- Diet & Weight Loss
8 Things You Should Know Before Considering Intermittent Fasting
This whole idea started after I posted the article called 14 Tips to Living Happy and Healthy: About Diet, Exercise and a Happy Soul and a good friend of mine said this: “I agreed with what you said until I got to points 6 and 7, which say you should have a good breakfast and have small meals during the day. I just started intermittent fasting that totally contradicts it.” I have to admit, I had no idea what he’s talking about at first. He tried to explain a little but the reasons he gave weren’t very convincing and he said he doesn’t know about it enough to explain it by himself, so I started looking it up. I read some researches, asked around and most importantly, watched videos and read what people have to say for intermittent fasting. I promise to try and keep this article updated with new relevant information I might find in the future, for, or against intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has become so popular over the last few years due to a claim It’s an "easy way” to lose weight and reduce cholesterol. IF means that you are only allowed to eat during specific periods of time and it comes in different variations. Fasting every other day, fasting two nonconsecutive days during the week, 16 hours fast a day, in which you limit yourself to eating only on certain hours, commonly between 12:00-20:00 and in that time you have two big meals, and some more variations of that sort. Here’s what I think about it (I don’t mention here diabetes or other medical conditions because I don’t know enough about it to do so. In my opinion, any medical condition should be specifically dealt with under doctor’s orders):
1. It’s not scientifically proven. The researches on the subject were mostly conducted on animals and if they were conducted on humans they only involved a small amount of participants, usually for a short period of time. There’s a theory that it might help. This theory, as I understand it, comes from calorie restriction theory that has been tested just a bit more than intermittent fasting. Until proven otherwise, if reducing caloric intake is something you need, it should be reduced from your daily food consumption. Meaning you should eat less every day, the way it is commonly suggested by doctors and based on researches done on hundreds of thousands of human beings over the years. Not by having huge, unhealthy meals, that sends blood glucose and insulin levels through the roof and "compensated" by intermittent fasting.
2. We need food to function. What a stupid thing to say, right? It’s that obvious. Apparently not, but it is that basic. This is just how our body works. And of course, if you’re consuming more calories than you need, a reduction in caloric intake is probably good for you. It doesn’t mean anything about intermittent fasting.
3. It’s self-abuse. If you’re hungry and tired because you didn’t eat all day, it means you should eat. “Being used to it” doesn’t make it okay. During the World War 2 in Europe there were millions who were used to being hungry and survived. Doesn’t mean the Germans were doing them a favor, it means their body adapted to survive. Fine, I accept it’s a survivable condition. No argue there.
Self Starvation is Not the Answer.
Your body knows when it needs food and when to stop eating-listen to it.
4. Of course you’re losing weight if you eat less. If you consume fewer calories per week or because you’re fasting some of the time it’s really not such a big surprise that you’re losing weight. If you reduce your total consumption by the exact same amount of calories per week but on a daily basis and do it properly, you will also lose weight. Most of the content used to "prove" to you that intermittent fasting works is saying things so that they will sound scientific and make you think "wow, it's so simple, they are probably right" (not your fault, this is a well-known method to make things sound convincing). The problem with simplifying things like that is that our body isn't so simple. It's so complex that after so many years of researches we are still struggling to understand so many things, so much that about some things we are still clueless about, and simplifying it like that looks like it makes a lot of sense, but is missing a lot of information, which makes it wrong.
5. None speaks about children, people who work out on a regular basis, or underweight. For someone in any of these groups (and more) it can be not only unhealthy but also dangerous.
Don't Stuff Yourself
6. It’s a bad approach on life. It’s completely obvious to me that that’s not how all people see it, but it seems like an excuse to eat everything you feel like saying “it’s ok, I’m intermittent fasting”. You shouldn’t be eating unhealthy food because it’s obviously bad for you, that’s why we call it an unhealthy food. Why don’t you sometimes inject yourself with poison? The rest of the time you won’t do it, so it’s no problem. Is it?
7. It’s an unhealthy way of thinking. You need to develop a certain amount of determination to say “no matter what, I’ll make sure I won’t start my day without breakfast” or “I won’t eat this even though it looks good because I’ve been eating too much junk lately”. On the other hand, saying “it’s really easy not to have breakfast. I usually don’t eat until 10, no problem making it 12 and then I can eat whatever I want”. It just sounds lazy. A part of living a Healthy lifestyle means you’re supposed to encourage will power, not reduce it.
8. It can develop eating disorders. You might think “okay, now he’s just exaggerating”, but eating disorders are way too common these days. Forcing yourself not eat when you’re hungry, already sounds like an eating disorder, it’s definitely an opening to a more severe one, especially when you eat whatever you feel like when you’re not fasting. Doesn’t matter if you’re fasting two whole days a week or 16 hours a day.
Remember! It's Not For Everyone
The point of this article is not to go against intermittent fasting; it’s to find a healthy lifestyle. For now, it seems that this specific lifestyle is more of a reminder that knowing what isn’t good for us is also useful. If you have any information about intermittent fasting (or any other lifestyle) you find important please, feel free to share it with me so I can use this platform and share it with the rest of the readers.
I told this friend of mine that if it ever happens and this method will be proven right, I’ll be happy to send him the article that proves it with the words “sorry, I was wrong” and maybe, even probably, join him to start intermittent fasting together and I will share my new information here as well. Until then, I wouldn’t want me, any family member or a friend of mine, to be a Guinea pig on a “diet” that has no scientific proven justification, but does have the contrary.
If you’re looking for some useful tips about living a healthier lifestyle you’re welcome to click the following link and read my article 14 Tips to Living Happy and Healthy: About Diet, Exercise and a Happy Soul.