Intermittent Fasting Chat:
In June 2018 I joined thousands of fitness and nutrition professionals for the IDEA conference in San Diego, CA. Here, I had the opportunity to hear Dr Pam Peeke (MD, MPH) speak on her research about “Time Restricted Feeding” and the “body clock”. Her article “Is It Time To Eat Yet”, published in the July 2018 IDEA Fit Journal, reflects her presentation at the conference.
It was here that Intermittent Fasting was sort of re-ignited in my awareness. Dr Peeke explains how, given enough time, your body will cleanse itself even on a daily basis, and that 12-16 hours of fasting each day allows your body the time it needs to perform basic cleaning. This cleansing or cleaning is known as “autophagy”, the process that occurs when your cells remove old and dysfunctional cellular debris, or toxins. The regenative process takes place as well during your sleep, and the recommendation for a good night’s rest is still 8 hours. Thus, if you follow a program of 12:12, there are only four waking hours of non-eating, which can be lumped on one side of your day or evenly split between the morning and before bed. I personally know I need to aim for more hours of sleeping, and this article plus Dr Peeke’s other published works have plenty of great information about the circadian rhythm, our natural body clocks, reducing blue light, etc. Dr Peeke is not only a brilliant doctor, but also an entertaining speaker. If you ever have the chance to see her speak, don’t miss it! If you would like this full article, please email me and I can send it as a pdf.
Challenges from last week:
My challenges in the past week were more related to sleeping than to following IF. I didn’t experience any issues completing IF successfully except for that most days I ate in a 10 hour window as opposed to the 12 hour window I was suppose to be doing. I guess that will make paring down the eating window hours easier next week!
On Meatless Monday I opted for oatmeal in the morning. However, I just wasn’t hungry and had never added whey protein to hot oatmeal before, so the gummy texture was something I wasn’t expecting. I ended up eating half of it, which was filling enough to get me through a noon workout, and when I met a friend for coffee after, I was still fine. I had a chai latte (so +12oz whole milk to my day).
The 1/2 serving of tortellini and a salad was barely enough by lunchtime, so I satisfied my sweet tooth with some raisinets. I also added an ounce of pecorino to my afternoon apple. Lesson: I should include beans on meatless Monday to make meals more protein dense and filling.
Monday night: I COULD. NOT. GO. TO. SLEEP. I read for 90 minutes before turning off the light. Then I tossed and turned, looking at the clock every hour between 1- 6am. Having reset the alarm to 8am, I tossed and turned til 7:30am, then turned the alarm off at 8am and slept till 10am. Unfortunately, insomnia struck every night which really messed up my morning game because I would either sleep later or take naps after my morning classes. It’s a blessing that I am not reporting to an office at the moment or I surely would have had issues staying awake during the day. Only on Friday did I actually eat breakfast at the planned time. I felt fine eating later though, and kept my end time the same.
Another issue was that I hadn’t planned enough calories in each day. According to My Fitness Pal, I was only taking in ~1550-1800 calories, when my needs are closer to 2300, so needless to say I was hungry. I added raisinets every day (I don’t feel great about this but hey… I could have done worse), and on Friday ate a whole tortellini for lunch instead of half (since I had two spin classes that day as well as a crossfit workout).
Thursday evening I threw my chicken stew in the freezer and went out on a last minute date. One nice thing about batch cooking stews for meal prep is they’re easy to save for later. We met at Cava Mezze and both ordered tea, as he was also doing “dry January”. We shared the house salad, cauliflower, lamb gyro, steak, and grilled meatballs. The plates there are “tapas” sized, and this was the perfect amount of food for two people.
What wasn’t a challenge until the snow day was being social without drinking alcohol or taking in calories past a certain time. It felt nice to spend time with friends and not be peer pressured into eating or drinking. Fast forward to Sunday, when it literally snowed all day. I took an “inclement weather” break from Dry January and had four Guinness’ while out watching football. Followed by two negroni’s (my favourite cocktail) out at another bar. I skipped dinner that day, which was not planned. But 10pm came up fast!
What’s on tap for this week?
It’s already Tuesday but here is my projected calendar for this week (above). Hungry Harvest (below) showed that mushrooms were coming, and I changed the eggplant out for fennel, which goes well with pork (which I had in the freezer after not using it last week!).
- A frittata (makes 8 pieces) with 12 eggs, 1lb pork sausage, 1 cup cream, and veggies (1/2 lb brussels sprouts, 1 bok choy, chopped white onion)
- Mushroom lentil tacos (recipe from Food 52) – says “makes 6 tacos”, but I’m spreading it to make 8. YUM, by the way, you need to try these!
- Smoothie ingredients (I use 1 cup soy milk, 1 scoop whey, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup fruit from freezer, 1 cup packed spinach)
- Salad greens (to which I’ll add veggies from Hungry Harvest)
To remedy feeling stuffed in the morning before working out then hungry in the afternoon, I split the frittata and avocado toast into breakfast and a small post-workout lunch. I can account for mushroom tacos covering three meals, and I have plenty of lentils and vegetables left to make dinner the other nights and meals on Saturday and Sunday. I left those days bare to account for using up left overs. On Sunday evening I’m going to watch the Chiefs game and will order food since I’m not drinking, just don’t know where or what yet. It’s also restaurant week here, so I have dinner reservations with a friend on Thursday evening and may end up eating lunch out sometime this week, but only if I can make it to Unconventional Diner.
Sunday I start to taper to 14 hours fasting : 10 hours eating, and since the game is at 6:40, I have pushed the eating window to 12pm-10pm. I plan to do 11am-9pm next week and will try out introducing sips of my smoothie during my noon workout.
I love comments if you’re trying a diet, have any questions (including about recipes), feedback, meal prep tips of your own, etc! Next week I will continue to address the challenges of meal prep for one, so if you have solo meal prep tips, let me know!
Yours in healthy eating! – Courtney