As I write this to you I am approaching the end of my first lunch to lunch, 24 hour fast. Almost all of my fast days have previously been from evening meal to evening meal because I really could not imagine deliberately going to bed hungry. So how did it go?
I had lunch yesterday at 2pm. It was actually more like an evening meal than a lunch. It was a delicious Moroccan inspired Tuna Steak with Ras el Hanout Sweet Potato, Cauliflower and Olives. It was far too much food!! Honestly. Now you may be reading this having only just started with intermittent fasting, or you may have read that a 5 or 600 calorie meal doesn’t equate to much more than a celery stick, a boiled egg and an orange, but it quite simply is NOT true if you choose your ingredients carefully. Base your meal on fish/lean meat and plenty of low GL veggies and you truly can have a feast. For 600 calories I had 2 Tuna Steaks and a veritable mountain of Cauliflower with melt in the mouth sweet potato mixed with spices such as Cinnamon, Fennel Se……..OK STOP! Sorry…. the fast isn’t over yet and describing yesterdays lunch (my last meal) got me rather excited. hehe! Anyway, you get the point. If you plan properly you can actually eat very well. I didn’t even finish all of my lunch, there was still some veg on my plate that I just couldn’t quite shovel in.
Now, talking of wiggle room, this brings me on to my first observation. I actually didn’t like the sensation of having eaten too much at lunch time. You wont be surprised to know that I’ve never been pregnant before but I can tell you that after that lunch I was walking around in exactly the same way that Audrey did during all 4 of her pregnancies. I even found myself resting my hand on top of my belly while chatting to people! Not a good look so next time I think I’ll perhaps take out a little of the veg and keep the calories up by adding a little glug of olive oil when serving. The fullness actually made me feel quite lethargic. In fact, I was sat on the sofa with my daughter and I couldn’t keep my eyes open at one point. So pandering to my Mediterranean genes I went for a siesta with my 2yr old daughter. I woke up feeling so much better. I did read recently that the natural rhythm of your body actually wants a midday rest but in the UK where life is lived at 110mph I cant really see it catching on, which is a pity because I think everyone (including our young children that we pack off to school for 8 hours per day at 4 years old) could do with nap time!
Dishing up the kids dinner was tough. Not because I was hungry but because for the first time ever I was conscious of just how much ‘tasting’ I do!! I had to reign in that urge to lick the serving spoon clean etc. I did forget once or twice, but come on, a little lick of gravy isn’t going to break a fast is it?!
By the time we’d got the kids in bed and sat down to relax at around 8pm I started to feel slightly peckish. Now I know (from previous experience fasting) the difference between ‘real’ hunger and psychological hunger so I managed to ignore it easily enough. What I wasn’t prepared for was the strange sense of boredom. No glass of wine. No food preparation. No sitting down to chill out with a meal in front of the TV. And it hit me, that the reason why I’d liked evening to evening fasting so much was because evening to evening fasting frees you up time, when you’re already busy, to get on with doing other things. You don’t have to think about food prep or eating for breakfast, lunch or snacks and it feels quite liberating. The weird thing about lunch to lunch fasting is that it frees you up a lot of time, but it frees it up at a time of the day when you’ve already got time on your hands! So it feels like you don’t get quite the same (time) benefit.
So I had a wobble. I sat and spoke to Audrey about it, nearly came close (at 11pm) to saying ‘sod this’ and grabbing a beer and switching to evening to evening meals but I didn’t. And do you know why I didn’t? Because as with every other learning experience that I have come across during intermittent fasting, whether it’s adapting recipes to become ‘healthier’ more balanced meals, or learning how to cope with hunger during a fast, I’ve realised that in order to change the crap life that got me into this mess in the first place, I have to make big changes. By sacrificing eating or drinking in the evening I am making exercise possible the next day. This is because my timetable only allows a workout at lunchtime and if I want to have a post workout meal (which I do) then the only way I can do it (and have a full 24hr fast) is to go lunch to lunch. This is a trade off that I am prepared to make. Audrey and I have struggled for a long time to keep up to date with many TV series that we enjoy and end up deleting them from our Sky TV planner because we run out of storage space! So we’ve decided that fast days are TV nights. Snuggled up on the sofa (I’ve added that part, I haven’t run it past Audrey yet!) watching some of the shows that we enjoy.
Bed time was interesting. I’m not going to say too much about it because if Audrey reads this she’ll clobber me for sharing, but let me just say that normally I have to contend with her snoring. Last night was a double whammy as her snoring was accompanied by tummy grumbling! Just as I was starting to feel somewhat superior (laying there in biological silence) my tummy started sympathy grumbling as well! Was actually really quite funny and somewhat musical…..
This morning was actually the biggest surprise to me as I wasn’t any hungrier than if I’d had an evening meal. It’s now 12:30 and I’ve had 2 coffees and I feel perfectly relaxed about waiting until 2pm to have lunch. I was worried whether I would feel like working out prior to lunch but I can honestly say that it wouldn’t be a problem. I feel absolutely fine about it. Of course, I haven’t added weight training in yet so I’ll have to comment on that in more detail once I’ve done it, but I cant foresee there being any problems.
Finally, the last thing I want to say is that I was reading the ’4 hour body’ last night and the author Tim Ferriss mentioned that he was drinking black coffee with cinnamon in it. I’d never tried it so I gave it a go this morning. I wasn’t surprised that I liked it, after all I LOVE coffee with a cinnamon Danish pastry, but what surprised me was that I realised that those 2 flavours, coffee and cinnamon, rather than the sweetness, was what attracted to coffee and Danish. I can honestly say that I’d be happy to ditch the Danish in future and stick with the cinnamon coffee….. of course that’s easy for me to say, I (fortunately) don’t have a sweet tooth!
I’d sum up the experience by saying that I found this way of fasting easier in terms of hunger and (in the future) fitting in exercise. It was more difficult in terms of the psychology of getting to the evening time and not eating or having a glass of wine. In fact, quite worryingly, I hadn’t realised how ‘dependant’ I’d become on that glass (or 2… or 3) each evening until I was faced with the prospect of not having it. That was an eye opener. Perhaps that’s the slippery road to alcoholism? Who knows. I’m not concerned about it as with this way of life I have not only adopted Alternate Day Fasting but now I also seem to have adopted Alternate Day Drinking!
How self righteous will I become by the end of this?!…. I can eat healthy, I can go hungry and I can do without a drink!! People are going to dislike me
Sorry if this post has been a bit of a ramble, it’s one of those posts where I haven’t planned what I was going to say but literally just typed to you in ‘thinking out loud’ mode……