Why is it when life gets busy, the first thing that goes by the wayside is health? I could go into a long diatribe of why I think that is, but in truth it doesn’t really matter. It’s where I am right now.
In late November I began Intermittent Fasting at the recommendation of my naturopath. And then in January, again at her recommendation, I also went gluten-free and dairy-free. I will say straight out that I am not allergic to either gluten or dairy. But, my mid-forties body isn’t as good at digesting them as it used to be. In addition to all that, I’ve been doing my best to eat more in line with a vegetarian diet. Again, saying straight out that I am not a vegetarian. I’m just trying to eat less meat.
The Intermittent Fasting was actually going really well for the first few months. I’ve never been much of a breakfast person, and my habit of snacking all night long wasn’t doing me any favors. So, having a set stopping point in the evenings (8pm), then not eating anything until noon the next day felt right. I couldn’t always make it to noon, but I usually managed anywhere from a 14 to a 16 hour fast on any given day. I’d take a day off every couple of weeks, then get right back to it. I wasn’t losing any weight, but I definitely felt less bloated and more toned. I liked it.
Fast forward to January. I started a new part-time job that had me working very early hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. What is this job? I’m a puppeteer for a local educational nonprof. We go around to schools and perform skits on topics like bullying, abuse prevention, making friends, and anxiety. It’s incredible, and I love knowing that I’m making a difference in kids’ lives.
But then February came, and with it a brutal schedule of puppeteering, traveling, dance performances and practices, and weekly Kempo classes. I’ve been struggling with stress and overwhelm. Last weekend, I spent an entire day on the couch, too tired to move. I took several two-hour naps last week, and I never nap. This weekend, I’m desperately trying to not come down with my fourth cold this winter.
So, after floundering and feeling completely out of control with the fasting, I decided yesterday to take the remainder of the month off and regroup.
I still want to do it, but I need to figure out how to make it work for my new schedule. A schedule that is all over the map and one where I have very little control over when I am able to eat meals. There are some days when I can manage the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting protocol, and then there are other days when I’m out the door at 6:15 in the morning, and “lunch” is at 10:30, or not at all. And then there are the evenings where I have Kempo. I can’t eat dinner before those because the classes are too rigorous. So, I either have to eat dinner after or, again, not at all.
Because no two days are the same, I have been struggling to figure out how to make it work at all, especially in conjunction with a a gluten-free, dairy-free, and mostly vegetarian diet. So, I’m giving myself the luxury of a break from the one thing causing me the most stress—the fasting. I’ll give myself a week to figure out a more realistic way of following this lifestyle. Then, starting March 1st, I’ll get back on the fasting bandwagon.
And that’s really the thing, isn’t it? We have to make lifestyle changes work for us, or it’s a moot point. There will always be people who are super strict adherents to something that say, “If you don’t do it exactly this way, then you’re doing it wrong and why are you even bothering?” But the thing is, that’s not reasonable or logical. We’re all different, with different needs and different goals. Making it work for us means that we’re more likely to carry those healthy habits around longer, and they’ll do us more good overall.
So, if something good isn’t working, we need to remember to take a step back. If we know it’s something we want in our lives—something that benefits us and makes us happy—then we need to find a way to make it work realistically. Maybe it won’t look like what “they” say it should, but who cares? If it works, then great. All those naysayers can take a flying leap.
Because, as the puppets like to say, YOU GOT THIS!