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Be Healthier and Slimmer with IF

Jun 22, 2008
It seems unlikely, but I've lost nearly seven pounds without restricting the types of food or quantities I eat. I love food, and eat a wide variety of delicious meals. I hate any diet that tells me what I can or can't eat. It's useless to tell me to simply 'eat less' -- that just makes me hungry so I snack more (and the snacks are less healthy than a larger meal would have been). I can't reduce the oil in my diet without becoming constipated, and counting calories or weighing out portions is both tedious and ineffective. Yet for the past three and half months I've been losing weight.

That weight loss is slow, but that is because it will be permanent. I'm not on some temporary diet to lose weight, I've completely and permanently changed my lifestyle. I don't use drugs to curb my appetite, and I don't drink whacko juice from Pango-Pango to magically slim down. None of those things can help you lose weight permanently, because soon after you go back to eating the way you did before, you will weigh as much as you did before. Permanent weight-loss can only be achieved through a permanent change in your eating habits. The first question to ask when looking at any diet is: do I want to eat like that for the rest of my life?

What then, have I done to lose weight? I didn't try to change what I eat, or how much I eat -- I just changed WHEN I eat.

This isn't some New Age idea backed by a guru. There is good scientific evidence behind it. In fact, I undertook this dietary program for its health benefits -- the weight loss is just a surprising and welcomed side-effect. I'm late middle-aged, had a parent with diabetes, and tend to gain weight in the belly area -- a combination of factors that puts me at high risk for developing adult-onset diabetes. One of the proven benefits (in human tests) of this diet is that it improves insulin metabolism, helping to prevent diabetes. It can also (in animal studies at least) lead to a longer life.

Fasting isn't so bad or difficult as it sounds. We all fast daily, typically for about eight hours when we are asleep. Don't eat for a couple hours before bed-time and/or have breakfast late, and that might be ten or twelve hours fasting. Many people occasionally go on much longer fasts for religious or health reasons. Fasting over 24 hours can lead to muscle loss, but shorter fasts are health-enhancing rather than destructive.

On my intermittent fasting diet I eat anything I want, and as much as I need to feel satisfied. I eat good healthy food; I suppose you would gain weight even on this diet if you ate nothing but junk food. I eat plenty of meat and carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits, and some sweet desserts. I have one large meal and one small meal every day, just as I did before beginning this schedule (I was never a big breakfast eater) -- now I have breakfast on alternate days, but it is often a slice of home-made banana bread or just a cup of yogurt. On days I don't eat breakfast I have a late-night snack about 10:00 PM, a few Buffalo Wings or when I'm really hungry a grilled-cheese sandwich. Those night's I don't eat (because I had breakfast) I'm fasting from the end of my supper until supper-time the next day. I eat supper the same time every day, so I fast 23 hours, followed by 25 hours when I eat whenever and whatever I want.

I don't find it difficult at all go 23 hours without eating -- heck, I'm sleeping eight of those hours anyhow. On fasting nights bed-time comes soon enough after dinner that I don't lose sleep from being too hungry, and the next day I know supper is coming at the usual time, so though I get hungry, I can wait until dinner time to eat.
About the Author
Andrew J Morris owns a variety of websites, include http://www.qanswered.com/ and http://www.fastingweight.com/ for more info on intermittent fasting, see http://www.qanswered.com/qainfo1
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