With so much about fasting and its benefits in the popular media in the last few months, you might have wondered whether you could add it to your lifestyle to receive its benefits too. This conversation is to help ease you into it.
I can speak for hours on end about hormetic stressors like fasting, exercise, spices and saunas, but I would like today’s conversation to be immediately useful to you if you are considering trying out fasting.
If you are sceptical about the benefits of fasting, because some nutritionist, dietitian or doctor brainwashed you into believing that you need to eat every 2 hours, you ought to familiarize yourself with the long list of benefits of fasting. If you are ready to give, what I call, Time Optimized Feeding a shot, continue reading.
[You will find thousands of scientific research papers on fasting and for a non-exhaustive 100-second summary on the benefits of fasting watch this. For something slightly heavier, read this easy-to-follow summary of the science of fasting.]
In order to help you jump to the section of interest here is a hyperlinked content list, but I recommend that, at first, you read what I have to say from start to finish. Having done that, use this list to re-read the sections that are of special interest to you.
If you find it useful, please share this with your family and friends.
Background – Fasting is Natural and Easy
666, The Number of The Beast
Fasting is Easy – You have been doing it for years
Dealing with Hunger
Before Your Farming Ancestors Came Your Hunting and Gathering Ones
Wise Leaders, Intelligent Non-Believers, Knowledge Wasters
Time Optimized Feeding
Why is it called Time Optimized Feeding?
1234The Psychological Basis
1234Feeding yourself to Complement your Fasting
1234Playing with the Time Dimension
1234Optimization for Happiness
TOF Ratios for a Day Focused Fast
Technical Details and Philosophy
Develop Your Own Personal Understanding of Why YOU Fast
How long should your fast be?
When should you eat?
What is a fast?
1234Science Research Fasts
What is NOT a Fast?
Fats during a Fast
Fasting vs Calorie-Restriction
Where does Ketosis fit in?
Making TOF Work for You – Internal Focus
Prior Experience Helps
Synchronizing with Religious Belief
Starting Easy, Progressing Safely
What to NOT do
Arm Yourself with Powerful Weapons
Safety and TOF
1234Safety and TOF – Type-2 Diabetics
1234Safety and TOF – Pregnancy, Breastfeeding
1234Safety and TOF – Should Your Child Fast?
1234Safety and TOF – Acidity and Reflux
1234Safety and TOF – Nutrient Deficiencies
Making TOF Work for You – External Focus
Fasting and your Workouts
Fasting and your Social Life
Fasting while on Holiday
Dealing with the Skeptics
Fasting and Competition
666, The Number of The Beast [top]
Last week I completed 666 days of fasting – daily fasts i.e. single-day cycles of famine/feast for 666 days in a row. The reason I decided to speak to you after 666 days is cheekiness more than anything else – the number 666 is often associated with the devil, and many people’s response to the suggestion of fasting is almost as if I am suggesting something evil. [see Safety and TOF below.]
Fasting is Easy – You have been doing it for years [top]
The fact of the matter is that, very loosely speaking, you have been fasting every day since you were born. [There is a reason that break-fast is called breakfast.] Some of us have been doing this daily fasting more diligently than others and, like most things in life, we can always get better at it. [Read below why I call it Time Optimized Feeding.] The good news is that if you have been following what I would call “an unhealthy lifestyle of finishing dinner late and eating breakfast soon after waking up“, your scope for improving your life is significantly greater for the same amount of effort – take motivational fuel from that simple fact.
Dealing with Hunger [top]
It is normal and natural to feel hungry whenever you do today. When you are hungry it is simply your brain telling you that you need to consume some food in order to survive. And you know how it is, it does not matter what anyone else says about how you ought to respond to the sight, smell or thought of food or, even simply, the time of day. Those chemicals in your body sending signals to your brain, they are sophisticated and, typically, incredibly precise in their details, as defined by nature, at the cell, tissue, organ and organ system level. But their impact at the level of your overall health over time might not be what you would prefer – in order to look good, feel good or have a long Healthspan. It is good to have harmony between your short-term and long-term.
Given that you are simply responding to the laws of nature, how do you exercise better control of your mind-body-connection so as to benefit from the laws of biology as opposed to being a victim of them? Continue reading.
