Embracing IMF: 10 Strategies for Practicing Intermittent Media Fasting

Try Turning It OffThese days most people have heard of the “media diet” concept. The idea is, of course, that we we partake of media sources too much, too often every single day. The result? We’re informationally bloated – mostly with junk media, the kind of stories and drama that will suck up every existing piece of serenity in our lives and have us going back for more. Whether it’s our smart phones, our tablets, our laptops, our T.V.s or Wii console, we can’t seem to let them be. As a result, we suffer the psychological, social and – as I wrote about last week – physiological consequences of this contemporary hobby horse.

One reader’s idea (Thanks, Patrick) in the comment section of last week’s post especially grabbed my attention when he brought up the idea of “periodic media fasts,” specifically “IF-ing all communication devices.” Being a rabid fan of the intermittent fasting concept, I was intrigued. Intermittent fasting in the traditional sense (no food), of course, can do wonders for honing our metabolism and upregulating epigenetic activity. Intermittent euphoria, a concept I’ve shared in the past, can upregulate – and likely upgrade – your emotional satisfaction.

So what would IF-ing media look like? Maybe we can call it IMF, huh? (I think our use of the letters is more catchy and entertaining than the International Monetary Fund, don’t you?) Well, for starters, it can look like any regular IF configuration. For some folks, that means not eating until noon. For others, it means only eating within an eight hour window each day and fasting the other sixteen. Others fast for a full twenty-four hour period once a week. There are numerous other approaches as well.

The same can hold for an IMF trial or routine. It’s not about using any particular pattern but simply reining in your media use, practicing periodic abstinence. When we come back to it after the few hours or few days, we might experience a similar sense of upregulation. Maybe our efficiency is better. Maybe we’re more focused and less distracted. Maybe we find we’re bored with it and don’t want to bother with most of what used to reel us in.

Whether you’re willing to trim down your media by small increments or larger blocks of time, let these offer you some get-started ideas. I hope you’ll share yours as well.

Avoiding the minute to minute media fix…

1. Use the “do not disturb” setting on your phone.

Not everyone is comfortable turning off their phone. After all, what if the daycare center calls with an emergency? Customize your phone’s “do not disturb” setting to allow calls from certain numbers. The rest of the calls/texts will be there when you’re ready to tune in again.

2. Impose a hard and fast email schedule.

Instead of being “available” all day, maybe you’ll only respond to emails or texts 1-2 times a day. Schedule specific times, and try to be consistent in that time each day whenever you can. Not only will it offer fewer distractions in the day, but answering emails in “batches” (a Tim Ferris hat tip here) will encourage you to be succinct and on-task. It will become a chore to begin and finish rather than a continual thread itching throughout the entire span of the day.

3. Embrace a low information diet – set up feed reader and use RSS for this.

Choose what blogs and sites you’ll explore, and keep your readership focused. Again, it’s best to schedule the time in the day or week when you’ll read your feed. Any tips for a Google Reader replacement?

Dodging the hour to hour temptations…

4. Leave your phone at home.

(I can hear the inner gasps….) No one to my knowledge has spontaneously combusted simply because they went for an evening walk without it. We all managed to survive without them until several years ago.

5. Downgrade your text/data plan on your phone.

Cell phone carriers are doing away with the now obsessively coveted unlimited data plans, and you’d think the country was rationing Mountain Dew, people get in such an uproar about it. While the modern me understands the bristling against the overage traps, the Primal part says go ahead and embrace it! Sure, few people are interested in the old style, do-nothing-but-actually-call cell phones anymore. If you don’t mind getting by without one, by all means go for it. If you enjoy having access to the Internet and map apps while traveling or just can’t totally cut the string on mobile FB/Twitter/Pinterest/Weather Channel/etc., consider self-imposing a ceiling on your usage (with rather harsh overage costs as a looming deterrent). Use an app to monitor usage, which can help you gauge your activity and avoid fees.

6. Cancel/downgrade the DVR/cable/Netflix/Hulu.

See how many services you’re willing to limit or do without. The fewer temptations, the better off you’ll be.

7. Unplug the wireless system (and every other system) for all but an hour a day.

Sometimes we just need to make it inconvenient for ourselves to break the rules. This is a pretty low threshold approach, but can be a great one for certain circumstances. When I’m working from home writing, I keep the wireless unplugged to prevent myself from getting on the Internet or checking emails.

