PrimalPatty's IF Journal
I decided to journal about my IF experiences because just a few days ago it never would have occurred to me to even give it a try -- truthfully, I thought those in this community who were doing it were a bit... odd. You know, those folks who bought into an idea so blindly that they didn't stop long enough to see if certain parts even made sense. Blind faith has never been particularly attractive to me. And IFing did NOT make sense. I thought you were all wackadoo!
Until just a few days ago.
Something clicked, and instead of turning away with a shake of my head, I decided to do a little research. And then I decided to give it a try.
Tuesday evening I ate my last meal at around 7:30-ish. I didn't eat again until yesterday at around 1:30 or 2:00, giving me about 18 hours without eating. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would willingly go that long without food. Having had a long history of blood sugar fluctuations, I have spent the better part of my adulthood religiously avoiding hunger. I would have told you loudly and proudly that I never missed a meal in my life. And I always -- ALWAYS -- had food with me, just in case a meal was a few minutes late.
But I've been eating primally since January, and I haven't had a blood sugar episode since then -- not one, not even a little one. On-line research turned up all kinds of information about how healthy IF can be, and I've certainly read (with arrogant disdain, mind you) the threads and input from my fellow primal compatriots who follow this path. There are those of you who absolutely SWEAR by it. I wanted to know if it would work for me.
Yesterday's experience was a revelation to me, and perhaps a life-changer as well. For the first time that I can remember I willingly allowed myself to be hungry -- very hungry. And it wasn't bad at all. No scary blood sugar fluctuation, no weakness, no dizziness. Just... hunger. And the hunger itself was more or less comfortable, too -- some pangs, but long periods of time when I didn't even think about it. And you know how they tell you not to go grocery shopping when you're hungry? I went grocery shopping. Even though I was hungry, and sometimes uncomfortably so, not once was I tempted to buy anything inappropriate. Nor was I driven to eat it when I got home. Clearly, it was low blood sugar and NOT hunger that had been making me out of control all those years.
So this is the revelation -- that hunger does not necessarily equal low blood sugar, and it's the wacky blood sugar, not hunger, that makes you crazy. If this isn't life-changing information, I don't know what is! Even if I never IF again, this has made me free. Because primal eating, with or without IFing, controls my blood sugar completely.
Last night I had my last food at 7:30. My "eating window" was open until 8:00, but I ate plenty and wasn't hungry for more, so I stopped eating. Today I'll try to go until around 2:00 before I eat, but I am allowing an earlier meal if I change my mind. I'm going to the fair this afternoon, and I want to eat before then for two reasons: first, my finances are short, and food at the fair is expensive; and second, I'll be going with my mom who is elderly and slow, and I don't want to risk any blood sugar-related crankiness while I'm around her. This is still too new for me to be able to anticipate how things will go for me with any certainty, and I want to enjoy her company without distraction.
I'm shooting for a 6-7 hour daily "eating window" until I know how things go for me. This will allow enough time for two meals, because honestly I don't think I can stuff down an entire day's calories in one sitting. I'll eat a large main meal at the beginning, and I'll eat again later just before the fast begins. This makes sense to me, and I'll tweak it as I go. I know some people have no trouble eating all their calories at one huge meal, but it's intimidating for me -- that's a lotta food!
Today I'm experiencing the mechanisms for "mindless eating." For instance, yesterday, I bought some Babybel cheese. I love this stuff, and I rarely buy it because it's expensive on my budget. But it's on sale this week, so I got some as a treat. This morning thoughts of the cheese popped into my head. I'm not hungry, mind you, just thinking of that cheese. And I swear, I almost got up to get some before I remembered that I'm fasting. Think food, eat food. Have I truly been that zombie-like about food all this time? No wonder I'm fat! But now I'm remembering other things -- I would pack a lunch and a special snack to take to work, and I would think constantly about that snack. I would not have a moment's peace until I'd eaten it. It was planned, so it must be OK, right? But rarely was I ever hungry for that snack -- I just couldn't let it exist in my life without having to eat it! On the days I didn't bring a snack it just disappeared from my existence.
Now I know what REAL hunger feels like. And it's not scary.
Yesterday's IF was a dream -- no hunger at all. I ate a healthy meal at around 2:30, then went to the fair with my mom. I love(d) fair food, but was not in the least tempted. I had a snack around 8:30.
Today was another matter. When I woke up I knew I wasn't going to be able to fast today. I could tell my blood sugar was going to give me problems if I didn't feed it, so I ate breakfast and lunch, and I'll eat dinner. This was definitely a blood sugar thing rather than a hunger issue, and I dealt with it immediately. I did just fine today and was easily able to eat clean with no cravings, so I don't feel badly about not fasting. My body seems to know what it needs and also seems to be able to communicate it to me pretty clearly, so I'm going to let it tell me how to proceed.
I'll decide tomorrow morning whether or not to fast tomorrow. In my perfect scenario I'll be able to do the same thing every day and have the same good result, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. So I'll just roll with it on a day-by-day basis. Right now I'm mildly hungry but blood sugar is stable. Dinner is planned for two and a half hours from now when my dinner guest arrives, and I'll eat a snack in between if it becomes pressing.
This is such an exciting journey! I feel very connected to my body.
