I’ve always struggled with changing my eating habits, losing weight and controlling my cravings. After putting way too much pressure in that, I decided to focus more on other areas of my life. After working on becoming self-employed and more productive, and learning to manage my time and money better, I realized I had been losing weight, staying in shape and feeling full of energy during the whole day because of intermittent fasting. What’s even more surprising, is that I never set that as a goal.
If you wonder what intermittent fasting is, let me tell you about it.
What’s Intermittent Fasting and How Does It Work?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating where you structure your meals around you day, not the other way around as most people do. It’s more about when you eat, instead of what and how you eat. Hence, the freedom it offers and my not realizing I was doing it.
It’s a super simple lifestyle change and has many variations. You can just be skipping breakfast and thus consume fewer calories than every other day. You may avoid food for 24 hours once a week, or you may also be eating in a 4-8 hour period during the day (probably after you’ve done your most important work and closer to the evening).
Isn’t fasting quite strict?
No. It’s similar to some diet fads that also use a cycle between eating and non-eating periods of the day/week, but in this case you’re doing it consciously and because you have your priorities in life in order and don’t want food to consume so much of your time.
This dieting pattern simplifies your life significantly as you just need to decide when to eat, and when not to think about food at all.
You may think that would be difficult in terms of willpower and not overeating, but here’s the deal. You’ll finally keep your appetite under control and will have a clear mind when doing the important things during the way, leaving food for when you think it best fits your schedule.
Why People Think Intermittent Fasting is Unhealthy
As it usually happens, the reason is lack of information.
If when you hear about this concept, you ask yourself questions like ‘But isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day and what you body and brain need?, ‘Shouldn’t we eat every few hours?’, ‘How can we skip meals if we’re training daily?’, ‘Wouldn’t we starve if we don’t eat for a whole day?’, and more, then you’ve never actually done your research and gave intermittent fasting a try.
It works, but it’s also what many successful and highly productive people do, it’s what those who regularly go to the gym prefer, it’s how many entrepreneurs, world travelers and business owners decide to live, which is just another unconventional addition to their already awesome lifestyle.
It’s a myth that our body needs food ALL the time. We sure weren’t made for snacking every 2 hours, drinking calories or overeating. In fact, elimination plays a big role here. Not only should we stop eating most of the foods we eat (anything that comes in a package, white carbs, etc.), but we also need to eat less calories and less often.
Nothing seems simpler and makes more sense than intermittent fasting.
If you just skip breakfast, you’ll make the period in which you consume new calories shorter. For the rest of the time, your body will be counting on fat and will be burning what’s already stored there.
There are plenty of benefits of that way of eating, but let’s first decide whether it’s the right choice for you. As it depends on the lifestyle and your goals in general.
What Makes Intermittent Fasting The Perfect Diet Pattern for Me
Right now, my top priority is my work. I finally monetized my passion, am doing what I love and working for myself. But that will eventually need to be turned into a real business, not just freelancing and the uncertainty and time investment that goes with it, so I need the right mindset, discipline, energy levels and focus if I want to be moving in the right direction.
It took me some time, but I’ve found out how a productive day goes like for me. I believe everyone should define that down to the last detail and then make sure the majority of the days in a week, month and ultimately year are like that.
I wake up whenever I want to, but dedicate the first 4-6 hours strictly to working on my most important tasks, which I’ve outlined the night before.
It’s absolutely necessary that:
- I don’t do anything else between waking up and work;
- don’t communicate with others and get distracted by that;
- don’t read random stuff or use social media;
- don’t even think about food;
- haven’t used my willpower for any decision yet;
- drink coffee and plenty of water;
- don’t think about what I should be doing later.
That’s what laser focus looks like in my case, and it gives me fantastic results. I get done a lot in a short time.
After that, I keep drinking water or tea and do some other stuff, less important but still things that matter. It may be work-related tasks, some research, some reading or writing for personal projects, chores, etc.
Then, I’m off to the gym for a workout. Yes, still before I’ve put any food in my mouth.
I eat after that. It’s already late afternoon. Then, I may go out, be with friends or do anything else I feel like, even work another shift of 2-4 hours. I may eat again after that, as much as I want.
It’s basically evening at that time. I can still eat my favorite foods but they won’t make me feel full, I won’t be investing too much time or putting in too much thought into the whole food thing throughout the day.
It’s intermittent fasting because I’m only eating in the second part of the day, mostly having 2 meals, and often that’s during a 3- or 4-hour window.
And here’s the big picture:
- I’m eating less in general;
- I’m enjoying my food much more than when eating from the beginning of the day and snacking during it;
- I’m on top of my game and with a clear mind;
- I get done anything I need to without thinking about food (which was a big issue for me);
- I drink plenty of water because of this new diet pattern;
- I don’t feel sleepy or full and thus ruin my productivity after I’ve eaten, like it was before.
Related: How to Never Be Tired Again
What Makes Intermittent Fasting a Lifestyle Change?
The fact that you’re doing it not for the joy of food (although this improves too), but because you’re serious about following your goals, being productive, doing focused work, completing your to-do list with attention to the detail, and having a successful day.
The way I do intermittent fasting doesn’t need to be how you do it.
After experimenting, you may find out that you stay fit and productive if you fast for 2 whole days during the week. Or when eating regularly only during a 5-hour period of the day and giving your body time to burn all these calories during the rest.
Whatever that is, make sure it gives you results. Especially with energy levels, but also in terms of having a good mood and being happy in general.
If you’re going to try it, be in it for the long game. Don’t just start fasting to lose a few pounds. Look for the long-term benefits, like boosting your metabolism, simplifying your daily life a lot, saving time, boosting productivity and maximizing efficiency, living longer (Yep, longevity is another thing you’ll get.)
And if you ever think this way of eating is unnatural, just think about your ancestors.
They were in a good shape, strong, and lived longer (but, unfortunately, died because of other things like being killed by a wild animal). They were hunting all day and mainly eating in the late evening, when they consumed one big, high-calorie meal. But that gave them enough energy to do the same the next day.
By the way, that’s how most animals live too, and it’s more than natural.
It’s the way things should be. The day is for work and doing important things, not for thinking about food, eating meals every few hours, plus junk food in-between, and not eating at the same time every day either.
It’s okay to stress your body, it’s what makes it stronger. That’s what you do in the gym too. Cardio is all about strengthening the heart by making it experience something closer to a heart attack. Each time you lift heavy weight – which you should be doing – you’re basically breaking the tissue of the muscle. Later when you sleep at night, it’s rebuilding and that’s when the real growth happens.
So don’t be afraid to go back to the way you ancestors lived. in fact, eat what they were eating and you won’t have most of the health problems people share these days.
Have you tried any form of intermittent fasting? How does it work for you?