From the desk of Brian Mansfield – 11:35 am – On a farm in the Central U.S.
Change your life in 2 meals a day
A big promise?
Hard to do? Not really.
Actually, on a scale from taking a daily walk being a 2, to taking 477 days of cold showers being an 8, I’d put it at a solid 3.7.
And the benefits? 9 out of 10.
Potentially life changing, at extremely little cost to you.
Yep. Because everything has trade-offs.
I’ll give you the “trade-offs” first, so you can decide if intermittent fasting is right for you.
If you read my post on cold showers, you’ll notice I’m a big fan of discomfort challenges.
I constantly look for ways to get out of my comfort zone.
And intermittent fasting is a great way to leave your comfort zone.
But first, let me explain what I mean by “intermittent fasting.” There are countless intermittent fasting strategies that you can experiment with.
Some people like to do one meal a day, maybe a huge meal in the evening. Others eat 3 meals one day and no meals the next.
They’ll all work just fine.
But the intermittent fasting strategy I have used for the last four years is two meals a day between noon and 8p. This gives an eight hour eating window and is probably the easiest way to get all the indisputable benefits.
But first, let’s go back to costs.
Costs of Intermittent Fasting:
- Physical discomfort: You will be hungry when you start this challenge. You will probably watch the clock and count the minutes to noon. But only for the first few days.
- Mental fog: If your body is not used to skipping meals, your mind will be a little foggy and distracted in the morning. This also only lasts for a few days and I find after a few days, my mind is sharper in the morning without food.
- Social/Family concern: “Why aren’t you eating breakfast? Don’t you know breakfast is the most important meal of the day?…” The people around you won’t understand why you’re skipping meals. You can either try to explain or let them wonder. I find it’s easier to let them wonder.
So those are the biggest costs and challenges to intermittent fasting.
What I didn’t mention, though, is that we also just covered the first benefit.
When you do something that is physically, mentally and socially challenging, you flex your discomfort challenge muscles.
The discomfort will pass. Observe and embrace it.
When it does pass, you will be in control of your hunger urges rather than needing to eat just because the clock says it’s time to eat. You will see that hunger is often just a function of boredom or the time on the clock.
And when food isn’t readily available every second of the day, you’ll feel ok because you’re no longer a slave to your hunger.
When you don’t feel the need to explain yourself to those around you asking why you’re practicing intermittent fasting, you grow the muscle gives you the ability to do something because it’s the right thing for you. Don’t give in the opinions of others who don’t understand.
Fewer Meals, Fewer Decisions, Fewer Lbs
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you have too many options? When you have too many decisions to make?
Do you just pick the easiest way? Maybe the fastest?
Limiting the number of decisions you have to make improves your chances of choosing correctly.
When eating only two meals a day instead of three, (or six, as some recommend) it is easier to choose healthier options.
Instead of picking foods for 21 meals in a week, you’re now only choosing 14. A savings of 1/3 of your decision-making. Seven fewer opportunities for temptation.
This is especially helpful when focusing on changing eating habits and trying to improve health or lose weight.
Fewer ingredient labels
Intermittent fasting will help you eat healthier if you want to.
By eliminating 7 meals a week, it is much easier to plan to eat less processed foods.
You can plan and cook meals ahead of time, eliminating the guesswork and ritual of staring blankly into the refrigerator every night.
Time: Our Only Real Asset
How much time does each meal cost you?
I would guess that for meals cooked at home, each meal costs well over an hour.
Not just to eat.
To buy, choose from the fridge, cook, eat, and clean up.
I know what you’re thinking: “My meals don’t take that long. You’re way off.”
Ok. Let’s just look at breakfast. I think most people would agree that even a bowl of cereal (probably the fastest and and one of the unhealthiest meals possible) takes no less than 10 minutes to eat.
That’s more than one hour every week. More than 50 hours per year.
Not a huge deal, right?
But that’s just for cereal. If you actually want a quality breakfast, you’re looking at 30-60 minutes.
150-300 hours per year.
A bigger deal now?
What could you do with all that time?
- Work out
- Improves mental and physical health
- Less pain
- Live longer
- Save money in health care costs
- Look better
- Age Slower
- Time with family
- Happier family
- More sex
- More sex
- Sleep more
- Improves mental and physical health
- Live longer
- Start a successful side business
- Work out more/harder
- Get to work earlier
- Make another sale
- Clear your inbox
- Impress the boss
- Provide more value
Intermittent fasting can be challenging and stressful. But sometimes, a little stress is good for getting out of your comfort zone. I have noticed that I am no longer a slave to the hunger pangs of mid-morning. I can sail through the morning with a clearer mind.
Also, the time savings have been fantastic.
But the biggest effects I have noticed been from the elimination of choices leading to healthier decisions.
I have found that intermittent fasting helps me to eliminate processed foods and stick to a more nutrient-dense whole foods based lifestyle.
Tips for intermittent fasting success:
- Don’t tell people what you’re doing or why. If you have to tell them something, tell them it’s a temporary experiment.
- You WILL be hungry and tired the first few days. Drink water, coffee or tea. The hunger will pass after the first few days.
- Eliminate or cut back on processed foods. After eating processed foods, I noticed very strong, uncomfortable hunger the following day.
- Eat plenty of food in your eating window. If you aren’t eating enough while also eating mostly unprocessed foods, it will be difficult to keep weight on your body.
TL;DR Bullet Summary for IF:
- Saves time that can be spent being more productive, hanging with friends and family or sleeping.
- Eases the transition to healthier eating habits
- Eliminates the need for 33% of eating decisions
- Discomfort challenge: Physically, Mentally and Emotionally taxing for a discomfort zone muscle workout.
There are many other amazing benefits to Intermittent Fasting, but I have found that the ones in this article are the biggest indisputable ones.
If you try intermittent fasting for 30 days, you’ll be hooked. The benefits are many.
— Unprocessed —