Total face plant yesterday, the likes of which I haven't had since I started PB. I ate breakfast, because I was leaving the house and didn't know what the day would bring (there's that fear talking again). Met a friend for church, then afterward we went to a (totally wonderful) coffee shop to catch up on each other's lives. For the first time in months and months, I had an apple custard pastry, one of my favorite pre-PB pastries. First, it was not fresh and therefore not as wonderful as I'd recalled. Second, because I hadn't had sugar in quite some time, it tasted overly sweet. Third, the crust was made of wheat. About an hour after I finished my pastry the sugar rush kicked in. I felt terrible! But the feeling was also familiar, and I realized that that's how I used to feel ALL THE TIME, pre-PB. How did I get through my life feeling that way?!
After about two and a half hours of visiting, we parted company. On the way home I did something else I haven't done in well over 6 months -- I stopped at Panda Express on the way home. I got a "large size" container of some kind of beef dish that had been dredged in flour, deep fried, then mixed with a sweet/savory sauce. I also got 3 pot stickers. I ate most of this until my stomach hurt, but I just couldn't stop eating. I had a very strong craving for chocolate cake, and I swear the only thing that kept me from running to the store was that I was already in my jammies. I have chocolate bars in the house, but that's not what I wanted -- I wanted CAKE! I wanted WHEAT with my sugar, and nothing else would do! Finally, I managed to distract myself long enough to go to sleep, and today's a new day.
This morning my bowels are letting me know how unhappy they are, but I'm back on the horse.
And tomorrow I'll try fasting again.
I know what you mean about thinking everone was nuts about IFing. I am not a follower either and am very suspicious of those who are. ;-)
About 4 months after no grains and eating very clean I decided I would try IFing from 6pm to lunch the next day. I could not make it to 10AM. I was starving and uncomfortable. I don't think my body had quite adjusted to primal eating yet after 58 years of eating grains. A couple of weeks ago I tried it again and have been doing it every week day since. This weekend I choked down breakfast because I knew I would not be any place to eat at lunch time but I really had to force myself to eat that breakfast. Maybe I will eventually be able to go 24hours before eating comfortably. Amazing isn't it?
I IF'd yesterday almost by accident. I got up and ate breakfast (which immediately started me thinking that I was failing for the day), then had lunch around 2:00, then... nothing. Till this morning's coffee with cream. Just wasn't hungry, and didn't think about food at all. Wow, doing a "reverse fast" (skipping dinner instead of breakfast) just didn't occur to me. I'm going to play around with this.
I'm very definitely feeling the effects of the wheat binge from a few days ago. A sinus condition (which I used to have daily but which I'd pretty much forgotten about since going primal) is back with a vengeance. I need to watch it, since pre-PB I was very prone to sinus infections. Don't want another one of those again! When I feel good every day it's easy to forget how crappy I used to feel. This was a good reminder. NO WHEAT! I wonder how long it will be before I get my sinuses back to normal?
After going on a wheat binge, it can take a few days for your system to read adjust back to normal. A friend of mine who is doing Primal went on a wheat binge unfortunately and it took about 5 days to recover. But, you will be fine... hang in there!
Thanks for the support, TAWFUNGUY. On one hand, 5 days seems like forever. On the other hand, I'm almost half way through it now, huh? Boy, if I ever doubt that primal is doing me any good, I know how to test it.
I ate my first meal yesterday at 11:30, after a 7:30 dinner the previous evening. Dinner by 7:30 yesterday, so I'm going to try to IF until 11:30 again today. My bad reaction to eating wheat seems to be over, and I'm feeling terrific now. I think I can do this if I can keep my blood sugar stable. Hunger doesn't seem to be the issue -- it's definitely the blood sugar. I'm trying to eat larger meals when I do eat, which can help. I'll snack between meals as needed, but my hope is that if I eat enough at meals I won't think of food till the next mealtime. Yesterday's dinner was phenomenal -- rib eye steak, sauteed frozen veggies, and an heirloom tomatoe. Dessert was strawberries and a 2-inch piece of banana diced into Fage yogurt. I felt full and very sated after that meal. Lunch yesterday was tuna packed in olive oil with mayo, diced celery, a small wedge of diced apple, a few raisins, and some slivered almonds mixed in. It was delicious. In the past, that meal was satisfying, but it fell a little short yesterday, so I had some home-made bone broth between meals. I guess the amount that satisfies me will be changing on a daily basis, so I'll start paying attention.
I ate my normal tuna salad for lunch today and knew right away it wasn't enough food. So I had some sausage and a scrambled egg. I also had a dessert planned -- some chocolate ganache spread on a banana slice -- but by the time I finished the egg/sausage thing I wasn't hungry any more. Maybe later in the day I'll go for the chocobanana thingie. Lovelovelove the flexibility of this woe and how in-touch with my body I'm becoming. Eating when hungry, not when the clock (or CW) says it's time.
And now for a nap...
No fast today (at least so far). I woke up HUNGRY -- so I ate. Leftover salmon from dinner last night, three awesome strawberries, and... CREAM IN MY COFFEE!!!! I do love my coffee black, but I also love it with cream, and I used to drink it that way every single morning. Now, on IF mornings I drink (and enjoy) it black, but as long as I'm going to eat in the morning anyway, why not use that as an excuse to dump in some cream. Damn, I missed an opportunity to stir in some coconut oil! Ah, well, next time.
My weight is inching (maybe quarter-inching) down. Can't say this is because of the IF -- could be because I'm not drinking a third of a cup of cream in my coffee every morning. That's a lotta calories!
I'm going for my morning walk now. I'm planning a roasted chicken quarter for lunch with some veggies, and we'll play dinner by ear. I'll either eat dinner or start my fast after lunch, depending on how I feel. I LOVE the flexibility of this woe, based on what my body tells me! I don't have to IF every day. No guilt!
Anyway, feeling comfortably sated, and I'm off for my walk.
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