All of us have at some time have dieted. It may have been the Tab and cigarette diet in our teens or the Atkins, The Mediterranean or Grapefruit diet. Weight loss is incredibly complicated and I’m not suggesting that I have the end-all cure, but each of us attempt to reconcile our weight in our own myriad of ways. There seems to be no one-size-fits-all.
My last post (here) introduced the book, Buddha’s Diet, which advocates limiting the period of time in which you eat. Instead of counting calories or points or living on cabbage soup or apple cider vinegar, you merely lessen the hours in which you eat. Sounds easy and it is.
We not only eat too much but we also eat all the time. Many folks eat right up until bedtime. You may be surprised to find that you eat up to 16 hours a day. The first step of the Buddha’s Diet is to close that window to 12 hours. If you have coffee at 7 a.m., your last bit of food or drink is at 7 p.m. Done. You can snack, if you must, but be done eating 12 hours after you start. Continue with this eating schedule for 2 weeks. Then, shrink your eating window by 1 hour, so 11 hours. Do this for 2 weeks before doing it again, until you are at a 9 hour eating window. You can choose to push your breakfast forward or dinner earlier. That’s it, simple, don’t you think. I know there will be days that this is just not feasible–business or family obligations, etc. That’s okay, but just limit these “slip” days and get back on schedule.
There’s more juicy nuggets in the Buddha’s Diet book, like What to Eat, Meat or Potatoes?, Buddha’s Whiskey, and Did the Buddha do Crossfit. What I enjoyed was most of it was common sense and not dogmatic about “good” food versus “bad” food. It also covers the value of saying grace and meditating for your body and our complicated relationship with our “temple”.
Along with the Buddha’s Diet, Ayurveda also recommends limiting the eating hours. It recommends avoiding eating between meals. The theory is that the digestive system works most efficiently when it is hungry and eager for the food. Digestive juices start flowing, food starts smelling and looking inviting and your body says “I’m hungry, let’s eat!”. This is the best time to eat. Throwing food unnecessarily into the system all day long only hampers and tamps down the digestive fires and the urge to eat. Wait to eat until you’re really hungry and just eat until you’re full (that means eating slowly to give the body time to register the food). Avoid snacking and notice if your hunger is just dehydration. Grab a glass of water (not soda).
People of normal weight, myself included, diet. It may not be a formal diet, but we do watch what we eat and make adjustments when necessary. When I feel a need to clean up my eating habits and knock off a few unwanted lbs. I do one of two things. One, I take a liquid-only day. Monday is usually easiest. I’m very liberal with “liquid” and it can include a yummy shake and a glass of wine. This forces me to notice how many times I reach for something to put in my mouth, which is often. Two, I don’t eat after 6 p.m. This is similar to what the Buddha’s Diet advocates. If I feel a need to have something in the evening, I make it very small, like a cracker or warm milk–nothing substantial.
Regardless of how and what you eat, be thankful for the amazing bounty of food we have at our disposal. I hope you’ve enjoyed these two posting on dieting. As always, I love to hear from you so send me some feedback, won’t you?