Nothing to eat for 16 hours?

By Marion Tucker-Honeycutt | Jul 17, 2019

Summer is finally here?

It's time for lighter meals and just maybe, a lighter me?

I've been stuck at 155 lbs., up and down a couple, for some years. Nothing, it seems, would change that. Frustrating.

But, in the past two months, I've dropped 17 lbs., to 138. I've actually stumbled upon something that works, at least for me. You probably have already heard of it? Intermittent fasting.

It's not a "diet." It's a method.

There are a lot of really good YouTube videos by doctors explaining why intermittent fasting works. Once I understood the mechanism involved that helps the body regulate itself, it made sense and, surprisingly, is quite easy to adjust to.

The basic premise is that you set aside an eight-hour window out of 24 every day in which to eat. Then you don't eat — but can drink — for the other 16 hours. (That's not as daunting as it sounds, as half of that time, you're sleeping.) I picked "no eating after 7 at night until 11 in the morning."

That sounded daunting. I decided, however, to give it a go. What did I have to lose, except hopefully, some pounds?

I had heard often that we shouldn't eat the last two-three hours before going to bed, but I always seemed to find something to snack on.

I often didn't eat much of a breakfast and sometimes not at all, so that morning stretch of nothing to eat until 11 a.m. turned out to be quite easy. I still have my tea-warm glass of water with either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar first thing, followed a bit later by a cup of black coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon and ginger, sweetened with Maine maple syrup. But that's it until 11. Indeed, I often look at the clock to find that it's already way past noon but I wasn't hungry.

Actually, we long ago developed the habit of three meals a day to coincide with our work schedules, rather than what our bodies would work better with. The Native Americans were amused by the colonists who ate, not when they were hungry, but when the clock said it was time.

Summer is when I like salads for lunch. Nearly every day. I try to keep certain staples for salads in the 'fridge, starting with Romaine lettuce. Problem is, you can only get Romaine — I get organic — in packs of three heads. For me, that usually meant one would have turned to mush before I got to the last one. But I finally smartened up and solved that problem.

When I get home with a pack of it, I cut the bottoms off and put the individual heads in a Ball jar with a couple inches of water and set in a door shelf of the 'fridge. I do the same with celery. That keeps them crisp for the week.

Other salad staples I try to keep on hand are mushrooms, shallots, and pickling cukes. So I go to the 'fridge and take whatever I find and, after the first staples, build a "salad of the day" topped off with Parmesan and Romano cheese, a goodly spray of avocado oil and either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

Then I look to see what else I might have in the 'fridge at the time. Maybe some radishes, or olives, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a handful of shrimp, some nasturtium leaves and blossoms, etc.

Then, weather permitting, I take it out to the chair-swing and enjoy my lunch with the birds: my hummers, finch, cardinal, etc., and the glory in the sun falling down through the trees in the forest, the soft July breeze that tempers the heat just right, the blue, blue sky.

Life is good. And I can finally get into those jeans that have been in the top shelf of my closet for years waiting for "someday."

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools. She now lives in Morrill. Down T'Home is published on alternate weeks.


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