Three YEARS is way different from eight months
Now to maintain it, I only fast one day per week. I've been doing that since October 2013, and I haven't looked back. After fasting two days per week became second nature to me, fasting once per week is effortless.
Breakfast is relatively easy. I have my go-to foods:
- A medium-sized banana has about 95 calories
- Most single-serve packets of oatmeal have 110 calories
- Eggs have 90 calories each
- A yogurt cup (depending on the brand) has anywhere between 80 and 150 calories
- A Krispy Kreme original glazed donut has 190 calories!
- Coffee and tea have NO calories! (I like a tablespoon of 2% milk in my coffee, but that's only 10 calories.)
On the fly, I can fashion a breakfast under 200 calories with a combination of these foods. For example, a Krispy Kreme original glazed (190) + cup of coffee with milk (10) = an amazing fast-day breakfast.
As for lunch, there is no lunch. It's the simplest choice I have to make all day.
At dinnertime, I can always pull some breakfast options, but it's usually not necessary. Most broth-based soups have fewer than 150 calories per cup. Frozen diet dinners can also offer some good options under 300 calories, if you want to eat pre-made meals.
When I have the time and desire to cook something, a 3oz chicken breast and some steamed veggies do the trick.
So you have to skip lunch one day EVERY week?
I know you're probably still not over the skipping lunch part, so let's talk about it.
Skipping lunch isn't as bad as it sounds. When you plan to eat nothing, then there are no hard decisions to make over whether to go to Chipotle, the falafel cart, the dollar menu, or [insert your favorite lunchtime spot here]. It saves money. It saves time, too. I don't have to interrupt my work to go out and get something to eat.
Since I'm not eating lunch, I usually don't go for the Krispy Kreme donut on a fasting day. I like to eat something that's going to keep me full longer, and that, by default, means I'm eating healthier since loading up on sugar isn't going to provide enough sustainable energy throughout the day.
The best part of this diet is that I don't necessarily have to skip lunch -- I could distribute my calorie budget differently for the day. I could consume 150 calories for breakfast, another 150 for lunch, and 200 for dinner, but I choose to do without lunch.
So I fast on Mondays. What do I eat the rest of the week? Whatever the hell I want, that's what! Seriously, you should see what I actually eat. Admittedly, I treat Tuesdays like a "recovery day," and there have been times when I've woken up with residual "hanger" from Monday and tried taking down a monster breakfast. It did not go well. It's as though my stomach is smaller on Tuesdays and I have to listen to it a little closer and let it tell me when it's ready for food. If you're trying to get a handle on portion control, though, that could be a benefit.
Don't take this as the gospel
I realize intermittent fasting isn't for everyone, but it is for me. I'm not a health expert or doctor, so don't take what I'm saying to heart. Do your research, consult a doctor, and make your own decision before you try this at home.
Personally, I feel like I won this weight game I’ve been playing my entire life. I diet one day per week. ONE! I’m under 120lb and the rest of the time I eat whatever I want completely guilt-free. When I think about what I'm really missing out on, it comes down to lunch on Monday. It's a pretty great trade-off.
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Mara Montalbano is a contributor to Thrillist, and if she doesn't respond to your "lunch on Monday?" text, don't take it personally. She blogs at DiaryOfAFastDieter.com and can be followed on Twitter: @MaraMontalbano.