You Don’t Always Have to Stop Just to Eat

Read time: 30 seconds

One of the many wonderful benefits of intermittent fasting is that you don’t feel the urgency to eat while you’re out at a place that (you know instinctively) doesn’t serve high quality food, or food with adequate hygiene.

Check out this video report of food safety violations at common food vendors. It is a sad state of psychology (and physiology) when people feel that they must stop during the middle of their shopping day to eat in an area of high-volume food production.

Intermittent fasting, it’s more than just for sustainable weight loss and health. It’s to prevent inadvertent weight loss and disruption of health at your local mall.

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14 Responses to You Don’t Always Have to Stop Just to Eat

  1. James says:

    These companies serve you poison chemicals that trick your brain into wanting more and more.

    • Johnny says:

      For sure, James. The nucleus accumbens of the brain — the reward center — is highly sensitive to processed food with aggressive flavoring. This fact is probably one of the main contributors to overeating and, thus, overweight.

      Although it isn’t easy in today’s culture to avoid stimulating the reward center of the brain (how boring would that be!), intermittent fasting really helps to control or limit overall food intake. Turn off the valve, and it’s a little easier to override the reward center’s desire to be stimulated during the fasting period.


      • KevinT says:

        With these fake foods hitting up the reward center and playing around with hormones, etc…. sounds like problems to me.

        Hey, do you know of anyone that has or is experimenting with eating real food without much emphasis on calories? I’m curious about that.

        That might make an interesting experiment kinda like your cruise ship feast. (But at the same time, I’m thinking this is pretty much what you’re doing now)

        I’m still a bit on the fence about thinking about calories too much. From what I’ve been seeing looking around at all the blogs about this … I’ve seen some people doing ok with 1600+ cals & others doing just fine with 2 – 3,000 + calories.

        Seems like there’s really no standard to follow if everyone has different needs. Then when you start thinking about how much energy you actually burn each day, it seems kinda weird to always stay way, way under that. Especially if hormones are all outta whack from years of crap food.

        It just seems to make the most sense that if you’re eating real food, not scared of fat like CW, & not really thinking about calories or macro ratios… that you’ll learn to naturally fall into a less frequent meal pattern, hormones will work properly again & you’ll eat to satisfy the energy you need.

        It kinda boils down to eating real food when you’re actually hungry until satisfied & repeat … basically what all this IF’ing is trying to show us how to do.

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Kevin,

        Before IF, I followed the Paleo diet strictly. Although I lost weight just by eating whole, real food (void of grains, industrial vegetable oil, processed stuff, and most root vegetables), I never achieved a body fat level less than about 15%. I plateaued there for a few years and thought that was just my natural set point. When I adopted IF, I naturally dropped to my current level of about 7%.

        Interestingly, over the past year of IFing I added some grains back into my diet, as well as delicious (mostly homemade) desserts and other stuff off-limits to Paleo purists. I’ve maintained my low body fat percentage despite regularly enjoying these food items. I thus have adopted the IF diet as the primary driver of weight and health management, while eating whole, real food as secondary.

        Essentially, everyone’s calorie needs are different (and depends on many factors such as lifestyle, physical activities, and genetics); therefore, conversations of calorie numbers are mostly irrelevant. One person may require 3,000 calories while the next require only 1500. And you never completely know what factors contribute to the difference — especially hard to know over internet discussion.

        It is therefore most accurate and safe to say that eating just enough to meet your caloric requirement — and not more — is the biggest contributor to weight and health management. The composition of those calories is not the primary determinant of weight or health; it is secondary and, of course, contributory. Everyone can benefit by eating more whole, real foods and less junk.

        Whole, real food can increase satiation and decrease the frequency of hunger, and it also tends to be calorie-sparse. Processed food tends to be aggressively flavored (thus overstimulating the reward center of the brain) and it’s typically calorically dense.

        Forget the complex interaction that whole, real food or carb-rich, junk food have with the endocrine and metabolic processes. There’s more to it than food composition. You can’t take the high caloric intake of one lean person and compare it to the low caloric of another lean person and then conclude that the difference is entirely in composition of the calories without taking into consideration the actual calorie requirement of both people. One person may have a higher caloric need, for a number of reasons, than the other.

        I’ve known many people eating a Paleo diet but never lost weight, while some even gaining weight. I’ve also known previously overweight people who simply started eating less (in their own ways) and have successfully lost weight and kept it off for decades. (I have a great story about a once-fat girl I knew from high school, who decided to just eat less. Almost 20 years later she’s still lean and doing fantastic in life. That’s for a future post.)

