How to Self-Care with Intermittent Fasting
If you're seeking a self-care idea that helps your improve you relationship with food, intermittent fasting may be worth investigating.
There are many formal guidelines that dictate how we should self-care:
- Drink 6 glasses of water
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- Get 8 hours of sleep each night
- Eat 3 meals a day
Though important and rooted in some research these rules can be difficult to adhere to. They are a rigid approach to managing health and wellness on an individual level.
I've found that these one-size-fits-all frameworks are excellent benchmarks but don't always work for me. And trying to force myself to follow them can sometimes cause more harm than good.
Meals are one way in which I shun what the experts say and choose to follow a regimen that feels right to me:
- Small snack in the late morning around 11am (optional)
- Meal in the early evening (before 7pm if possible)
- Feel free to break routine (eat when you get hungry)
The trendy name for this is called intermittent fasting. James Clear has an excellent beginner's guide to intermittent fasting if you want to dive deeper into the concept and explore it as a potential self-care idea.
I wasn't on a mission to reinvent a mealtime cadence for myself. I simply noticed that traditional eating times (e.g. breakfast at 8, lunch at noon, dinner at 8) didn't make me feel well.
Starting my day with a heavy plate of food makes me feel nauseous. I'd be sluggish and barely able to keep my eyes open in the afternoon post-lunch. And, eating too late in the evening typically leads to sleepless, anxious nights.
So I started eating within a 8-hour block of time and the benefits have been obvious: namely maintaining a weight only 5 pounds more than my high school size and feeling sharp and energetic throughout the day.
In western society we put too much responsibility in the hands of our healthcare providers instead of realizing that the onus is on us to create personalized self-care routines.
I decided to stop suffering and start listening to what my body was trying to tell me. This has been the simplest and most effective approach to managing my well-being.
What about you? What area of your health needs a good dose of self-assessment to enhance? Where are you over-relying on what the experts say instead of listening to what your mind and body is telling you?