Sep 22
2010

I Was Wrong All Along (And My Wife Was Right)

Written by Travis | posted in Health, Paleo Diet | 3 Comments

Focusing like a Monk through intermittent fasting

EAT EAT EAT

I was a must-eat-something-every-three-hours type of guy for a long, long time. And my wife, well, sometimes she would skip meals. It bugged me when she skipped meals, but I can’t exactly explain why it irked me that she ignored meals. The eat-for-muscles mentality had been beaten into my back.

Each time she opted out of breakfast, I preached my household famous “why you must eat breakfast” sermon. “Babe, you have to eat to have energy. You’re gonna crash mid-morning! Here, I’ll make you a bowl of fruit with turkey sausage on the side,” I would declare.

But all along, she had it right, and I had it wrong. That happens to me a lot.

The embarrassing part was she remained thin while I wrestled with my weight. Back when I hassled her about skipping breakfast my weight hovered just above being able to see my abs.

I bought into the mainstream idea of eating like a blue whale to gain monster muscle mass because I didn’t want anyone to know the difference between bodybuilder Jay Cutler’s body and mine. Not really sure what the hell I was thinking, but one thing is certain:  mainstream muscle magazines make you delusional.

Feeding Time

The de facto American meal feeding times are those three meals we grew up with, but eating three times never struck me as natural. It seemed suspect. Six meals a day, as proclaimed by the latest muscle magazines, didn’t make sense to me neither. It seemed too set up. I understood the mentality of eating like that at the time, but something in my gut said it’s not the way we were designed to eat.

You eat, wait a predetermined time (hungry or not), and eat again. I would even eat at one of the three meals if I wasn’t hungry because it’s what I became accustom. Oh boy, the industrial revolution had me cornered.

Then, I discovered intermittent fasting by way of the Paleo diet.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting ignited my interest, so over to Google I clicked.

Intermittent fasting changes the feeding game. I scratched my head at first because how was I going to build muscle and attempt to set new CrossFit personal records (PRs) by not eating? But the evidence convinced me, so I set a date to for my first 24 hour fast on my CrossFit rest day.

My First Fast

Nothing but water for 24 hours. I was determined to do it, but by late afternoon, I questioned my sanity. I got cranky. I mean C-R-A-N-K-Y. It hits hard how social eating is when it’s grazing time. My friends marched out the door for our scheduled lunch break while I sat motionless in an empty room and interrogated myself whether fasting was worth it, or not.

Self-defeating thoughts darted around inside my head. Was fasting really that good for you? My stomach’s growling. I have a headache. I should go eat too. Maybe just a small piece of fruit.

It was difficult to stay put, but I made it. F*#@ that was harder than I thought it would be.

Soon the hunger pangs were gone, and I caught something similar to a second wind. My body kicked into gear, and my mind cleared. I can’t tell you whether it was because my stomach knew it wasn’t tricking me into a gorge fest, or if it was a mental stop sign that ceased the hunger pangs.

I went back to work. Something clicked and I was able to focus like a Buddhist monk. I had been hung up on a few small problems the last few days and the answers just came to me. It was sort of like tunnel vision I guess. It’s not like I wandered out of a smoky wigwam with visions of the future, but I believe intermittent fasting had a lot to do with untangling the answers.

I survived my first fast and so can you.

Fast Times

I fast once every 30 days, sometimes more. I don’t schedule when to fast; I just do it when I feel my body needs to fast.

Together with speeding up fat loss, something else happens during a fast. Your mind becomes extremely sharp. It was a little odd at first, but I was able to concentrate better. Not sure how to explain it, and honestly, I don’t want to attempt to explain why your mind becomes clear. Some things are better left unexplained.

No more 6 am sermons at my house. She had it right, and I had it wrong.

Has fasting helped you in some way?

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Travis

Travis is a functional fitness and healthy living junkie that lives in southern Louisiana. I run this blog to give you down-to-earth advice on achieving peak health through functional fitness and healthy living. You can follow me on Twitter or contact me here.

3 Responses so far, but there is still room for yours

  1. Zack Barford says:

    Travis,

    Brother, not sure if I’m up for a 24 fast but I believe you on the clarity statement. I have a fairly firm rule for myself, “No food or caloric drinks 4 hrs before a workout” longer is perfectly fine. My rationale? Let me explain. There’s this show I love to watch, “Big Cat Diary”. Lions are amazingly like humans. Just watch, you’ll agree. How does this explain, well what does a hungry lion do? Sleep? Hardly, the lion’s senses are heightened, they hear everything, smell everything, and will feel ready for anything, even taking on an elephant! This mission to find food creates the physical environment where the lion’s energy will be high, and his mission clear. Get physical and find food at all cost. Funny thing is they may not be successful the first or second time. There level of clarity may not have spiked until they went even longer without food. So, I whole heartedly agree that eating to eat is unnatural.

    Zack B.

    • Travis says:

      Zack,

      Thanks for the comment. Good analogy using big cats and their survival mechanism.

      I remember reading a while back about a few Paleo dieters that would not eat for 24 hours and then complete an extreme workout. Once they were complete with the workout they would eat raw grass fed beef and fresh vegetables. They were trying to mimic a true caveman lifestyle. The extreme workout acted as a “hunt” before they would eat.

      All the best,

      Travis

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Satana, Travis Schefcik. Travis Schefcik said: I was wrong all along (and my wife was right) about intermittent fasting http://ow.ly/2I5Qe #crossfit #intermittent #fasting #paleo #diet […]

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Hi, I’m Travis Schefcik, and I write this blog to give people just like you down-to-earth functional fitness and healthy living tips and advice. I started Uncommon Wellness in early 2010 because wellness just isn’t common anymore.

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