Fit Fail – Intermittent Ingestion


Timing my meals (and lack of meals) is more important than what’s in the meals (not intended to imply that meal content is unimportant).

Details (story):

Okay, so in my last post, I talked about how I am not happy about my current weight, waist and general fitness level. In this post, I’m going to share details around how I am managing the timing of my meals.

The technique I am using is called intermittent fasting. It can just as easily be called intermittent ingestion/eating/food-loading/etc. The basic idea is to have periods of time where the digestive system is operating to convert food into things needed by the body followed by periods of time where the digestive system essentially stops operating allowing other physiological processes to operate (ex: immune system to address and “cure” area of active inflammation). Or said a different way, it’s to stop having the digestive system operating all the time and allow other natural body processes to operate at higher levels.

For me, the primary processes I am aiming are:

  1. decreasing insulin resistance (or said in the positive, increasing insulin sensitivity)
  2. intra and inter cellular garbage collection

Improving my insulin sensitivity will result in my being able to burn body fat more effectively and in there being less body fat being stored. There are numerous secondary health benefits to eliminating this primary symptom of metabolic syndrome.

Removing the cellular garbage is something I had been following for awhile. The basic idea is the cells in our body slowly but surely become filled with bits of garbage left over from inter-cellular processes. These bits of garbage are eventually removed by the immune system so as to reduce and prevent future inflammation and damage. However, because modern man keeps the digestive system operating around 24/7, the immune system has far less capacity for this critical function.

The analogy I use when explaining this idea is to imagine sitting in a restaurant with me, alone. We can chat and have no problem talking with each other. However, as the restaurant fills with people, it becomes noisier and it becomes more and more difficult to talk with me, to the point we eventually are yelling. And the dialog consists mostly of, “What? Can  you repeat that as I could’t hear you?” This is an analogy of the activities occurring within a cell (restaurant = cell, couples = all the intra-cellular processes operating with their attendant bits of protein garbage) and between cells (restaurant = organ, couples = all the inter-cellular communication processes operating with their attendant bits of hormonal garbage). So, when the immune system has extra capacity (which occurs when the digestive system “shuts down temporarily”), the bits of protein and hormonal garbage are collected and eliminated. When this happens, the intra and inter-cellular communication is less noisy and less prone to accidents and more robust to handle system issues.

So, back to the main idea, intermittent fasting. It appears there are benefits to fasting as little as 14 hours. However, I’ve never been one to do the minimum. And it appears that the optimal threshold is actually 24 hours. This is not the same as a fasting day. That would result in a +30 hour fast (assuming Monday as a fast day, from the last snack at 10pm on Sunday night to the first bite of breakfast at 8:00am on Tuesday morning is actually 34 hours). To make it easy, I figured that I could make it 24 hours +/-2 hours. By doing that, I have set up the following schedule. MWF, I only eat dinner aiming at 6:30pm. TThS, I eat all three meals stopping by roughly 7:30pm. Sunday, I split the difference by skipping breakfast and having lunch no earlier than 12:30pm. Again, all these times are really anytime plus or minus 2 hours. This schedule gives me an average of 24 hours of fasting separated with 24 hours of eating. Since I will be sleeping during both, it’s really 16 hours of awake fasting and then 16 hours of awake eating (since I don’t currently know how to eat while I am sleeping).

I started this eating pattern/schedule on Monday, Aug/9. I was feeling mildly hungry by mid-afternoon. And then I ate at 7:15pm (had an evening appointment that pushed me out further that night…but I am covered by my +/-2 hours). Tuesday was normal eating three meals. Wednesday was easy. I wasn’t ever hungry. I was ready to eat, but not starved, by the time I ate on Wednesday night at 6:00pm. Thursday was normal. And then Friday was the first time I was a bit challenged. I didn’t get to eat until 8:30pm. Actually, I knew I was going to have an issue with that, so I had a tiny snack at 7:00pm to tide me over. I was pretty hungry by the time 5:00pm arrived. I was feeling it strongly by 7:00pm. It was weird, though. It actually felt good to be “hungry”. And then it felt awesome to eat the snack at 7:00pm and the meal at 8:30pm. I deeply enjoyed both, more than usual. It’s almost like this schedule pattern is changing my appreciation for and enjoyment of my food. And that’s just awesome!

Saturday was fun. I enjoyed it. We had an evening social event and ended up eating until 10:00pm. That was later than I had wanted. However, I have given myself permission to change my window to +/-4 hours on the weekend to accommodate just this kind of social schedule eating challenge. I then didn’t eat until 2:15pm on Sunday after having attended soccer practice. And then Sunday was awesome with me finishing up eating around 8:30pm.

Completing the first week was cake. It was so very easy which is going to be important for me if I intend to keep using the intermittent fasting tool for more than a 4 week experiment. I also like how flexible it is turning out to be. The diet I am on is an Atkins-like low-carb diet. I like being able to wander off diet during a meal or two and then have a fast reset within 24 hours. I have to be careful I don’t go crazy and just abandon my low-carb diet just because I am intermittent fasting. However, I like being able to have a piece of cake at some of the birthday parties that occur around me. Or occasionally having a small piece of dark chocolate after dinner.

I will update again next week with my progress. I am hoping to figure out this blogging tool more effectively, too. I don’t exactly know how to embed links to other web-sites, add tagging, add images, etc. I will figure it out over time. For now, I just want to keep my commitment of writing here at least once every week. But, that’s for a different blog post.


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One Response to “Fit Fail – Intermittent Ingestion”

  1. Fit Fail – Bloodwork Breakdowns « Chaotic3quilibrium's Weblog Says:

    […] have continued my intermittent fasting and that seems to be having positive results in stopping my weight gains. However, it does not seem […]

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