You may think you can imagine what it’s like to go 12, 16, 20 or more hours without food, but you don’t really know until you do it. Intermittent fasting (IF) causes us to see ourselves, our bodies and the social norms of eating in a whole new light. Here are five things only IF-ers know.
1. True Hunger
You might consider yourself famished a few hours after your last meal, but you really don’t know hunger until you’ve spent at least half of your waking hours without eating ANYTHING – not a small apple, a cup of soup, or a tiny bite of a sandwich – NOTHING. IF-ers learn a lot about the human body through IF and in the process they learn a lot about themselves.
2. Real Thirst
If you think you’re thirsty and can settle for a diet coke, or a tall glass of lemonade, you’re probably not really thirsty. When real thirst strikes, IF-ers know only the best beverage on earth will do – water. IF-ers also develop an appreciation for natural no-calorie beverages like coffee and tea to provide them with powerful antioxidants and a boost in energy to get them through the fasting day.
3. The Experience of Having Conquered “Limbic Hunger”
Limbic hunger is triggered by a combination of emotional, hormonal and psychological factors that cause craving for specific foods despite not being in a state of true hunger. If you’ve ever felt you couldn’t eat just one potato chip (something I encourage everyone to do for the social experiment alone), you’ve experienced limbic hunger. Once an IF-er experiences true hunger, it becomes much easier to differentiate that experience from limbic hunger and to say no to foods with little nutrition.
4. The Exhilaration of Being in Control of Your Eating Habits
Before adopting intermittent fasting, most IF-ers wouldn’t have considered spending over 12 hours without food a pleasant experience, much less exhilarating. However, once the body has become “fat adapted” there is definite satisfaction in knowing you are utilizing the body in its most efficient way, not to mention the thrill of a having a leaner body and sharper mind.
5. How Awesome Nutrient-Dense Foods Are
When you only eat one or two meals a day, you’re going to make those meals count, and the best way to do so is with foods rich in nutrients that provide tremendous nutrition and keep you satisfied. IF-ers appreciate nutrient dense foods not only for what they provide, but because they’ve learned that most foods that are good for you can actually taste great too.
There are many benefits to intermittent fasting and these five are just the beginning. What’s been your greatest benefit?