Change is a big part of my life right now. I am sure you are all aware of this fact by reading past posts. Part of my journey is learning self-control in all aspect of my life, in the dojo, eating (which in the past has been quite a problem) and with my relationships. Today, I want to focus on eating.
I am a grazer, I always have been since I could remember. However, I have not always been overweight. My journey into obesity began with my first marriage. That is story for another time.
Like most Americans, I was taught that eating breakfast was paramount for optimal health and mental performance. The problem for me is not being able to stop eating once I start. Little bits and pieces here and there skyrocket my daily calorie count. Obviously, control over my eating is not there. How can I effectively change decades of habit?
A few months ago at the dojo where I train, a few of us students were sitting around in a circle talking casually to our Sensei. He mentioned that he loved tacos and could eat many in one sitting. I gave him a look of disbelief and mentioned he was pretty lean for a serial taco lover. Then he told me about intermittent fasting. I listened and filed away the information for another time.
Recently, in an effort to gain control over my eating habits, I decided to look into intermittent fasting for myself. I was pretty skeptical at first, yet it seemed to work well for my Sensei. I feel as if Americans are on a hellish roller coaster ride of, “Try the latest plan. It works wonders.” These plans are money-making schemes that work just enough to suck you in and take your money. However, most are not sustainable, monetarily or physically. Is intermittent fasting just another fad diet? Is there scientific research to back it up? Is it sustainable? I want to adopt a clean healthy way of life that I can follow for the remainder of my time on this planet. I do not want to be jerked around from one fad diet to another. With all these questions and concerns in mind, I began to do what I do the best. Research.
Turns out there are scientific studies to support the said benefits of intermittent fasting. Roger Collier in his article Intermittent fasting: the science of going without on the US National Library of Medicine National Intitutes of Health website states:
There is indeed a large body of research to support the health benefits of fasting, though most of it has been conducted on animals, not humans. Still, the results have been promising. Fasting has been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress and preserve learning and memory functioning, according to Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health. Mattson has investigated the health benefits of intermittent fasting on the cardiovascular system and brain in rodents, and has called for “well-controlled human studies” in people “across a range of body mass indexes” (J Nutr Biochem 2005;16:129–37).
It would seem intermittent fasting has multiple benefits, not just weight loss. There are numerous articles roaming around the internet detailing the many benefits of Intermittent fasting. It would be redundant for me to repeat what others have said here. However, here are a few links to articles and Youtube videos I found useful:
I like what I am reading and hearing. It appears there is scientific research to back up the claims of intermittent fasting. I am going to try it for one week to see if it can work for me. There are several types of intermittent fasting. I will try the 16/8 method, sixteen hours of fasting with an eight-hour window for eating. I will report back next week on how it went.
Wish me luck and thank you for reading.
J. R. Lowe