The short answer to this is that I don’t think it is for me.
The longer answer is it’s not for me if I want to continue working out in the mornings, doing things that mean I don’t get home until between 8 and 10 pm and dancing for hours on one or two days at weekends.
And I do want to continue to do these things.
These things are the things that make up a large portion of my life.
This is what happened… I tried it as I described here Intermittent fasting experiment, and here a new thing. I was adapting to it, I was even getting used to training fasted first thing in the morning. I kept it up during my holiday, even on days where I went on walks in the morning and the like.
It had its advantages, I was drinking much more water, I was snacking much less late into the evening and I remembered that being hungry is not necessarily a bad thing.
I mean…it is a bad thing if it is for long periods of time and because of lack of food or starvation or some such thing.
What I mean is, we are allowed to be hungry when coming up to a meal. That is the point of the meal after all, to keep us fueled and stop us being hungry. In the world of readily available snack foods we tend to forget that we won’t die from hunger for quite a long time and feeling slightly peckish 1/2 an hour before meal time doesn’t need a snack to keep us going…
SO…just when I thought it was all going well, dancing season started. The first day of dance and the kick off to the season proper is Rochester Sweeps festival which we danced at on 5th May this year. I knew I’d need food but didn’t really organise myself properly so ended up with minimal breakfast, by lunchtime, my legs were shaking and I could barely move them. I ate lunch, but by the end of the day I was broken! I had somewhere along the lines, totally run out of energy!
Sunday saw us dancing in the forest as part of a horror movie. Yes…literally, we were asked to participate in filming a movie. It was fun and reasonably hard work and I tried again with the fast but It didn’t really work…again I totally ran out of energy. I persevered until Wednesday. After a disastrous PT session on Tuesday where I could barely do anything I decided that enough was enough and I should go back to eating more regularly like a normal person.
So my new policy, is the same as the old policy. Eat regularly, workout and dance with enough energy and fuel, and keep an eye on the intake so I am not eating more than I use.
This coupled with generally but not obsessively eating healthily was my original approach way back when I started this. It worked then, it should work now.
I consider this a successful experiment mind you, I did what I needed to when it comes to taking back control over what I was eating (mostly…) and I have discovered that I am most definitely a breakfast person. I am absolutely sure that IF will work for some people, and I still consider that it is a valid way of planning and scheduling your meals, as long as you have the flexibility to plan your workouts/ activities around your eating schedule so you don’t run out of energy because that ultimately leads to overeating…
Now, just because this post is about food, and I haven’t put a picture in for a while, here is a picture of some food we cooked in the van while we were away…
Bernard, lived on the wrong side of the biscuit shelf, he was down on his luck and out of favour with the biscuit elite. He used to be the biscuit around town with his super chunky chocolate chips and his velvety cocoalte coating, all the girls would swoon. How, the times have changed, he is now a bad biscuit. With no hopes had he of fitting in with the wholegrain wafer thin posse of the good biscuits, Bernard enrolled in a elite military unit. When a spate of murders were reported in the local area, Bernard was sent to prison by a military court for a crime he did not commit. The court was convinced, because Bernard was a bad biscuit.
Well, that sounds like an epic tale of the battle between good (food) and evil (food), I am surprised none of the major bestselling authours wrote it…
I am not surprised at all because there is no such thing as good and bad food!!
(also, sadly, biscuits can’t join the A Team)
This may have been a rather obscure way of getting my point across but I wanted to highlight how much nonsense there is out there concerning food. There are diets which advocate cutting out entire food groups, there are billion dollar industries built around diet methods that are primarily geared around selling you products and don’t teach you healthy choices in the long run. There are detoxes and clenases and all sorts of things that in the worst cases boil down to legitamised eating disorders. I am not doing to go to far into my opinions on these diets right now, but suffice it to say that some of these things can be used sucessfully if you treat them as a short term learning exercise.
However, what I really want to talk about is societys attitude to food and the language we (yes I am guilty too although I do try not to be) use to describe foods.
How often have you heard food described as bad or unhealthy or been told that you or someone else shouldn’t eat it because they are trying to be good. Eating a biscuit has become synonymous with being naughty in society. It is almost like eating food deemed to be unhealthy has become a crime with all the associated guilt and punishment.
There is a pervasive expectation within society (women in particular but by no means only women) that you justify your chocolate/cake/bag of crisps/whatever. Listen for it next time, people say “oh I shouldn’t have this but I won’t get any lunch” or ” I have to go for a long run later” or some such thing. If they don’t do it so directly, you may hear such phrases as “Oh my goodnes that’s sweet, I am not used to that much sugar any more” implying that this is ok because it is a once in a while occurrence and they didn’t really enjoy it anyway. Or someone will shortly after eating whatever it is bring up their running or gymming or the salad they had for lunch.
We now seem to live in a society where enjoying tasty but less out right good for you is frowned upon to the extent that people are driven to feelings of guilt afterwards. People then restrict food in the next meal or day to make up for the “slip” or they punish themselves with a super hard workout…
Food has been divided into “good food” and “bad food” and the two should apparently never meet! It is all about extremes bad food will undoubtedly kill you and good food will reputedly make you live forever as a god. There is no in between!
Well this all needs to stop!
Exercise is not a punishment, if you are doing an exercise that you see as a punishment, it is not the one for you…it is a great thing to be doing for yourself so do something fun!
Withholding food is not a punishment…well actually it totally is, it is one used by sadistic prisons and concentration camps and the like. It is not a thing we should be doing to ourselves because we have been bad and eaten a biscuit.
What is even more important to realise, is that the action of eating a biscuit or cake or cheese toastie or whatever is not an action that needs punishment.
Food is not a crime. (unless you are launching it at other countries then it might be)
Food itself is not good or bad!
Food has no moral values what so ever!
It is all about moderation and balance. There are wrong amounts of foods, this means there are amounts of foods which will cause you to have taken in more energy than you expend. This is true of all foods though. The amount is different in each case but it is still true. I know it is, I worked it out, you can exceed your (average) recommended calorie intake by just eating lettuce…although it would take something like 47 lettuces a day and I don’t recommend it…
I am not saying that all foods are nutritionally equal. I am not saying that there isn’t an element of thought that should be given to what you eat. What I am saying is we need to try to take the emotion and the guilt out of the equation.
This way disordered eating lies. We are becoming a society of people with unhealthy attitudes to food and eating and all things related. A society of people frightened to eat a cake for fear of the judgement of strangers (and friends). A society locked in to a cycle of overeating and dieting and restriction that leads to more overeating.
We need to realise that it is all about balance. There is room in a balanced diet for a biscuit. There is room for a piece of cake. It just shouldn’t be all the cake all of the time…
Now if you’ll excuse me I am going to track down Bernard, he sounded tasty…