Saturday, June 14, 2008


I’m an advocate for intermittent fasting. I believe you should go for as long as possible without eating anything. If you stop eating at 8pm and don’t eat again until 11am or noon then you will have fasted for 15 to 16 hours. Do this every day and eat only healthy food like meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts and your weight will be well under control with your nutritional needs being met as well.

Some people seem to get outraged by this suggestion as it goes against a lot of conventional thinking. Many people think the metabolism will come to a screaming halt if it is not fed continuously. People even think that it is highly dangerous to go any length of time without eating and that the body will start consuming its own muscles. This may well happen after a week or so of fasting but it certainly isn’t going to happen in less than 24 hours.

The regime I propose above works for me because I rarely feel like eating breakfast anyway. I have heard of someone who never ate anything after 5pm and then ate breakfast giving them a shifted 15 hour break from eating and this worked well also.

So what happens to the metabolism? It is highly doubtful that the metabolism changes much at all with this style of eating. For the most part metabolisms are set by glands and are only altered by illness. There is evidence that the metabolism is increased by doing anaerobic exercise. Sometimes after a vigorous workout involving cycling, running and then weights I have felt that my metabolism has been increased. You can just feel that your body’s furnace is turned up for a few hours afterward.

The thing is you probably don’t want to have a high metabolism. If anything a lower metabolism is desirable. Animals with high metabolisms like shrews for instance have very short life spans while animals with low metabolisms like the tortoise have very long life spans. The shrew has a very high heart rate and the tortoise a low one.

A good exercise regime should result in a lowered resting heart rate and this is a good indication that the body is operating at an optimum level. The metabolism may not be lower but it probably is operating very efficiently. A heightened heart rate is certainly an indicator of poor health or over exercise. It seems to make sense that for a long and healthy life a strong heart that pumps slowly and steadily is desirable. The Active Survivalist should endeavour to lower the resting heart rate to somewhere in the forties and have a nice efficient metabolic rate if not a low one.


Redneck Texan said...

Hunger Management?

Do you enjoy being hungry?

AA said...

I wouldn't say I enjoy being hungry although I seem to cope with it better than most people. When I feel hungry I see it as a positive thing as I expect my body to start drawing upon the reserves of fat. I think people often eat out of habit and also eat foods that increase appetite or foods that dont satiate like bread and sugar.

Actually, "hunger management" deserves a detailed post all of its own.