Before Your Farming Ancestors Came Your Hunting and Gathering Ones [top]
Prior to the advent of agriculture, which started only as recently as 10,000 years ago, all humans have always been fasting and feasting all through the year, by default. To spend a day or two without food was not unusual. In the last 100 years, with the advent of electricity, and then, the television, the big food companies, especially after World War II, have been the driving force behind irresponsible eating, both in terms of quantity, quality and timing. The last of these, timing, is what Time Optimized Feeding, which includes fasting as one component and feeding as the other, revolves around. Let us see how you can master that – and be in sync with your internal biological evolution as opposed to external technological evolution.
Wise Leaders, Intelligent Non-Believers, Knowledge Wasters [top]
Although wise leaders of most religious faiths have been prescribing fasting as a tool for a better life, many modern intelligent women and men have been fearful of it. To close the gap between wisdom and intelligence, sometimes knowledge can help. Unfortunately, even intelligent humans are lazy [in fact, in my observation, higher intelligence is often accompanied by greater laziness!]. Acquiring knowledge is not necessarily a natural drive of either the intelligent or the not-so-intelligent – it takes some effort and discipline. Thanks to the internet that knowledge is easily accessible today. I will not repeat all the science that confirms the benefits of fasting that is freely available and easily understandable. Instead I am going to structure this chat around my own experience with the aim of helping you in your effort to benefit from fasting.
Why is it called Time Optimized Feeding? [top]
Let us consider four angles:-
-the psychological basis,
-the feeding partnership
-the time dimension
The Psychological Basis [top]
I coined the term Time Optimized Feeding (TOF) because I discovered that words like ‘fasting’ or ‘time restricted feeding’ evoked negative feelings in your brain. I encourage you to use my more emotionally positive term, Time Optimized Feeding, to help support your thoughts and feelings, that fasting can be superb for you.
Feeding yourself to Complement your Fasting [top]
Just like vacuum is the absence of matter, fasting exists because of feeding. There is one set of metabolic pathways that is active during fasting and yet another during feeding. When you look with amazement that some people can fast and (yet) have super high physical, mental, emotional and spiritual performance, you are probably not appreciating the feeding component of the fasting:feeding partnership.
Given the separately identifiable benefit from each member of this fasting:feeding partnership, it can give you incredible confidence to note that even if what you are feeding yourself is not wonderfully healthy, optimizing your feeding times will be of great benefit to you and reduce the harm from the poison you consume. Of course, you could help yourself twice by feeding yourself like you might feed a chess-master-grand-monk-super-athlete when you break your fast. I am highly focused on processes to achieve high performance targets. So, that is what I do when I fast, and that is how I feed myself! That is also what I guide others whom I mentor to do.
Playing with the Time Dimension [top]
When you decide that you will spend periods of time in a feeding-fasting cycle, you have a lot of choices in the time dimension. The aspects to consider include:
– what period [e.g. a specific month] of the year you fast
– how many days you will have a focused cycle for [e.g. every full-moon/new-moon, 8 days of Paryushan, 40 days of Lent, 30 days of Ramadhaan]
– how long you will fast for in each 24-hour cycle [e.g. 16 hours, sunrise-to-sunset, sunset-to-sunrise, dinner-to-lunch-skipping-breakfast]
– if you will do a single-day or multi-day fast [e.g. water fast continuously for an entire week]
Optimization for Happiness [top]
To get the most short, medium and long-term joy out of your fasting-feeding cycle, you will need to consider many things. What your current status is, your set of goals, your preferences, your constraints – all these will need to be in harmony for a plan that will make sense for you. No two people I mentor have the exact same TOF plan. But they all benefit from the TOF plan that they have set and follow.
TOF Ratios for a Day Focused Fast [top]
If you decide to plan your Time Optimized Feeding with a 24-hour cycle for (daily) fasting, I define the ratio of times for fasting:feeding as the TOF Ratio. So, if you are fasting for 9 hours overnight, in an earth-day of 24 hours, then you have a TOF Ratio of 9:15. If your grandma fasts from 7pm to 9am, then she has a TOF Ratio of 14:10. In general, bigger:smaller is better.
