Intermittent Fasting: how I stuck with OMAD, one meal a day, after many failed attempts.
Let’s start with a fun question I got this week on Quora, a website where you can ask any question to get answers from experts and the crowd of enthusiasts with a little bit more knowledge or/and experience. You can even ask Elon Musk how to send a rocket (and people) to Mars!
*QUORA: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
“If I’ve already eaten my daily calories, will eating 500g of chocolate equate to a 500g weight gain?”
This reminded me once again — we get so lost in counting calories and carbs, in the never-ending flood of information, that we forget often about our own common sense, that helps us filter all the information much easier, coming up with our own good answers.
If one understood how human digestion and human metabolism work from the first principles — one would never ask this question. But most of us are looking for answers right now, and nobody has the time to study everything from the first principles, or the basics, for every answer we need right now. And that’s understandable, we only have the time for a fraction of things, time is limited, our life is finite, we can’t know and learn everything. That’s why we need people — coaches, consultants, knowledgeable and ethical salespeople — to design better systems, to help us, to guide our choices to a better life, better health, better experiences.
Back to interesting questions and practical tools, tools that are based on the decades of my experience, studies and research, work with people just like you, looking for answers to make life better, simpler, easier.
If something that you read, doesn’t make sense to you, if you want to know why it works — ask and I’ll do my best to help you understand.
“How can one reduce one’s appetite on days that one practices intermittent fasting?”
Intermittent fasting has become quite popular! More research is coming out, backing up its usefulness and effectiveness for so many aspects of our health, longevity and weight management. Now the question is, in the world where tempting and delicious food is everywhere and anytime, “How can one say NO to food and fast?!”
“How can one say NO to food and fast?!”
Many of you guys might think, that hunger and being able to stick with some diet or fasting practice has a lot to do with willpower. But in reality, it has little to do with it. People, who seem to have iron willpower are simply smarter than an average person at designing the environment that supports their desired choices, habits and practices.
How do I personally stick with OMAD (one meal a day), that I finish before 3–4PM every day this year?
I used to fail all the time! Eating late, having my energy fluctuate a lot, making my fasts intolerable, thinking about food all the time, being hungry, not being able to work thinking about food — now I have none of that! NONE!
Few things actually. Things, that have nothing to do with increased willpower. Willpower takes energy, the energy that I need for more important decisions and meaningful work.
*Lists are VERY useful. But not while fasting.
I stopped shopping and planning my food at night — that triggers thoughts about food, vivid images of food in our brain, activation of our digestive system and metabolism in anticipation of a meal — that makes our hunger grow quite a lot. (Notice, it has nothing to do with available energy resources of our body — fat and glycogen — it’s a simple change in our hormones and biochemistry, caused by thoughts and images of food, that make our hunger grow out of proportion)
I worked more on the nutrition planning of my meals — a balanced mix of essential proteins, fats, fibers, minerals and vitamins, polyphenols in appetite-suppressing foods. (One of my favorite appetite-suppressing foods, hand down — dark chocolate, REALLY dark, 95% — 100%, like this TAZA one, or many other brands. Check out my Instagram stories for all the chocolate I’m eating every day! And please don’t eat all this Stevia-sweet chocolate — it’ll make your appetite go up, not down!). That was a bit more scientific part and took some time, but it was all worth it. I’m no longer hungry much at any time.
I stopped eating my meals at my computer, watching Netflix or distracted (and often stressed).
I started treating my meals as a creative downtime. I started taking the time to slow down, to smell and taste my food, to breathe and chew — I started treating my meals as an experience, staying in an optimal state for digestion and absorption of nutrients. Satisfaction and fullness don’t just come from filling our stomach with foodstuff, they also come from the process of eating. We eat with all of our senses. It’s all — smelling, chewing, visual appreciation — it’s all a part of a digestive process, the process of eating. And on the science side — it keeps our body in the rest-and-digest state, the state when our body is optimized for digestion.
You might be “consuming” food, but are you really eating? Or just stuffing your stomach? Filling the void?
For me now eating is a recovery practice. And fasting, as a mild stress, requires proper stress management and recovery. Many of you guys can’t fast because you don’t relax and recover enough. A lot of unmanaged stress makes fasting uncomfortable and very often impossible.
Fasting is a mental practice just as much (and maybe more) as a physical practice. While fasting you’ll be more tuned into your emotional states, your intuition (Why do you think many spiritual traditions have fasting in common?), it’ll be harder to mask uncomfortable emotions, to hide from uncomfortable feelings, because without food, while fasting, you’ll have no way to change your biochemistry (aka your emotional states) other than actually dealing with difficult and challenging situations and emotional states. Plus all the freed up energy and time — very often you can’t fast because you can’t deal with what comes up to the surface while fasting.
Is it really about hunger? Or are you just afraid to face your own life? Challenges? Uncomfortable questions? Thoughts? Emotions? Insights, that might stop your self-delusion making you face your reality?
Once you start dealing with challenges in your life instead of trying to escape, once you stop using food as a comforter — you’ll break free from food, as a way to comfort and de-stress yourself, as a way to escape, and then food will be just food, and fasting will be a lot easier.
Fasting is another way to learn to deal with every moment of life, no matter what it brings, instead of running away from it. Fasting still might be challenging physically, but with a peaceful mind you can handle it. One moment at a time.
*I’m writing this, while going through my daily 22-hour fast.
It’s not 22 hours. It’s one moment at a time.
Put it all into practice — reach out for advice, tips and help. Check out this FUN VIDEO on Intermittent Fasting types. Do you know what’s your IF type?
Check out FOOD SCHOOL Smarter Stronger Leaner podcast — Adventures of one obsessed nutrition coach on a mission to create a world where food makes you better!