Intermittent fasting is the easiest way for men, especially the middle-aged variety, to drop the pillowy pads of fat that have been accumulating at belly and chest and saddlebags for years.
And the easiest way to fast intermittently is to eat only dinner. Just dinner. Nothing else. And eat a regular, full dinner, defined only as:
- a serving or so of protein
- two or three servings of vegetable
- a serving or so of carbohydrates such as bread or rice or beans or potato, etc.
- whatever fats you want, including butter, cheese, etc.
- a small dessert if you like (up to, say, the equivalent of a single donut)
- a drink if you like
Difference between a diet and intermittent fasting
You’ll notice this is not a restrictive diet. It’s an intermittent fast. And the difference between the two is in how they feel. A diet feels complex, something full of data that you need to track. An ordeal of task-following in other words.
An intermittent fast is just (in my cliched but highly effective version): eat only dinner. No calories to count. (Just don’t overdo it; eat your fill, maybe a little more, but not much more.) No nutrients to calculate. No special free range organic etc. to find and buy. Just eat.
You can even eat fast food as long as has all the bullet points above.
And you will lose weight.
So here is how it feels to begin an intermittent fast
It felt strange at first. And I felt hungry during the day, for the first three or four days.
The hunger discomfort doesn’t continue to build until dinner time. It peaks, then fades, a couple of times during the day.
Then dinner is extremely satisfying. The sauce of appetite makes the most basic meal delicious. So I save time and effort in prep and cooking as well. I can bake a chicken breast and a potato, and throw in a can of mixed veggies. (Oh yeah I went there … canned veggies … use frozen if you like … ). Potato swimming in butter.
Maybe a couple of small scoops of ice cream for dessert.
Well fed afterward. Well satisfied. Great day.
Calorie count for a meal like that? I don’t even count it up. But eyeballing it, the count is easily under 1400 calories. Maybe quite a bit less. Who knows?
The important point is: it’s many fewer calories than I expend each day.
And so the weight drops off.
Isn’t it too much suffering, during the day?
It’s not if you learn to change your interpretation of the meaning of the hunger discomfort.
And there are also ways to mitigate the discomfort — drinking plenty of water, having some coffee. Taking ibuprofen if a headache appears. Eating plenty at dinner the night before.
But the main way to conquer the hunger discomfort is mental. You change what it means to you, and that changes your emotions about it. And the discomfort of any physical sensation of “hunger” discomfort (you’re still quite well fed each night) is primarily emotional.
We don’t notice that it’s primarily emotional, but if you slow down and watch what is going on inside of your mind, including watching your emotions, and the narrative in your mind about the physical sensations? You’ll notice that it’s your feelings about the hunger discomfort that cause the real trouble.
Is this “eat dinner only” intermittent fast healthy for middle-aged men?
Don’t start any fasting unless you’re healthy medically, physically, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally.
But more to the spirit of this question: how healthy this way of eating is on your arteries?
That depends on what you eat, of course.
You could eat three slices of pizza, and fried okra, and larded beans, and that’s not good for your arteries.
You would still lose weight.
Or you could eat low-fat cuts of chicken, fresh vegetables in a smoothie that you chug, fat-free beans, and an avocado — and that would be extremely good for your arteries.
The point is: either way (or, as it is for most men, a compromise between the two), you’re going to lose weight on this intermittent fast.
There will be fat loss.
And is this “eat dinner only” intermittent fast effective, for middle aged men ready to lose fat?
It is for me. And if you eat only a big full meal, without adding five milkshakes, or some other crazy binge, then it’s certain that it will prove effective for you too. You can’t consume more calories than you expend, eating dinner only. Providing, of course, you don’t overdo it with a massive binge.
And you won’t.
Seeing your middle age fat drop away at the rate of 4 to 6 pounds a week is too much fun.
It’s a kind of return to everything good about youth — leanness, health, speed, better performance in running or biking or etc., focus, ambition — while still knowing everything you know at 50.
Best of both worlds, really.
Will this intermittent fast work for young men?
Absolutely it will. Any time you’re consuming fewer calories than you need in a day, you’re losing weight.
Do you stop and start this fast?
I don’t. I’ve been on it for 10 days now. Why stop and start, when you could just start it, stick with it, and not complicate your life with changing things up. Plus, you lose weight steadily.