Why I use a fasting app

A short post today.

I’m a bit of a data junkie. Being a geography teacher for years I’ve always been mesmerized by the visualization of data. It helps me create context for understanding my place in my community and/or world. When it comes to fasting,I need to have the app I use to be able to display the information in a useable way and have it’s UX (user experience) to be something intuitive, easy-to-use, and cost effective. I’m not a fan of getting a free app and then being bombarded with advertisements asking me to upgrade to get the content that is actually useful.

I use the app called ‘Zero’ to track my daily hours of fasting. I have tried a few different ones and will review them in a separate post tomorrow. Today I’d like to talk about a few days when I didn’t use the app and what happened when I turned it back on.

Why I didn’t use the app?

I stopped tracking my fasts for  four days over the course of a recent trip out west for a conference. While there, I decided to close ‘Zero’ just to see what would happen. It was an experiment of sorts. I didn’t plan to do this but it struck me that while I was there I wanted to focus on being present with the people I was with and thought this was as good a time as any to try it out.

I was still able to maintain a daily fast of 15-18 hours (I think) but I didn’t like the feeling of being adrift. Some of my friends like what they call freedom from the accountability. I found the lack of a clock to be distracting.

What happened after I got home?

When I got home I turned my app back on. What I immediately noticed was that it was difficult, psychologically, to get back in the swing of daily fasting. Then I had an epiphany. What I was trying to do was to immediately get back to the duration of fasting that I was at before I left. If I had been lifting of running, I would have backed off my exertion and built back up slowly. This epiphany made me realize that fasting and nutrition is just like any other kind of training. There are periods of stress on the body BUT it must be followed by periods of recovery and foundation building. Every time you go for a run you don’t try and run farther than the day before. You have a training plan that has you go for a long run one day, then a short sprint run another, followed by a recovery run a few days after that. Why should fasting be any different? I decided to dial back my fasting from 20-24+ hours a day to 14-18 hrs a day.

I gave my body a chance to react and re-adapt to the process of fasting. Once I embraced the concept of fasting as being similar to any other kind of training, I found that my mind was more calm about my recent experience. I wasn’t as concerned that I was having trouble getting back into the swing of things.

The process is one of stress, recover, reflect, repeat.

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