My 7 day food consumption challenge.
By Amy Crawford
As I write this I realise how ridiculous it's probably going to sound, but before your eyebrows arch with a "oh come on, that's a bit easy" frown, hear me out, carefully consider your existing eating behaviours and then decide how easy you think this challenge is going to be.
So here goes.
For the next 7 days I am only going to eat when I am hungry.
Now let me explain my reasoning.
For many years I've eaten in part out of concern or fear of serious energy lapses, the kind of blood sugar drops that brought about nausea, fatigue, dizziness and terribly disconcerting spots in my vision. If this were to happen whilst walking 4 km from home (sans wallet) the anxiety it created just trying to get home was enough to exasperate the issue. That being said, I got into the habit of eating preemptively on a fairly regular occasion. Eating out of fear. Not ideal.
Now I'm not going to delve into the scientifics here but truth be known, this was an issue because my health was an issue, for many years. My blood sugar was all over the shop and for some time I needed to eat small meals regularly, there wasn't any choice. The current fact of the matter though, is that my health is no longer an excuse because I'm in pretty good nick, and so apparently is my blood sugar. This was put to test during my recent trip to India where I was required to fast (I survived). I was eating 3 meals a day, sometimes with 6-7 hours between meals (I survived). So yes, my travels created quite the catalyst for said challenge.
Of course, there's more to it than that. I'm a relatively structured virgo who appreciates a degree of daily routine. That being said I eat 3 meals a day, typically around 8am, 1pm and 6.30pm/7pm, give or take. It's 'what I do' at those times. Heaven forbid if I'm not hungry at 1pm, it's lunch time and one should eat. It was this way growing up too. If we ate a late breakfast at say 9.30am/10am, we'd still eat lunch at 1pm. Yep, on 'paper' it sounds ridiculous but I know full well I'm not alone here.
Then of course there's the 4pm "oh well I'm having a cup of tea and how lovely would that chocolate peanut butter cup be" moment. That habitual cup of tea/snacking moment, when I'm not really hungry but the idea certainly sounds good.
These are our Mediterranean Inspired Quinoa Fish Cakes. If you've not yet made them you really ought.
As Westerners there is no question we eat too much, and how blessed we are to even find ourselves in such a predicament (our dire health statistics may beg to differ). Indeed for many, hunger is the only 'choice'. Certainly a huge percentage of the population could afford to eat less, myself included following my recent naan intake.
So I'm going to give this a whirl for 7 days and journal the lot, to report back my findings. I'm wondering whether I'll still even eat 3 meals a day, possibly on occasion I'll only eat 2 larger meals, who knows! I expect that I'll lose a little weight in the process. I imagine it will highlight the degree to which I look forward to eating, just for eatings sake.
If it means I fall out of the rigidity of my existing eating patterns and learn to eat more intuitively, indeed more consciously, that I'm sure is a win.
Who is keen to join me on my 7 day food consumption challenge? I'd love to hear from anyone who has put this to test - what were the results and challenges faced?
Quick note: If I find myself mentally or physically fatigued as a result of fewer meals, I won't be holding out. This is not a mission to eat less, to starve myself. Its simply a mission to become more in tune with my food intake in general. I would not recommend those with blood sugar issues to tackle this challenge. If you're in doubt, do consult your health physician.
Final rather important note, edited one week post this post: you will find the results of this challenge here.