        Eat less of any of those food items mentioned, and weight loss can be achieved and health will improve, regardless of what is said about the toxins and inflammatory cursors such food contains — because it is useless to talk about poison without talking about dose.


  2. Audley says:

    Another aspect of not being tempted to eat at fast food places that goes well with IF, is when you eliminate those foods from your diet, it’s even easier to say no. Many of us(myself included) have said no to(fill in the junk food), then one day you decide to have that food and feel like crap after. Keeping that mental image of how you felt after will help say no the next time. Johnny, I think we can refer back to the post on the cruise you took, how you felt like crap after a couple of days of eating crap. As long as we get back in the IF/good food groove, we can fell good again.

  3. Zhixiong says:

    Hi Audley,

    Fast food are simply chewable food with calories. I still enjoy my junk food with zero guilt.

    Using a modified IF, I have lost about 13 pounds (6 kilograms) from 1-20 November. My junk/semi-average food eating journey is recorded in my Blog:

  4. KevinT says:

    Ok, I can see where you’re coming from now.

    There’s a few more reasons behind what I’m trying to figure out than just fat loss, and that still has me curious about composition & quantity.

  5. Al says:


    When you first started with IFing, did you ever have the tendency to shove all of your calories into your feeding window? What I mean is that lets say before you were IFing you were consuming 2000 calories. When you started IFing did you shove ALL 2000 calories into that feeding window? I know that I would have to eat less than what I was eating before but I have a mentality still eating the same but IF at the same time.

    I think this has been my biggest problem, compensating I guess. I feel like I almost use IF as an excuse to still eat the same amount of food but all of it within 4-5 hours. Does this make sense? How do I enjoy the IF lifestyle and be able to leave the “compensating” behind? Thanks!

    …by the way, this compensating thing sucks. I just seem to eat the same if not more if I IF like you do.

  6. Turling says:

    I believe you found a photo of the seventh level of hell. My God, where is that place?

  7. Turling,

    That’s Hell. On the seventh level.


  8. Sue says:

    Do you think some people just suit eating 5-6 meals per day? I do well on 3 meals and usually miss breakfast. It seems like so many fat loss programs recommend the eat more daily.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Sue,

      I can tell you that intermittent fasting, for various reasons (mostly psychological), is not for everyone. Intermittent fasting is also not an excuse to overeat during the feeding period. One must still eat responsibly. But intermittent fasting allows us to enjoy eating more, and with less restriction.


  9. Stephen says:

    A good advice I read somewhere I to just eat what you really love and never say no to something you desire. So let’s say you’re in the seventh level of hell and you want a burger. How much you desire it? Is it something you really love? If it is something you really love then just eat it (unless you’re fasting)

    The rationale is that if you really satisfy yourself with a food you love knowing that your increased freedom to eat whatever you want means that you have to really enjoy what you allow yourself to eat, you won’t be tempted to eat more or other stuff. People often eat whatever is put in front of them, often chewing mindlessly but never really think about whether what they’re eating is the kind of food they would bring with them on a desert island because they love it too much or it’s just something “they can stand”

    In a way we must become picky eaters.
    The more we learn to enjoy food and to accept the freedom to eat whatever we want only as long as we truly love it, the more we should become picky eaters, really looking true satisfaction from everything we eat. This also helped me to eat less.

    When I was always following a list of forbidden food because of whatever dietary cult, whatever blah food (expecially budget brands, yuk!) was a chance to eat something different and take a break from the restrictive rules of my diet. So I would looking for every chance to cheat which meant eating whatever horrid food I could find.

    Since I told myself “no food is off limit, eat whatever you want, nothing forbidden” I don’t really need to make such a big deal out of having a chance to get a bit of whatever blah food and instead eat whatever I want only as long as I truly love it.
    This means I say no to a lot of food that just doesn’t taste good or is not satisfying enough (like the budget brand stuff full of fake aromas I mentioned)

    I remember reading about children who were told they could only have one candy daily or could eat candies only on sunday. These children were obsessed about candies and either stole them from the kitchen counter or whenever they were eating outside they would try to find a way to eat candies. They did an experiment; they filled a kitchen drawer with candies saying to the children “the candies are here, it’s up to you whatever to eat them all now, or more one day and less another day or make yourself sick by eating too many”. From that moment one the children learned to self-regule their candy consumption, listening to their real hunger or seeking real satisfication because candy-eating was not such a big deal anymore. They actually started to eat less candy, not desiring them as much as they thought and started turning them down when offered to them outside home.

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