Develop Your Own Personal Understanding of Why YOU Fast [top]
I am a foodie. And so, just like I think of my relationship with my food, I also think of my relationship with my fast. Just as I eat extremely mindfully, I am very mindful of why it is that I fast.
Different people fast for different benefits from fasting – the vast majority do so for the fat loss benefits – at least initially. Fortunately, I do not need to fast to keep my body fat levels low, so I fast primarily for other reasons. Those reasons vary depending on the time of the year, and where I am geographically, and will also keep changing as the decades of my life continue to pass by. For instance, even with the benefits to my brain – there are those benefits that are important for the short-term and clearly observable, and those that are critical for the long-term but currently supported only by studies limited by data (as data collection will take decades!) or limited by scope (e.g. animal models).
I encourage you to develop your own fasting philosophy. This philosophy will change and mature as the years go by, as your goals change, and so do your constraints and preferences. Perhaps you will start off motivated by the fat loss (physical health), and then re-discover your ancestral religion (spiritual health) through fasting. Perhaps you will fast simply for developing greater willpower (emotional health) and then continue it for improving athletic performance and information processing in old-age (mental health).
No matter what the reasons are in my head or yours for why you fast, you will benefit from TOF for all of the reasons known and as yet unknown to scientists. Sound like fun, doesn’t it?
How long should your fast be? [top]
If you already live a reasonably healthy lifestyle, within the 24-hour day, you have probably been fasting for 12 hours anyway (say from dinner finish at 8:30pm to breakfast start at 8:30am). If not, hey, just doing that will already help you benefit from your newly adopted TOF daily cycle of 12:12. As you adapt to that cycle and push yourself gently over time, reaching more advanced levels will help you experience additional benefits of fasting. There are certain benefits of fasting which might only be available to you if your TOF Ratio gets to 16:8, others will appear more easily at 20:4, yet others at 23:1 and the premium ones only during multi-day water fasts.
When should you eat? [top]
It is important to note that, along with what you eat and how long you fast for, it is when it is that you feed yourself that will also determine the specific advantages of TOF that you will benefit from. I mentioned earlier that you should work to a plan that fits in with the rest of your life and, perhaps, any religious beliefs you hold. Having said that, if you have full freedom in terms of when you feed yourself during your TOF cycle, my very strong (scientific research on the circadian rhythm based) advice is that the centre of mass of your feeding be weighted towards lunch, not dinner.
What is a fast? [top]
First, here are some popular definitions, based on the time-dimension:
– intermittent fasting (e.g. “the 5:2 protocol” which is 5 days normal eating, 2 days low calories)
– time-restricted-feeding (eating only during a short window during sunlight hours)
– periodic fasting (e.g. only water for 3-5 days).
And, here are some popular fasting definitions based on consumption matter:
Full Fasts [top]
At the strictest level, consumption of no food/drink, not even water, defines fasting in many settings.
I have been fasting with this protocol from sunrise to sunset for 30 days every year for the last 26 years during the month of Ramadhaan [Read why]. A billion Muslims do this every year. Two years ago, I fasted during Yom Kippur to honour my Jewish godson.
Of those whom I mentor, are numerous followers of the Jain religion who practice fasting of this kind for up to 8 (or 10) days at a stretch [with water only during daylight hours] during the period of Paryushan (typically in August/September each year). These are urban housewives, professionals and business owners. Doing an 8-day fast in the near future with all of them (spread around the world) is on my bucket list.
Water Fasts [top]
In a water fast, only water may be consumed, no other drink, and no food. (This is typically what you might be advised to do during an overnight 12-hour fast prior to a blood test the next morning.)
Science Research Fasts [top]
The bulk of the recent scientific research on humans fasting focuses on zero-insulin-spike fasts. This means you consume no carbohydrates or proteins that would otherwise induce the beta cells of your pancreas to secrete insulin. (Yes, even protein consumption breaks your fast as it raises insulin production like carbohydrates do.) In this setting, you would benefit even if consuming water, black tea, black coffee, green tea – all without sugar (carbohydrates) of any kind.
What is NOT a Fast? [top]
The need to exclude water in the fast is debatable, but what will definitely break a fast is the consumption of carbohydrates or proteins. I spend a good chunk of my year in India and it is amusing to see that so many Indians do not get this point. If you are in India and someone offers you ‘sabudana khichdi’ – do not take it – consumption of starch implies you are not in a fast. A green smoothie will break your fast. Eating fruit will break your fast. Even if it is prasad.
