I’ve always been a self-experimenter, even when I didn’t realize it. Back when I raced competitively, I logged – compulsively – all my training routes, times, and distances. My logging didn’t begin as a grand self-experiment. It was just a way to authenticate my hard work. See, races were their own reward. Beating the other guys? Nothing sweeter. But those were few and far between. To get to those races, I had to train, day in and day out, with nothing tangible to show for it save for sore joints and a bottomless pit for a stomach. Filling those blank spaces with numbers made what I’d done somehow tangible, and the agony of training day in, day out became more bearable.
By now, you should be caught up on all the benefits that fasting offers. By now, you’re likely either intrigued by the practice, strongly considering taking it up, or basking in the smug satisfaction that your longtime breakfast-skipping ways weren’t destroying your metabolism after all. But although I tried to cover just about everything I could in the last six posts of this fasting series (links at the bottom of this article), I apparently didn’t hit every angle, because I received a barrage of questions from readers via email and comments looking for clarifications, answers, and explanations. I can’t quite answer them all, but I did manage to put together a fairly representative selection of the most common and relevant ones, and today I’ll provide answers.
Assuming you’ve been keeping up with the series, you should be saying to yourself “Hey, maybe this fasting thing would be a cool thing to try out, and it might even make me healthier/live longer/lean out/lose weight/etc.,” which is a sufficiently extensive list of benefits, don’t you think? I could probably go on theorizing and speculating about all the reasons why you should consider intermittent fasting, but I’d rather move on to the implementation. Thinking about fasting, reading about fasting, and reciting the benefits of fasting are all pointless if you don’t know how to go about doing it.
First, let’s go over the different variations of fasting. I’ll give a quick rundown. Each involves not eating for a period of time, unsurprisingly.
A couple other rules that apply to all the given methods:
Question: what does your body feel like right now? Go ahead. Take an inventory. From the toes to the head, what’s going on in there at the present moment? How’s your back? How’s your stomach? Your head? How about muscles? Your energy level and mood? Is your thinking clear this morning? Good and bad, what signals are you getting? Beyond the here and now, what’s your body been trying to tell you lately? Any changes since beginning the Challenge? Most important of all perhaps – are you accustomed to listening to what your body has to say?
Everything about our culture, it seems, discourages us from doing just that. From the commercials insisting we don’t need to put up with that headache to the glorification of binge drinking, taking a body’s hint isn’t exactly at the top of most people’s list of talents or priorities. Why live with that pesky fever when you can simply beat it back with 1000 milligrams of extra strength head-in-the-sand? Indigestion from eating that second Big Mac today? Try some Pepcid AC.
Self experimentation is a term the online Primal community regularly bandies about. I’ve been meaning to write a post on the subject, and I figured the first week of this year’s Primal challenge would be the perfect spot to drop it. Because, after all, those who accept and undertake the 30-day Primal Blueprint Challenge will essentially be conducting a 30-day self-experiment on themselves. It won’t be your first self experiment, nor will it be your last, but it may be your first chance at knowingly conducting one.
Yeah, we’re all lifetime self experimenters, when you get down to it. From infancy onward, we conduct experiments – most of them totally informal – to understand how the world works and how to interact with it. A toddler trying avocado is testing whether it tastes good and nourishes, the teen using a cheesy pickup line is testing whether it gets the girl’s number, and the college freshman pulling an all-nighter before a midterm is testing whether she can party all quarter and still make grades. They’re all forays into the relative unknown, and they’re all crude, imperfect modes of self experimentation, even though the experimenters probably aren’t consciously aware of any experiments being conducted. Life is full of these informal little tests.
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