I tend to get this question quite a bit, both online and in person especially by people who know that I’m a holistic nutritionist and who notice that I’ve lost a bit of weight recently. Honestly, I never know what to tell them. Not because I don’t want to share what I eat but because I have little to no eating pattern.
I HATE eating the same thing over and over again. So really, there’s no one thing I typically eat for breakfast for example – some days it’s just black coffee, other days it’s porridge, other days it’s fried eggs and some days it’s just some fresh juice. I like to change it up a lot, which you may have noticed from the variety of different recipes I share, here on my fb page and on instagram (all linked below if you’d like to have a look).
Moreover, my work day is NEVER the same. Some days I have the time and the luxury to stop by my mum’s house for a lunch break and other days I eat out of plastic containers (when I find the time to do so). This is also partly the reason why I dislike typical weight loss programs that insist on meals every 3 hours.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a tool I like to use a few times a week, sometimes it’s twice a week, other times I fast up to four times a week and some weeks I don’t fast at all. It all depends on how I’m feeling, the amount and type of exercise I’m going to be doing and what my week involves work-wise.
Honestly, I’ve found IF to be extremely helpful mostly in terms of weight loss, mood regulation, blood sugar stabilization and even mental clarity. It really helps with bloating too – but only if you break the fast with the right foods.
Typically, I overdo it on the weekends. I love eating out and having nice family lunches on Sundays and I tend to wake up Monday morning feeling full and bloated. That’s generally why I choose to fast most Mondays.
So, yesterday, I made sure to note everything I ate and how I felt to be able to share it here 🙂
I normally have my evening meal at around 7pm or 8pm and try to aim for between 16 and 18 hrs of fasting, so my next meal will likely be around noon the next day.
The first thing I do every morning, regardless of whether or not I’m fasting, is make some good coffee. Side note: I’m a bit of a coffee addict which is not ideal however I make sure to drink two large glasses of water with every mug of coffee I drink to avoid dehydration. Plus, black coffee without any sweeteners doesn’t breaks a fast (thank heavens for that).
While my first cup of coffee is brewing I pour a glass of water and add some lemon and apple cider vinegar (about a teaspoon) to the water and drink it first thing (some days I forget the lemon and vinegar tbh). However, on fasting days I do make it a point to add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to my water.
This helps re hydrate the intestines and the vinegar slows down the digestion of the food that is still in the intestines – remember, some foods break down slower than others and it takes many many hours for the intestines to empty completely. This will help you curb hunger pangs for longer. I normally don’t feel hungry until around 1pm. Some days it’s a bit earlier and other days it’s later – I try to listen to my body and break the fast when I feel hungry, especially past the 16 hour mark when I know I’ve gained many of the fasting benefits already.
Yesterday, my boyfriend made us some fresh veggie juice – a mix of beets, cucumber, carrots, ginger, turmeric, lemon and apple. This is not something I make myself daily because if I’m being totally honest, in spite of the many benefits of fresh juice, I can’t be bothered to make it when I’m still groggy. I broke my fast at noon with the juice. This is not always the case but it’s ideal; it contains some calories which in turn breaks the fast but is incredibly easy on the digestive system and easy for the intestines to absorb the nutrients. If you do try this method, choose a juice is both fresh and contains mainly veggies as fruit juice contains too many sugars and will jolt blood sugar levels too quickly especially when breaking a fast.
About an hour later I felt hungry, this happens quickly after your first dose of carbohydrate rich food / drink because you get a rise and rapid fall of blood sugar-making you hungry quicker. This is also why I didn’t have my juice first thing in the morning. Not only would that have broken the fast, but I would definitely felt hungry a few hours later at most.
When I’m fasting, my first meal is typically is a salad with a lot of high fat toppings like avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds, full fat cheese and so on. Yesterday my lunch was arugula topped with a sliced avocado, two boiled eggs, some walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil and a tablespoon of ricotta.
After lunch I felt really full. It’s incredible how different I feel when I eat high fat foods as opposed to carbohydrate rich foods!
If you, like me, feel bloated often, make sure you do not break your fast with refined carbohydrates like bread or pasta. That’s a HUGE no-no for me! Not only do I get super bloated, I also feel hungry soon after.
A few hours after lunch, I normally would have a snack of some greek yogurt and nut butter or just some nuts if and when I feel hungry. Yesterday, my day did not allow for that, so instead, I treated myself to an almond milk cappuccino which hit the spot. *it was also my fourth and final coffee for the day (I told you I’m a coffee addict). I try to stick to a max of 3 coffees a day but some days I don’t manage. Yesterday was one of those days. The almond milk provides a bit of protein and unsaturated (healthy) fat which is a plus.
Finally, my evening meal is normally a typical dinner for me, which normally consists of some form of protein like chicken or fish or a plant-based protein source like lentils, with veggies. Yesterday, I had left over potato and onion soup from the night before and because I was so exhausted, I didn’t bother making anything else, so that’s what I ate. If you’re going to try IF, in the evening eat whatever you normally would. The only thing I would avoid is carbohydrate rich food when breaking your fast (for your first meal – as mentioned previously), otherwise, eat whatever you normally would and monitor how you feel.
My day of fasting described above is by no means perfect, but it’s real and it’s what works for me. If you’re new to this, try shorter periods of fasting, start with 12 hours and work your way up and most importantly, do what feels right for you. This is just my personal experience and a few tips I’ve found helpful along the way.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this 🙂 As always, thank you for taking the time to be here and read this and for being part of my journey; I do try my best to blog about content that is relevant and interesting to my readers, so, if there’s anything you’d like to hear about from me, leave it in the comments below!
Until my next post, be well xXx