I started intermittent fasting last week. This wasn’t undertaken with the hope that it’s going to change anything about my weight or health, but for the process and habits surrounding my relationship with food.
My mornings consisted typically of stopping somewhere before work for breakfast (McDonald’s or Subway most frequently) and spending between five and ten dollars to eat. I would do this every single morning despite not actually being hungry. Being who I am I’d also get a bit more than I actually needed were I hungry.
I’d take this food into work and eat while starting my day. It was the accompaniment to catching up on email and planning the rest of my morning. My day would start with me feeling fairly uncomfortable, having eaten more than was necessary.
I’ve basically cut this off at the knees. I have a very simple pattern right now. A glass of water in the morning to get started, a cup of cold brewed coffee for work in place of the take out breakfast, and then nothing until 11 AM.
The first couple days were very distracting. By 10 AM I would feel very hungry. By 11 my energy levels were low, regardless of the level of my caffeine intake.
Two weeks in, I’ve found that my body adjusted fairly quickly. I’m not really hungry at all in the morning until around 11. My body’s started to get into the rhythm that it’s not time to eat until around then. I have a small snack, typically a small protein bar or a piece of fruit, just to keep my energy up and avoid related distraction. It’s a small jump from then until lunch, which I can usually push until a bit later in the day than my previous ravenous noon hour scramble.
Night time eating was actually a bit more obnoxious. This was even less about being hungry and more about work avoidance or just plain filling time. Whenever I’d be working on something and want an excuse to step away from the project food would be the perfect out. I just need to step away to grab a bite to eat.
It is a procrastination technique and I have dealt with it accordingly by removing the trigger. After 8 PM I don’t eat. I have had dinner and enough opportunity for dessert and snacks, if I’m so inclined. Once 8 PM hits I brush my teeth and switch to water. It gives me one less thing to take me away from my work.
I moved food, eating, and the decisions and distractions around it to a limited nine hour window. My mornings go a lot more smoothly when they’re not centered around food. My evenings are more productive when the distraction of food is removed. Most importantly, it’s a rough guideline that is working now. If I find it’s problematic down the road I’ll ditch it. If I decide I really want pizza and beer at 11 at night I’ll have it.
The point here, again, is about process and habits. Experimenting to find out how to make things smoother.