Friday, March 15, 2019

My Friday foods for thought

Lately, I've shared a lot about eating and nutrition and today is more of the same here at Pierini Fitness.  Next week I'll change subjects and share more about how I've been training lately now that I'm busier with work.  

Today, I’ll share how my OMAD “science experiment” is going.  In case you missed the news, during Lent 2019, that began on March 6th, I’m only eating one meal a day, sometimes described by the acronym OMAD.  I’m also abstaining from eating meat during Lent.  I’ve completed nine days of OMAD through yesterday which is slightly more than 20 percent of the days of Lent 2019.

And since eating this way requires great discipline, I’ll also share some pearls of wisdom for middle-aged men trying to have the requisite discipline necessary to eat clean and smart and have a healthy relationship with food.  

So, how’s my OMAD “science experiment” going?  Not bad, and better than I thought.  I’m only eating once a day after fasting for 22 hours.  My feeding window is two hours beginning when the sun sets.  Today, the sun sets at 7:13 pm. and each day is one minute later.  This means I’m eating much later than in the past when I tried to be done around 5:00 p.m.     

The last two hours of my 22-hour fast are the most challenging, ones where I think more about food and wanting to eat.  Fortunately, this isn't the case for the other hours because I’m very busy with work and will continue for the rest of Lent.

What I've also discovered is how OMAD sure makes feasting a wonderful experience.  Everything tastes delicious.  You know the old saying, “Hunger makes a great chef.”  

Finally, I’m eating more than I was prior to beginning OMAD, exercising less and, thus far, losing more weight.  This is not something planned but it’s happening.  So, I’ll start eating more calories each day to keep my weight where it is.  I’m within striking distance of what I weighed when discharged from the Army over 40 years ago.  Who would have thought?

Now, moving on to pearls of wisdom for middle-aged men trying to have the requisite discipline necessary to eat clean and smart and have a healthy relationship with food.

One topic that comes up is cheat meals and whether someone who’s being very disciplined with their eating should have a cheat meal every now and then. 

My answer, being a prude, is that that if we're smartly fueling our bodies each day with nutrient-dense and satisfying food, there should be no need for a cheat meal.  Smartly includes selecting foods meeting our satiety needs.  If we're satisfied, we won't need to overindulge.  Fueling our bodies means feeding it with adequate calories for the energy needed to live our lives to the fullest, and that we have no unmet nutrition needs. 

But we're humans, and humans are weak.  Consequently, if we're following a disciplined eating protocol, we may occasionally fall victim to relapse and resort to a pigging out session, sometimes described as binging.  Some struggle with binge eating more than others.  Pierini Fitness must be honest and confess how he's pigged out in the past but, now, he promises no more.  

Relapse, by having a pigging out session or binging, isn’t the act of pigging our or binging.  Rather, it’s all the thoughts and behaviors leading up to the act.  This is understood in the addiction world and it’s no different with eating.   

What should we middle-aged men do when faced with overwhelming desires to to pig out and binge, or we've just done so and now feel disgusted and terrible for falling off our healthy eating pony?

Start by retracing our steps and identifying when relapse began and what were its obvious cues.  Again, relapse isn't the the act of pigging out or binging, but all the thoughts and behaviors leading up to it.

Learn from this retracing and then build an action plan for the next time we're about to relapse.  Borrowing from what is said in religious circles about sin, avoid placing ourselves in the occasion of "sin" of pigging out or binging.  

In the context of eating healthy and avoiding pigging out or binging, this means avoiding placing ourselves in the occasion of relapse.  So, we  must fuel our body adequately, not stock our refrigerators and kitchen cabinets with foods known to be a struggle to eat in moderation and be mindful of how important healthy eating is in helping us achieve our fitness, health and wellness goals.

My fellow middle-aged men, these are my Friday foods for thought.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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