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.
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 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.
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.
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?