It’s taken almost ten years to adopt a lifestyle of fasting where I’m not obsessing, starving, yo-yo dieting, or more importantly, anxious and isolated. I blame the “all-or-nothing” ego of my 20s for these demented thinking patterns. But at the same time, my 20’s enthusiasm landed me on the most rewarding, alternative career path I could have ever imagined for myself as an ass plumber. So I’ve gained a healthy appreciation for comfortable fasting, or what the masses call intermittent fasting.
About ten years ago, I picked up Natalia Rose’s Raw Food Detox Diet book, which changed my life overnight for better or for worse. I speak more to this on the Free Spirit Academy Podcast (episode 20). Rather than slowly transition into this new cleansing lifestyle as the book suggests, I quickly began juice fasting all day until dinner for the sake of vanity. Then for dinner, I would just about eat the kitchen sink thinking I could eat as much as I desired as long as it was “clean.” Additionally, I would throw in a 3-5 day juice cleanse every so often to wipe my slate clean. Little did I realize that this lifestyle was slowly becoming less of an exciting path to everlasting beauty, but rather one to disordered eating. I found myself binging in the evenings until I felt uncomfortably bloated because I knew I would not be eating solid food for another 24 hours. This is not how one should fast.
Intermittent fasting is a hot topic lately, but this is nothing new. What is new is the amount of fucking food we’re shoving in our faces. Our ancestors were not able to go to a store where there is so much food available, the store actually has to throw out most of the produce everyday! In fact, they were forced to fast because food was so scarce. Mark Mattson, head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience lab, argues that fasting and then “feasting” has actually helped evolve the species and make us smarter. In Scientific American, studies have proven that intermittent fasting has proven more effective than calorie restriction in preventing cancer, cognitive decline and weight loss.
Intermittent fasting can mean fasting for a few days at a time, just eliminating a meal or two per day or simply not snacking between meals. I do not fast for days on end anymore. Alternatively, I enjoy comfortably fasting for 12-14 hours each day (this includes not eating in your sleep!). I find myself juice fasting or smoothie “fasting” until dinner on days where I have a packed schedule of clients and am running on adrenaline all day. Those days seem to fly by! My reward is then a huge avocado salad with a veggie burger, maybe some crackers and vegan cheese followed by some chocolaty treat and a huge dump in the morning. The idea is to know when you’re truly full and satisfied, not to deprive yourself. Once you’ve reached the point where you are comfortably full in both your thoughts and your stomach, you have achieved comfortable fasting. Now prepare to live to 120.