I was taking a nap before bed last night, and I felt very relaxed and dopey (you know, moreso than usual), and so I was doing some soul-searching, and I realized why I like intermittent fasting (IF) as much as I do, and why it’s actually working for me.
For many years, I’ve had a food/eating addiction. And that’s really difficult. I’ve always envied people who are addicted to worse things, such as cigarettes, alcohol, or street drugs. But just let me clarify one point. I know those addictions are much harder to deal with and are much more destructive. I’m not remotely trying to say otherwise.
But the reason I find them enviable is that (in theory) you can go off them cold-turkey. (This doesn’t take the agony of withdrawal into account, but like, with cigarettes, you can just STOP. No more cigarettes.)
With food, that’s never been an option. We need food to fuel our bodies. Not eating ever leads to major physical health problems and anorexia. Whereas the alcoholic can (in theory) ditch the wine altogether, just flat-out walk away from it, the food addict can’t just quit eating food cold-turkey.
Finally, with IF, I feel that I can quit cold-turkey, every single day. It’s occurred to me that I can consume a day’s worth of calories in, say, six hours, and then just quit. It’s the diet, or lifestyle choice (or whatever you call it), that I’ve always wanted.
It’s not a perfect system, but it’s close, and it’s an improvement. I started fasting yesterday at 6:45 PM and started eating this morning at 11:30. The hour of 5:30 PM has just passed, and I’ve closed my window again for the day.
During the six hours of eating today, I’ve eaten: some Kodiak whole-grain waffles I made with my waffle iron (healthy), a grab bag of Baked Lays (moderately unhealthy), a huge premade salad from the produce department (very healthy–loads of lettuce and carrots with minimal add-ons), and an ice cream sundae (very unhealthy… but Meg’s gotta have it!). And that’s it. I’m through eating. There was also a handful of M&Ms (Halloween size).
So you can see I’m struggling to eat healthier, and it’s become rather hit or miss. But every day seems to include some hits and some misses. I’m still struggling with that. I can’t seem to go even one day without cake or ice cream. Oh well. And guess what the local grocery store has started selling? Rainbow cake by the huge triangular wedge. No kidding. It tastes as good as it sounds. (I’m so screwed.)
Despite my tendency to eat unhealthy foods, there are three positives here:
- I’m incorporating a lot of healthy foods into the eating window, too, so it’s not all unhealthy;
- I’m eating far less calories in six hours than I’d ingest if I weren’t doing IF. Probably, like, half or 1/3 of however much I used to eat, just guesstimating.
- Eventually, my body will enter autophagy, meaning it’ll start eating its own fat. (Um, ew, am I right?) I just have to be rigorous in fasting for four weeks, or however long it takes for my body to realize I’m serious about it. So far, I think it’s been a week and five days. (For me, that’s major.)
So, yeah, it’s been amazing. IF has given me the parameters with which to attack my food addiction. I’ve never realized it before, but this is exactly what I need. I’m fully willing to embrace it as a long-term lifestyle. It gives me a constant sense of pride and accomplishment.
It’s good that I have no known proclivity toward eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. I think that if my window’s open, I should eat. I’m not prone to starvation or pain or unhealthy habits. Amazingly, with the IF, there are moments of hunger, but they’re not compelling. Sometimes they’re just inconvenient. Last night I awoke from my nap at 1:00 AM, bedtime, and I took my nighttime pills and waited to fall back to sleep. At that point, I was hungry, but mostly I wanted to snack. I wanted to get some Pringles and some ice cream, and whatever. I could tell I wasn’t physically desperate for food, although there was some minor legitimate hunger. So I just lay in bed and thought, “I’ll fall asleep soon,” and I did. And when I woke up at 11:00, It had been a long, long time since I’d eaten, so I was proud of myself.
One downside is that I used to enjoy going to the gym late at night and having the place all to myself and not dealing with daytime traffic. However, I’m not sure if I should be doing aerobic treadmilling in the middle of fasting hours. (I need to look into it.) I’d guess I should exercise during my window, and if I’m right, it’ll make getting to the gym less convenient. But I’ll figure it out. I can’t go anyway because I’m waiting for a new pair of shoes to come from Amazon tomorrow. (I go through shoes quickly, and I currently don’t have a pair that’s solid.)
I’ve spent years buying like-new Skechers Shape-Ups on eBay for around $35 a pair + $10 shipping or thereabouts. They retail at $200. I need their cushy support. However, lately, whenever I buy a pair on eBay, it falls apart. These shoes were manufactured around ten years ago, and I think they’ve simply reached their shelf-life.
So I’m going to try some of these Keen hiking shoes. I got a pair from Amazon’s warehouse for $60. (The Amazon warehouse takes returned items and sells them for way less. We’ll hope for the best.)