Dieting

Diet for a Day: What I Learned From Intermittent Fasting

When I first heard about intermittent fasting, I had a sense of déjà vu. It took me a few minutes to pinpoint why the concept of fasting and eating cycles sounded so familiar.

No. It wasn’t that “anorexic stage” in college. The intermittent fasting approach closely mimics “The Reverse Diet” which was popular more than a decade ago.

Although the Reverse Diet always made me think I could just skip dieting and eat whatever I wanted, in actuality the diet encouraged no eating between early evening (about 5 p.m.) to morning (about 9 a.m.) So, do the math and that’s a 16-hour fast.

One of my EX co-workers described it best. She would eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner. She would stop eating by 5 p.m. after having had soup.

With the Reverse Diet, part of the fun, though, was eating dinner for breakfast and breakfast for lunch. And the rationale was that you were matching higher caloric intake to more active periods of the day.

That logic doesn’t work for those of us who like to put in high aerobic workouts at midnight. And, then there is sex — which is considered exercise in some countries.

So, for my intermittent fasting diet for a day, I ate leftover Thai chicken panang curry (medium spice) for breakfast with two tablespoons of white rice. Eating dinner for lunch is absolutely not an intermittent fasting requirement but it’s a nostalgic throwback diet option for anyone who ever tried The Reverse Diet.

For lunch I had herbed tuna light on the mayo on a small toasted sprouted grain wrap and thin-sliced provolone cheese with lettuce and tomato as well as a half salad with apple cider vinaigrette. Thanks to having tried the Sirtfood diet made popular by singer Adele, I recognized the arugula in the salad.

Dinner was a very tasty and filling smoothie. And, I ate 100 calories worth of baked potato type chippies before 5 p.m.

I then reserved the right to eat one hard-boiled egg to defy the rules of intermittent fasting and prevent crying during the witching hour.

In total, I ate within my daily goal range of between 1,200 and 1,500 calories — a target number I came to after studying trainer Jillian Michaels for a day.

I’ve heard people choose different methods for intermittent fasting.

  1. The 5:2 diet involves eating just 500 to 600 calories twice a week.
  2. The Stop-Eat-Eat version means a 24-hour fast once or twice a week.
  3. The 16/8 method is the one most people choose. It involves fasting 16 hours (like The Reverse Diet) each and every day.

Considering many of us have genes that make fasting possibly life threatening or dangerous for our health, I don’t think anyone should try the diet until checking with a doctor and reviewing genes related to fasting plasma glucose.

In the end, intermittent fasting just seems like a strategy for decreasing total caloric intake within a one-week period of time to achieve a caloric deficit.

Some of the arguments for intermittent fasting (which are all alleged claims) include:

  • Lowers insulin levels
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Reduces caloric intake
  • Decreases visceral fat
  • Enhances hormone function
  • Helps you live longer

From an intuitive dieting perspective, I think it’s important to listen to one’s body. So, I still see nothing wrong with having a healthy snack if you feel unwell while “fasting.”

Would I try the diet for more than a day? Probably not. I find fasting rather unpleasant.

I might limit myself to 1,300 calories by 5 p.m. and then leave myself 200 calories to consume during the “fasting hours.” But, I’m also the kind of person who wakes up in the middle of the night or early morning — and does stuff. So, I’m burning calories while others sleep.

Bottom line. I think intermittent fasting is something you really love or really hate.

Rating: I give the intermittent fasting diet a surprised emoji with rosy cheeks and big eyes. Interpret as you wish.

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