I signed the Hope Accord.

Intermittent intermittent fasting

I had a mostly negative experience with IF a few years ago—documented here—but after recovering and thinking about diet again more recently I’ve been considering whether incorporating some amount of deliberate fasting could be a good idea.

Firstly, I don’t think IF is the right name for what most of the YouTubers were peddling, at least when I was following them: there’s nothing “intermittent” about deciding exactly when and when not to eat and choosing a particular calorie target to eat within that window. But what about actual intermittent fasting? That seems like it’s more likely to be what our ancestors did, and might carry less risk of developing obsessive thinking patterns around eating. All the better if you could somehow randomise it.

That brings me to the idea of just letting it happen, which I think is probably the best way to go for most people – just don’t force something down first thing in the morning every day because “breakfast is the most important meal”. This is probably the only thing I’d be comfortable tentatively recommending, given the variation between individuals and the inherent risks of doing anything deliberate around eating.

Another thought I’ve had recently is that, based on the issues I had with fitting enough calories into an 8-hour window, maybe 24 hours isn’t a large enough period to fit in a healthy eating window and a healthy fasting period. Using any other period would cause your eating schedule to drift out of phase with your sleeping schedule and the rest of the world, obviously, but maybe this points to the “intermittent IF” idea – occasionally spreading your usual eating over, say, 30 hours instead of 24.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on the topic. I want to stress that I definitely don’t recommend doing IF, or doing anything, really, except for being vaguely aware that it can be healthy for some people to go for a few extra hours without eating now and then.