I’ve been following Mark Sisson’s (of MarksDailyApple.com) blog post series about intermittent fasting. Today’s post titled “Dear Mark: Women and Intermittent Fasting” brought two things to my attention: 1) I have my own experience to share on the topic and 2) We need more posts from a primal woman’s point of view. So…..I’m combining those two now.
Over the years I have experienced varying degrees of fasting, from several days to eating just 1 meal or a few small meals during a single day. What I have learned can really be summed up in a phrase “listen to your body.” That may sound too simple, but I’ve found that the harder you try to fight your body, especially when it comes to hunger, the worse the outcome. Think about the hungriest you’ve ever been, then throw in some irritability and extra adrenaline. What are you going to do the moment you get your hands on food? Yep, eat like there’s no tomorrow. You may think you’ve done something good for your body by fasting, but then you’ve undone it all during the overeat. However, where I think fasting does make sense is when you really don’t feel hungry (or hungry for a full meal – I feel this often.) If I eat just a very small portion of something sustainable, such as a small portion of protein and veggies – I’m talking a few bites of each, it seems to jive better than going without food at all for a long period of time.
So it sounds like I might be saying “eat several small meals per day,” but I’m really not. I do find it less time consuming and more fitting for digestion to eat reasonable sized meals 3 times a day for the most part. However, interspersing very small meals here in there or prolonging the period between one meal to another has proven for me to be very effective. More over, that whole “eat breakfast” thing people are always talking about….well I’ve found it to be beneficial in helping stabilize eating throughout the day. I do keep my breakfast to a small portion as well. I have found that overeating on breakfast or brunch can make my day almost worthless.
Another behavior that I think primal people try to stray away from is snacking. I believe this to be short-sided for reasons I’ve mentioned above. Mindless eating is of course not good, but you are less likely to mindless eat when you’re filling your body with protein and vegetables. I have found that having a small snack in the mid-morning, afternoon, or shortly after getting home from work can go a really long way in sustaining you until your next primal meal.
So to sum it all up, eat reasonable meals when you’re hungry and don’t eat when you’re not hungry. Sound simple? Awesome. My job is done. 🙂 (Of course, this is just my own experience. I encourage you to explore your own and then share how it goes!)