Potato Fast Day 5 – Weight: 156.6
I have dropped 7 pounds since I started this round of my potato fast. This is not unexpected based on my first experience. What’s got me curious is the craving submission. When I moved to full nutritarian, I found the cravings gradually increased and took more effort. Over time, I gave into them bit by bit till it was at least once a week, and often more.
The whole reason I returned to the potato fast was to reboot my food brain after multiple failures over the past 4 months to keep to the lifestyle. There were multiple days when I just went off the rails and ate like crazy. That’s not a big surprise. People often take “cheat” days when following a strict eating regimen. I was getting way past that. It was never a day, it was two or three days and it was always over the top.
I still ate nutritarian more days than not. I kept meat and dairy out of my diet even on binges. That’s not enough. I want to be able to make this a permanent lifestyle change with only rare and appropriate exceptions where even on those days I don’t eat myself into indigestion. I decided on the potato fast for a reset.
I doubted my ability to do it when making the decision. Coming back when falling off a diet is much harder as evidenced by the past months. Yet here I am having the same experience as before, only easier. The cravings are less than when I was doing the plant based. I know I am eating less. Everything else about my lifestyle remains unchanged. Now, I walk past all the temptations without so much as a nick of a snack. It’s not the excitement of a new start. It’s not increased awareness. It’s beyond emotional.
A possible reason for this is something called “sensory specific satiety”. The theory suggests that as you eat a low variety diet, your hunger decreases from the lack of variety. As new foods are introduced, the appetite increases. It is often given as the reason for success of the Atkins/ketogenic type diets as well that success almost always being temporary.
In some ways this makes sense. It is one of the reasons for the potato fast. However, this requires the partaker to endure a period of cravings from the lack of foods. If we indulge in sweet, fatty foods daily only to suddenly drop them for a single food type, powerful cravings will occur.
When I did the potato fast before as well as now, cravings dissipated, or at least became very manageable. This happened nearly immediately both before and now. My cravings have been more manageable this entire week where they haven’t been for at least the past three months. Sensory specific satiety doesn’t account for this near immediate drop in cravings. I believe the answer may lie elsewhere.
Maybe it’s the water only fasting that preceded the potato only fasting. I just don’t think so. I know how I normally fast for faith based reasons. When I end it, I eat two meals worth of a full dinner and then snack well into the evening. That’s only if I fast 14 – 24 hours. I fasted 48 hours my first time and 43 hours this time. This time I ended the fast due to a family gathering that included one of my wife’s Sunday feasts. It also included cake and ice cream (birthday celebration). Normally, ending a fast with that before me would have resulted in a ton of dinner, a couple pieces of cake with ice cream and repeated snacking on both throughout the rest of the evening.
This time I ended the fast with potatoes. Mind you, I ate two servings worth. But then I was done. All the Sunday feast, all the celebratory sweets remained untouched by me. Willpower played a part, but a lesser part. I just didn’t have as powerful cravings.
Then there is my fed window. The fed window is a period that begins upon your consciously determining that you have eaten enough to sustain you for the day and you commit to not eating till the next. It is recommended to begin around 4 to 6 p.m. My fed window usually begins around 11 p.m. and ends around 10 a.m. the next day.
Since starting the potatoes, I begin around 4 p.m. and end around 8:00 a.m. Thats a 16 hour fed window on potatoes versus an 11 hour window on the regular diet. This happened with almost no extra effort on my part. I just decided to try it and it happened.
Potatoes are one of the few plants listed as the exception to the plant based diets. Paleo diets have a big taboo on them. Presentations on plant based eating ranging from vegan blogs to TED talks all mention the potato as a cautionary plant. Their starch content keeps on them cautionary list.
I am questioning this cautionary reasoning. I believe the potato itself may contain properties that inhibit the cravings. I wonder if these starches actually satisfy the cravings when one gives up the SOS.
I could test this by moving to another food as the mono-diet food. I first need to choose a food. I need to find the food with properties not found in the potato; the anti-potato.
Another option is to allow daily potatoes into the plant diet. Even if the starch is not ideal, I’d prefer it over collapsing each time somebody at home or the office brings in a box of pastries.
Neither option is mutually exclusive. The question is how much experimenting do I want to do before returning to the Fuhrman plan. I think how I feel over the second week will decide this. Till then, I will research for the best anti-potato.