Getting the media monkey off your back for longer stretches…

This is where you’ll really feel the break. Trust me – you won’t miss ANYthing (except this blog, but I promise all posts will be neatly archived and waiting expectantly for you).

8. Impose a Power Outage.

Why not shut it all down once or even twice a month? Let loved ones know you’ll be unreachable by most modern means, and sign off for the weekend. You’ll curse Monday even more.

9. Take a Personal Retreat

Take away the temptation altogether by going where there are zero bars to be had. A real retreat (whether at a retreat center or a personal camping spot off the grid) will let you feel the real benefits of extended unplugging.


10. Do the long-term numbers.

Between the cost of Internet/data/subscription related plans and the tech devices themselves (everything from DVRs to the latest IPhone), it might be interesting (if not worthwhile) to examine how much money you’re spending on media. There’s no judgement intended here. It’s simply to gather information and discern whether you feel what you get for that money maintains or improves your life enough to warrant the expense. What else could a portion (or maybe even – for the willing among us – all) of that spending category go to? It’s always helpful to ask whether any specific spending is getting us the life we want.

I love grand personal experiments, and I consider this subject good fodder for a Primal test. What will happen psychologically when you reduce media? Will you feel more relaxed, more focused? Will you feel more or less connected to people? Will you have more free time? What will you do with it?

I think for most people, a regular IMF practice will have eventual impact of naturally consuming less media over time. If we limit or circumscribe our usage enough or set up annoying barriers to using devices, we learn over time that we don’t need it as much as thought we did. In fact, the vast majority of us will acknowledge we don’t miss it either. We end up filling our hours with other pursuits that we eventually can’t imagine giving up to go back in the direction of media frenzy. We don’t feel compelled to watch every Showtime series that piques our interest. We don’t feel the need to keep up on the government shutdown circus. We don’t feel the need to bother with Facebook more than once every day or two.

Any kind of IFing practice, I believe, naturally helps you plan and prioritize your life. Within the structure we set for ourselves, we get into the habit of consuming less and choosing more thoughtfully. We see the limited resources of our life in a new way – our time and energy – and more consciously decide how we’re going to allocate them. We develop a more thoughtful sense of economy in our lives. Intermittent fasting, the choice of deliberate deprivation, helps us discern the path to personal abundance in daily life – whatever we decide that should look like.

Here’s my challenge to you. Pick just one of the above IMF strategies and stick with it for the week. See how your life changes – or perhaps doesn’t. See how your intentions or activity with regard to media changes – or doesn’t.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Let me know your thoughts on intermittently bowing out of the connected society for some special Primal time. Have a great end to the week.

TAGS:  mental health

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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67 thoughts on “Embracing IMF: 10 Strategies for Practicing Intermittent Media Fasting”

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  1. Not only will you be free of media distractions, but you’ll also be free of NSA cyber-stalking!!

  2. No more sugary treats? …no problem.
    Drop the grains… hmmm alright then.
    Reduce alcohol to the occasional glass or red…. ok, not easy but ok.

    But this? You’ve gone too far Sisson. 🙂

    I’ve got cold sweats thinking about it. I’m going for a lie-down (with my smartphone of course).
    I hope this doesn’t now count towards my 20%.

  3. Love and hate? My brain does sooooo much better without constantly checking. I’m glad I don’t have any access to media at work.

  4. Go camping! Beautiful sunsets and sunrises, sleeping in (instead of sunrises), making cowboy coffee, walks on the beach (if you’re beach camping) or hikes in the mountains (if you’re mountain camping), a steak on the grill or campfire, playing guitar and singing songs or playing silly games around the campfire, and no cell service.

  5. Very good timing – a perfect camping month is October in the Northern Hemisphere, what with the changing leaves and all. I may just leave the tablet at home!

  6. Wow… weirdly perfect timing. I have finally (!!!) convinced the hubs to cancel cable. I could not be happier! He is still watching T.V., but a lot less of it, and we actually watch more interesting stuff now, instead of the “flip show” which is what I call it when he doesn’t actually watch anything, he just flips through the channels… a serious annoyance to me. We are football fans, mainly college, so that’s been a little challenging. But we had a really romantic evening the other night – we drove our car to a scenic spot, turned the game on the radio and snuggled in the back seat under a blanket. I LOVED it. I think he had fun too 😉 I figure one thing at a time, but yes, I would really love to do a real IF on all media once or twice a week. He and I are both pretty lame about checking our phones and laptops constantly.

