Recently, a client asked about intermittent fasting. “Do you think it’s a good idea?” My reply was “that depends.”
I’ve read some of the literature on fasting as a way to curb appetite, and of course lose weight. I’ve also seen some conflicting programming on this topic. There is a school of thought which believes you should eat within an hour of getting up. Conversely, there are those which believe you should tighten your window of eating. According to this, breakfast should be somewhere between 11am and 12pm. Your last meal should be no later than 5pm. While neither of these approaches represent a real fast, they may hold some promise for those struggling with weight.
MY TAKE ON FASTING
I’m not convinced this is for everyone; especially if you are taking insulin or on an oral diabetic agent. If you must take medication with food, again, I don’t think this is your option. My own delve into this however, taught me a few things. One insight was this: as children we are taught to control bowel and bladder. These are base functions; and there are many a time we put off using the washroom at the first sign of urgency. Appetite is also a base function. And yes, often we cannot eat when we want. If we can though, is it possible to delay that desire? It is, and can be a teaching tool as well as an exercise in mindful eating–as opposed to the mindless eating many of us indulge. Controlling an appetite can be likened to controlling bowel and bladder. Though you may not have thought about it that way (or wanted to), they are both an exercise in self-control.
CONTROLLING AN APPETITE; A METAPHOR FOR TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE?
Maybe. I’m not a psychologist. So this is purely my perspective. From what I’ve seen there is a link. More to the point, I believe once there is a change in consciousness, a change takes place in your life. However, you have to start somewhere. For those New Year New You believers, know that all the exercise gurus and personal trainers online, in person, or on DVD, will do nothing for you–until you REALLY WANT IT. Really wanting something involves sacrifice, introspection, and cultivation. Many of us have in some form or another, wanted to further our education. What did that involve? Staying up late, even though you had to work the next day? Saying “no” to a splurge, maybe even what seemed like a necessity, at the time? Perhaps parties, bridal and baby showers passed you by. The list could easily go on. The introspective part of you may have questioned your decision. Yet if you persisted and really wanted your aspirations, you cultivated–you nourished your desire. Hopefully you saw it come to fruition. Again, the question had to be “How bad do I want it?” And it had to go beyond the New Year New You cliches.
So whats my take on intermittent fasting? It’s a tool, like anything else in your weight loss toolbox. Again if you are on medication, diabetic, or have any questions, you should check with your nurse practitioner or MD. However, experimenting with what makes you full, keeps you fuller longer, or simply asking yourself “do I need one more bite?” are part of the introspective process. Yes this takes time to cultivate; and involves a bit of self-sacrifice. You are making an investment. But just like education, once you have it, no one can take it away from you.
All for now. Keep up and keep at it.
Questions? Comments? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org