For normal healthy people, you’re not going to die when you are a little hungry or thirsty.
So I’ll start the disqualifications right up front. If you are a diabetic or have hypoglycemia or any other condition where blood sugar, protein, or other needs have to be met regularly, I’m not talking about your condition. For someone who is seriously dehydrated or is depleted in electrolytes, this is not for you either.
I’m talking about normal, healthy people.
I’ve said this many times, but some people think you need to graze; not just people, but the FDA too! I guess they think we’re cattle or bunnies. The average bodyfat for men ranges from 18 to 24% bodyfat. Its much higher for women. Essential bodyfat, meaning the lowest healthy range to maintain life, is between 10-12%. Believe me, most people are closer to the average. With that amount of bodyfat, you aren’t going to die if you miss a meal.
Here is the Rule of Threes for Survival. You can [roughly] survive for…:
3 minutes without oxygen
3 days without water
3 weeks without food
Much of our attitude about these things has to do with conditioning. If we’ve been pampered all of our lives to get whatever we want when we want it, then every second is a tragedy. But for those who have lived in want, those who don’t get 3 meals a day, and those who have been in survival situations, you know you can go for quite a while without dying. Honestly, nobody wants to be in such dire straits. But lets try to fall in the middle of the spectrum somewhere.
Here are some things I’ve done to learn to go without:
1. For short runs out on the trails even in hot weather, if a run is a 10K or less, I don’t bother carrying water with me. If I pre-hydrate correctly, I won’t need water. And "correctly" means, with adequate electrolytes to prevent hyponatremia, which can result in death. If your mind knows that you aren’t going to die, you know you’ll make it to the finish without trouble. But I see people out for a 1-mile walk with a huge water bottle taking a sip every block. That is wholly unnecessary and is a waste of effort. I know there are people who have dry mouth and feel the need to sip incessantly. But train yourself to do without and it won’t be as disastrous as you think.
2. I fast regularly. I use Intermittent Fasting (IF) as a tool for weightloss. But it is also a means of being more productive. I love coffee in the morning. That keeps me from feeling hungry throughout the morning. And without an insulin flood in my bloodstream from eating sugars (and yes, carbohydrates are long-chain sugars), my mental state stays on an even keel. Ever wonder about that circadian trough after lunch that makes most people want to take a siesta? Its the crash after eating so much for lunch with sugars and carbs. With IF, I do away with those problems. If I feel low on energy, I can take some coconut oil. That provides energy without triggering insulin production (and fat-production and fat-storage). I say this all the time, but eating Fat does not begat Fat. Healthy lipids are super useful for hormone production and lots of other healing properties. Its eating sugar and carbs that causes fat to balloon in your bodies.
Mentally, what do these restrictive habits do for you? If you discipline yourself to restrict immediate desires, you learn to have patience. You learn self-assuredness. You can do this for your children too. Don’t jump at every whim. They can learn early on the value of contentment. Focus on something else than that addictive desire for something. Food can be like a drug. You are dying for that Dopamine Dump. If you are worried about dehydration, drink your water or sugar-free electrolytes. But if you have normal salt intake (please don’t restrict salt; its super bad for you), you will always have a good balance of electrolytes where drinking water won’t cause hyponatremia.
When I was in the Army, the most painful things we did were stand in parade formation in the hot sun. You had all these people watching you, so you couldn’t lose your bearing. Imagine standing in 90F degree heat. Those black polished shoes absorb the suns rays roasting your feet to a crisp. That thick polyester Class A uniform with a long-sleeve shirt and t-shirt underneath aren’t doing you any favors. You can feel sweat trickling from under your hat into your eyes and ears, but there’s nothing you can do about it. It is a very painful position to hold for many tens of minutes without even the slightest movement. That is what we call discipline.
Find ways in your life to develop your mental fortitude. Diet can be an area where you learn about yourself. It is the weak who end up failing. Instead, find strength. Strong people are winners in life.
Calorie In — Calorie Out
Burn more than you take in.
Its as simple as that.
There aren’t any excuses. If you are on medication, it doesn’t matter. There isn’t magic in calories. Its very simple. If something makes you desire food, trim those desires. Don’t keep chips and cookies in your house. Its as simple as that. Resist fast food. You don’t have to eat it. Resist the donuts in the break room. The strong survive. There aren’t any tricks to it. There isn’t any magic. A morbidly obese person stranded to a couch has to be fed by someone if they are going to eat. The simple solution? Feed them less. Easy as that. Don’t give into their whims. And don’t give into your own desires. Calorie In — Calorie Out.