I am trying to train myself to do without lunch. I once read that Princes Charles did this in order to ensure his clothes continued to fit and didn’t need to be altered – by which read let out. I think I read this in an extract from Jeremy Paxman’s book about the royals but I can’t find the reference so who knows? Maybe I dreamt it.
Anyway, I know lots of people do try to do without lunch – or breakfast, or both – to keep their waistlines trim. So I thought I’d give it a go.
All you need is lunch
I haven’t yet tried the 5:2 regime but this is close to it. It’s basically same premise – skip a meal. Eat two meals instead of three. Now as I’ve said before, my blood sugar doesn’t usually allow me to skip meals. I get headachy, dizzy, disorientated and very panicky if I’m low on sugar. But I want to fight this feeling and see if I can beat it. I fear I may sometimes overeat in order not to feel hungry. Which is plain daft.
I’ve been at events recently when I really couldn’t eat and didn’t have anything with me. Or I’ve taken myself off for what turned out to be a much longer walk than I’d planned and I went without food for a long time – five or six hours.
Not diabetic – so can skip meals
I’m not diabetic so skipping meals or eating later than I’d planned isn’t critical. It might feel rather horrible but my liver and pancreas are in fine working order. Eventually they release glucose into my bloodstream and I get past the feeling of hunger.
I’m kind of cheating a bit as I have a small snack around lunchtime – or just before or just after it. Just a very small piece of cheese with a tomato or a slice of ham, tiny bit of chicken or whatever protein I have in my now busy, happening ‘fridge.
Preparing for fast diet
If this works I might try doing the fast diet properly, ie having about 500 calories two days a week. You can either do these two days together or apart, according to which regime you’re trying. The idea behind it is that by semi-starving you encourage your metabolism to work faster and burn fat.
But whether that actually works or not if you want to lose weight you have to eat less. And skipping meals is a good way to get used to doing that.
But fasting leads to bingeing?
I’ve always been against starvation diets because I fear the yoyo effect – eat too little for too long and you’ll rebound and overeat to make up for it. But on a high-protein regime like mine, that shouldn’t happen. Every calorie is precious on a semi-starvation diet so why waste a single one on carbs that don’t fill you nearly so efficiently as protein?
A single slice of bread wouldn’t keep me going nearly so well as an ounce of cheese, a slice of ham or a small piece of chicken. Same calories (round about 100) more filling.
I’ll let you know how I go later in the week. But I think to be honest it’s the lovely sunny weather we’re suddenly having. Find it far easier to fast in the Summer.
Fasting makes you high
There’s also that little spoken of phenomenon that fasting makes you feel a bit high! Heady, happy and quite buzzy. Not for nothing I think do most major religions contain fasting days or semi-fasting days. Or days of doing without foods you love. It definitely puts your head in a different place.
In fact I seem to recall some sages saying fasting can even be addictive. Why else does anorexia nervosa manage to get some people in its grip? They’ve become addicted to going without. Which is why you have to be very careful if you’re going on any kind of fast and plan to keep doing it. Dieting can be strangely addictive; not just watching the scales going down but gnawing feelings of hunger can bizarrely become rather pleasant. For some.
So if you are embarking on something similar or thinking about it, I do urge caution.
Most of us though won’t become anorexic as a result of trying to lose weight. Anorexia is a very sad mental illness that some argue has very little to do with weight control and everything to do with trying to wrest back control.
Have a good week.