Body Hacks, Paleo, and Intermittent Fasting

I spent most of my youth struggling with obesity. It’s only been within the last few years that I’ve made the necessary lifestyle changes to lose weight and become healthy. To ground this in some numbers, in 5 years I’ve gone from hovering around the wrong side of 300 to weighing in this morning at 180lbs. That said, I’m still a work in progress.

In the time between not caring about my health or weight and now, where I pay attention to my body and work to keep myself fit, I’ve tried out a number of different diets with varying degrees of success. The sea-change really came upon reading 4 Hour Body. It wasn’t so much the idea of a low/slow/no carb diet, but in the way Tim Ferriss applied a methodical approach to changing one’s body composition. I was especially taken by the notion of the “minimum effective dose” (a means to receive the maximum gain from the smallest amount of effort). I’ve since become even more interested in body hacks, whether specifically related to diet and exercise or to health/life in general (e.g., changing my posture while working). It certainly doesn’t hurt that I’m encouraged and supported by my girlfriend, Samm (she being an athlete and, as such, generally interested in health and fitness).

Over the last month, Samm and I have adopted a broad dietary regime (eating a primarily Paleo diet). As with any regime, Paleo has pros and cons and its share of admirers and detractors. Since starting I’ve noticed positive changes to my mood, my energy  level, and some marginal weight loss. It’s therefore safe to say that I’ve become an admirer. Paleo also has the added bonus of promoting the consumption of real food. I like that. Processed foods are almost universally disgusting and I’m happy to be rid of them. I still allow myself the occasional cheat meal/day (I mean, I’m not an ascetic after all). And anyway, small failures are a great way of preventing a full-scale structural collapse.

It’s in the spirit of continuing to evolve my efforts to get in shape that I’ve begun experimenting with intermittent fasting. I’m fortunate that I have a schedule that actually encourages a fast until mid-afternoon. It seems a natural addition to eating a real-food Paleo diet, and will hopefully have a positive impact on my exercise regime (as some studies indicate that working out in a mostly fasted state increases muscle growth). I still intend to consume some pre-workout protein (either whey or BCAAs) for recovery.

I’m interested to see what effect, if any, adopting this dietary scheme will have on my fitness goals.