I am not big on motivational speeches aimed to encourage someone to undertake better WoE (Way of Eating) or Intermittent Fasting. The reason is simple: I believe folks have to decide that staying (or becoming) healthy, looking and feeling good, keeping their limbs and eyesight etc, is higher on their priority list than enjoying Coke for 15 seconds. If someone’s priorities are so screwed up that the (questionable) pleasure of drinking sugar is more important than long healthy life, nothing I can say will change that.
Having said that, I am all for helping those who have their priorities straight work out useful mental tricks to overcome the addiction and initial hurdles. Over a year of doing this and writing about it, I seemed to have collected an array of such tricks, enough for a small book on rewiring your brain to make the transition easier.
Among those hurdles, two are very common. Let me offer my approach for getting over them.
First is focusing on feeling the hunger during fasting. We are so conditioned to avoid hunger and think of it as something to prevent at all costs that we wait anxiously for it to arrive and by this very focus involuntarily amplify it. While you will find much more on this topic in The Time Machine Diet, here is one little helpful tip.
At the beginning of my IF journey, before gaining control over hunger, I applied this mental trick: in my mind, I separated myself and my body. I was observing what happens to it as I fast, and I experienced immense curiosity about all the changes, how they correspond with expectations and with information from the books and articles. This helped a lot, as I was more like “I study what happens” rather than “This happens to me.” This approach kind of put a distance between myself and my body sensations, and this distance dulled down the sense of involvement, allowing for the constructive approach of “observe, analyze, correct the course.” If it sounds like a game to you – it is. Do take it as such, add fun to this whole adventure. The less you take it as a difficult super-serious thing to do, the higher your chances of success are going to be. Even though this is absolutely serious – but who said we can’t have fun while doing something serious?
Second is the difficulty of giving up favorite foods. Bread, pasta, muffin, etc. etc. – this is addictive stuff, we don’t quit it without barriers to overcome or going through the withdrawal. Even realization that we don’t simply quit it but rather replace it with health(ier)y equivalents doesn’t help much at the beginning while we feel like we are going to have to give something up. here is an angle that helps.
Think of it as an experiment, an adventure, joyful discovery of new things. Look forward to testing new recipes, discovering new tastes, and sensing how beneficial new dishes are for you. How you feel better after having them. How your tasting buds get retrained and start appreciating the bursts of new flavors. Seriously, what can be more rejuvenating than new sensations? Remember how open to new experiences we used to be in our youth, and how settled in our ways we’ve become with age? Let’s shake out this shell and feel young again.
See you on the other side, where fit and healthy reside!