    1. Cable used to be part of my condo fee, so when I moved I almost choked at the expense. Wha!!! And it cost extra to get National Geographic?! I cancelled after a two-year contract and we haven’t missed it. I have HD antenna feeding broadcast TV now, and it’s perfect. No more Flip-TV!

      We also opted for no TV in the living room.

  7. I downgraded my cell phone plan from a contract to a monthly pre-paid… saved me $40/month, though I must pay full price for a phone. Pays for itself in 14 months, after that, it’s gravy. It also helps me be more concious of data usage since I don’t want to go over and I don’t need to surf the web and stream video on my phone anyway!

    1. I too have a pre-paid plan and I LOVE only paying $25 a month for my phone! (no data. It’s an old dumb phone and I like it that way!) And you can pick up a lot of good phones for way less than full price on eBay!

  8. I can attest to this type of thing working, because (being a teen) when I decided to sell my xbox 360. I was wasting my life on it. After removing myself from it, I gradually stopped playing any type of video games. I still play a little when I get together with friends (for a long period of time) but not being “addicted” to it really helped/helps me see all the really cool stuff I could be having fun with besides another $60 disc and hours of sitting in front of a tv… it adds up!

  9. My husband and I are planning a fall color drive in the gorgeous Smoky Mountains. Phone will be turned off and thrown in the glove compartment until we roll back into the driveway. Freedom! (also a great way to show someone you love that they are more important than the electronics)

  10. I go backpacking for three or four days at a time and never miss technology.

  11. I’ve never owned any kind of mobile device. My problem, however, is that I’m addicted to the internet, which I access on my desktop computer. I’m an information junkie. I’ve found that staying off the computer for an entire day, once in a while, is very beneficial.

  12. I’ve been really making an effort to cut back on email & social media checking. I recently added Inbox pause (https://inboxpause.com/), which can pause emails from showing up in your inbox until you hit unpause. I use this on weekends when I don’t really want to or need to check emails. Also, skipping notifications of emails on my phone – if I see a little number on the box, I’ll look.

    1. ditto on turning off the email notification. i can’t resist the little red number!

  13. It always amazes me how much the MDA articles line up with my life :). My wife and I just cancelled our cable TV subscription 2 weeks ago. We’re already blown away by how much free time we had access to yet chose to squander..

    We should have done this a year ago when we deleted our Facebook accounts!

  14. Following your own advice, I set up the Self Control app on my computer. Normally I check my email, facebook, and blog about a hundred times a day (I’m self-employed and work alone all day, so I’m constantly craving some outside interaction). I thought I was going to go into serious withdrawal and have a really horrible day. Instead, the moment I started my five hour ban of those three sites, I felt RELIEVED. Completely unexpected. I felt like I had permission to stop thinking about social media. I’ve been using it every day ever since.

  15. I am baffled by all the texting that goes on. What’s with this crazy need to constantly stay in touch with every nodding acquaintance one has ever had? How do people have a life if they are always on their phone or computer? (That said, I will now sign off my computer and go do something useful.)

    1. I’ve hosted three sets of teenage nieces and nephews in the past year, and you think adults have it bad – these kids are absolutely addicted by it. You cannot pry their phones out of their hands. The are texting constantly – during sightseeing drives, trips to iconic spots, a day at the beach, etc. We had to firmly ask for them to leave their phones off when dining together. Like pulling teeth. Not to mention the gaming!

  16. I’ve decided to go down this path for some time now. I haven’t actually watched t.v. in 5 years, I just downgraded my phone plan and I would get rid of it If I didn’t have other dependents on my plan. It’s feeling great!

  17. I was a chronic newspaper reader / news watcher. About 5 years ago I realized that almost nothing on the TV news or in the newspaper affected me and I truly affected none of it. Not only that, most news items really ticked me off. I went cold turkey on newspapers, TV news, etc. My cell phone is for calls and texts only. When I’m at home, I do not keep the cell with me. I don’t have cable TV and often go days at a time without turning the TV on. IT’S GREAT. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I actually have time to read (BOOKS!!). Give it a try. Living in the 1880’s wasn’t all that bad.

