I used to do intermittent fasting before it was trendy.
In fact, it was so long ago that it wasn’t even called intermittent fasting. It was called “skipping breakfast,” and it went something like this:
- Wake up.
- Don’t eat breakfast.
- Eat lunch.
- (Maybe) eat a snack.
- Eat dinner.
- Don’t eat any more.
And it worked fine for me because I didn’t need to wake up very early, I didn’t have a lot of responsibility in the morning, and therefore it didn’t matter that I was fatigued and hungry until lunch time because I had no reason to use my brain and/or body until noon or one o’clock anyway. So, I basically sat around like a lump, accomplishing nothing, feeling pretty crummy, constantly thinking about food, until I finally allowed myself to eat. Then, when I started waking up earlier and having more on my morning to-do list, it became readily apparent how much skipping breakfast was negatively affecting my life, mood, and productivity.
But I convinced myself it was fine because for lunch and dinner, I didn’t have any diet rules about what/when/how much to eat, and it felt really good compared to when I’d previously been really strict.
Then, one day I realized that I was literally wasting half a day, every day, because I was hungry and afraid of food. During the mornings (which have since become my most productive times) I was a complete shell of a human. So, between the times I was sleeping and the times I was so hungry I wasn’t even functional, I’d pretty much reduced my days all the way down to a short, eight-hour window. And one morning, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Using the amount of food eaten as a measuring stick for whether or not a day is “good” or “bad” is a pretty empty way to live.
Intermittent fasting, or skipping breakfast, or whatever you want to call it it, wasn’t worth it for me and my values. And the thing that I’m about to tell you is something that most other diet/wellness blogs won’t:
When I started eating breakfast again, I didn’t gain weight.
But I did gain something else.
By adding breakfast back into my life, I have twice as much functional time in my day, twice as much energy, twice as much pep in my step, twice as much personality, and twice as much love to give. I smile twice as much, I have more spirit and joy, more of a sense of adventure, and more appreciation for my life in general. And I also had another realization that helped me understand the roots of my eating disorder in the first place: More of me is better than less of me.
The world likes to make us believe that, as women, we need to be less. We need to be quieter, tamer, less opinionated, smaller. The pressure on our bodies to shrink represents the fact that the core of who we are isn’t welcome, either. But we are allowed to take up space — both the physical and the metaphysical — with our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our voices.
That got a little deeper than expected for a post that was supposedly about breakfast.