Not all fasting methods require that you completely abstain from eating during your fast. For example, although the 5:2 Diet necessitates undereating for an entire 24 hours, the Warrior Diet delineates the day into periods of undereating and overeating, which means you restrict what foods you can eat during the daytime, and at night you’re able to enjoy a full, hearty meal. With the Warrior Diet, you don’t fast just one or two times a week. Instead, you consistently engage in modified fasting every day. Remember: Fasting is part of an overall healthy lifestyle change, and the Warrior Diet is no exception to that.
What the Warrior Diet Is?
The Warrior Diet is a modified fasting regimen where you don’t completely restrict all calories in liquid form or solid form during your fast. The restriction focuses on consuming a small amount of food for most of the day and then eating as much as you want for several hours each evening.
The Warrior Diet is based on the premise that ancient people, who were fitter, healthier, and leaner than their modern counterparts, followed a daily regimen that included snacking only on healthful foods during the hours in which they completed most of their physical labor. They then reaped the fruits of that labor with a larger meal, recreation, and rest in the evening hours.
Although the term warrior may denote an overtly masculine character or a person whose job description vastly differs from your own, don’t be mistaken. In reference to the Warrior Diet, warrior signifies a modern warrior, one who has decided that he or she is ready to make a return to instinctual eating, namely undereating and overeating, and tap into the many health benefits inherent in the warrior lifestyle.
Everything in nature is cyclical from sunrises and sunsets to ocean tides to even human activities, such as sleeping and eating. The Warrior Diet is no exception, and it fits very well in the cycle of nature. Sometimes you eat very little. Sometimes you eat a lot. But at the end of the day (quite literally), it all gets balanced out. In other words, micro-periods of famine and feast inherently are built into each day.
Comparing Undereating and Overeating
Everything is cyclical, including your eating patterns. If you adhere to your natural eating patterns, then the Warrior Diet suggests that you must eat sparingly throughout the day and feast at night.
The human body has three major divisions of the nervous system, two of which you can directly affect by fasting:
- The sympathetic nervous system regulates the fight or flight response, which refers to activities that occur while the body is under stress (both everyday stress and abnormal stresses) and that keep your internal organs functioning
- The parasympathetic system controls the body’s rest and digest functions, which refers to the activities that occur when your body is at rest, such as digestion, sleep, and sexual
In other words, you should be fully within the sympathetic system during active daytime hours and in the parasympathetic system in the evening. Fasting is one of the most effective ways to ensure that these two systems are kept separate, as they naturally should be. On the Warrior Diet, you keep the two systems separated by undereating during the day and overeating in the evening hours.
But what undereating and overeating mean can be a little confusing, especially because so many of the popular diets today claim that you mustn’t overeat and you certainly shouldn’t eat too close to bedtime. Overeating paired with undereating is actually extremely effective for fat loss and building lean muscle mass. These sections help make sense of undereating and overeating so you have a better idea how the Warrior Diet works.
What you can eat during this phase
Undereating is the phase of the Warrior Diet that takes up most of day. You simply don’t eat as much as you normally would during the daytime hours. You’re naturally most active during these daytime hours, whether that activity is physical or mental.
During this undereating phase, the time when you restrict how much food you eat, you allow your body to give less energy toward digestive processes and relegate more energy to processes that will allow it to detoxify and cleanse itself, as well as burn fat, stabilize insulin levels, and promote the release of growth hormones. These benefits are similar to those benefits that you would encounter with any of the fasting methods described in this book. In general, fasting, whether true fasting or modified fasting such as the
Warrior Diet or the 5:2 Diet, can have a phenomenal and positive impact on your health.
During the undereating phase, you eat and/or drink only fresh, raw produce and some light protein. Appropriate food and drink choices for the undereating phase might include the following:
- Black coffee or tea
- Unsweetened herbal tea
- Unsweetened coconut water
- Juice made from fresh raw vegetables and fruits
- Homemade broths that are free of monosodium glutamate (MSG), excessive salt, and hydrogenated oils
- Small servings of plain yogurt or kefir, or one to two eggs
- 16 ounces or less of all natural whey protein shakes (whey mixed with water)
- Raw fruits or vegetables, such as a handful of berries, carrot sticks, or a grapefruit
Fresh is a description placed on many prepackaged food products, particularly juice. And in the case of juice, the designation means that the juice wasn’t made from concentrate. On the Warrior Diet, fresh juice means really fresh, which means that you should only drink those juices made before your eyes in a juicer or blender, not something that came in a bottle or jar.
If you’re just starting on the Warrior Diet and are feeling deprived or just need some time to adapt to undereating, then you may also add a small handful of raw or dry roasted nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, or Brazil nuts.