    1. I totally agree Mike. Cut the cable, and if you must, buy a $50 antenna at Radio Shack. Throw away the cell/dumbphone and get a MagicJack for about $30 a year. Whenever you go anywhere you will not have any electronics with you to temp. In about 21 days (3-week challenge to break an addiction), you will be free.

  18. Thank you for these ideas. I need this not so much for myself, but for my kids, 2 of whom love computer gaming & spend way too much time doing it. And the other who is addicted to instagram and iFunny. Any advice on implementing this smoothly with teens?

    1. I don’t know how this will go over, but, I’d do it like weaning people off grains and other bad stuff. One at a time, say for instance one day without media. Then after that add another, with something to replace it so that they can experience other forms of life activities that do not require plugging in or rebooting or wi-fi connections.
      I weaned my husband off wheat by just not having sandwiches for a while and then subtracting more wheat in his diet. He now feels the carb-hangover when he eats some. I know teenagers are different but that’s what I’d try. I take the DS away for a week or two from my 10 year old now and then. I think he actually likes the break.

  19. As far as a suggestion for a feed reader goes I’ve been using Vienna since google reader went the way of the dinosaurs. It’s really nice. I actually like it better than I liked Google reader!

    And I LOVE it when the cell towers go down and everyones phone quits working (ditto for power outages!) and one of the best summers I’ve had was a summer I spent working where there simply wasn’t any cell phone or internet (or electricity or plumbing for that matter!). On the weekends when we’d get time off in town I would ride my bike about 20 minutes to get to one of the coffee shops (we didn’t have internet at the apartment either) and spend hours catching up on everything. And then back to the land of none. It was awesome. And since the only thing I really had to think about for 6 days at a time was work, I did a lot of not thinking, listening to audio books, learning spanish (I had an audio only based program on my iPod) and some more not thinking. It’s the most quiet my brain has ever been. After a couple weeks you just run out of stuff to fret over!

  20. Love this. Just removed those darned email notifications from my iphone for my personal email. Now I will only check it 2x per day and not every time my phone lights up. My work email is a bit different, I do need to check it more than 2x a day but I’ll commit to only using it during work hours, and shutting off notifications at night and on weekends.
    Thanks for the great ideas!

  21. I have become very aware of the effects of too much exposure to media and how it impacts my overall disposition. There have been times when I feel terrible after over-exposure. Netflix makes it very easy to binge-watch (similar, in my opinion to binge-eating). One morning last week I watched way too many episodes of a show while concurrently using the Internet and checking my phone for messages. By 11 AM I felt mentally and physically horrible – as if I’d drank a 12-pack of beer the night before, scarfed a case of tacos from Jack n’ the Box and washed it down with a 2-liter of Jolt. I was really experiencing shakes and stomach issues, or maybe it was anxiety for over-stimulation? I’m not sure, I just know that too much of an intense television drama AND an obsessive-compulsion for anything with Internet accessibility isn’t doing much for the mind, body and soul. Great challenge, Mark. I look forward to my much needed media sabbatical.

    1. Love that description! As it’s something I’ve been feeling quite a bit lately. Recovering from bone surgery has me doing quite a bit of couch time, and I was having a hard time figuring out why I felt hung over and seriously crappy! I’ve started noticing the time every time I pick up my smartphone (while bingewatching netflix). On average I only go 3 min between phone checks. This is ridiculous. A media fast is a fabulous idea!

  22. Another idea is to unplug the wireless at night while sleeping.

    Although this doesn’t directly apply to the time spent on the computer, anyone who may be sensitive to the EMF exposure may benefit. And who really needs it while sleeping anyway?

    1. We recently started doing this and I really think I’m sleeping better!

  23. I took Facebook off my iPhone for Lent this year and never added it back on after Easter. I completely forgot. It also caused me to stop being obsessive about my phone, which has been such a relief. Now I truly am enjoying every moment with my 2.5 year old son and 13 month old daughter. How did I have time for it in the first place?!

  24. Question. I write fanfiction for fun, all the time. My computer is my hobby. Does that count as media addiction though? I don’t really think so but I thought I’d ask.

  25. I would love to be without it more. I have three jobs and every single one requires me to use a computer. Some is internet based, some not. I get so tired of looking at it that I rarely spend time truly addressing emails I want to and searching for the products that I’d like to know more about and research to get my best value. Not to mention I have had long distance relationships where you’re connected through media alone.