Fats during a Fast [top]
Because pure fat consumption will not stimulate insulin production, when you are in the fasting window, you could consume fat [unless fasting for routine blood tests]. This could take the form of coconut oil in your black coffee (bulletproof coffee), or even oil with medium-chain triglycerides. However, unless you are a super-lean ultra-endurance athlete, just stick to having healthy fats only during your feeding window. Keep your fasting window free of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats). [Read this for a previous conversation about macro/micro-nutrients.]
Fasting vs Calorie-Restriction [top]
Fasting is nothing to do with eating less. If it is for part of a day, it is simply about rearranging your TOF ratio for that day. If you fast, you may eat less than you otherwise would in a given week, but then that is just an additional benefit if you have been recommended a calorie deficit lifestyle for a limited period to promote a longer Healthspan. So, you could be fasting and eating the same quantity of the same food in a given week and still benefit from Time Optimized Feeding. So, in that case, it is not about how much you are eating but about when you are eating! Eating the exact same food and quantities in a 8:16 versus a 16:8 setting would have a different impact on your body! Being unaware of that will literally lead to your premature death!
You should also realize that ‘calories from food’ as a singular measure of its impact on your health (or weight) is a wrong measure for comparing foods.
Where does Ketosis fit in? [top]
When planning your TOF, you need to think about the feeding and fasting components and how they work together over a 24-hour or weekly cycle. Reading about the benefits of being in ketosis, you might wonder whether you are in ketosis or not. There are the following possibilities:
Fasting without Ketosis – if you are not fasting for long enough, or if your feeding window included a lot of high carbohydrate foods and you have not exercised much
Ketosis without fasting – if your diet is very low in carbohydrates and/or you exercise a lot
Fasting and Ketosis – if you are fasting for long enough with/without a diet low in carbohydrates [low relative to your physical activity] and are, therefore, glycogen depleted
Note, although typically being in ketosis means that your blood glucose levels are low (but safe) with your glycogen stores having been depleted, you could also be in a state such that you have a high level of blood glucose [e.g. no fasting and with a carbohydrate heavy diet] and still have noticeable levels of ketones in your blood. How? Through external ketone supplementation, a state of ketosis or naturally if Type-2 diabetic and in (potentially lethal) ketoacidosis.
Ketone supplementation is an area of research for some scientists, especially in the area of brain disorders – my suggestion in 2017 is, don’t try it. If you do want to be in a state of ketosis, do TOF instead for greater and proven benefits, and tweak your diet so that it aids your TOF. In this case, aiding your TOF would be via a relatively low carbohydrate diet.
Please note that I am not a proponent of ultra-low carbohydrate diets as a permanent way of life. If you want to get onto a ketogenic diet, please ensure that you are getting all the micronutrients (and phytonutrients) from your diet.
Prior Experience Helps [top]
If your religious practice during periods like Yom Kippur, Paryushan, Ramadhaan, or Lent, have already given you an experience of fasting for short or long periods of the year, you are likely to enjoy additional fasting days that are not compulsory (but perhaps recommended) by your faith! My Hindu Brahmin father has been fasting during each full-moon and new-moon for nearly 75 years. I, on the other hand, for the last 26 years, had my dietary reset with 30 days of annual fasting [read why] in-between 10.5 month gaps of ‘normal eating’. [There is a 10.5 solar months gap between the end of 30 days of Ramadhaan in one Islamic lunar year, and its start in the following Islamic lunar year].
Synchronizing with Religious Belief [top]
If you belong to a faith that prescribes some period of fasting in a given year, but you have never fasted yourself, you might enjoy the practice of appreciating your faith more through this process in the future. I notice, among Indians, that the Jains whom I mentor, transition to TOF with minimal emotional resistance. Their faith prescribes eating only during daylight hours all year round! Anecdotally, the Hindus and Sikhs, on the other hand, are often looking for excuses about why their TOF cannot be made more effective for their Healthspan. The good thing is that after learning about its benefits, they too eventually make the required transitions. Whatever be your beliefs, take advantage of TOF! And if you prefer to have no religious beliefs, have faith in science!
