If the word “diet” scares you from doing intermittent fasting, don’t worry — it’s not a diet.
When we wrote our article highlighting the 10 reasons why every man should try intermittent fasting, we touched on the idea that intermittent fasting is not a diet but rather a lifestyle. The lack of proper attention we gave to this little known fact might have led some readers to think it was a lesser benefit of no significance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not being a diet is one of the major benefits of intermittent fasting.
This article elaborates on why intermittent fasting is not a diet, with the hope of encouraging more men to give it a try.
It’s A Healthy Lifestyle, Not A Diet
The words diet and fasting have many negative connotations, usually signifying restriction, the subtraction of food, and isolation due to being unable to eat out or drink. Fasting, in particular, is generally considered a difficult discipline, and the very idea of living a life deprived of one of its greatest pleasures — food! — is enough to turn must people off, regardless of effective the diet might be. Well, I say it’s about time we stopped using sweeping generalizations and changed how we viewed fasting.
Yes, there are some fasting protocols that involve eating no food for days on end (I’ve done a 14-day pure water fast, so I’ve been in the front lines), but adding the word ‘intermittent’ changes everything.
Intermittent fasting is special. By requiring you to eat your calories during a specific window of the day, and then not eating food during the rest, it should make the concept of fasting more palatable for the average Joe. It is a flexible “eating pattern” that can be implemented in a variety of ways to fit your daily schedule. Your will go hours without eating food, but make no mistake, it is not a diet.
“Dieting” is generally defined as the practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised fashion to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight, or to prevent and treat diseases, such as diabetes. In that sense, intermittent fasting is not a diet much in the same as our regular breakfast-lunch-dinner routine isn’t a diet. It is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, and unlike conventional diets such as the atkins diet or ketogenic diet, it doesn’t specify or restrict which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.
You can chose to start, or inversely end, your fast at any hour of the day, assuming you give yourself enough time to fast (minimum 14 hours up to 24 hours is usually the target). You can even do alternate-day fasting in which you fast every other day. And just as important, you can continue to eat whatever you want, so long as you are meeting your weigh loss and health goals.
To be more precise, intermittent fasting is a way of living. Think about — why would eating one or two meals a day be considered a diet but not eating three or four like most of the world does? Why is one a lifestyle, but not the other?
In sociology, ‘lifestyle’ is defined as “the way in which a person or group lives and how they they manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social, and economic environments on a day-to-day basis.” Guess what? Intermittent fasting was the lifestyle of every human before the advent of civilization. It might not be normal today, but it is a very natural way of living.
Many Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
The core idea of intermittent fasting is that by giving your body a break from constantly eating and digesting, you give it more time to detox, burn fat, and boost your metabolism. But does it actually work, and is it safe?
Humans, like many animals, have been practicing fasting since the dawn of time — it’s part of our evolution. Our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round like we do today, and they would sometimes go days without eating. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.
In fact, contrary to what the food industry would want us to believe, fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 3–4 (or more) meals per day. So, yes, intermittent fasting can be safe for your, assuming you don’t have any disease or health condition that could possibly get in he way.
Does intermittent fasting work? If weight loss is your goal, then yes. The less food you eat, the less calories you are likely to consume and the more weight you lose. And by reducing the amount of time you have to eat, you generally reduce the amount of food you can eat — assuming, of course, you don’t overcompensate by binging during the eating window.
But intermittent fasting has many other benefits besides weight loss. Studies have shown that fasting improves insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to more efficiently absorb energy from food and transport the energy to where it’s needed most, such as muscle tissue rather than dumping it into fat cells. It initiates important cellular repair and cleansing processes (autophagy), changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible, reduces oxidative damage to cells, and increases human growth hormone.
These beneficial changes can help increase your energy level throughout the day, make body heal faster, extend your life span, make you look and feel younger, reduce the risk of Type-2 Diabetes, boost heart and brain health, and prevent cancer.
Should You Live The Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle?
As we have established, intermittent fasting is not a diet plan, and doesn’t restrict what you can eat. It is simply a pattern of eating — a conscious decision to skip meals, like breakfast, on purpose. It’s a proven and effective weight loss tool that also happens to give you a healthier body and mind.
While intermittent fasting may or may not work for you, it is a healthy lifestyle change that I strongly vouch for because, in addition to the numerous healthy benefits, it has simplified my life and frees up more time to focus on what really matters to me.
In fact, any man who chooses to live the TooManly lifestyle like I have can benefit greatly for intermittent fasting. It can be a powerful addition to your arsenal of healthy and wellness practices as you strive to feel your prime and look your prime at any age.
By writing this article, I hope to dispel one of the biggest myths of intermittent fasting. The very fact that it is not a diet should make it a less scary endeavor for most men looking to lose weight, improve overall health, and achieve more productivity. And the less difficult something is, the more likely you are to do it.