While you’re undereating during the day, consume only small servings of any calorie containing foods or drinks. Remember that the goal of the undereating phase is to not eat a lot. You must exercise restraint during these daytime hours. Although doing so may seem quite difficult at first, you’ll find that
the longer you adhere to the Warrior Diet (or any fasting method, for that matter), the easier it will be to keep calorie intake to a minimum.
No matter how healthy you eat, getting all the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs not only to function, but also to function optimally, can still be a challenge. Consider taking a high quality multivitamin, probiotics, and/or fish oil to ensure you’re getting everything you need on a regular basis.
Examining the overeating phase with common sense
Overeating on the Warrior Diet means just what you would expect. You eat more than you normally would, but only in the evening at your one meal. With overeating, you don’t count calories, feel guilty eating high fat (but healthy) foods, or portion foods to ensure that you receive the appropriate fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Overeating simply means that you eat starting with foods like a green salad and then moving to proteins, fruit and/ or cooked veggies, denser carbohydrates, and/or healthy fats — until you feel full. You can usually tell that you’re reaching the point of being full and satisfied when you start to feel more thirsty than hungry.
This concept of overeating means that you eat in an instinctual manner. Do you think that the Paleolithic human wondered about how many grams of fat he or she was eating in a day? Or what the protein to carbratio in a given meal was? No, the ancient human feasted at the end of the long day and enjoyed that feast sans guilt. The Warrior Diet calls for a return to this healthier concept of overeating.
Overeating is okay on the Warrior Diet because you’re overeating on healthy foods, not the typical junk that packs on fat and promotes disease. But you may be thinking that a calorie is a calorie. Much of the other diet advice you’ve heard throughout your life, just like this adage, isn’t true.
When you overeat after fasting, your body is primed to use the calories and nutrients that you consume in a much more effective manner. Fat cells are released into the bloodstream and used up, nutrients assimilate into the body at a faster rate, greater amounts of lean muscle mass are built, secretions of your growth and other hormones increase (including dopamine, that “happy feeling” hormone), and body tissue is repaired.
A 2003 study on mice showed that those mice that were put on a fasting regimen combined with overeating, such as the regimen promoted in the Warrior Diet, saw a phenomenal increase in their overall health. Aging seemed to have been reversed. Diabetes disappeared. Cells repaired. And life span increased.
You may think of overeating as binging, gorging, and in general being a pig. Because of the various — and oftentimes, false advice you may have heard over the years from well meaning friends and family and by mainstream diet and exercise magazines, books, and blogs, you may believe that overeating will ultimately make you fail at reaching your fitness goals. Overeating on
the Warrior Diet isn’t about pigging out on ice cream, chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, and beer. Rather you simply eat healthful foods until you’re full and satisfied. You eat enough to refuel the tank, so to speak, and don’t feel guilty about it later.
So don’t get caught up in the term “overeating.” And don’t feel guilty about it. Just remember that it isn’t a free for all. You can overeat in a perfectly healthy way. You just want to make healthful food choices. Check out the later section, “Knowing what you can eat for your one meal” for what foods you should strive to eat in your one nightly meal.
The pros of the Warrior Diet
- You have the ability to eat (although lightly) throughout the
- It boosts
- You have the freedom to overeat and enjoy food without the typical diet
- You see an improvement in overall health from vitality to
- Your lean muscle mass
- You return to instinctive and healthy eating
- It slows the aging
Disadvantages of the Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet is a fasting method that truly embodies the idea of a lifestyle overhaul. For some people, this challenge may be too much at first.
The Warrior Diet may also be challenging because the undereating period that you engage in each day is longer than the fasting time in, say, the micro fasting method. And though you do eat a very hearty meal while adhering to the Warrior Diet, you only get to eat one meal a day.
You may want to experiment with whether or not adhering to a modified fasting program, such as the Warrior Diet, would actually be more difficult for you than simply cutting out food and calorie-laden drinks altogether. Some people find that eating lightly, rather than completely abstaining, makes the fast harder to get through.
Summary Just One Meal a Day
The Warrior Diet is derived from the concept that traditional societies, those whose people were lean, strong, and physically and mentally tough those who embodied the warrior spirit only ate one meal a day. Although the technologies of today all but eliminate the basic physical endeavors, you can return to this primal living by adhering to the same kind of eating strategy.
The hormonal and physical benefits of fasting in this warrior fashion (or undereating throughout the day and overeating at night) are incredible, from gaining strength and muscle to finally getting rid of stubborn body fat to detoxifying your body to boosting virility. The Warrior Diet’s concept of eating one meal a day keeps your body in warrior mode, making you mentally alert and physically lean and muscular.