Have you ever heard of intermittent fasting? It's basically a way of cycling periods of eating & periods of fasting which has been proven to help speed metabolism, cause weight loss, improve gut health & increase lifespan. Not too shabby, right?
However, let's address the elephant in the room: the word fasting. I know that fasting sounds scary and hungry and terrible, and some fasts are scary and hungry and terrible (I'm looking at you, 30 day water cleanse), but the beauty of intermittent fasting is that you don't have to go days without food, you just have to eat within a certain time frame.
At first, I didn't think I could do intermittent fasting because of how active I am. There's no way I can go long periods without food, I thought. I'll collapse if I have to work out while I'm hungry.
The problem was the word "fasting," but believe it or not, my husband and I soon came up with our own version that worked wonders. We simply didn't know that it was a form of intermittent fasting.
One night, we realized that our biggest problem was eating after dinner. We could do so well all day, but once the table was cleared & the dishes were in the dish washer, we were immediately diving into cookies, ice cream, candy & snacks. We'd snack all night, then have heartburn or indigestion before bed, then wake up with a full stomach and absolutely no appetite for breakfast. To combat this problem, Simon suggested that we close the kitchen after 7PM. Once 7 rolled around, we were no longer eating.
This worked out pretty well for him because it prevented him from him nighty snack sabotage, but it worked WONDERS for me because I was teaching a cycling class at 6:30, so my last meal needed to be around 4:00 so I could digest and be ready to ride at 6:30. After class ended at 7:30, I knew it was too late to eat anything, so I would have some tea or seltzer to distract myself.
On nights that I didn't teach cycling, even though I stopped eating at 7, I wasn't feeling as wonderful as I was when my last meal was at 4, so I decided that, no matter what day it was, I was only going to eat until 4:00.
This was intermittent fasting, and I didn't even know it.
The benefits were incredible. I slimmed down, was hungry for breakfast, did less mindless eating, got into a great routine and lost a lot of cravings for those late night treats. I never had stomach aches before bed, never went to bed upset about what I had eaten, and looked forward to my meals.
Now, going to bed on anything but an empty stomach makes me feel bad. I don't sleep as well, I feel bloated and uncomfortable the next morning, my digestive system is all off-balance and I put off breakfast until I'm either starving and then usually overeat.
Intermittent fasting has been just as beneficial for my relationship with food as it has been for my body & metabolism. I seriously recommend giving it a try for yourself!
MY EATING SCHEDULE (7AM - 4PM):
4:45 AM: Wake up hungry.
5:30 AM: Tea or kombucha.
7:00 AM: Pre-workout banana.
9:00 AM: Large breakfast.
11:00 AM: Snack 1.
12:30 PM: Large lunch
2:00 PM: Snack 2.
4:00 PM: Medium dinner.
8:00 PM: Tea or seltzer.
There's a tradition in America that we need to eat a big dinner with lots of food, whether it's home cooked, at a restaurant or take out. While the family time is nice and very important, the bottom line is that we don't need food (especially lots of it) to be the sole reason we spend time together at the end of the day. Eat your big meal at 4:00, even if that means at the office and not with your. family, and then play board games or watch TV together at 7:00. You'll all be healthier, happier and much less food-obsessed!