    I would love to partake in the challenge. I think my efforts will be toward avoiding the minute-to-minute and hour-to-hour temptations. Cutting it out entirely is not possible, sadly 🙁

  26. Some of us, myself included definitely have psychological issues that feed the addiction. I have been involved with two people long distance and with both there was this constant attachment to out phones and texting. For one reason or another, neither was too inclined to actually use their voice and call. I have had months where I might have 200 or 300 actual voice minutes, but 7,000 texts.

    I know I’ll be wary of /worried about a before-my-time onset of arthritis in my hands.

  27. No phone for over two years! I really notice how much time people waste on their phones (not to mention how rude some can be!). Put them down and take note of the people and world around you.

  28. I just realized today that my cell phone has been turned off since Saturday. I think I am IMFing the phone most of the time.

    I try to be selective about my TV watching or more often listening since I am usually busy doing something in the kitchen when it is on. I ask myself if I really care when it comes to TV programs. There are usually only a few that fall into that category. I also put people or some interesting project or event before TV. Of course the DVR helps with this. I LOVE the DVR. I spend less time in front of the TV since it’s invention. However, I think my husband spends more time because of it.

    We have both resisted all the social media. Honestly I don’t know how I would have time for it.

  29. This is an interesting article. Addiction to technology and the internet as a new phenomenon of recent years could be similar to an over indulgence in sugar or bad diets. If we are genetically ‘programmed’ to crave sugar (easy energy) then perhaps part of our older animal brain psyche is similarly not strong enough to resist the instant gratification and over stimulation of ubiquitous modern technology. Food companies turn great profits exploiting our sugar craving with junk food and technology companies make money keeping us hooked and engaged similarily with junk data.

    We probably won’t see the real consequences for a while. It is amazing though to find yourself around a table or among friends where everyone is staring at a 4 inch screen and is physically there but mentally somewhere else. Frightening to think how this will effect the next generation. As science has shown that the brain is alot more maleable than we once thought and it’s thinking processes and stimulant v rewards processes can be altered significantly even as an adult you have to wonder how this is changing us as a society. Are we more fleeting, antsy, over stimulated in a fight or flight frenzy with too much data and less reflection down time and concentration? Maybe its a real sign of addiction if in the absence of your regular fix of bright red notification circles from facebook, your favourite apps or another e-mail you are suddenly experiencing genuine withdrawal symptoms. I have found it useful to actually take a note of every time you check your e-mail log on to facebook or whatever disctraction is eating up your time.

    I started by just drawing a little vertical line (like a sort of prisoner would count down the days on a wall) every time i checked facebook or e-mail just a little tick or whatever on a scrap of paper. Try the same for e-mail or whatever it is that’s a constant distraction. Don’t try to control it immediately but after a few days look back and estimate how much time each of those ticks/notes (whatever you prefer) represents and then you will start to actually realise see how much time your wasting. With that knowledge or rationalisation in front of you it’s easier to cut back more I think. There is an interesting passage from a book I read called ‘Brain Rules” where the author states something like this “People who are interrupted take 50 percent longer to accomplish a task, and make up to 50 percent more errors.”
    Look it up but he says most people are generally unable to multitask and every time you get distracted it takes about 15 minutes for the brain to get back to the same level of concentration where it was previously, so you lose 15 minutes every time. It ends up taking you twice as long to finish that piece of writing or whatever it is your trying to concentrate on to finish. I tried it and I must say If you want to get something done just put aside an hour to do that ONE thing only and nothing else. quit all other programs, turn off your phone and e-mail NO other distractions if possible. You’ll be amazed how much more productive you can be and end up saving time in the long run. Interesting.

  30. No smart phone, no Facebook, no social media, no Tweets, no texting. In fact, we have the texting feature turned off with our (very dumb) cell phones.

    MDA is about as social as I get. I use the computer for journaling and research, check e-mail and maybe check on the news and weather. The friends I had in high school/college (1960’s) are still my friends and the rest of them are in the distant past.

    I do enjoy technology and am in awe of the benefits, but it doesn’t even begin to control my life. The grand kids say it’s because we’re old farts, and I say it’s because I really do have better things to do like go for a nice, long walk this very beautiful, sunny, clear and breezy afternoon.

