Itís been a month and a half now that Iíve been on this new eating regimen. I wonít call it a diet, because Iím not doing it to lose weight, and the rules are kind of flexible. I just mostly wanted to feel better about what I was eating, and keep myself from snacking any old time I felt like it. I donít think Iíve lost much weight, but I do feel better. And probably a little exercise wouldnít help, but I havenít devised a plan for that yet.
The new system is to divide the day into periods of eating and non-eating, and (hereís the key) to stick to it. Iíve never been much for breakfast, at least not when Iím home, because morning isnít a good time of day for me. But my first meal of the day is almost always a bowl of bran cereal. Under my new guidelines, I give myself until 1:00 pm to eat it.
Then between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm comes my fruits-and-vegetables window. The rules say that I can eat as much as I want during that period of time, as long as I donít deviate from fruits and vegetables. In practice, it usually turns out that I eat a banana or an apple (or both), plus some dried fruits. Thatís a good time for a few prunes, to keep the inner works running (and because I like prunes). I tell myself I can eat for the whole two hours, but I rarely spend more than a few minutes.
Some time between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm I eat dinner. I fix myself a good meal which always includes a vegetable (because I eat mostly fruits during the earlier window). This is when I do my cooking, or reheat leftovers. I try not to eat prepared or frozen dinners, but every so often Iím just not in the mood to cook, so I keep a few items on hand. They tend to stay on the shelf a long time, because I like to eat the things I cook, and this is my chance during the day to fix something I really like.
In the old days, during the fifty-some years before I started this new routine a couple of months ago, I went a little nutty in the evening, eating anything and everything I could get my hands on. Every once in a while I would try to exert some self-discipline and limit my nighttime snacking, but it never lasted for very long.
Now, though, Iím limiting myself to one snack, any time after 10:00 pm. As you can probably guess, I usually find myself foraging in the kitchen at exactly ten. But I donít eat bowls of ice cream and fistfuls of cookies these days. Sometimes itís just a couple of pieces of bread and honey, but other times, if I feel Iíve used enough restraint during the day, Iíll fix eggs or French toast. If Iíve had something other than bran cereal for breakfast, Iíll almost always have it for my late snack, because I really feel as if I need one bowl of the stuff a day. Iím a little obsessive about that.
And thatís it! No more snacking into the night, or between meals. If Iím going out for lunch or dinner, I try to rearrange the rest of the day so that I donít eat any more than I would on a normal day. Iíve gotten better at that as Iíve grown used to the new routine. I donít mind feeling a little hungry some of the time. In fact, I take it as a badge of honor if I can feel the pangs of hunger and still not eat until the next window.
Now if I can only get myself in gear and get more exercise, as I promised my doctor I would the last time I saw him. Thatís the only way this disciplined eating is going to turn into a truly healthier body.