the feeding window

When you go through a drive-through, you know what it means to be told to “pull up to the window”.  You’re gonna be paying hard earned moolah and then receiving a bag of something to eat which resembles food.  I am all too familiar with the fast-food window experience from start to finish; however, this isn’t about fast-food, or even “good food quickly“.

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m talking about intermittent fasting.  Everywhere you turn, this concept has been showing up in some form or another for a few years now.  It’s almost a bit faddish.  I’ve read quite a bit on it in the past couple of years and it seems there is actually some value in shortening one’s daily “feeding window”.  For anyone who hasn’t heard of this before, the feeding window is a set number of hours when one eats their meals.  Outside of that time-frame, you abstain from eating (also known as fasting).

It really is a pretty simple concept with several modes of execution.  Personally, I prefer the 16:8 method.  Since there is a plethora of information online and in books, I’ll just share my personal experience.  I attempted to try it out last year and managed to get in several solid weeks of consistent 12-16 hour fasting days.  While I didn’t drop significant weight (probably because I believed that I could eat anything during my feeding window and still lose weight), I learned three things very quickly:

  • the first few days are the hardest
  • choose a “window” that will work the most consistently with your daily routine
  • I slept better and had more energy once my body adjusted to the window

Fast forward to 2020… Eight days into the new year, I decided to do the Green Smoothie Girl Detox (which was mostly a good experience that I’m sure I’ll discuss later). Intermittent fasting is recommended during the detox and I followed it almost to the letter for 26 days.  Most days my fasting window was around 15 hours.  During this second experience I learned something else:

  • shortening your eating window AND cleaning up your diet (even if the caloric intake is the same) eliminates the constant desire to eat

When I graze all day long, I want to eat more.  I really believe something about that fasting window being in the 14 to 16 hour range daily shuts down my seemingly insatiable “hunger”.  It’s even more obvious when I try to eat at the same times every day (think “routine”).  Within a few days, my body adjusted and just wasn’t hungry between mealtimes.  Cleaning up the diet as well seemed to make this phenomenon even more significant (but we already knew cutting out processed food makes us crave it less, right?).

I cannot tell you “scientifically” why this happens for me, but as someone who has been plagued with constant feelings of “hunger/cravings” for decades, it was nice to experience a bit of a reprieve.

After I finished the first 26 days of the detox, I started over with the program hoping to continue since I was finally releasing excess weight instead of gaining or maintaining it.  Unfortunately, during the second round, I lost a very dear friend to cancer (I miss you, Patti) and I’ve been off plan since February 13th.

Prior to this, my eating window was 10AM to 7PM.  That’s a 9 hour window, although it wasn’t unusual for me to stop eating at 6 or 6:30.  I found this to be a window that worked well with my routine most of the time, until emotional eating kicked back in due to grief.

So what does this have to do with “showing up“?  Because on Tuesday (February 25th) I resumed my shortened feeding window.  Technically it started Monday night when I stopped eating by 7PM.  Rather than let my emotions continue to run amok, I am choosing to show up, renew my mind, and run to God for the strength to live within the boundary of intermittent fasting.

So, until tomorrow, I pray the Lord equips you to just show up in regard to your personal food boundaries.

 

just showing up

Yes, it has been a while since I posted out here.  I’ve started posts over and over, but never clicked that little “publish” button.  It’s difficult to explain where I’ve been and why.  Perhaps I’m not supposed to explain at this time.  Perhaps I’m just supposed to show up and let God work out all the other stuff.

I’ve been on a journey.  No, not an entirely positive one, but that’s probably not surprising to hear when someone returns from such a long silence.  I don’t know how much I’ll share because that will depend on what God lays on my heart.  For now, I’m just showing up.

I thought about titling this piece something inspirational like “Finally Getting 20/20 Vision”, but that would hint at a bit more enthusiasm than I’m feeling at the moment.  In reality, I still feel rather “blah” and “uninspired”.  That’s why I’m just showing up.

A new year. New stages of life. And I’m praying for “newness of life”.  I feel as though I’ve woken from a long sleep, far from refreshed, yet clinging to a tiny ray of hope which has somehow managed to penetrate the darkness.

So, my plan is to take you with me, for those who care to come, as I choose life and love.

Until tomorrow – may the Lord give you the strength to “just show up” in your life today.

 

runner girl: week 9 (whoa!)

Can you believe it? I’m actually looking forward to the run/walk workouts now. This is the point I’ve been waiting to reach. I love the sense of accomplishment, but mostly, I love being out in creation… seeing bunnies, deer, and sunrises… smelling flowers… hearing birds and cows… it’s invigorating and peaceful all at once.

EXERCISE

Week nine of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule was probably my favorite week so far. The first session pushed us into more consecutive jogging minutes than I have done in a really long time. I felt energized and as though I had crossed the threshold back into “runner girl” status.

During the final 5-10 seconds of session 3, I cranked up my pace while trying to maintain form. I didn’t really feel like I was trying to sprint, I was just moving my legs faster and hit a 6:23 pace. I felt amazing (despite the fact that the kids and husband passed me as though I were standing still lol), but this was short-lived as my left knee swelled by end of day Saturday and hurt by Sunday.

Suddenly, I regretted not foam rolling or doing T-Tapp this week. Maybe it had nothing to do with the bolt for the finish on Friday, or forgoing the foam roller. It’s possible that wearing heels to the funeral of a sweet lady from our homeschool co-op on Saturday was the culprit. Either way, I need to foam roll most days of the week, and T-Tapp probably twice a week.