Starting Easy, Progressing Safely [top]
Like with anything challenging, it is important to start right from where you are today and progress in small steps. I started with about 12 hours and progressed steadily through the year. Remember, you want to shock yourself very gently to benefit from hormesis, not traumatize your body and mind into non-acceptance after 2 days.
What to NOT do [top]
This might be pretty obvious now, but I will say it anyway. Do not start off with any over-ambitious plan. Remember what they say about that journey of a thousand fasts. It starts with one small fast! I have mentees and friends who have completed multiple day fasts (no eating anything for 5-7 days) with no prior experience with TOF, but there are many more people I come across who have been unable to stick to an over-ambitious plan.
Arm Yourself with Powerful Weapons [top]
Knowledge is power. If you do as much background learning about fasting as you can, you will arm yourself with the strongest forms of motivation to overcome any hurdle – belief and hope. Believe in the science, and hope that you have understood it adequately.
Tracking Progress [top]
If you have been following what I have been saying on this platform for the last few years you will not be surprised that I bring up the importance of progress tracking. Yes, keep a record of your progress with TOF – you will thank yourself later that you did.
If you are super-super-lazy, at the very least, you could record your period of fasting e.g. 13-hours-15-min.
If you are only super-lazy, you could record the start time and end time of your fast e.g. 19:15 to 08:30.
If you are only a bit lazy, perhaps you could also record where you ate your dinner [e.g. home] or breakfast [e.g. office cafeteria]. Those I mentor gain a lot of benefit from recording what they ate too.
Besides recording the observations of your process, you could also make a record of the outcomes. A record of your weight is easy enough to do. If you are implementing TOF for observing how some of your blood biomarkers change, you should have those measured at a reliable pathology lab before you commence execution of your TOF plan, and once again after a relevant period (e.g. 3-months for HbA1c) has gone by.
Safety and TOF [top]
More people die from eating each week than could ever possibly die from conscious fasting. Having said that, if you are considered to be severely underweight or malnourished, or identified as having high uric acid, do not use a TOF Ratio more demanding than 12:12. Use other lifestyle changes to get yourself back on track before you look to benefit from more challenging TOF Ratios.
Safety and TOF – Type-2 Diabetics [top]
If not on medication: If you are a Type-2 diabetic, or pre-diabetic, and not on either insulin or a blood glucose reducing medicine like Metformin, you should definitely introduce TOF into your lifestyle to ensure that you never get onto any such medication. I welcome you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be part of a global study I am conducting that will be of help to you.
If on medication: If you are on insulin or blood glucose reducing medication like Metformin, there are two things that you should be aware of. Your risk of stroke, heart-attack or kidney disease is no less than if you were not on such medication. Yes, please read that sentence again if it worries you! If you have been brainwashed into believing that a blood sugar reducing medicine or insulin shots are going to cure your Type-2 diabetes and you continue to take them – then please do not fast without supervision. If you consult a doctor whose advice you plan to follow with the goal of eradicating this lifestyle disease, please ensure that they are experienced with fasting as a cure. If you want to get off your medication for life, make Time Optimized Feeding your method of cure! I welcome you to email me at email@example.com to be part of a global study I am conducting that will be of help to you.
Safety and TOF – Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding [top]
If you are hoping to get pregnant, one of the helpful conditions is a healthy body weight. Being either too overweight or too underweight is not helpful. If you have been told your body fat is too low, adjust your TOF so that your fasting window is no longer than 14-hours in a 24-hour period (a TOF Ratio of 14:10). If you are too overweight, have a more aggressive (longer fasting window) TOF Ratio. In both cases, ensure that your levels of micronutrients such as folate, are high enough to ensure a good pregnancy and healthy fetus.
If you are pregnant, please adjust your TOF so that your fasting window is no longer than 14-hours in a 24-hour period (a TOF Ratio of 14:10). The pregnant women I mentor, often those who had infertility problems, now reversed with lifestyle changes, we monitor their weight progression to ensure that it is within an acceptable band as they go through their pregnancies.
In your first trimester, your energy requirements (macronutrients: fat, carbs, protein) are no different from pre-pregnancy. During your third trimester, your energy requirements may be an extra 450kCal per day at most. Remember, calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient foods will make you gain weight but not be best for your baby’s development needs.
