WHEN Should We Eat?

WHEN Should We Eat?

Time to Eat

Time to Eat!

There is a growing body of research that supports the old saw about doing breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Along with its impact on sleep, circadian rhythms, and so on, the mounting evidence suggests that we handle food better when we eat early too. A meal eaten in the morning doesn’t cause as big an insulin release as that very same meal eaten in the evening. Having lower insulin levels present at bed time allows our body to get into recovery mode more rapidly. And likely with greater potential for weight loss.

Last week, I had the good fortune to meet up with an old work buddy that I hadn’t seen for a while. He looked pretty trim. While he and I have battled the bulge for as long as we’ve know each other, to my wry eye, he never really put on very much weight! And when he puts his mind to it, I’m guessing he wins far more willpower-dependent dietary battles than I do too.

We didn’t get an opportunity to speak about diet during our get together but we emailed back and forth later. Turns out that he’s been using an “eat early” fasting strategy. Doing a more restrictive version of something our grandmothers might have recommended: eating a large breakfast, a small lunch, but no dinner. And he is quite adamant about eating nothing after 5:00pm. But he also mentions that, while this dietary approach has worked best for him over time, it is beginning to feel like a losing battle. His parting comment was this …

I know, it’s brutal … and the plan will start cracking over holidays, during birthdays and tradeshows!!!

I get that!

My friend’s program is essentially an 18:6 fasting regimen, done the right way up. I have gone through periods doing something similar. However, I do my eating in the evening! Mine is more like a 20:4 schedule where I skip breakfast and lunch, then I eat dinner, with seconds, sometimes thirds, and more often than I should, dessert. But all in a four hour block between 6:00pm & bedtime. Did my upside-down version work?

Despite the added insulin it might produce, and even with that shot of the fat storage hormone coming at the worst time of day, it did. I like eating in the evening and that’s what I mostly choose to do. Could I have lost more weight, or at least more rapidly, doing it my friend’s way?

Probably.

But I generally don’t find my way of eating to be brutal!

And that might be a bigger deal than just about any other when it comes to long term adherence to a diet. There are so many ways we can derail ourselves that we should take advantage of all the bright spots. Imperfect though they might be.

As it happens, I have a celebratory work lunch on the menu later today. While I’m happy with my coffee and cigarette for breakfast, maybe I’ll stop eating after lunch today. Just to see how I fare. And to feel, just briefly, how my friend might feel all at time.

There is nothing like variety when it comes to diet and weight loss! 🙂

A Lifetime Achievement Award

A Lifetime Achievement Award

Greek Salad Fast Breaker

Was so looking forward to eating that I forgot to take the pic before diving in! Oops!

I gave myself a lifetime achievement award yesterday … and the reward was one of my childhood favourites: egg ‘n’ chips for dinner, three fried eggs and the entire basket of French fries. All for me! This was followed by an utterly decadent blueberry ice-cream, with chocolate. Then I ate the rest of the chocolate bar!

Why this self-bestowed award?

Because I did my longest fast ever. At 89 hours, I was mere hours short of having not eating anything … zero, nada, nothing … for 4 full days. I had absolutely nothing but water, carbonated water and coffee the entire time. This all came about from doing the one day fast I spoke of in the last post. I’m not sure what came over me but, having done the one day, I just felt compelled to go for the second. Somehow, that managed to turn into this four-day thing.

So how did it feel?

Day 1 was, as you might expect, a day of thinking about not eating. Which meant I was only thinking about eating! The first half of Day 2 was about the same. But by the afternoon of the second day, there were no hunger pangs. No desire to eat. Not even when smelling and seeing the curry fried rice, the pulled pork sandwiches, and who know what else I had to watch everyone else eat during that time. Once my body started supplying its energy needs from my very ample storage depots, the feeling was … one of almost ecstasy, freedom, liberation, I don’t know. But it was something that left me feeling unshackled. And I was bright, alert and doing everything I had to do. And no, I wasn’t irritable and grumpy. Though you might need to get some external corroboration on that last one!

