The Marshmallow Test and How You Can Use It To Benefit You

     Today, I thought I would share a method of meal timing that, in my opinion, makes dieting ten times easier. It's very simple to understand and apply, and almost anyone can do it. Simple enough, in fact, that you could start it tomorrow!

     The Basics:

     Intermittent Fasting (IF for short) is just what it sounds like. You fast for 16 hours out of the day, and then consume all of your daily calories in the remaining 8 hour window up until the time you sleep. 

     The Pros:  

     The result of eating all of your calories in the latter part of the day is that you go to bed feeling full, and are less likely to wake up and go into the kitchen for a midnight snack. In the long run, it is much easier to stick to your diet if you are able to eat big meals and feel full.

The Cons:

     Not everyone can fit this sort of meal timing into their daily lives. Jobs, classes, and other obligations can get in the way. However, if you are crafty, you can manipulate this meal timing to fit your needs. Also, the first two to three days, you will feel hungry during your 16 hour fast period. Don't worry though, this feeling will disappear within a few days as your body becomes accustomed to eating in the later part of the day. If you just can't stand it, get up and get a cup of coffee or a diet soda. The liquid coupled with the taste will satisfy your body for a while.


     To address this properly, I need to refer to the Marshmallow Test. For anyone unaware, the Marshmallow Test is a delayed gratification experiment first performed by a psychologist named Walter Mischel in the 1970s. He gathered up a group of four-year-olds and placed each one in a separate room. He then placed a marshmallow in front of them, and made them a proposal. They could eat the marshmallow right then, or they could wait a few more minutes and receive another one. Surprisingly, almost every child chose to wait. Mischel then left the room for twenty minutes. 

     A few of the young children were able to resist the temptation for up to fifteen minutes. However, most of them ate the marshmallow almost instantly after Mischel left the room. This was a test of delayed gratification and how children dealt with the concept. 

     The important things that we can glean from this experiment are the techniques used by the children who resisted the longest. Some looked around the room, some played with their hands, and some simply stared off into the distance in a trance-like state. The one thing they all had in common is that they used distractions to keep their minds off of the treat in front of them. As adults, we can do the same thing. Rather than giving in and raiding the office fridge, focus on your work, the workout you will do later that day, or anything but food. I have found it easiest to not even worry about eating(even  if my stomach growls) until it is time to eat. If you don't make it an option in your mind to eat before your predetermined time, it becomes much easier to deny that urge.

     Once you have made it through the first two to three days, you are home free! Enjoy eating huge meals and feeling full when you get home, all while losing weight!