Fasting as a survival skill

I got the idea from reading Ori Hofmekler's The Warrior Diet. I then tweaked and fine-tuned the program after reading Jason Ferruggia's The Renegade Diet*.

In particular, I stopped eating after about 8PM and had nothing but black coffee and water until noon the next day. 

I would break the 16 hour fast at noon with a fairly light lunch with balanced macronutrients (4-6 Zone blocks with no starchy carbs at all). Nothing again until about 6PM (after working out), when I would down a blender full of protein shake followed by a massive dinner in which I obtained about 80% of the day's calories.

I immediately realized and continue to realize many benefits:
  • My mind is sharper than it has ever been during the day, especially before lunch. I got more productive and less grumpy (as long as I get my caffeine fix).
  • I can be much, much more flexible with my diet. I can go out for a big dinner or night out and not worry about it because I'm SUPPOSED to eat a huge meal at night anyway. At the same time, my body weight is much more stable.
  • I've seen strength gains, possibly related to the huge calorie influx immediately post-workout.
  • OK, this one is actually related to survival: I can go a day without eating and not think much of it.
I'll stick to the last point. I used to eat carefully timed and calibrated meals and snacks 6 times a day (following Zone protocols). 

If I missed a meal or snack by a half-hour, I was cranky, panicky, and mentally foggy and useless. Since fasting for 16 hours every single day, I'm not sensitive to blood sugar drops like I used to be. 

I remember going out on mini-survival expeditions back then and just DYING after one night without much food. In particular, my buddy Josh Wood (who wrote a guest post) and I went out to build a debris shelter and set some traps one night. We bought some potatoes and other food, but somehow left them back at the house, so we didn't have much of a dinner. Bear in mind, I'd had breakfast and lunch. But not dinner. And my brain was totally foggy. 

I had to fight a mild panic and lack of motivation until we got back home the next day. That is not an acceptable state of affairs.

My recent shelter expedition (Modified debris shelter: success) was totally different. I ate almost nothing that day, just 3 skinny slices of deli meat and 2 skinny slices of cheese at a meeting for work. And guess what? I was completely fine. 

I was happy to have a few edible plants to nibble on, but I was focused the whole time and into the next morning, when I hiked out. 

No drop in motivation, no crankiness or panic. Without intermittent fasting as a daily practice, I would have a much larger mental battle on my hands in any survival situation. 

If survival is mostly mental, you need all the help you can get, and you don't want to be freaking out about not eating for a night or a day or two.

* These are not advertisements; I do not advertise on this site. I am just giving credit where it is due.

No comments:

Post a Comment