Powered by

Home Top Stories

CEO’s Diet: The Right Way To Take Up Intermittent Fasting

If you find yourself in a similar morning rush and are simultaneously striving to take control of your health or achieve weight loss goals, then intermittent fasting might be the right choice for you.

By Nandita Iyer
New Update
CEO’s Diet: The Right Way To Take Up Intermittent Fasting

If you've observed Bollywood movies from the 70s and 80s, you'll notice a recurring image of the husband or bossman hastily leaving home in the morning, clutching a briefcase (back in the days of Safari and VIP briefcases) and a lunch bag. Despite the wife's efforts to set up a complete breakfast table, our bossman must rush off to work, and she hands him a rolled-up paratha that he can eat on the go.

If you find yourself in a similar morning rush and are simultaneously striving to take control of your health or achieve weight loss goals, then intermittent fasting might be the right choice for you.

Intermittent fasting is not a recent fad but has been ingrained in Hindu, Christian, and Muslim cultures for centuries. Although previously associated with religious practices, the scientific basis behind it is now well recognised.

What exactly is intermittent fasting?

In simple terms, it is an eating pattern where you voluntarily abstain from eating for a designated period within a day or week.

There are different approaches to intermittent fasting:

  1. Daily time-restricted eating: Setting a fixed window of hours for eating each day, commonly 8 hours, accompanied by a 16-hour fast.
  2. 5:2 diet: Consuming a normal diet for five days of the week and drastically reducing calorie intake (500-600 calories) on two non-consecutive days.
  3. Weekly fast: Maintaining a regular diet for six days of the week and engaging in a complete fast for one day. Some individuals may even opt for longer fasts of 2-3 days.
  4. A combination of the above

The simplest way to begin intermittent fasting is by slightly delaying breakfast and having an earlier dinner, thereby extending the naturally occurring fasting period during sleep.

Many individuals who practice intermittent fasting choose to skip either breakfast or dinner to accommodate their lifestyle and schedule. If you typically start your day with a sweet, milky chai or coffee, you may need to sacrifice it at the altar of intermittent fasting.

However, you can still enjoy it alongside breakfast. The key is to replace habits gradually, such as transitioning to coffee or tea without sugar and reducing milk until you reach a point where it aligns with intermittent fasting and doesn't break your fast.

Zero or near-zero calories like water, herbal tea, black tea, black coffee, green tea, or a slice of lemon in water with a pinch of salt are options that won't break your fast and can help overcome hunger or thirst pangs during the fasting period.

Ideal foods to break your fast with

Breaking your fast in the right way is crucial. Opting for a savoury, protein-rich breakfast will help maintain stable blood glucose and insulin levels. Consuming sugary, carbohydrate-heavy foods like oats, cereal, pancakes, fruits, or toast (most common stuff seen in hotel breakfast buffet spreads) can cause a spike in blood glucose and insulin secretion after a stable period of 12+ hours. This is not an ideal way to break your fast.

Weight loss and more

Weight loss resulting from intermittent fasting primarily stems from caloric restriction and curbing insulin secretion for a significant portion of the day. Studies indicate that intermittent fasting leads to better retention of lean muscle mass during weight loss compared to conventional caloric restriction.

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, is known to have a stringent diet regimen. He consumes only one meal a day on weekdays and fasts entirely over the weekend, consuming only water.

Fortunately, one doesn't have to reach Dorsey's extreme level of fasting to experience the benefits. Recent studies suggest that individuals who engage in daily workouts and are reasonably fit experience significantly higher levels of autophagy (cellular clean-up) after short-term fasting compared to sedentary individuals.

Aside from saving precious morning minutes by forgoing a seated breakfast or figuring out what to eat, intermittent fasting offers numerous other benefits.

For individuals with busy schedules, and lacking time to visit the gym, intermittent fasting can be an effective tool for maintaining a healthy body weight.

Fasting has been reported to enhance cognitive function and mental clarity. By stabilizing blood sugar levels and relying on fat as a source of energy, fasting provides a consistent supply of fuel to the brain, resulting in improved focus and concentration. This, in turn, enhances productivity at work.

Intermittent fasting has also been associated with various health benefits, including reducing insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), decreasing inflammation, boosting immunity, and promoting longevity.

Adhering to an intermittent fasting schedule simplifies meal planning and reduces the time spent on food-related decisions. For CEOs and managers with demanding schedules, decision fatigue can pose a significant challenge. By narrowing the eating window or occasionally engaging in longer fasts, they can streamline their dietary choices and prioritize other critical aspects of their work.

Things to consider before intermittent fasting

It's important to note that intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and adolescents are advised against practicing intermittent fasting.

Individuals with an unhealthy relationship with food or a history of eating disorders or food obsession should be cautious, as restrictive eating practices like fasting can potentially worsen their relationship with food, leading to increased cravings during fasting periods and subsequent binge eating. Relying solely on the clock rather than paying attention to the body's hunger and fullness cues can further disconnect individuals from their natural physiological signals. If you have diabetes, gallstones, reflux disorders, or any underlying health conditions, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional before initiating an intermittent fasting regimen.


The Core brings you exclusive reporting, insights & views on business, manufacturing and technology.