Fasting for Fun and Profit

My cousin used Twitter last night to ask where my post was, and noticed that they were arriving later and later. Let me explain to all.

First the lateness. In my previous incarnation as an unhealthy person I had trouble sleeping and had low energy during the day. I took night jobs and non-morning shifts whenever I could to get around this. Since becoming healthier and non-employed my body has gone through a reset of sorts. My sleep patterns are shifting to earlier and earlier bedtime and waking times. My energy levels have shifted as well. I have more physical energy during daylight and more mental energy after sunset. Reading, comprehension, and critical thinking are coming easier in a relaxed, darker environment. Thus the posts being written later.

And to the second point, last night’s non-existent post. I started an experiment yesterday involving fasting. I’ve been thinking a lot about stored energy in the form of fat, and why we still have this capacity as humans. Fat is a throwback to when we had long bouts of food scarcity. If you knew it was going to be awhile before you saw your next meal it made sense to eat as much as you could, and store the excess on your body. Remember, preservation and refrigeration are new concepts compared to the amount of time we’ve been on Earth.

With the amount of food available to us as modern humans (especially in developed nations) and the conveniences of transportation and entertainment it’s no wonder why we are fat. Will there be a time when we “evolve” past the need to store fat? I think so, but in the meantime we need to get rid of the fat we have. So my experiment involves “triggering” the starvation mode to use up the storehouse.

I had a meal before bed Sunday night and didn’t eat again until 6:20 Monday night. A fast of around 19 hours. I plan to do this daily. During the adjustment phase I expect there will be challenges beside hunger, which actually wasn’t that bad till the end, but I’ll explain why in a moment. The biggest challenge last night was a lack of energy when it came time to write. I have to experiment with the amount of food eaten. Not so much so as to undermine the fast and not so little as to compromise my lifestyle. My diet will be vegetables, nuts, seeds, and occasional raw fish and seafood. I’m lowering my fruit intake only because my body is so used to carbs as fuel that it stores sugars REALLY well, unfortunately.

I know the fitness minded will rightfully ask “what about muscle catabolism?” This is where the body will cannibalize muscle for fuel. I have an issue with this, and a workaround if it is true. First, it doesn’t make sense. Why, in the middle of a resource drought, would your body kill the means by which you would go out to hunt and gather food? How could you survive if severe hunger meant decreased strength, endurance, and reaction time? Why bother storing fat then? What’s its purpose? If you say to insulate us from the cold then fat goes away with clothing, indoor heating, and living in Florida.

Second: if it is true and our bodies are trying to kill us then my theory is to force my body to cooperate with my plan. I will resistance train three days a week using bodyweight exercises. Muscle damage through weight lifting requires the body to repair itself, thus the reason a bodybuilder have bigger muscles. I don’t think the body can fix and destroy itself at the same time without an autoimmune disease, so I’ll be monitoring this aspect closely.

This longer than usual post should have made up for its wait time and explained just how crazy I really am becoming. I feel like a guinea pig, and loving every moment. Life is an experiment, there is no set path from birth to death. Try something, try anything. Engage in your life.

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