What if I told you that you could easily lose weight, reduce your risk of cancer and diabetes, lower your blood pressure, and lower bad cholesterol.
In fact it’s so easy that you don’t need to do anything. You actually need to do a “negative” thing. As in do less of something. That’s almost too easy isn’t it? Well with intermittent fasting (IF) you simply need to remove one meal from your 3-meal-a-day routine.
This is pretty much all it takes to follow a 16/8 intermittent fasting plan. These numbers represent a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window in each 24-hour period. In your eating window you can eat anything you want. Seriously, anything you want. I’d hesitate to even call this a diet as it’s more of a lifestyle change than a diet. It’s one of my keys to getting back in shape as a millennial dad. If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know how important I believe keeping fit is for being a good father. Combining IF with a healthy exercise regimen like regularly running is a surefire way to increase energy and become healthier.
Check out Dr. Jason Fung for some additional information on intermittent fasting. He’s a fellow Canadian and is a really great resource for IF. I like to consider him the Yoda or Mr. Miyagi of IF.
I’ve been following intermittent fasting for over 1 year now. In that time I’ve already seen a reduction in body fat %, loss of 10 lbs in weight, lowered blood pressure and I’ve just received “healthy” blood test results. Cholesterol, blood sugar, and uric acid are all within normal ranges.
Life changing effects of the The Lazy Millennial Dad Diet
IF was a major life initiative that has helped me become a healthier millennial dad. Health has become a big concern for me as a soon-to-be father. I want to be present for my children. To be energetic and active. I never want to give the excuse that “I’m too tired” (not too often at least). And most of all, I want to set a good example by leading a healthy lifestyle.
Skipping a meal might sound alien for today’s millennial dad. We’ve been conditioned to eat 3 square meals a day and as a kid, I was always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not so long ago I was even reading about eating 6 small meals a day to help speed up your metabolism.
The common argument against skipping meals is “won’t I have less energy and be weaker?” I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. In addition to all the other health benefits of IF, I’ve find that I think more clearly and have more energy. In fact, all those extra meals are adding complication to your life. You have to plan 1-4 additional meals a day compared to someone who is following IF. Not only does that add some unnecessary stress to your life but all those extra meals will also cause your monthly food bill to skyrocket.
I will admit there is one major downside to IF and that is the intense stomach growling you’ll get in the first few weeks. Working in a quiet office can make it a bit awkward so be prepared for some strange looks. Your body should adjust quickly though. Power through it and see if you reap the same benefits that I have so far with IF.
Keys to sticking with a 16/8 intermittent fasting plan
- Find an eating window that works consistently for you. I find it very hard to skip dinner because it’s usually a social meal. You probably don’t want to turn into a friendless hermit in the name of getting healthier. Breakfast is a rushed meal and something you eat alone at your desk anyway so I find that it is very easy to skip. In addition, it’s very hard for me to fall asleep on an empty stomach. This is why I choose to skip breakfast and have my eating window between noon and 8pm everyday. Experiment and see what works best for you.
- It’s fine to cheat sometimes but be consistent. We all know things can come up. Breakfast meetings, travel, social gatherings, etc. Don’t beat yourself up and lose steam if you cant stick to your IF plan 365 days a year. Just be consistent and you’ll definitely see the benefits sooner rather than later.
- Drink lots of water. It’ll help keep your stomach full in the morning and hopefully prevent some of the growling. Black coffee and tea are also fine. In fact they are great calorie-less substitutes at breakfast time.
- Get rid of your snacks at home! Throw them all away. It’s too tempting when you look in your kitchen cabinet and see bags of cookies, chips and chocolates to sneak a snack after 8pm. It’s even more likely to happen when you’re bored. Don’t do it! Not snacking after your eating window is just as important as skipping breakfast when following 16/8 IF.
- Be okay with being hungry. We’ve been conditioned to think we need to eat as soon as we feel the slightest bit of hunger. You’re not going to die of starvation if you skip a meal. Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days without food. I’m sure you can go 16 hours.
So there you have it. Make IF a lifestyle change instead of a diet. Diets are hard to stick with. People start them and try for a few months but revert back to the norm shortly after. Lifestyle changes are difficult to implement, but once you’ve put in the work early on, they become permanent and second nature. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.