Fasting Is The Simplest Nutrition Strategy
But that doesn't mean it's the easiest
The Week That Was
I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year and welcome to the first edition of 2022!
My festive season was relaxing and enjoyable. While it rained almost every day, it was good to take a break, relax and reflect.
At this time last year, my reflections were on the anomaly of a year we had all experienced and I was looking forward to things getting back to ‘normal’. 12-months later, the concept of normality has disappeared and it’s more important to me to be adaptable and ensure I’m focusing on things that are within my control.
My training over the festive season was good. The gym was quiet and it’s much nicer heading out for a morning walk or run when there are fewer cars out and about. The whole experience was made much easier by staying at home the whole time, without the need to seek out trial gym memberships because ‘I’ve just moved to the area.’
The festive season also brought with it some new tools - not toys - to use in 2022. I upgraded fitness watches from a 2018 model Fitbit to a newer Garmin. The Fitbit was ok, but it kept breaking and then being replaced (four times in total, so it’s been hard to justify updating when it’s never been more than a year old.
A criticism of the Fitbit was it wasn’t great for open swimming because the GPS and heart rate monitor didn’t work in the water. It tried to record laps, but that wasn’t the most useful tool when swimming out of the pool because a 40-minute creek swim would be recorded as 100m (two laps).
The new device has both of those issues covered, although it’s probably not a strong justification when I haven’t swum for almost a year. But now I can… so it’s worth it.
The training itself is going well. I’m on a new training program with three gym sessions, two cardio sessions each week. The previous program had six sessions per week, but I’m enjoying the flexibility of five sessions, as it allows me to be more selective of placing sessions based on how energy is feeling. If it’s low, I can go for a walk instead of training and catch up tomorrow.
Of course, I can only play this card once per week, otherwise, things get cramped towards the end, but it’s a nice luxury to have.
I also have a newfound appreciation for the elliptical machine. I’ve always rated its use for low-impact cardio and the benefits it has on the joints. However, I’d never really used it for more than ten minutes myself, instead preferring the bike, treadmill or rower.
Like many of my clients, I’m tacking on 15-20 mins of steady-state cardio onto the end of gym sessions to increase activity and cardio across the week. The elliptical is a great way to do this without the soreness that can come from additional running.
Who knows what 2022 is going to bring, but training is something that I can control. So if I’m fitter than I now at the end of the year, training has been a success. So for now, let’s just hope we don’t need weekly booster shots to be able to train.
Fasting is the simplest way to manage energy intake
In the first edition, I wrote about the three ways to consume less energy: reduce portion sizes, reduce total meals and alter the foods. I went into detail about changing foods and how eliminating dairy, gluten and sugar is often an effective strategy, especially for people who overconsume foods containing these.
I ran the approach myself for a few months and it was effective. OnceI’d identified appropriate substitutes for habitual foods such as oat milk (good) and almond yoghurt (not as good) it became relatively easy to adhere to the protocol and it had good results.
But one of the challenges is that substitutes aren’t always available in different environments which can make the festive season hard, especially while travelling. So I thought it would be a good time to try something different: fasting.
I’ve trialled fasting in the past with moderate success. I’ve used intermittent fasting (IF), which should really just be called skipping breakfast and I’ve also done some 24-hour fasts once per week.