Friday, May 23, 2008

A fast solution?

There are many fad diets, and I'm not one to "diet." When I made the decision to try and lose weight, I changed the way I eat - I did not go on a diet.

I came across something, though, that might make me change the way I think about dieting. (Okay, I cringe when I link myself to a diet)

There was a story in Men's Health about fasting. The author of the story fasts once a week, for 36 hours. He's been at it for more than a year straight.

At first, I was hesitant about it. After all, eating five to six small meals is how I was able to knock off 120-plus pounds. I never wanted to simply stop eating because it can have a negative affect. I try to eat every 2-3 hours or so.

But the author swears differently. He says it helps stimulate his taste for food, that is it helps stimulate tastebud sensitivity. It also has some healthy side-effects. For instance: the author dropped some weight, going from 189 to 174; he dropped his body-mass index from 25.6 to 23.6; fasting can also lower cholesterol and strengthen cells and also increase the production of several beneficial molecules in the brain, including BDNF.

The author fasts from Saturday night to Monday morning. He also says that on fasting days he is just as sharp as ever, whether it's in exercise or other activities.

Now, I'm not going to stop eating quite yet. But this sort of fasting sounds strangely appealing. I can't really point my finger to it, though. As I said, fasting goes contrary to my own meal plan but if there are so many positives and few setbacks - the author says there are no documented downsides to fasting.

Of coures, as with anything, you don't want to just dive right in. Their four tips to potential fasting:
- Don't do it unless you are healthy and eat right already
- Start off slowly - 24 hours would be good
- Make your meals on either side of the fast the correct ones
- Time it right so that you sleep through the last portion of the fast

I'm going to have to think about this "diet" (I refuse to use that word), or revision to my meal plan. It does intrigue me, but are there enough positives to do without food for 24-36 hours?

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