I did use my rebounder on Sunday evening to work my lymphatic system a bit, but my knee didn’t like it.

For some reason I was thinking a lot about breathing and oxygen this week and realized I haven’t mentioned another factor which influences pace.

Altitude.

We workout at about 7+K feet above sea level, and despite living here 10 years, it does affect my pace. I don’t know by how much, but an example is that when we were walking in Texas, my walking paces were faster by at least 1-1.5 minutes per mile. Of course, there are other factors, like elevation gains/losses as well since I live in a hilly area… and the slight oxygen advantage we have in the first few days of being at lower altitude.

One benefit to higher altitude though, there is always a significantly cooler part of the day to run in the summer… and this week’s runs at 4:30AM proved to be down right chilly at times.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 70 days on the nutritarian diet – That’s 10 weeks people! Wow.

On Friday I weighed in, and while I was disappointed at first with the measly 2 pounds in the last 28 days, I got over it. This brings me to 16.2 pounds gone in just shy of 10 weeks. I don’t know when I’ll weigh again. I might do every other week, or maybe once a month. If the scale is going to move much more slowly, maybe it’s better to not weigh as often.

We did try two new recipes from Dr. Fuhrman’s cookbook. One we liked, and one was a little weird for my taste (French Minted Pea Soup). My youngest daughter liked both and I’d say she’s got a more discerning palate than I.

I mentioned earlier that we attended a funeral on Saturday. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted fried food the rest of the weekend. Grief is such a powerful emotion and I’m used to stuffing emotions with food. It was also sobering because this sweet woman wasn’t much older than myself and had been battling cancer for 18 months. She was such a giving and kind person. She will be sorely missed. I decided that she would not want me to harm myself in my grief for her, so I stuck to the program, but it was far from easy.

Life goes on, although not the same for certain.

runner girl: week 4 (grief)

Sometimes you’ve just got to survive.

EXERCISE

We did not complete the fourth week of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule. This was supposed to be a “recovery” week and it happened to fall while we were scheduled to be out of town. Exercise while traveling is already difficult, but I had high hopes of sticking to the plan. Unfortunately, life took a different turn.

Monday morning, the 14 year old, my mom, and I rose early and hit the road. Mom did part of the run/walk with us, which was fun. I was sweating up a storm due to the humidity, which isn’t something I’m used to since living in Colorado. Later, we played in the pool for a few hours, and while that didn’t count for many steps (not sure how it knows I’m not walking when I’m swimming or treading water), it was a good additional workout.

I thought maybe I had injured my big toe (tripped) a couple of weeks prior (I’ve broken it before), and by Monday evening it was really bothering me. So, I decided not to walk on Tuesday, but rather swim with the girls and my mom instead (the guys were working at a golf tournament). This proved to be a good thing for my body. It needed a break and I wasn’t too worried about it since I had planned to continue the schedule the rest of the week.

Well, I was awakened early Wednesday to the sound of my mom rushing through the house. My grandmother had taken a bad turn and she needed to get on the road to be with her (an almost 3 hour drive). While I helped mom get ready, she got another call… the call. My grandmother was gone.

I no longer cared about anything but helping my mom. Yes, in hindsight, going out for a run after mom left probably would have been helpful, but I just didn’t care. I ended up caring for her animals and sifting through pictures to gather some for the funeral. I spent most of Wednesday crying.

My family stayed at my parents’ house until Friday afternoon so we could care for their livestock, and then we headed over for the visitation Friday evening. Most of Saturday was funeral, more visiting with family, and the drive back to my parents’ house. This is a stark contrast to the 90th birthday party we had planned for her on Saturday.

There were moments when I thought about the run/walk schedule and wondered if I should have pressed through anyway, but I had to reach a place where I let it go. I needed brain space for other things and I chose to release the workout plan.

NUTRITION

What I refused to let go of though, was my food boundary. By the end of the week, I reached 35 days on the nutritarian diet and it was far from easy. Just being out of my normal routine is difficult, but couple that with the fact that I generally cave at some point when I’m at my parents’ house… it was already a challenge to keep my mind in the right space.

Then my grandmother died. Then more overnight traveling. Then restaurants. Emotional and temptation overload. It is only by the grace and strength of God that I didn’t cave. There were times when I had to wait hours to eat because what was available wasn’t within the nutritarian guidelines. Others were eating… the smells… oh my Lord in heaven, I prayed and prayed…. and prayed some more.

I did get emotional and cranky once, which was brought on by grief, temptation, the smell of Mexican food, and hunger. I had to apologize for my rudeness and thankfully they were understanding.

I had gone into the week with the resolve of “I will not break my boundaries… no matter what!” Of course, I also had no idea what the week had in store. Had I known, I probably would have decided to take the week off and resume next week. Coming out on the other side though, I can say with absolute certainty that sticking to my boundaries actually helped me to grieve properly. Instead of stuffing my emotions with food, I felt them, processed them, and took them to the Lord for comfort. This is new territory for me, but I feel like I’ve come away with increased confidence.

My resistance muscles were worked really hard, and with God’s help, I am stronger for it.

I didn’t take my scale out of town with me, so I don’t know if I released weight or not. I think I probably did, but it isn’t unusual for me to swell initially when I go to lower elevations. I was afraid if I had swelled due to travel, and it showed on the scale, I might not stick to the program while away. I’ll weigh again next week though.