We are so fortunate to be able to eat when we get hungry here in America. Have you noticed that you enjoy being hungry partly because you know there is always food and food tastes better when you're hungry? Because we are fortunate to have an abundance of food, we're able to play with the condition of hunger to our benefit.
I've been fasting every day for 16 hours by having my last meal by 2:00 pm. The hunger usually strikes around 7:00 pm, but my bedtime is 9:00 and as long as I keep my mind occupied with a good book, movie or favorite series on Amazon (like "The Big Bang Theory") those two hours pass quickly. Since I fall asleep fast I don't lie in bed and think about my favorite food and so far I haven't had any buffet dreams brought on by no food after 2:00.
One big lesson I've learned is by not eating after 2:00 my sleep is fabulous. I've had more flying dreams and lots of color in them. When I wake up in the morning I feel so rested! And I haven't needed my usual nap. I've read quite a bit about the benefits of giving our digestive track a rest and because I've had more energy since this fasting began, it's telling me digesting a meal takes quite a lot of energy.
With the title of my blog being "Hunger is the Best Sauce," I wanted to share with you something I wrote several years ago on the subject.
I left my husband home alone last week and went to Seattle to babysit two of my grandchildren. I left a freezer full of food, some to cook from scratch (scratch that option, Terry can cook rice and boil eggs) and soups and entrées to simply defrost and heat. I also left salad makings in the fridge and there were nuts and low carb treats in a little basket for him.
I called Terry the first night.
Ring, ring, ring?
"How ya doin'?"
"Good, I'm watching the Gladiator." (Terry premeditated a murder mystery and gory movie stack of DVDs to watch while I was gone.)
"Oh, that's good. What did you eat for dinner?"
"Vegetables and fruit."
"Uh, like broccoli and berries?"
"Nope, corn chips and wine."
"Corn chips and wine? Honey you've got to eat better than that!"
"I will. I just got to eatin' the chips and I sorta filled up on 'em."
After three nights of "vegetables and fruits" Terry got tired of that meal and ate a little better the rest of the week (so I'm told). As we've talked more about our individual experiences while away from each other, several restaurants crept into his conversations. I was sort of jealous.
We don't eat out much because I love to cook and because I'm a good cook, restaurants have a hard time competing with me. I'll think as I look over a menu, 'Don't want that, I can make it better, that's not as good as homemade, that's too much money, I can cook it for an eighth of that price.' I do love to eat in restaurants however, but I follow my KISS rule (keep it special sweety) so it's once a week at the most and I look for things I don't like to cook like fish. (I don't like it stinking up my house and Terry says I can only cook it the night before garbage collection day.)
Someone once said, "Hunger is the best sauce." I have found that I enjoy being hungry because it makes my meal taste better when it's time to eat. A snack robs me of the sauce produced by hunger! As the hour approaches for a meal, instead of eating a snack, I let my hunger come into play for the sole purpose of enjoying it. In order to play with this, you have to intend to enjoy the feeling of being hungry. By playing my hunger game I have learned the difference between real hunger and false hunger brought on by habit.
Habit hunger is what you experience after you've eaten dinner and you're watching TV and you think, 'popcorn sounds good,’ or ‘I wonder if there's any ice cream left.' You're really not hungry you’re just wanting to eat while you watch the program.
If you want to play with your hunger, try this: skip lunch and don't snack in the afternoon. You’ll start really being hungry around 2:00 pm and hunger thoughts (I think it’s your inner child) will start messing with you. You'll be minding your own business and you'll find yourself in the kitchen without remembering you walked in there. If you’re at work you'll catch yourself diving into your purse for money for the snack machine. Your sense of smell will be acute and you'll smell people's gum, and if you take a walk in the area of restaurants you'll become like a Basset Hound ruled by your nose.
If you want to try this be sure to be in full control of your portions at dinner and remember to eat mindfully or you could turn this learning experience into an over-eating session.
For now I'm sticking with having three meals a day before 2:00. It appeals to my sense of discipline and my nice sleep. If you'd like to read about how I lost 35 pounds (and have kept it off for many
years) I recommend "The Mouth Trap: the butt stops here!" It truly is a fun guide to going low-carb. Just click on the cover to purchase. Also, I'm closing out my Audio CD set and if you order it, I'm giving you the printed book.