My First Day of Fasting

Oh, my elusive breakfast! Next time, I may climb a tree, find a nest, and cook it over an open fire because pulling an egg out of a carton in my refrigerator and putting it in a pot of boiling water is just too difficult for me.

Oh, my elusive breakfast! Next time, I may climb a tree, find a nest, and cook it over an open fire because pulling an egg out of a carton in my refrigerator and putting it in a pot of boiling water is just too difficult for me.

How difficult is it to boil and eat an egg? If you are me, it’s very difficult. It took me three tries.

With my first attempt, the water boiled over and because I wasn’t paying attention, I just took the pot off the stove, let the egg cool, and then I cracked it open to find a gooey mess.  I wanted hard boiled, not soft.

I did a better job with the second egg, but while I was helping my mother-in-law with her morning routine, my daughter helped herself to my egg. Perhaps I should have been impressed that a five-year-old could peel an egg, but I was too hungry to gush over her accomplishment. Instead, I yelled, “What happened to my egg? Did you take it?”

Finally, the third egg! I boiled it. I ate it. I seemed to have had to work pretty hard for three mouthfuls.

Why would an egg be so important? Well, I’m on a diet and that egg was an essential part of the 500 calories I was allowed.

Okay, let me rephrase that. I don’t like the term “on a diet.” I don’t know many people who have gone on a diet and lost weight permanently. More accurately and optimistically, I have embraced intermittent fasting as means of controlling my weight and hopefully, reaping other health benefits. For example, my blood pressure is 136/84. That’s a little high. It could stand to come down and I would like to do that without drugs.

I heard about intermittent fasting on NPR and then I saw a documentary on PBS. So, I read a book, and now I am living it. What makes this seem do-able to me—a girl who loves food and gets a little sick to her stomach when she thinks about not eating—is that I’ll only be fasting two non-consecutive days per week and on fast days, I can have 500 calories. The egg provided 77 of those calories and along with a peach and a cup of coffee, it was my breakfast, and the plan was to not eat again until supper.

Drinking lots of water in between breakfast and supper is highly recommended. Drinking an entire pot of black coffee is not, but I did so anyway.

In preparation for my fasting day, I had boiled leeks and put them in the refrigerator the day before and thought that if I felt hungry enough, I might have them as a snack. Yum! Boiled, unsalted leeks! Okay, they were pretty unappetizing, but I figured that if I got hungry enough, I’d suffer my way through a bowl.

I got the idea to snack on leeks from French Women Don’t Get Fat, not The Fast Diet. Oh, the French Women book! I read it first when I was single, child-free and living in the city. It all made perfect sense to me back then because so much of the lifestyle the author recommended was already my own: Walk whenever possible—to the post office, the bank, the liquor store. Grocery shop daily. Never turn on the TV. For a city-girl living alone and in an apartment around the corner from Whole Foods, all of that was a given. I was already living French!

I reread it last year, and now I think the book should be titled French Women Hate Children because most of her suggestions just aren’t family-friendly. Still, why not eat some leeks? The French chick said that if you want to lose weight quickly, eat nothing but leeks—boiled, unsalted leeks and the juice created by boiling them for two days straight.

Gag. I’m not French. But did I get hungry enough to eat the leeks? Yes, yes, I did! Around 3 pm, I had a bowl. Not good.

That was the hard part. I got really, really, really hungry in the afternoon, but then, I usually do, and so I reminded myself that this was nothing new. I would work through the hunger without snacking. I would not sample the cheese in the refrigerator or the leftover pepperonis sitting next to it. The one slice of pizza from last night’s supper was definitely off limits. I didn’t make smoothies and pretend that I was doing so because my children and mother-in-law were begging for a snack. I didn’t eat a handful of walnuts from my baking cabinet. I didn’t break out the Hershey’s chocolate bars I keep on hand for making s’mores.

Instead, I started cooking supper: a mixture of brown and wild rice with onions and spinach sautéed in coconut oil and flavored with a little dash of soy sauce. Wow! That was so good, and I came up with that combination on my own and I would definitely be willing to eat it on a fasting or a non-fasting day. So, see? I may not be able to boil an egg, but I CAN cook.

I also ate some left over salad—mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and mango.

I entered everything I had eaten in the calorie calculator in Fat Secret—I love that website—and I ate a grand total of 473 calories on my fasting day! Woo-hoo! I did it. And the only time I cheated was when I inadvertently licked the foil top to my mother-in-law’s yogurt.

I was also HUNGRY.

I stayed up until 11 pm so that I could have a bowl of cereal before going to bed. Now, before you chide me and call me a cheater, you should know that Michael Mosley, author of The Fast Diet, says you don’t have to think of a day as midnight to midnight. A day could be 11 pm to 11 pm, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat anything after oh, say 9 pm the night before so technically, my fast day lasted about 26 hours. Next time, I may say my fast-day is running from 2 pm to 2 pm and see how that works for me.

Now, will I be tempted to pig-out today because I can eat whatever I want on a non-fast day? I don’t think so. If there were any benefits not fasting yesterday, I don’t want to un-do them, and of course, I don’t buy into this idea of eating anything I want. You’d have to be a real idiot to think that everything out there that is marketed as food is good for you or that quantities of any food—healthful or otherwise—don’t matter. I’ll be mindful today. I will even record what I eat in my Fat Secret food journal because I’m curious as to what I consume in a typical day.

So, I’m eating that leftover slice of pizza for breakfast, but I’ll stay clear of the Cheez-its and a second and third bowl of ice cream—even if it is the all-natural, 100% organic, homemade variety.


2 thoughts on “My First Day of Fasting

  1. Gabi Harris

    Having gained and lost about 1,000 pounds in my lifetime, I am familiar with the problem. You get food obsession while being on a diet, a self-reinforcing mechanism. You are hungry, you think about food, you get hungrier, you dream about food. More than anything, dieting is a mental game. One day at the time. You can do ANYTHING for 24 hours. Stay with it, it’s worth it.


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