I am working with what most people call intermittent fasting. I don’t prefer the vague term; I prefer to reserve the term ‘fasting’ for periods over 24h in length. Regardless, according to the internet, what I’m doing is the 16/8 method. In an effort to regulate digestion, I consume food during the daytime hours. I have found that I do not like to sleep on a full stomach so my first goal was to have an empty stomach at bedtime.
Consequently, I have developed an eating schedule where I take in food between the hours of 8AM-4PM. This means eight hours of legal eating and sixteen hours of abstinence. It was a bit difficult to get used to at first; laying in bed hungry was frustrating but with patience, you find that hunger doesn’t keep you from sleeping. You may even find that there’s something cleansing about the sensation of hunger.
I allow myself to eat whatever ‘sounds good’ for breakfast. Usually this is something easily digestible as I do wake up hungry each day. To get my mind in working condition, I need to satiate the hunger. I need energy more than I need fiber, so I let myself eat a cookie if it sounds appealing. And I’m less likely to eat sweets later in the day because I’ve already had an indulgence.
After breakfast, between 11-1, I get hungry again. This is the largest meal of the day, wherein I attempt to maximize fullness. If I have fresh salad available, I mix rice and raw cabbage/vegetables. A quick cooked meal might be ramen with extra water. If I’ve over-indulged, a big glass of water followed by chewing gum helps encourage my body to push things along.
Here I focus on eating small. I hate seeing things go to waste so I often pick off what the kids leave behind from dinner; I probably could see some improvement in my weight loss if I kicked this habit. I try to avoid meat and sweets; I finish any salad left over from lunch. I’m trying to make this meal smaller and push it earlier in the day as I work on my fasting tolerance.
Vegetables are the primary vehicle for fiber+water. Raw is preferred but over-eating raw vegetables can give bad results. I like cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, green onions, peppers, as they are very economical. I make a simple ‘pickle’ where I allow the chopped vegetables to steep in vinegar in the refrigerator. Add the vegetables to rice, noodles, bread, potatoes, whichever carbs agree with your system.
I am also trying to reduce my meat consumption. As you may or may not know, I was an ovo-lacto-vegetarian for a time in my teenage years. Consequently, I am sympathetic to the arguments in favor of a reasonable plant-based diet. I lead a sedentary lifestyle so I don’t need to consume large amounts of protein. When I do eat meat, I prefer non-primary cuts. I try to cook bone and connective tissue as the fat and collagen are more desirable for my health.
I take a multi-vitamin + omega fatty acids. I have dry skin and sticky joints so I take glucosamine and biotin/collagen as well.
An unfortunate affliction of adulthood is the damned ‘tummy-ache’ after consumption. This occurence seems to be increasing in frequency as I age. For me, foods that invoke this issue more often than not are raw tomatoes, corn kernels, cow’s milk, and coffee. The coffee intolerance is a recent development. Black tea is not causing trouble so it doesn’t seem to be caffeine-related.
Growing up I ate breakfast cereal and corn kernels more days than not. But cereal and milk seems to be a sugar source too rapidly absorbed and I often feel sick afterward. I don’t believe I’m truly allergic to milk; I can still eat it in most applications. I just have a sensitive system. The corn – well the quasi-vegetable was once my favorite food but, alas, today I simply cannot stomach it.
I’m not a dietitian; please contact knowledgable people for help with your diet, especially if you have special needs/restrictions. When in doubt, have a glass of water and focus on chewing each bite of food throughly while thanking the powers that be that you have good food to eat.
Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.
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