This lovely lady is my best friend. She is a walking, talking paleo success story, who’s lost almost 50lbs in less than a year of being paleo, and she’s held this weight for about a year now. In her late 40s (doesn’t she look awesome?) she didn’t think it was even possible to lose so much weight, because she, like everyone else had been told that during those years we’re supposed to put on weight rather than to lose it. Well, she proved “them” all wrong, and still, after her maintaining this new weight for a year, I look at her every time we meet, and I’m quite simply blown away at how beautiful she is. Well, enough of the sap… and on to the subject I was going to discuss in this blog post.
Lately, intermittent fasting has gotten some bad rap, especially when connected to women. Train like a man, eat like a woman is only the latest in a series of posts about the dangers of intermittent fasting. Make no mistake, I am not trying to disprove any of the information you read in these excellently written articles. After all, I’m neither a nutritionist nor a physician… so really, take any information given by me as an opinion (there… did the whole legal waiver thingy).
But the fact remains, that intermittent fasting CAN be beneficial, even for a woman, if not taken to an extreme. Forgive me for saying it, but intermittent fasting done every single day, is no longer intermittent. It’s daily. Yes, again, this is my opinion, and you may of course disagree with this statement. It may even be true that our ancestors did in fact fast for a good amount of hours every single day. But we live in the 21st century, and there is no way, we can replicate the life of a caveman/woman. And so, while it’s quite possible, that a cavechick fasted for a certain amount of time every single day, it is also true that she did not have the kind of busy soccer mom, career woman, Crossfitter heavy lifting life. True, in the bigger picture of evolution, our bodies haven’t changed much… but our lifestyles can hardly be compared!
My friend does intermittent fasting days every now and then. The latest one was after her trip to Disney… A week of cheats and indulgences left her uncomfortably bloated, and it was time to do a little cleanse. Also, she’ll throw in a day of fasting occasionally just because she can. What does this look like? Well, she’ll have a cup of tea with a couple of teaspoons of virgin coconut oil mixed in for breakfast. Then she’ll fast for the rest of the day. She’s done this 24 hours and as long as 36. She’ll then start eating normally again. After a fast she feels cleansed and “reset” as she puts it. Whether it’s physical or psychological, she can’t really say, but really, does it matter?
Intermittent fasting used this way is (in my opinion) the right way to use it. It’s not an obsession to lose just a couple more pounds. It’s a way to cleanse the body.
Having said all that… I’d like to throw out there that almost all of us do some “fasting” every day. I eat dinner at approximately 6pm… breakfast is usually at 9am, on Crossfit days closer to 10:30am. I would consider this a fast. If you want to experiment with intermittent fasting, a good way to get started may just be to push your breakfast out a couple of hours, and see how that feels. But seriously, BEFORE you do this, be sure that you’re fasting for the right reasons, so that becoming obsessed with it won’t be an issue for you and ultimately for your health.