Food Influence: How does it impact you?
A lot of people ask me why I have been intermittent fasting since July 2014. I usually don’t respond. But when I do my life partner asks me who I’m talking to….
I’m then reminded that William Hurt and Dane Cook aren’t my friends. [sad face emoji]
I have often thought about the day when someone values my opinion enough to ask about intermittent fasting. I’ve concluded that among the many benefits of fasting there is one intangible that I have come to value the most.
Growing up my mother was constantly cooking and grocery shopping, but there was still a never-ending competition among the children for the best and most food.
Needless to say I had developed a habit of eating as much as I could as soon as possible as a survival mechanism against my siblings’ ravenous hunger.
Just like on the plains of the Serengeti, we were always in constant competition for the same food.
I carried this habit with me into my 20s. In college my friends always pointed out that I never left an empty plate in the cafeteria. I also never turned down an opportunity to go get food.*
Lucky for me, I’ve always led a very active life, so my constant eating never caught up with me.
Intermittent fasting has helped me greatly now that my metabolism is starting to slow down a bit. (I certainly don’t recover from a night of drinking the way I used to.)
I still eat like Kobayashi.**
But only for eight hours out of the day.
The rest of the day I sit contently in a fasted state, usually typing nonsense posts, killing mosquitos with my electric racket, or growing mushrooms.
I get the best of both worlds. I experience the sensation of eating plenty of food for 8 hours and I get all the added benefits of fasting for 16 hours.
This was not a benefit I anticipated. It really underlines how much we are influenced by our surroundings. By taking the time to think about why I eat the way I eat, I have identified an influence from my past that may have resulted in me living a much less healthy lifestyle if left unrecognized.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
What is for everyone is taking a conscious look at your food habits and recognizing your predilections whether they be positive or negative.
Three Food Control Tests
Try one of these three food control tests to see what type of unconscious control food has over your day to day life. Each test will make you think twice about the everyday impulses that you have in regards to food.
I recommend you try whichever one seems most feasible to your lifestyle. They can all be conducted in a matter of days. I would say with minimal impact to your life, but actually the whole point of them to to make you think about how you are actually eating and to help identify any unhealthy habits you may have developed both physically and mentally.
1. 24 hour Fast Test
This is the simplest and shortest of the tests. It may prove to be the most difficult and eye-opening as well.
Simply abstain from eating or drinking anything but water for a 24 hour period. If you finish your last meal on Tuesday at 8:00 PM then you won’t eat again until Wednesday at 8:00PM. You are still allowed you to eat on the fasting day, just eat after the 24hr period has ended.
Keep a notebook with you during this period and write down any urges, desires, or confusion that may arise around food.
REMEMBER: A 24 hour fast is not dangerous. In fact thousands of people do them every day. Don’t freak out and think you are going to pass out from low blood sugar. If you are otherwise totally healthy you will have no issues with this test. If you have preexisting medical conditions talk to your doctor before doing any of these tests.
2. 5 Day Same Food Test
As the name implies you are going to eat the same exact foods everyday for 5 full days. This is the longest of the tests and requires the most preparation.
Take one day to plan, buy, and prepare your foods for the test period. Every day eat the same exact breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks.
What may find and observe is that your body has an ability to become very regular and consistent when given a consistent quantity and quality of food. Keep a notebook for the whole test period that documents any cravings, urges, desires, or habits that you observe.
3. 3-Day Meal skip
The most confusing of the tests. Over a 3-Day period skip one of each of the major meals on each day. Day 1 skip breakfast. Day 2 skip lunch. Day 3 skip dinner.
This requires little planning and should help show you how much meal timing and rituals have a grasp on your subconscious.
What You Will Encounter.
None of these tests are designed to be easy. They will all challenge you in different ways. Remind yourself throughout the test that the information you will gain from these tests is worth the sacrifice you are currently going through.
What may seem like an impossible challenge to you is how someone else lives their everyday life.
I hope you realize how easy and safe fasting is. Maybe you will even decide that you want to work with me in a private coaching capacity to help you complete change, for the better, your relationship with food and exercise.
*This reminds me of one time one of my friends, let’s call him Schliam, accidently ordered a half pound of turkey at Wawa late one night after coming back from the bars. He thought he was getting a turkey sandwich. That lunch meat was eaten that night by someone.
** No I don’t eat 41 hotdogs. My food choice is a lot better than that. I don’t need all the nitrites (Yes I mean nitrites, not nitrates. Look it up) #thanksdoctorrhondapatrick