When I tell people I intermittent fast, I usually get a weird look or some type of unavoidable gasp. I can understand why. When I first heard of fasting, I thought it was going to be too difficult. Why would you “starve” yourself? I was always told or read that I should eat multiple small meals per day, so simply not eating was… well… a bit scary to be honest.
I live a very active lifestyle. As an active duty Marine, I probably should be in the best shape of my life all the times. That’s the mentality I have. I don’t take many rest days and I exercise at least an hour per day. So I should probably eat food… or at least I would have thought so in the past.
Not a Diet
To understand what intermittent fasting is, I think you have to first clearly understand what intermittent fasting in NOT. Intermittent fasting is not a diet. A diet impacts WHAT kind of food you eat. Intermittent fasting only impacts WHEN you eat. You want to eat 19 Snickers bars during your eight hour feeding window? I don’t recommend it, but sure go ahead!
Intermittent Fasting Made Simple with Two Elements
I’m a simple guy and I like simple plans. To me, something simple is realistic and achievable. If you only learn one thing from this article, learn this: there are two elements to fasting.
- Fasting window
- Feeding window
Look at your day as a 24 hour window. If you are like me, you have a 16 hour “fasting window” and an 8 hour “feeding window.” I’ve experimented with different windows and this is the most realistic for me. There are various studies out there, but for me, I see the best results through the 16/8 break down.
So what are you doing in the fasting window? you guessed it… fasting. Not eating. Consuming no calories. Not stimulating a metabolic response. However you cut it, there are only a few things that should enter your mouth during the fasting window.
Just think zero. Zero calories. Black coffee, tea, water. Stick to that during your fasting window and you are on your way.
Ready to eat? During your feeding window you get to eat. This does not mean you go to a buffet and consume 4000 calories and top it off with ice cream and a root beer float. Just eat normally. I’ve heard the best thing to eat when you break a fast is high protein. Again, you want to eat snickers to open your feeding window? Go ahead, but I don’t recommend it.
During this 8 hour feeding window, if that’s what you go with, get all the calories and nutrients you need. If you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, or just on the old American diet, it does not matter. Eat. Eat good food! Get the calories your body need to operate. at the 8 hour mark… stop eating.
It’s really that simple. A normal day for me is really just skipping breakfast. I stop eating at 7pm and start eating at 11am. If I slip up and stop eating at 8pm, you guessed it, I don’t eat lunch until noon.
The 16/8 fasting and feeding window has been the foundation of how I eat for almost 4 years at this point. It’s a complete game changer and I don’t see myself ever going back to three or meals a day.
Give it a shot. Do your research and see for yourself. Heck, shoot me an email and ask away. I’ll even give you a call and we can discuss!
I’m not selling anything here. I’m just an average guy who’s metabolism started to slow down in my early 30s and I needed to make a change to ensure I stayed within the Marine Corps’ height weight standards so I could continue to do the job I love.