Due to the attendant water and electrolyte losses, I was adding pink Himalayan salt to my coffee on the 2nd and subsequent days. This will sound crazy but you should try your favourite coffee with a little salt and some heavy cream, it’s really good! Or maybe not if you’re already eating the high-salt diet that comes along with eating processed foods. Though perfect for the first two days, I was sneaking in a little cream by the 3rd day. By mid-morning on the 4th day, I was feeling a little light-headed. I did a couple of salted coffees but it wasn’t working. I decided to break the fast and have lunch. I had intended to have bacon and eggs at a local diner, though I hadn’t quite decided on whether or not to have the home fried potato too. But as we took our seats, a ginormous Greek salad was delivered to an adjacent table and I switched to that. The bacon was still on my mind though, so I added a side order of bacon to be crumbled atop it! The dinner and dessert we spoke of earlier followed later.

So what was the outcome?

From a weight standpoint, you’ll have to wait and see … I only log numbers at the end of each month! But I feel I have opened a new door with this longer fast. One not only with weight-loss potential, but with other potential health benefits too. Perhaps for the body and the mind.

Keeping Busy When Fasting?

Keeping Busy When Fasting?

One Pot Cooking - Beef Roast

One Pot Cooking – Forgot to take a pic of the ham, oops! This is a beef roast that received similar treatment. Clean-up is a breeze! The fat is in there because of the Omega 3 content in grass-fed beef. And it’s so tasty!

I thought I’d try a fast day at the weekend. My fast days are typically shortened when I give in to temptation and eat dinner in the evening. That’s not all bad but, every now and again, I would like to do a full wake cycle fast. Aside from weight loss, there are supposed to be all sorts of health benefits associated with fasting and I wanted some of that. I started out the day committed, very committed. But then don’t I always! 🙂

I knew I needed to keep busy and watching soccer on TV is not keeping busy. Knowing you can’t eat is exactly what triggers thinking about food. Almost non-stop. It’s the old story about what happens when someone tells you to not think about the elephant! I wondered if I could turn that around and use it to get a positive result.

And so, I decided to spend my free time cooking!

I had a nice ham in the fridge. Pasture raised pork, what could be better? I’m not a fan of clean up so most of my cooking happens in a single pot or pan. One Pot Cooking has been a thing for me since my school years. I browned a chopped onion and half a dozen cloves of garlic in olive oil first. Tossed in the ham and covered it with two liters of organic chicken broth (what can I say, again it was all I had to hand, that’s bulk buying for you), a little rosemary, salt and pepper. Now I had some food to focus on!

This thing bubbled along its merry way for about 4 hours before I lifted it out and put it on a plate to settle. It was falling off the bone tender and it smelled so delicious. While everyone else enjoyed their meal, I was eyeing up the pot of liquid. A few more chopped onions, three diced potatoes, and a bag of frozen peas later, the pot was bubbling again. A tablespoon of curry powder and another of coriander, along with a couple of habanero peppers from the garden, and my nose told me I was done. When it had done its thing, a few minutes bouncing the hand blender off the bottom of the pot gave me this luxuriously thick, heavy soup. I added back some of the shredded ham to finish it off.

What do you think I did next?

I apportioned the whole pot to a set of containers and stuck ’em all in the freezer. Along with the rest of the ham.

But I made it through one complete fast day without anything other than coffee and water. The answer to the opening question is that to avoid eating on a fast day … I cook!

Attaboy Paul!!!

 

Fasting is Easy … NOT!

Fasting is Easy … NOT!

Dew Drops

Today’s Diet is … Dewdrops!

Intermittent fasting is a big deal these days. The real beauty of fasting is that it can be blended with whatever your favourite dietary strategy is. There may be advantages to blending it with, for example, a low-carb or keto regimen. As opposed to eating junk food on eating days! The other great thing about fasting is that it requires no careful meal planning. And it costs less to boot.

It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Nothing but good.

Why, then, do I find it so difficult most times?

I am a really big fan of fasting. I just don’t do it very well. There are many ideas out there as to what constitutes a fast. Some define it as a water only fast. Others think juice fasting is fine. Then there are those that say you can eat very modestly, like four, five or six hundred calories a day, depending on the diet, & the sex of the dieter. One of the latest is a fast mimicking diet that allows a very modest intake of some very specific prepackaged foods that trick the body into behaving as though it were not getting any food. The idea behind this is to have something nourishing to eat, while still promoting autophagy (cellular regeneration) for health. Sounds pretty good.

