I began reading about Jennifer Aniston’s 16-hour fasts augmented by celery water snacks fully prepared to feel concerned for her, in accordance with my tabloid-conditioned Pavlovian response to her name. However, I must be honest, Jen and I are on the same eating schedule.
According to CNBC, Jen has a 16:8 meal routine, meaning she fasts for 16 hours and eats during an eight-hour window. Sleeping counts for part of that 16, so her “intermittent fast” is basically just not eating breakfast until after 10 a.m. and eating dinner at about 5:30 p.m. She says she wakes up at 8:30 a.m., drinks celery juice, feeds her dogs, exercises, drinks coffee, then eats. That sounds about right for me as well, minus the exercising and juice. Breakfast makes my stomach hurt, I eat small lunches, and by 5 p.m., I am ready for dinner, just like Jen. However, I had no idea I was “fasting” and thought I was just “eating when I feel like it.”
In a recent interview with RadioTimes, Aniston said she has “noticed a big difference going without food for 16 hours.” What is the difference? Are all you breakfast eaters feeling something I’m not feeling? Is it gas? Because that’s what it is for me.
Intermittent fasting also comes with the glorious added benefit of dinner during daylight hours, before restaurants get crowded and while happy hour snacks are still on special, freeing up the rest of your night for TV and bed by 10 p.m. News outlets keep crediting Aniston’s fasts (and not her five-day-a-week workouts or extreme wealth) for her youthful appearance, so maybe all we need to live forever is simply to live each day as if we were 90.
Fasting for spiritual and health purposes, or maybe just because you don’t enjoy losing half your morning to farts, goes back centuries despite its recent rebrand by tech bros as a way to “optimize health,” whatever that means. Socrates, Plato, Jesus, and my grandmother, who also hated breakfast and loved early dinners, all fasted. There really is not much proof it does anything, though Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says it feels like “time slows down,” causing “days [to] feel so much longer.” I have never had that sensation, and if I did, I would probably eat something.