    Be back in a couple of hours —-

  31. There are still places without cell phone coverage and no internet access. Very Northern New England is in my neck of the woods. I’m sure there are many other places in the country. Take your vacation there. Forced fast.


  32. The higher the frequency a news source is, the less important it is to listen to it!

  33. Feedly is by far the best Google Reader replacement I’ve ever found:


    I’d even say, *gasp*, that it’s BETTER than Google Reader!

    I’m going to try these IMF techniques this weekend. Thanks for the post!

    1. I totally agree! Feedly is by far the best app I have found too. Very effective.

  34. The longest time I’ve done for an IMF is 7 weeks. Sailing in a region with no communication enforced the blackout. No media, no mobile phones, no radio, no TV, and only a satelite phone for emergency calls (at $2/minute, you are not tempted to ring anyone for a chat!). Did I miss it all? Not one litle bit! Did I miss anything important? No! Returning to civilisation with all its drama was just too much to bear. The solution? Up anchor and head back into the wide blue yonder! Sheer bliss.

  35. I agree with everything here. Most of what comes into my phone/computer is either unwanted or unnecessary. It’s all a distraction from where I want to be (in the present moment, in the zone.)

    Intentionally, I’ve come to perceive my phone as something that is (mostly) not good. It stays in my deep dark purse, most of the time, where I often can’t even hear it.

    One super duper behavior mod GAME CHANGER is simpleology.com – @markjoyner’s rockin’ invention. Great for a personal experiment. Go there pronto and give it a try.

  36. I broke out in a cold sweat and the shakes just thinking about giving up my technology, even short term. A sure sign I need to attempt doing without. Oh boy…

  37. WE have two family rules: all digital devices except the family tv is off at 7:30 every night and no digital devices at church.

  38. Pfffff…. you are asking something!!!
    I can’t do a email stop with work. I work from 7.30 till 14.00. I need to be reachable for that.
    For years I already shut off the phone after 20.00 (the family knows only to call in case of an emergency after that)
    Phone stays downstairs at night…

    but not watching telly or browsing the web after work hours……… I tried it in January… it’s bloody boring!!! You feel like you are literally living under a rock…

  39. Love the post I’m a huge IF fan timing great I deleted my Facebook icons on my phone on Monday I still have my account running but it just removes the temptation when I pick up the phone, it too easy just to keep peeking.

  40. At the 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium I presented research that shows that the dopamine mediated reward centers of the brain (the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens) are stimulated by social media in much the same way that they are stimulated by other highly rewarding behaviors and substances such as gambling, taking drugs like cocaine, or, as we should be well aware of in the Paleo/Primal community, eating fast food.

    The reward center stimulation coupled with instant gratification and perceived “low costs” (i.e. convenience) sets the stage for a behavioral addiction to social media (and likely other sources of entertainment such as online gaming).

    Proponents of social media cite the broadening of our social networks, the ability to connect with distant friends and family members, etc. as evidence that social media use is only a good thing. However, additionally, studies of cortisol and oxytocin levels in subjects exposed to a stressful experience (in this case, children who had to take a difficult exam) indicate that text based communication is insufficient to give us the full spectrum of benefits associated with face-to-face communication. Salivary cortisol levels decreased when stressed subjects spoke with a parent face to face or on the phone, but stayed elevated when they only texted. In other words, social media is providing us with a sort of “empty” social calories.

    Practicing “Intermittent Fasting”, as suggested by Mark in the above blog post is one effective strategy and one that we should all likely implement as part of a complete Paleo/Primal lifestyle. But the real challenge is managing our daily use in a manner consistent with our health and wellness goals. The pull of social media, smart phones, and other media is strong, as strong as the pull of Oreos, McDonalds, and other processed foods, but we are imbued with the ability to modulate our behavior, we have a well-developed prefrontal cortex that can interrupt the urge to constantly check our phones and to prioritize the “whole food” of face to face communication.

