Fast(ing) Food: An Experiment with Intermittent Eating

*Disclaimer: Fasting for prolonged periods of time can have potentially dangerous effects on your health. These can occur both during a fast, or after a fast due to factors including, but not limited to the body’s metabolism. There is no “secret” to weight loss; every body is different and will react differently to different regimens. It is recommended that you consult a doctor or health care professional before making changes to your diet to find a plan that is right for you.

While my wife was pregnant with our first child, I experienced a spine injury. I bulged the disc at my L1 vertebra causing severe pain, limited abilities, and (so far) eight months of stiffness and discomfort. During this time my workout regimen went out the window, as did my morale and my diet.

During the remainder of my wife’s pregnancy, I gained twenty pounds. With all the benefits that come with childcare, I did not get around to getting back to the gym in a regular fashion, and I did not manage to get back onto my diet at all. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I was on the brink of 300 lbs. My willpower seemed to have faded and I couldn’t get my mojo back.

Then, I learned about intermittent fasting, an eating schedule where one goes a minimum of twelve consecutive hours without eating. This plan is based on a school of thought about when the body begins to burn fat for energy. Those who follow this schedule often tend to have either an early dinner and/or a late breakfast. This schedule allows for the allotted 12-hour gap between eating your last caloric consumption of the day and the first of the next day.

I decided to give it a shot because it seemed relatively easy. I simply had to schedule at least twelve hours between eating, once per 24-hour period. I didn’t need to obsess about strictly counting calories, waking up extra early, or adding exercise back into my schedule— a struggle as a new parent— to the process.

On the first day, I actually slept in, giving myself an extra half hour since I would not need to be cooking breakfast for myself. Later on during that first morning I began to feel a little hungry, but after a full bottle of water and a cup of black coffee, my hunger subsided. Fifteen hours after my last meal, I ate some dry cereal to hold me over until lunch. After that, the pattern became easier for me.

The biggest regulation I’ve had to make for myself was to stop my late-night snacking, which is one of my worst dietary habits. Every time I’ve thought about having a snack after 9:30 pm, I’d do the math about when I would have to wait to be able to eat again, which has been enough to keep me from giving in.

After two weeks of the intermittent diet, I’ve only experienced significant hunger once. I know that this diet isn’t necessarily the final, long-term solution for me. It is merely the launching pad for me to get back on track.

Scheduling my eating this way is helping me use self-control. So far, I’ve lost a few pounds, but more importantly, this is helping me to gain confidence while I continue to get back to a better level of health. I am super excited about it and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks bring.

Stay tuned for updates on Chris’s personal experience with this regimented eating schedule.
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