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How to be happy when doing Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

Updated: 3 days ago




"Intermittent fasting involves periods of entirely or partially abstaining from eating. An intermittent fasting pattern is based on a set schedule”.


  • Fast for 12 hours a day

  • Fasting for 16 hours

  • Fasting for 2 days a week

  • Alternate day fasting

  • A weekly 24-hour fast

  • The Warrior Diet - a relatively extreme form of intermittent fasting


I personally have patients who are ‘doing IF’. While I usually refrain from commenting on their eating habits/diets unless they asked me for advice, there are some things worth mentioning about IF because well, I care. If you were my close friend or family member, I would most definitely scream at you if you were on this ridiculous Warrior Diet.


“The Warrior Diet involves eating very little, usually just a few servings of raw fruit and vegetables, during a 20-hour fasting window, then eating one large meal at night. The eating window is usually only around 4 hours.” This is, to me, not sound. Please do not attempt to be this type of warrior.


Many professionals and ‘influencers’ have spoken opinions on this particular topic. I thought I'd add my two cents' worth too, since I am a healthcare worker.


Despite frowning upon any kinds of diets as they are damaging to health and basically unsustainable, I found myself accepting IF to a certain degree. Based on my knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are not meant to be eating all the time, or even every couple of hours. Take for example a typical office worker. He wakes up at 7AM, skips breakfast, rushes to work, buys a pack of fried noodles on the way, secretly gulps down the oil-soaked noodles at 9:30AM in the pantry, tea break with colleagues at 11AM, lunch at 1PM, another tea break at 4PM, snacks at the desk at 5PM, dinner at 7PM, then supper and drinks at 10PM. Does that sound familiar to you? Forget about the weekend, if you were to repeat this five days a week, could you imagine what would happen to your health and weight eventually? Sure, your doctor/GP says to take small bites throughout the day, but “small” is relative to everyone. (Also, do you really need so much food when you are sitting on your bum most of the time?) That packet of noodles is huge to me for breakfast.


Thus, IF is useful in that aspect. What should one do then? My advice is:


  1. Eat only when you FEEL hungry. Stop to ask yourself if you were hungry, thirsty or bored.

  2. Chew slowly and well and stop when you feel slightly full.

  3. Eat a nutritious breakfast between 7-9AM, lunch at around 1PM and a light dinner at about 6PM.

  4. Fast between 9AM to 12PM, 2 to 6PM and 7PM till the next morning. It would still be considered intermittent fasting right? Although not some 16:8 or 20:4. Or 24:0.


Forget about the strict rules of IF. Remember that everyone is different, you don’t have to follow what others, especially the ‘influencers’, are doing. Make your own happy rules. If you are unsure, text or come look for me and I’d explain IF to you according to your body constitution.


One tip to take note is to stay hydrated if you are doing any kind of fast. To conclude, DON'T fast, just… don’t keep eating all the time.


P.s. I am perpetually on the Eat-only-when-I-am-hungry diet. Join me.




Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash


References:

  • Medical News Today

  • The National Center for Biotechnology Information

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