and then dinner guy. And if I snack, that's usually one of my meals! And I find that I feel better, have more energy if I workout/walk/run for twenty to thirty minutes before dinner. I read somewhere later on that doing so actually makes the body use those meal calories for fuel to still active, energy burning post workout body as opposed to converting them to fat for storage for later use.

    Good luck on the plans!