When breast-feeding, if you gained more weight during the pregnancy than you ought to have, please ensure that your feeding window now focuses on micronutrients (and phytonutrients) and do not go overboard on the macronutrients. Your baby will still get all the nutrients they need from the milk that you produce. Scientists believe that your breastmilk will provide what your baby needs, but since that might be at the expense of your (maternal) body, it is important that you ensure that you continue to eat micronutrient and phytonutrient dense foods to ensure that your (maternal) body does not become deficient in order for your baby to thrive.
Safety and TOF – Should Your Child Fast? [top]
Like children have done for millions of years, once beyond breast-feeding, your child should also be maintaining an overnight fast if they are otherwise healthy. If this can be 12 hours as a minimum for school going children, that would be great – try to maintain that – and when it’s possible to do a slightly longer period, do that too. If your child is not healthy, it is likely that fasting might be even more beneficial for them, but please use scientific facts and evidence based advice before you make that decision. Time Optimized Feeding is for everyone! The details of it need to be customized based on not just your child’s individual requirements/goals, but also on their current health status and constraints.
School Grades: Have you have read in the popular press that children who skip breakfast achieve lower grades in school than those who don’t? Be careful of such hype. They are typically examples of bad journalism or reporting on poorly constructed studies [probably funded by food companies!] and are not testing the harmful/beneficial effects of fasting. It is more likely that they are simply not controlling for the fact that students who stay up late, or eat dinner late, and skip breakfast that they are meant to have in a rush to get to school, represent a biased sub-sample of students who come from homes that are not disciplined. It is the the lack of discipline that leads to worse grades, not the skipping of breakfast. If conducting research on school children was permitted, like is done on volunteering adults, I am pretty sure it would show that smart kids who take up ‘swap breakfast for a late morning snack’ as an alternative, will get even better grades! In this case, besides the direct neurological benefits, the discipline itself would be supportive of a better student life.
Safety and TOF – Acidity and Reflux [top]
If you have been suffering from acid reflux and are on medication (typically an antacid or a proton pump inhibitor) for symptomatic relief, then you should consider lifestyle changes to get off medication sensibly while resolving your problem. TOF will actually help you in that regard. Fasting will not increase your acid reflux. Your stomach produces acid over time to sync with your circadian rhythm as well as anticipation of food (either your regular meal times or the sight, smell, or even thought of food) and the actual ingestion of food. The quantity of acid production in your stomach over 24 hours even during an unexpected fast day will be less than on your normal feeding day.
I have helped numerous individuals escape the annoyance of regular acid reflux without medication. Details aside, as the modifications are always case-specific, let me just say that combined with other lifestyle changes e.g. feed-sleep times, you can benefit significantly from a wise use of TOF.
Safety and TOF – Nutrient Deficiences [top]
Even those of us who think we are eating reasonably well often have some micronutrient (e.g. Magnesium) deficiency or the other. For those who are overweight, the problem of too much macronutrients is worsened by this deficiency of micronutrients. One of the additional benefits of TOF is that it encourages you to think more consciously of what you will eat when you are in the feeding part of the cycle. In general, if your goal is to reduce your body fat percentage, ensure that your focus is on micronutrient and phytonutrient dense food and not calorie dense foods low in micronutrients and phytonutrients. And calories themselves are a poor measure of the body fat impact of your food – it is better that you focus on the insulin impact too. [For insulin impact on health, the timing of food over a 24 hour solar earth-day is critical because of your circadian clock.]
Fasting and your Workouts [top]
I am always amused when asked “should I have a banana before my run?” when the fact of the matter is that, if anything, calories consumed before the energy-equivalent of a 25km training run or a 1-hour strength training session will only come in the way of greater long-term benefits of that training session. [One possible exception might be certain BCAAs.] Yes, sure, you could have that banana or bowl of porridge, and it might aid your run beyond 30km on that day, or lift weights for 15 minutes longer than otherwise planned, but you need to ask yourself what your long-term goal is. To do a faster training run and lift more weights at the gym on a specific day? Or to perform better at competition and improve your Healthspan? I remind you again – TOF includes two components: fasting and feeding – they both give you the opportunity to aid your body through a period of super-compensation.
