A body builder friend of mine recently posted a link to an article that caught my eye. The article described a diet methodology called Intermittent Fasting in which a person would consume all their food for the day in an 8 hour window followed by 16 hours of fasting. This wasn’t just some person’s half cocked idea about how people should eat, there was actually some science behind it.
The thought is that eating all the food for a given day in a short period of time more closely resembled how our ancestors lived. Prehistoric man would spend the day hunting, and if he was successful in securing food for himself and his family they would then have a large meal. Following that large meal would be a longer period of no food until the conclusion of the next successful hunt. In today’s world we have constant access to limitless food options, resulting in our bodies being in constant “feast mode.” Our bodies therefore never have to tap into and burn it’s energy reserve (fat). Studies cited show that given zero changes in what a person actually ate, having ingested it in this manner resulted in weight loss and body fat percentage decrease.
I decided to give it a try, and quite frankly I was surprised at the results. I decided my window to eat during the day would be between 10am and 6pm. My normal wake up time is 4:15am, so waiting until 10am to eat anything is a little challenging. However, eating three meals between 10am and 6pm is even more difficult. By the time I finish my evening meal at 6pm I was so full that I no longer even crave food during the evening. This felt awesome, because nighttime is traditionally when I struggle the most with my eating. After a few days I found myself actually eating less because I didn’t want to go through the evening miserably full.
I weighed myself on Saturday, after one week of trying intermittent fasting, and found that I had lost 5 pounds.
Backing up a few days, on Thursday I was walking through Walmart at 4:40am on my way to the gym. We had run out of peanut butter, and I needed a new jar for my daughter’s lunch that day. I realized that I had stopped at Walmart to get something every day that week. Looking at my bag as I exited the store, I noticed that it didn’t contain just peanut butter. I had found an inexpensive pair of gym shorts, some gum, and a couple of snacks that I thought would be good to have around the house. The net is, the more times I enter a store, the more opportunity there is to buy more than what I really need.
Could I apply what I had just read about intermittent fasting to finances? Could I implement intermittent spending, and would it help keep us on budget?
The goal would be to do all our (non bill payment) spending during a 48 hour window starting Friday evening and ending Sunday evening. This would be followed by a five day period of no spending, or financial fasting. Here’s how it would break down:
- Gasoline : Put gasoline into both vehicles on Friday
- Groceries/Household needs: Load up on supplies for the week on Saturday
- Entertainment : All entertainment is done during this 48 hour window
- Illegal Spending: Any additional spending outside that 48 hour window would be prohibited. If we discovered we needed something, it would go on a list and would have to wait until the spending window opened on Friday.
Of course we would still have our budgeted amounts, but by banning any weekday spending the theory is that it would eliminate any out of budget spending (yep, it happens!) and force us to be more thoughtful about what we buy when we are able to purchase things.
Do you think that using intermittent spending could help us get more value out of our hard earned money? Have you ever tried something similar?