Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few years, you’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting. The basic premise: choose a stretch of time either daily or weekly that you are not allowed to consume any excess calories, and return to normal or modified eating at any other time. Intermittent fasting is known to help with weight control, inflammation, and heart health, among a host of other such benefits.
I chose to try out intermittent fasting because I’ve always felt a unique sense of perplexity and interest anytime I heard that someone I knew was attempting it. My father recently adopted the lifestyle for himself, bragging about how much better he felt during the days that he was fasting. I’ve always thought to myself: Is it true? Is fasting just some sort of physiological magic spell that I can cast on myself to have a better life? This opportunity presented itself, so I would have been a fool not to try. But of course, being the overachiever I am, I chose to start with one of the hardest form of intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, in which I was free to eat one day, but had to fast the next, dooming myself to failure.
The first day was fantastic. I felt blinded by excitement to stick to my resolution. What I didn’t expect was that by nightfall, as if some sort of primal switch had been flipped in my brain, my sense of smell had grown quite aware of the food around me. I could smell my friend’s cold, bland GDS hamburger from 10 feet upwind, and it made my stomach growl all through the night. The next morning, the memory of the smell faded, and I felt much less hungry. Excited, I figured the first day was just a fluke, and I jumped out of bed only to feel dizzy and faint.
This pattern only persisted. On non-fasting days, I found myself overeating, even absentmindedly. This dangerous cycle made me worry for my health even more than I did before this diet, so I decided that to best avoid the worsening of this situation, I would alter how I fasted.
I soon switched to the Warrior Diet instead, which utilizes a 4-hour eating window per day, supplemented with eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables throughout the day if necessary. This time around, I didn’t have to feel the dangerous whiplash of “starvation” to “overstuffed” every two day period. With the Warrior Diet in full effect, outside of my eating period from 4 PM to 8 PM, I limited myself to ten individual baby carrots or cherry tomatoes to snack on per day. During my four-hour period, I forced myself to order the same amount of food that I normally did, and it really started to do the trick. Slowly but surely, I adjusted to this eating rhythm, and after a few initial days of finding it hard to focus with my hungriness, and trying my darndest to resist any external temptation, including Halloween, I accepted it as a part of my daily routine. I looked forward to 4 PM, and I cherished every meal that I had – yes, even GDS’ “signature” mac n’ cheese.
These past few weeks of intermittent fasting have been some of the hardest but most rewarding weeks of healthy living of my life. I didn’t gain rock-hard abs or anything crazy, but I feel that if I had the time to supplement the Warrior Diet with more intense daily exercise than I’m used to doing, it could seriously go a long way in weight loss. I learned that even though I seemed to be getting hungrier and hungrier, it became easier and easier to skip meals and keep my portions, as it felt like my stomach shrank to accommodate for only one meal a day.
I would definitely recommend trying intermittent fasting to any health-nut looking for a challenge, but absolutely make sure to take proper precautions and try easier intermittent fasting techniques before moving on to more difficult ones. And do not, under any circumstances, try to attempt alternate day fasting. For now, I think I’ll stick to attempting the warrior diet on and off at my own leisure – or at least, when there’s nothing I want to eat at the dining hall that day.
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