In an age when Intermittent Fasting is rampant and men, especially, are taking it by the reins to achieve the bodies they’ve long for and deserve – women are jumping on that well-deserved train too. Who hasn’t earned the benefits of fasting….right?
Here’s the tough thing; no one’s better at fasting than a girl who knows how to restrict. So when society goes on a grand omission adventure, FOMO comes a’knocking and we start to wonder – mmm – where’s my spot at the table (with no setting because who needs it)?
Here are some tips, tricks and permission slips we can ALL benefit from especially those rather seasoned with, for lack of better phrases, not eating:
- The 3 meal a day routine was introduced to America after the Industrial Revolution to accommodate for the 9-5 work schedule. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. It was a way to get everyone to the breakfast and dinner table and for school lunches to be subsidized by Big Ag etc. It’s a long drawn out story but the drift is: eating 3 meals a day was created for a reason, not because we needed it but because the 40 hour work week needed some incentivizing.
- The snack industry has kinda sorta influenced people to eat a whole bunch of unnecessary foods while labeling it: “addressing chronic low blood sugar.” We’ve adapted to consuming a hefty number of extra calories when the only people in need of snacks are children (kind of like baby cow’s needing their own mothers milk as opposed to our baby humans taking it from them).
- The hunger hormones Leptin & Ghrelin dictate when we’re in need of food and when we’re full and no longer need food. These two hormones are heavily influenced by refined processed & packaged foods, ie. junk food. When we don’t inundate our bodies with highly palatable foods like Doritos, Pepsi, Sour Patch Kids and Movie Theatre Popcorn, we tame the beast that was only made beastly by the one and only food industry. Refined foods like generic chips and crackers are so polished they put the pancreas in hyper drive which over stimulates the production of insulin – hence the reason we have an insane number of people living (and dying) with Type 2 diabetes not to mention all the other diseases triggered by lifestyle.
If you catch my drift you probably sense some sarcasm which is totally warranted but what I hope you take away from this is: we eat more than what we’ve ever been designed to because we’ve been marketed in such a way that goes against our very nature. Companies are influential when in power and people are highly impressionable – even when a HUGE health trend promises betterment and says, “forget all that shit we’ve been force feeding you for 60 years – do this instead!”
Rather than allocate your life around eating & fasting windows try this instead:
- eat dinner around 6 or 7 pm. Then stop eating. If you tend towards sweets at night, make sure you follow dinner up with a piece of fruit. Go to bed before midnight.
- wake up, drink water, make a coffee (preferably one using quality coffee grounds, natural creamer like coconut cream or oat milk and something sweet like honey or maple syrup as opposed to sugary based oil laden powdered creamers)
- move your body. Take advantage of a long walk outside or a hilly trail or a weighted workout – there are so many free workouts available on Youtube. I use Sydney Cummings.
- shower, get ready for work, spend some time on your makeup and hair or your outfit
- prepare your lunch – something with vegetables, greens, fruit, some protein, maybe a little starch – stash some dressing for flavor. Pack a sizable amount because you’re eating to last you until dinner, no need to skimp or use portion control. Maybe this is a “pretend packed lunch” if you work from home.
- check the time…if you don’t work traditional 9-5 hours, it’s probably 9:30 or 10 by now. You’ve fasted 14 hours so far. LOOK AT YOU!
- depending on your hunger, or lack thereof, keep going.
- by the time you make it to 11/11:30 your body is likely telling you it’s time to eat with a rumble or grumble from good ol’ ghrelin – listen to it. Eat your BREAKfast now
- go about your day, keep moving your body, making your calls, answering your emails, doing good shit in the world, make someone happy, be of service ETC and weasel your way home if you aren’t there already
- by 5 or 6pm you’re probably curious about what to eat for dinner and by now you should be aware that having vegetables in your hydrator drawers and handy proteins like tofu or beans is smart, so you whip up a veggie based stir fry with a protein or starch of choice and round it out with a piece of fruit or two (I’ve got a recipe for that btw…)
- in astonishment – you think, I’m a powerhouse! – I can wait until late tomorrow morning because I’m nourished, empowered, energized and heck I think I might even be motivated to work out again and if not I’ll rest because I deserve that too.
And that, my friend, is how we fast without starving.
- You need to eat ENOUGH and of the RIGHT foods to get you from one meal to the next
- You need to forget about snacking and snack foods (maybe save them for a very special occasion but still, consider most snack foods as marketing ploys). Something I like doing with hippie snack foods like flax crackers or healthier versions of vegan snacks is I add them to my meals for texture or as a flavor enhancer.
- You need to eat satiating foods: FIBER, PROTEIN + CARBOHYDRATES ie. fruits, non starchy vegetables, starchy vegetables (potatoes, whole grains), plant proteins like tofu, tempeh and lentils etc + nuts/seeds. Inherent in these foods will be some fat so it isn’t necessary to add fat from oil, but some avocado or dairy free cheese is always kinda nice
- Et Voila – you’ll be hungry when being hungry happens and you’ll stop when stopping is important (ie. before bed, middle of the night, super early in the morning or between meals).
And most importantly of all:
This isn’t gospel
It’s more important to have a healthy relationship to your body and yourself
It’s certainly more important to be KIND to yourself. You won’t get through any of the above I suggested if you’re constantly berating yourself.
Don’t start your healing journey with Intermittent Fasting – everything above should come AFTER or while simultaneously working with a therapist
If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, IF, counting calories and measuring macros won’t fix that.
I wholly practice and believe a healthy relationship to ourselves starts with how and what we eat – but food rules were made to be broken so don’t latch on so tight that every time you let go a little, you reinitiate a cycle of self-blame. Rather, keep in mind, simple practices like not eating around the clock and giving your digestion a good chance to assimilate your previous meal are sound enough. Put your perspective in your body’s shoes, have compassion for what it’s trying to do FOR you; to keep you alive and regenerate for your longevity – it’s a magnificent vessel.
sunflower sprouts, kimchee, flax/veggie crackers & vegan feta
sweet potato, beet puree, shaved cucumber, olive
Beyond meatballs, sautéed kale with papaya seed dressing