Just One Thing – Time Restricted Eating

My Christmas present to Grant and Sarah was a jet-ski tour from the Hervey
Bay marina to K’gari (Fraser Island) so we’ve been up there this weekend for
them to do that. It was grey and drizzly and apparently quite rough and
challenging out on the open water but they both enjoyed it. Plus, it was
something that neither of them had done before. (And both are saying their
muscles are very sore today).

This week I continued my morning walks and added in a few extra workouts as well. My back is still achy and sore when I walk, but you’ll all (I’m sure) be pleased to know the dodgy ankle is less dodgy than it was last week.

My just one thing this week was to give time-restricted eating (TRE) (or
Intermittent Fasting…. call it what you will) a shot.

The whole idea behind this – and there’s plenty of science which I’ve read but won’t bore you with – is that fasting for a period every day can be very beneficial. Naturally it also has benefits from a weight loss viewpoint as you have fewer hours within which to eat, but it’s about more than that. It’s about cell repair and…I said I won’t bore you with it, if you’re interested, there’s plenty of reading material out there.

As for how long you should be fasting? Some proponents say you should fast for 16 hours and eat only within an 8-hour period, others say 14 hours, and, from what I can tell, even going 12 hours a few times a week gives your body a break.

Then there’s the question about when you should end (or begin) your “fast”. One book I read a couple of years ago, The Pioppi Diet (named after a village in southern Italy where the population is said to enjoy a longer life expectancy and recognised by UNESCO as being the home of the “Mediterranean diet”) suggested that residents regularly skipped breakfast and broke their fast later in the morning. Other studies show that the fast is more effective from a weight loss viewpoint if your last meal of the day is late afternoon and your first is a good breakfast.

The thing is, though, I reckon you could probably find a study to support whatever it is you want to think about – the research is relatively new and constantly developing – so the best time is the time that suits you and that suits your life. Given that I’m always rushing around in the mornings – from walk to workout to shower to desk – and that I look forward to relaxing over dinner each evening, I figured that I wouldn’t miss not having breakfast during the working week, but would resent not being able to sit down at the end of a crappy day to enjoy a meal with my husband. As such I decided to delay eating until 10am each day if possible, therefore “fasting” for around 14 hours a day, and set myself a target of doing this four times a week.

How did I go? I’d get hungry at about 8.30, ie when I sat down to work, but a cup of tea (I drink my tea black) and more water would see me through. Weirdly, telling myself I wasn’t allowed to have anything before this time stopped me from randomly opening the fridge during the morning and grazing on whatever happened to be in there. Yes, I’m a boredom eater. Regardless of the science, intermittent fasting seems to be helping me be more mindful about my eating.

While I enjoyed breakfast on the weekend, I had it later and tended not to have a full lunch as well – something I would previously have done.

The verdict? While TRE/IF isn’t for everyone – and mightn’t be for you (the usual fine print applies about medical advice and seeing your doctor before beginning anything) – I’ll be keeping this particular change in my daily routine for a little while longer. 

If you want to know what Michael Mosley says about it, check out this episode of the Just One Thing podcast.

Healthy Recipe of the week…

No pic, but my healthy recipe of the week was this roasted salmon with soy, orange and ginger dressing. The recipe is probably behind a paywall, but essentially you mix up a dressing of:

  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 tsp good-quality runny honey
  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ orange
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks (I grated it instead)
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced into rounds

While it’s cooking, stir fry or steam some greens (Asian greens, broccolini, whatever) and serve the cooked salmon with these and with the remaining dressing drizzled over and, if you want, some basmati rice.

Marinate a couple of salmon fillets in half dressing of this for no more than 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan). Pop the salmon (and its marinade) into a roasting tin and cook for 10-12 minutes (depending on the thickness of the salmon) until cooked but slightly pink in the centre.

Early morning pics for the week…

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

25 thoughts

  1. That salmon recipe sounds great. I make a similar sauce for my broiled salmon but I don’t add ginger, which I now realize is a mistake :). Ginger, garlic, and lemon – not necessarily together – are three things that (IMHO) make a welcome addition to almost any recipe.

    I’m glad your ankle is doing better!

  2. Lovely photos of your weekly morning. Such pretty colours. I have tried IF but I think not regularly enough. A)I snack way way too much in the evening and B)I have the grandkids at least 2 to 3 days per week and feel it’s important that everyone eat breakfast to set a good example. So I do it randomly and I am not sure that works. I like how you sorted it into weekend and work week. Glad the dodgy ankle is strengthening. Give it time and the back will as well… or maybe I can just say this now because mine is in a good spot right now. I am enjoying the podcasts and this week will work on cardio snacks instead of real ones! Bernie

    1. I’m not an after dinner eater/snacker but as I work from home will graze through the day if there are leftovers in the fridge & I’m looking to fill a gap. And yes, brekky is a good example for kids and teenagers. I read something by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall who says he does it a few times a week & it works that way for him. I think it’s a horses for courses thing – what works for one won’t for another. Enjoy your week.

