In a day an age where science is EVERYTHING, we sometimes forget that philosophy is the ‘thinking of thinking’ and needs to play an important role when we discuss how we should eat. After all, we shouldn’t confuse data collection with wisdom. The more we simply absorb data without truly critically analyzing its meaning, the more we can potentially fall victim to many of the diet and nutrition scams that are so prevalent in today’s world.
We have an unbelievable amount of data, and thanks to our love affair with the ‘sound bytes’ that come from science we have all but abolished philosophy as a discipline, save for the quotes that occasionally appear on a person’s Facebook update status.
But philosophy is of critical importance if we are to truly understand how and why we eat.
It’s been said that philosophy calls us when we’ve reached the end of our rope. The insistent feeling that something is not right with our lives and the longing to be restored to our better selves will not go away.
I’d be willing to guess that ‘end of our rope’ ‘somethings not right’ and ‘restored to our better selves’ would accurately describe how many feel about nutrition and deciding what to eat.
We become philosophers to discover what is really true and what is merely the accidental result of flawed reasoning, recklessly acquired erroneous judgments, and the well-intentioned but misguided teachings of experts and gurus. In this sense, philosophy and the scientific collection of data aren’t really opposites but rather necessary components of the whole ‘picture’.
No mater what nutritional beliefs you hold true, you will probably agree when I say that we simply cannot eat everything that is available to us on any given day. food is simply too abundant, too available and too cheap for us to live in a constant state of eating at raw impulse. Unless you are impoverished, the fact is there is more than enough food available to you – emphasis on more than enough. If you were to eat on impulse you would quickly become obese. We don’t need any more data collection to support this concept, but we do need to investigate what stops us from eating in this manner. Why we don’t all become obese by our tenth birthday.
In order to not gain an unbelievable amount of weight during our lives we must practice some form of restraint. In other words we ask ourselves, either consciously or subconsciously, “What is the right thing to do now – Eat, or not eat?”
The balance and proper use of this question is largely what determines whether or not we eat enough to gain weight.
This is the basic most fundamental philosophy behind intermittent fasting. If you consider Intermittent Fasting to be the ability to practice patience when it comes to the act of eating - a conscious polite restraint when it comes to food intake, then the philosophy is simply - we do not have to eat all the time, therefore we are free to choose when we eat.
Intermittent fasting also involves minimizing the importance you place on large grandiose nutritional choices, instead, allowing you to concentrate on the small but significant inner food choice we make multiple times though out the course of any single day – should you eat or not eat?
In much of the world, how, what, and when we eat is a matter of habits. Habits that are learned, then reinforced over and over on a day-to-day basis. And while it is difficult, the truth is it IS possible to break old habits and it IS possible to create new ones.
You can think yourself lean and muscular. However, this is no easy task.
The first step is to separate yourself from the mob and decide to be extraordinary. As ridiculous as it sounds, simply accepting the concept that we do not have to eat all the time and therefore we are free to choose when we eat, is enough to already separate you from the way the majority of the population thinks about food.
Start with this fundamental belief then add in some concept of physical work, remembering that tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Your physical work doesn’t have to be complicated but it does have to involve a high degree of effort.
Finally, be careful of slipping back into old habits. Once we fall, however slightly to immoderation, momentum gathers and we fall right back into our old habits. This is one of the areas where Intermittent fasting can be extremely helpful. A break from eating can serve as a ‘reset’ when bad habits begin to creep back into our lives. It’s a way to practice patience and to reinforce the understanding that it’s OK to wait to eat. You can wait for something better, or a better time, or a better person to eat with. You simply do not have to eat all the time.
My belief is that you can be a lean, muscular, healthy person without being obsessive about your food choices. You can accomplish this by being the type of person who realizes that since we do not have to eat all the time and we are free to choose when we eat, and by understanding the importance of physical training in this process.
That is my philosophy of Intermitent Fasting, and it’s the basis of Eat Stop Eat