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There are many things I’ve learned from intermittent fasting, other than that it’s an easy way to lose body fat and maintain a lean body.
One thing I’ve learned is that one doesn’t have to abide by the conventional wisdom of eating 5 or 6 small meals a day. It’s a cultural phenomenon born out of strong industry forces and misguided perpetuation. Traditional cultures and many modern cultures don’t adopt this eating pattern of the western world, and yet are lean, disease-free and suffer no malnutrition.
Eating my first meal at 4pm or so hasn’t caused the often referenced metabolic adaptation that’s purported to stall weight loss or/and cause the regain of body fat (and then some). After well over a year of daily intermittent fasting, my body fat is still well below 10% — a level at which I’ve had difficulty maintaining in the past for more than a couple weeks at a time, and still felt like I was killing myself!
After having abandoned the 5-or-6-small-meals-per-day routine, I am now leaner than I’ve ever been, without ever feeling like I’m on a “diet.” I’m feeling healthier than ever, actually look younger than I had in years, and (not sure if there’s any correlation here) have not suffered one single cold during the same time.
The mental energy drain I used to experience in the afternoon had diminished. This may be due to the body’s adaptive efficiency at converting stored fat into fuel for brain and nervous support. I’m unsure by what mechanism this occurs or if it’s even true, but I can honestly say I no longer need that “pick-up” espresso shot at 3pm as my focus now remains sharp right through the afternoon.
Fasting has allowed me to effectively differentiate between hunger in the stomach and hunger in the head. It has also taught me to eat responsibly. And even with hunger in the stomach, fasting has taught me that there’s no physical emergency, and that the sensation of hunger will dissipate in a matter of minutes. In other words, I can wait to eat. Patience is a lost virtue when it comes to eating, which contributes to weight gain and obesity.
Intermittent fasting, although not the end-all, be-all of weight loss, is a great option for those who’ve tried everything that’s either too much work, too complicated, or not sustainable.