2 Meal Solution Review
Guest Post From My Personal Training Client, Kym Kruger
I have always been a breakfast eater.
You have to eat breakfast or your growling stomach will be drowning out the radio by the time you get to work. You have to eat breakfast or you’ll be pigging out on grande lattes and blueberry muffins by 10am. You have to eat breakfast or your metabolism will slow down to a snail’s pace resulting in excessive, difficult-to-reverse weight gain. You have to eat breakfast or your attention span will shrink to goldfish proportions, you’ll lack energy and you won’t be able to concentrate on anything except your growling stomach, your muffin guilt and your ever-decreasing metabolism.
My problem with eating breakfast (in its common form), however, is that I have never really felt hungry at that time but have just eaten something because I’m “supposed to”. Interestingly enough, in the past I’ve often had muffins and lattes for morning tea, have carried excess body weight and have had difficulty concentrating…
Over the last few years I started to take a different approach to my food intake. I realised that the food I was eating either wasn’t fuelling my body properly or I was just plain eating too much of it (actually probably both…) Enter calorie counting. Every meal worked out the night before, breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a snack at 10:30 and 3:30, calculated as precisely as I could without tipping over that magic number. Lunch a bit small? I’d have to wait until afternoon tea time to top up so that I didn’t get hungry again before dinner time. Lunch a bit big? Never mind – take out the afternoon snack, but beware the 3:30 munchies because my brain is used to eating something at that time. Oops – I failed and ate some afternoon tea anyway; better have a smaller dinner. Just watch that final calorie total…
The end result of this was that I lost weight. Calorie counting works – no surprises there! But it’s stressful. I was always pre-thinking my meals and snacks, always trying to compensate by adding here, taking away there, and mentally having a meltdown if something came up that I couldn’t control such as a dinner with friends, particularly if it was a spur-of-the-moment invitation and it messed with my meticulously planned meals. Evenings were spent preparing food for the next day, ensuring I had all my snacks and lunch, plus breakfast (which I would take to work to eat, to save time in the morning).
Then I was told about Intermittent Fasting and I read “2 Meal Solution” by Mike O’Donnell. Mike provides the scientific details about IF – things like hormones, metabolism, what happens when we eat and stop eating – but does so in a simple, easy to understand way. Which is great for those of us not scientifically minded or who don’t want to trawl through loads off ‘fluff’ to get to the good bit!
I had never considered fasting as a weight loss strategy before – after all, not eating would certainly lead to all those things I mentioned earlier… The logic behind IF makes sense though – consume a normal daily calorie amount but spread it over 2 meals rather than more meals. Why does this make sense to me? Well, for starters, it eliminates the breakfast that I was never hungry for, it eliminates the habitual snacking, and it gives me so much more freedom with my meals. For example, working on 1200 calories a day, having 3 satisfying, filling meals and a couple of snacks can be difficult because you’re basically limiting yourself to around 300 calories per main meal and 150 calories per snack. Only having two meals, though, means that I can enjoy (heaven forbid) 500, 600, 700 calories at a meal without stressing that I’ll be eating too much. That is a lot more satisfying – physically AND mentally – and it gives me so much more freedom in my meal choices. I still make healthy choices, but I can have more – although a large calorie meal made up of healthy food is a LOT of food, more than I can comfortably eat in one meal… That said, it’s not the end of the world if I have something that’s not so healthy because ultimately I’ll probably end up eating the right amount of calories anyway, particularly averaged out over a week rather than fussing too much about the numbers daily. As Mike says, “it’s the long-term calorie load effect over days and weeks that determines how much you really burn and store as fat in the long run”, and “how about you just focus on the bigger picture and know that higher calorie days can be offset with lower calorie days?” Refreshing! And freeing!
Studies in the past have said that people who eat breakfast consume less calories throughout the day than those who don’t eat breakfast. Everyone is different, but for me this is certainly not true. When I was eating breakfast I found I was generally looking for my next meal or snack within a couple of hours and I was thinking about food a lot. A LOT. And wow, it was hard to avoid temptations. Since starting IF I don’t even think about food until lunchtime – and even then it’s sometimes 2:00 or 3:00 before I eat. And I don’t miss those other meals and snacks. And I don’t get hungry. And I don’t feel like pigging out on muffins. And – perhaps most surprisingly – my attention span, concentration and energy levels are significantly better than they were when I was eating 5 or 6 times a day.
The big issue for me, however, was training. Sure, I could sit at my desk at work all day without eating breakfast but I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to train hard in a fasted state.
Turns out I was wrong. Again…
I find that I enjoy fasted training much more than ‘fed’ training. I feel like I can push harder, I feel like I’m more focussed and I don’t feel weighed down by a stomach full of food. I also don’t have to make sure I eat something in that small window of time where it’s not too early (which would make me hungry again by the time I had my workout) or too late (so I’d feel lethargic and sick during my workout). I’m also not using recently eaten food as fuel for my workout – rather my body is using my energy stores.
So what does a typical IF day look like for me??
I work on a ‘feeding window’ of 8 hours, meaning that I have 8 hours a day where I eat, typically from 1:00pm to 9:00pm (although sometimes my first meal is later, and I’m generally done by 8 – 8:30)
My last meal last night was at about 8:30pm. This morning I got up, had some BCAA’s (recommended for fasted training) and did a tough PT session (hitting some PB’s along the way, showing that my performance and strength isn’t being compromised by IF). I arrive at work, have some more BCAA’s and a coffee or a green tea (I have about 6 – 8 green teas throughout the day). Lunchtime I’ll have a big meal – and while I try to focus on having a ‘macro balanced’ meal, if I feel like something else then I’ll have it. The difference is that I don’t feel stressed if it’s higher in calories, or if I follow up a good lunch with a biscuit or two for ‘dessert’. I tend not to snack in the afternoon anymore (but occasionally I might), and then when I get home I’ll have another decent meal and won’t need to worry too much if I decide to enjoy a glass of wine as well.
I did go through a stage when I started IF where I was eating a large amount of processed food and junk in general – probably because I was a bit over-enthusiastic about the freedom of IF – but now I prefer to choose healthy meals. At the end of the day it’s still important what I fuel myself with, and excessive calories every day (which occurs very easily when you’re eating rubbish) will still cause weight gain whether you’re eating over two meals or 10. Simple. What is also simple, however, is to enjoy my meals, to not go in to meltdown if I have a higher calorie meal or even a higher calorie day because generally that will be balanced out by a lower calorie day. It doesn’t take much to make that happen – it just seems to work. I still plan meals to a certain extent but planning one meal to bring to work is so much easier than planning and preparing two meals and two snacks, and it’s not such a drama if I forget my lunch because I have more freedom when choosing something to buy.
Something that is creating less stress in my life and is giving me positive results has got to be a good thing. IF is a good thing!
“I am James and I approve this message”
Using the 2 Meal Solution for the last 5 months, I have to say that it is the easiest and least stressful eating plan I have ever followed (and trust me I have tried 100’s!)
I would never recommend something that I haven’t tried which is why I tried the 2 Meal Solution in the first place. 5 months later, I am as lean as I’ve ever been but also stronger than ever before!
If you are sick and tired of challenging, restrictive and boring diets, then you have to check out the 2 Meal Soultion.
- James Kerrison