Easy1 things can work!
Since giving up on my main athletic hobby2, I’d struggled to stay fit, and while I’d go through spurts of taking better care of myself, my overall health index was headed in the wrong direction. It was getting really hard to put on socks, stand up from sitting on the floor, sleep without heartburn medication, or fit into my clothes. I felt like I needed something drastic and easy to get me started. And, via general Reddit browsing over the years, I was aware of
r/IntermittentFasting3. So I looked it up. It is as straightforward as it sounds: You only eat during specified times of the day. That’s it. There is no second part. There is no equipment. There are no special ingredients. There is no journaling. All you need is a clock and some discipline.
How much time you choose is up to you, but the default starting point is called “16:8” - fast for 16 hours, eat for 8. This sounded great to me, by starting my 8 hours in the middle of the day I’d skip breakfast, could have lunch at noon, dinner with the family, and then wouldn’t eat after 8pm4. Late evening snacking was kinda an issue for me if there happened to be both a spoon and peanut butter in the house.
The subreddit is full of success stories, so I started it up, and waited for the magic to happen.
At day 7 I was still the exact same weight.
Started to think, well, if I’m gonna do something that is an admission of my ability to take care of my self, I should maybe try a little harder in that area rather than hope for magic. So I did three things:
- I started weighing myself every morning and charting out my weight
- I got at least 20 minutes of exercise every day no matter what
- I popped up a biiig batch of popcorn at the start of the week as the thing for me to eat when I was feeling snacky5.
And I started losing weight.
And slowly the daily exercise started ramping up in intensity.
And flywheel started to spin. Encouraged by the progress, I started eating even healthier, and generally eating less at meals6. Which is to say that a program of healthy food served in proper portions, alongside a regular exercise program, is a great way to get healthy. Which is true but sounds so boring! I never would have gotten there if I didn’t have this one weird trick to get me started. That weird trick is my buddy now, someone who’s easy to summon, firmly reminding me of my goal of getting healthier.
If you’re stuck, give it a shot, it’s easy to try.
Of all the things, feeling hungry is pretty easy to handle ↩︎
Ultimate Frisbee. Super fun when your body heals quickly, less so when you’re older. ↩︎
r/omad(one meal a day) and
r/cico(calories in, calories out) which are siblings in the weight loss “hack” categories. It’s all about ways to eat less. ↩︎
This is the most common starting point. There’s also 20:4 and other things like weekly 24-36 hour fasts. Some people get into the fasting for the true fasting cleanse bit. That’s not me. I’m just using this smart dumb idea to limit my caloric intake. ↩︎
The day that I’m writing this blog has not been a good day food wise. Delicious tho! ↩︎