Tuesday , 21 November 2017

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How Intermittent Fasting Changed the Way I Spend My Money

The parallels between the way we consume food and the way we spend money are pretty striking.

If I had to name one thing that gets me in the most trouble as the editor of a money website, it would have nothing to do with wasteful things I’ve spent on, or embarrassing work habits, or even the times (and there were several) when I was fired. I get by far the most flak for when I discuss my now-2.5-year-long practice of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting, simply put, is the practice of eating your caloric needs each day in a shortened window of hours, or in a certain pattern throughout the week, so as to not eat more than you need (or, like many Americans, constantly be eating for no reason). I personally practice 18:6 intermittent fasting (henceforth referred to as IF), which is essentially a pattern of eating for six-hour windows each day and fasting for 18.

INTERMITTENT FASTING: HOW IT WORKS FOR ME

Breakfast: I generally have just coffee and water in the mornings (I was never a breakfast person).
Lunch: I eat a small meal around 2 pm.
Dinner: Effectively, I eat whatever I like, somewhere around 8 and 9 pm.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds. I almost always have a dessert, and more than once per week, I have a drink or two with dinner. I initially started by counting my calories in tandem with practicing IF, but after a long enough time spent figuring out what your average diet contains in terms of caloric content, you get pretty used to eyeballing it. Now, I’m able to meet my caloric needs without really thinking about it, and have maintained the roughly the same weight and energy levels since I started — even counting for the vacation or “off” days, in which I eat whatever I like.

I did this not just because I wanted to lose some weight and start to feel energetic again, but because I realized I lived in a culture where the omnipresence of food advertising and food access made it feel like constant eating was the norm, and anything short of it was depriving myself. I wanted to get into the habit of consuming just what I needed, and being conscious with my choices, so that the things I decided were worth the expenditure of calories were truly worth it (unlike the bag of kettle chips I was liable to take down while watching reality TV before I started). And while I recognize that it’s a program that isn’t for everyone, I have found that for my relatively modest needs and lifestyle (I went from around 155 lbs at 5’6 to somewhere between 125 and 135, depending on the day) it provides the perfect balance between “still having some of everything I love” and “not having too much of it.”

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