A lot of people practice intermittent fasting to help regulate their blood sugar levels and lose weight or maintain weight loss. I personally know a few people who intermittent fast daily, and I have tried it in the past but wasn’t able to find a way that worked for me so I gave it up. That was almost a year ago.
In my current lifestyle journey I have adopted a more intuitive way of eating by listening to my body and only eating meals when I’m hungry. What I have discovered as I adopted a whole-food plant-based diet and have eaten meals when I’m hungry is that my body’s natural cycle is one of intermittent fasting. Eating two meals per day feels natural to me. Because I only eat two meals per day, I consume food in a 5 – 7 hour window daily and the other 17-19 hours I fast. I tracked this for a week to come to this conclusion. I didn’t consciously decide upon a window of time to eat and a window of time to fast. This is my natural default.
Once I had the real data collected for about two weeks, I then decided I wanted to choose actual windows of time to eat and fast and follow that for awhile to see how it felt. I split the difference and decided I would only eat in a 6 hour window and fast 18 hours every day. Because I am mostly at home I am usually able to eat my two meals between noon and 6 pm. So I fast from 6 pm until noon the following day. It’s not that big of a chore, though some days I will start getting hungry around 10 am, I actually like that feeling of being hungry. This was my main complaint with Bright Line Eating, which was the program I followed the first two weeks, I never felt hungry and most of the time actually felt extremely full of food.
I like feeling hungry, that lean empty feeling before you fuel up. It actually seems like I can feel my body burning the stored fat for energy. It feels good!
During the fasting time of my day, I drink black coffee, herbal teas, water or sparkling water the same as I would normally. It’s generally accepted that anything below 50 calories doesn’t break your fast, so I guess I could even add a splash of milk if I was so inclined, but I like all my coffee and tea black anyway and my sparkling waters are plain, unsweetened, zero calorie drinks.
I usually break my fast with a lunchtime type meal, rather than breakfast. So I’ll heat up some leftovers or bake some potatoes or make a big salad usually rather than have oatmeal. I eat supper kind of early, around 430 or right at 5 pm. Many days it’s the same meal I had for lunch. Depending on how tired I am and what kind of a workday I had, it might only be a couple of apples and some peanut butter. At 6 pm I am done eating for the day. I’m usually in bed by 9 or 10 anyway and then up by 5 am. But I was never a breakfast person, I never woke up starving for breakfast, I always waited a few hours before eating. Breakfast was a meal I learned to eat because everyone always said it was the most important meal of the day. They don’t say that so emphatically anymore. I like being free to wait until lunch before eating.
I don’t even begin to feel hungry until I’ve been up for 5 hours already. It’s not a big deal to hold off another couple of hours before I actually eat. If something happens to come up, a breakfast meeting, a dinner banquet or evening party with food, then I just adjust my window so the event falls within the 6 hours eating … or I skip a day! Easy peasy! My rules are never absolute, there’s always room for adjustment. I am allowed to veer off the path from time to time. I think that’s real life, being able to go with the flow and not get stressed out about it. As long as I consistently follow my routine, 90% of the time, I know I will achieve the results I want.
If you’re following your own lifestyle journey, be kind to yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And life happens to all of us. As long as you don’t allow it to stop your journey, you will be okay. Start where you are, and keep going.
Mood: not hungry
Drinking: black, dark roast, pour-over coffee
Listening To: my neighbours answering their door
Hair: to cut or not to cut, that is the question