    You can check out the slides from my AHS presentation “Processed Foods and Processed Friends – Is Facebook a Neolithic Agent of Disease” at Slideshare.com… https://www.slideshare.net/ancestralhealth/tony-federico-ahs13-slides

  41. Practicing “Intermittent Fasting”, as suggested by Mark in the above blog post is one effective strategy and one that we should all likely implement as part of a complete Paleo/Primal lifestyle. But the real challenge is managing our daily use in a manner consistent with our health and wellness goals. The pull of social media, smart phones, and other media is strong, as strong as the pull of Oreos, McDonalds, and other processed foods, but we are imbued with the ability to modulate our behavior, we have a well-developed prefrontal cortex that can interrupt the urge to constantly check our phones and to prioritize the “whole food” of face to face communication.

    You can check out the slides from my AHS presentation “Processed Foods and Processed Friends – Is Facebook a Neolithic Agent of Disease” at Slideshare.com… https://www.slideshare.net/ancestralhealth/tony-federico-ahs13-slides

  42. Kill your TV! Forever!

    “There is nothing more stupid, insidious and mind-numbing than the TV. Nothing will separate you from reality faster than television. If you have cable TV, cancel it. If you have satellite TV, disconnect it. Remove this insidious technology from your life or it will dominate your mind, your beliefs, your emotions and your reactions to everything that happens in the world. Television is a pathway to total zombification. It’s not just the ads either; the programs are also laced with propaganda, violence, perversion and negative influence.”

    There would be three washing machines per home: the washer, the dishwasher and the TV (this is a brainwashing machine).

  43. I found that Old Reader works well as a replacement for Google Reader. Since you asked in this post.

  44. Just wanted to say that “Intermittent media fasting” is one of those smart and funny things that keep me coming back to MDA. I’ve been giggling about it and what’s more, unplugged the computer from the internet yesterday for as long as I could — I have a lot of stuff on the cloud for work and needed it to wrap some stuff up. But I did realize that with just a little forethought, I could cut down on the distractions and work better for good long stretches of the day. And I can take long walks without a phone or an audible.com book or even the radio.

  45. Hi from Norway. So much liked this post! I am really working on less use of media. We try in my family to cut at 20.00 p.m. but will work out a plan of IMF. Thank you Mark for all your excelllent writing. It has changed our lives!

  46. Feedly is probably the best blog reader I’ve come across since Google decided to cancel theirs.

  47. I used to be a radio and TV addict. I stopped all that a few weeks ago to replace it by classical music and relaxation.And in only one week I saw great improvements in my family : better mood and our food intolerances are less severe.
    So for me it will be a long-term media fasting !

  48. The best Google Reader replacement is Feedly, as voted by Lifehacker readers – and I concur.


    I have my news stream sitting there collecting my news all the time, and every 3 or 4 days I’ll check it out, open the stories I want more info on in a new tab, then clear the feed to accept the next few day’s news 🙂

    This has really helped to cut down on all the junk-news that used to bombard me.

  49. I do not have internet at my apartment. This means I do not check my email right before I go to bed, and first thing in the morning, like I used to. I still sometimes watch movies on the computer, or am reading for school while I drink my coffee, but overall the lack of interwebs has been positive!

  50. Love Love this idea! Being constantly connected really takes a toll and a break is really important. I already try to limit my emails to once a day but I will be taking on more of these ideas. Thanks

  51. I have a “dumb phone” which doesn’t do anything but make phone calls. Funny that.

    I like the 5:2 Diet where you eat whatever you want most days, but on two days a week you keep your calories to 600. Same thing could work with media fasts: 5:2 your media usage.

  52. I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t want one. I watch TV maybe three hours a week, which includes a family movie night. I can leave the computer alone, but if I get on it (desk top) for a specific purpose, I get distracted for hours and forget what I was to do online. The computer/the internet is my downfall (but only if I NEED to get on at all. I need to consciously fast from emails and facebook posts and focus on the necessary!

  53. Great post! You motivated me to make a change… and blog about it too! Click my name for the link to see what I’m doing. 🙂

  54. Just got back from a four day backpacking trip, with GPS off and Airplane Mode on my phone that never lasts the day was my camera for the whole trip and still had 60% left when we made it back to the vehicles.

  55. Set up your own mail server. Configure it to scrape your email services on a schedule.

    For “office hours” morning before shift and evening just before end of shift will work. Can also set to scan email headers and deliver some sources on immediate priority while holding others for scheduled transfer.

    Can do the same with weekends, allowing certain sources through immediately and holding all others until Monday morning or however your schedule works.

    With VirtualBox and TurnkeyLinux you don’t even need (extra) hardware to run a server.