Fasting is also varyingly defined by duration. You can fast for one complete wake cycle, or you can do one meal a day for a twenty-something-hour fast. Some just skip breakfast & call it a 16 hour fast. Some love the alternate day fasting approach. There are longer fasts that run for days, or even weeks. These are typically only for those that are healthy & under medical supervision. One guy, in Scotland, fasted for 382 days & lost 276 lbs. I’m not touching that kind of challenge but it is pretty incredible. Fasts of short duration seem to be given a blessing for most healthy people but I don’t worry about it too much since I mostly can’t even make it through a full day anyway!

For no real reason that I can justify, I think a fast should be for one full wake cycle. And since I typically don’t eat breakfast, it would be a 40 hour fast if I make it to lunch the next day. In my case, aside from water, I allow myself coffee with heavy cream (35% fat). Should I ever feel a little off or light-headed, I may pop a few olives or a pickle for the salts. Mostly I fail my one day fasts & I find myself eating dinner in the evening. When that happens … I congratulate myself for completing a 22 hour fast!

While I like rules in many parts of my life, I’m not a big fan of dietary rules. My sloppy approach to dieting & weight loss has transferred to my half-hearted efforts at fasting.

Today, I’m going to try doing it correctly. I just had my first two coffees of the day … & both were without cream! Today, I am trying for one real, full wake cycle, fast!

Wish me luck!

 

No Fails with a Fast!

No Fails with a Fast!

Coffee

Imagine you’re on a ketogenic diet. You have just one little cookie. You feel like a failure, don’t you. You’ve hit reset. It’s just a big No-No. The ketones immediately run & hide. It’s over. The cycle is done for. Finished. Let’s start again next Monday.

The great thing with intermittent fasting is that it’s impossible to fail. There aren’t as many fasting programs out as there are diets but there’s enough variety that just about everyone can find one that suits. I embrace them all. Going for a 48 hour fast, but you decide to eat lunch the 2nd day? Congrats! You’ve just successfully completed a 42 hour fast instead. Enjoy your lunch!

Fasting, an ancient practice, is the new diet du jour. And there might be something to it. I’m trying to get my head around something more than a one day fast. My ideal one day fast is spending a total wake cycle without food. Though I do add a little heavy cream (35%) to my coffee, I limits my fluids to coffee, tea & water. Since I’m well practiced at not eating breakfast, I won’t have breakfast next morning either. That really turns my one day fast into a 42 hour fast. If I make it to dinner time, I’ve accomplished a 48 hour fast. Bonus points!

The worst case scenario is that you finish dinner at 7pm today. Then you have breakfast at 7am tomorrow. Congratulations again … you’ve completed a 12 hour fast. While doing this every day probably won’t contribute a lot to weight loss, at least we haven’t destroyed a diet “prescription” that we’ve given ourselves. There’s no feeling of having to binge for the rest of the week, while we wait for Monday to roll around before we begin again. You can always start the next fast right away, immediately following breakfast. Or you can go through to dinner time & start over then. The whole diet isn’t shot. There are no big regrets. And you haven’t lost the “rest of the week”. It’s still there to be taken advantage of. When you’re ready.

About the only thing that does mess with my head, while running my infrequent fasting routines, is the scale. I know, I know, we should only weight ourselves once a week. Forget that, I’m on the scale at least twice a day! And that can sometimes show unpredictable results. I don’t have a scale that is calibrated to a standard or anything but it seems pretty repeatable when I load up a heavy weight on it. It’s on a hard, even floor. I’ve even positioned it far away from the vent, so that heating & cooling draughts don’t influence the outcome. Despite that care & attention, it sometimes says that I didn’t lose any weight after a fast day. But then it surprises me with a loss a feast day. What is that about!?!

This is not a consistent thing. I’m really not sure why some fasts give me an immediate result, while others don’t. And why would a feast day, sometimes a pretty wicked one, give me a pleasant surprise?

I don’t know the answer &, frankly, I don’t care too much. I enjoy the pleasant surprises every now & again. The message is to not give up on your fasting regimen too soon. Let your scale play it’s little games & see if the results work this way for you.