Fasting and your Social Life [top]
If those you live with or normally hang out with also engage in Time Optimized Feeding, then the periods of fasting and feeding will be spent well together. Eating is not just about the nutritional benefits, and eating with others is one of the oldest surviving traditions humans benefit from. Having said that, even if you sit at the meal table while your friends or loved ones are eating, and engage in conversation but not in the food, the event can still be a life-enhancing ritual.
I advised you as far back as Jan-2014 what you could do about eating with friends who are not as health focused as you are.
Parties: There are some parties that I go to where I will not consume any calories. For others, I will adjust my TOF routine in advance to accommodate the party. It is natural to worry that others will complain about your fasting period – but worry not! Why? What you will also find is that not-eating is not met with as much irritation from others as is eating with constraints and preferences that cannot be easily satisfied. So, going to a cocktail party and sipping water and avoiding the snacks going around will not be socially difficult. Time Optimized Feeding will also make your brain sharper over time than most people at the party could hope for. Food for thought? Fast for thought!
Fasting while on Holiday [top]
You can always tweak your TOF plan to be compatible with your holiday plans. Since guilt and regret are probably the two worst human emotions, if you are anxious about potential holiday weight gain, you can enjoy your holiday no less by tweaking your TOF plans so that they work for you and the details of your holiday schedule. [Here’s an old note on holiday eating.]
One universal tip: no matter how self-destructive your TOF Ratio when on holidays, keep a record in your logs. You can learn useful things [about yourself] more reliably with complete information.
Dealing with the Skeptics [top]
When people are skeptical about the benefits of your prayer or meditation you should ignore them. [Read about why I am not a Fitness Freak.] There is enough science today about the benefits of both. When people scoff at you for not ‘enjoying life’ because you are mindful of what you drink or because you exercise when they prefer to laze in bed, you should ignore them. Similarly, when they are ignorant about the benefits of Time Optimized Feeding and still pass comments about how you will store fat because your body is starving (that one is hilarious) just smile gracefully and stick with your TOF plan.
Fasting and Competition [top]
I have said this many times already, you are in competition with no one else. [Read about Competing, Comparing & Maximizing Your Happiness.]
Your focus is to be better than you were yesterday. [Read about your Genetic Potential Fitness.]
Feel neither pride nor dismay when you find out how long your friend can fast for. Because of everything else about your own specific state of existence, you might benefit more from a 12-hour fast than she might with a 24-hour fast. Or vice versa! The point is that you ought to benefit. That is why Time Optimized Feeding is about optimizing your own fasting:feeding cycle so that you can benefit. It is not about anyone else.
A Parting Note
I may add more information to this conversation as time goes by. I also promise to write separately about my own TOF log with direct references to various topics surrounding TOF that I have spoken about today. If you have found this conversation useful, please share it with your family and friends.
Dr Purnendu Nath [is not a medical doctor and] spends his waking hours focusing on helping individuals and organizations reach their goals, to make the world a better place. He speaks, writes and advises on topics such as finance, investment management, discipline, education, self-improvement, exercise, nutrition, health and fitness, leadership and parenting.
geeat and detailed article.
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Quite a detailed and interesting write up. I have been reading up and looking at videos on this topic
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[…] Hopefully you are not in the camp that says “I have not eaten a meal since I woke up, how can I do any physical exercise?”. If you are, you will have to first rewind and address that – read this. […]
[…] you are someone who does sensible Time Optimized Feeding daily, then you will know that the daily fasting is not about calorie restriction – it is only […]
[…] hours range. More recently (3¾ years ago) came the everyday fasting that I prefer to think of as Time Optimized Feeding and has reached an equilibrium of about 22 hours of daily fasting. This is possible because of my […]
[…] into place. A shift in your Internal Culture that will include Voluntary Hormetic Stress, Time Optimized Feeding, Tackling Teachability, Conquering Consistency, being highly aware of the Internal-External Divide, […]
[…] to do so. I have already written about different aspects of fasting as part of your lifestyle here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Water […]
[…] perhaps 2-3 times a day. You might feel thirsty 2-3 times a day. You may want to (or have to, if fasting) overcome those basic urges and experience personal growth. With your breath, you have 20,000 […]