      1. If only I wasn’t an after dinner snaker. And each night I say do better. Well at least tonight I am balancing it with a cardio snack! Will work on a more sustained IF. Bernie

  3. Hi, Jo – I have heard good things about Intermittent Fasting. I am interested in finding out how your experience with this goes.
    Perfect synergy on the salmon. Richard and I are having Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Salmon with Potatoes & Peppers for dinner tonight. I haven’t used this particular recipe before. I will let you know if it turns out to be a keeper!

    1. Please do – I’m always looking for new ways with salmon. Re IF I’m not sure it’s for everyone, but if it can help me be a tad more mindful that’s a good thing!

  4. Glad your body is slowly repairing itself to enable you to get back out walking. I really miss my daily walks if I can’t fit them in. I fall more into the eating breakfast and then tapering food off as the day goes on. I’m lucky that I can usually eat dinner quite early so try not to eat from 7pm until 7am. I think if I didn’t have to cook dinner for the kids each night, I could quite happily skip a big dinner and just have a light snack. If food is there though, I do want to eat it!

  5. That salmon looks good!

    I don’t eat after dinner, and then have breakfast when I get up as otherwise I get low blood sugar dizziness. This means I go for 11 or so hours without eating. This is my norm so I can’t comment on trying it out!

  6. Hi Jo – I tried IF for a while but didn’t enjoy it because I felt like I was depriving myself, counting the hours etc. Fridge/pantry surfing is definitely an issue when you’re at home all the time and I totally get that. I aim these days for moderate sized meals, trying not to snack too much, very little takeaway, and allowing the occasional treat. I must say it’s easier to gain or maintain weight than it is to lose it – especially post 40. Glad the ankle is improving and you can do the walking that you love. Good luck with the continued IF – glad you feel like it’s working for you. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Keto eating but it looks like hard work to me – and I’d miss my carbs!

    1. I’m not good at moderation or focus so I’m trying to eat quite mindfully 5 days a week and then do what I want on the weekend (within reason). I don’t mind being deprived on work days because it feels like business as usual, but I really resent it on weekends.

  7. That salmon recipe sounds like a keeper! I will be trying it out. I think IF is a good idea – for 10s of 1000s of years humans did not have food constantly at hand and we didn’t have to practice IF – it was the way of life…it makes sense to me that we should continue to live this way as our bodies haven’t had time to evolve for our “current” privileged living situation (easy access to food almost all of the time, and not much need for exercise 😁).

    Deb

    1. We’re so used to just grabbing at food whenever we’re bored/angry/sad/possibly hungry/insert any other emotion. It’s something I’m struggling to change (especially the boredom one) but this is sort of helping with that.

  8. Beautiful morning pictures! I used to intermittent fast all the time without even knowing it… I’ve never been a big breakfast fan and all through middle and high school and even college I rarely ate anything at all before 10/10:30. Now I find I am starving when I wake up and I can usually hold myself off from 4:30 until about 7 or 8 but that’s about it. Of course I used to eat a lot later into the evening where now I rarely eat anything past 6.

  9. I am going to try the salmon recipe too Jo! I have tried IF or my rendition of it – starting my eating later in the morning but I lapsed back into old habits too quickly – always my downfall! Glad the ankle is improving and I always enjoy your morning shots 🙂

  10. Hey!! My brother is a proponent of fasting. After reading your article I think I will try a few 14 hour fasts a couple of times a week to see how that goes. I figure if I don’t eat after 7 pm, I can surely go until 9 am without getting into the cabinets.
    I like salmon but PC, not so much. Wish I could get him on board with it. My brother – same one who fasts – buys pre-marinaded salmon in grilling packaging. He just pops the package on the grill. Voila…dinner is served. Your recipe sounds very tasty. My friend shared an Asian salad recipe with a similar dressing. Going to try it.

    1. Sarah buys pre-marinated salmon too – it’s a real flavourful time-saver. I aim for 3 days a week with a minimum of 14 hours ie not eating before 9. So far though I’ve been managing most days but not eating until 11 on work days. I’m slowly getting used to it.

  11. Really interesting to read this Jo..I popped over after commenting for WWandPics. I couldn’t find any lasting success with any kind of diet or restrictive eating over the decades I tried. I lost and gained the same 18kg+ 3 times. I knew the reason I ate, and it was to soothe and comfort. I now know, that I need to use my words…and I do. I have had the greatest lesson in eating these days because of my body’s (mouth) restrictions) since having has oral cancer surgery, and I have limits of amounts of food and types simple because of capacity, and structure of foods. I have stayed the same weight over time, for around 4 years post cancer. I do admit when covid kept me home and comfort eating became a thing for a while, too much of cream and other things led to a weight gain where I was no longer comfy in clothes…What I did, was take the cream away and made smaller quantities of what I enjoyed, spread out over the day and it came down slowly over time. You are an amazing cook and food prep for yourself and others is a gift you use to show love and care…it’s a challenge you’ve set yourself and I so wish you well.

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