Back in the heyday of my student loan paying off blitz, I would sometimes, as people do, forget my lunch at home. Or forget to make one. Now, a periodic $10 is not a big deal when you’re paying off tens of thousands, right? Right. Logical. But the hunger and the deprivation were making me illogical. On many of those days, I skipped lunch. I was cutting back on everything, and I didn’t want stupid mistakes to derail me.
Since that time, I have reversed course into thinking, yeah a $10 lunch here or there is going to delay your loan payoff by a literal minute, if that. Health is more important.
Now I still believe health is more important than money but I may be revisiting the idea that skipping meals is a bad thing.
What I had found when skipping lunch was that it was unbearable for about an hour but after the pangs stopped, I was basically cured. I felt no ill effects. I didn’t eat a giant dinner to compensate. I wasn’t consistently hungry for hours. I wasn’t irritable. But I still felt guilty for skipping a meal and treating my health so flippantly.
After reading about it in a few publications, I decided to take the plunge. I’m starting a diet whereby I only eat one meal a day, typically dinner.
I’m sure this sounds disordered. But there have been some studies that show that this intermittent fasting might actually lead people to live longer. And General Stanley McChrystal eats only one meal a day.
There doesn’t seem to make any rhyme or reason why we eat three meals in a day. Looking at our primitive ancestors, they probably ate whenever they could. They didn’t have set meals. If given an abundance of food, it would still make sense to eat only when hungry, rather than by habit.
I’m not going to starve, darlings.
No one dies from starvation from having one meal a day. Or at least, one big meal a day. And I can foresee a lot of benefits.
Benefit #1: It relieves stress
After we stopped that whole hunting and foraging for food thing, you would think procuring and planning meals would be a breeze now. When I think about planning 21 meals for myself, it seems like a lot to wrap my head around. Each meal has to be balanced in terms of nutrition and I have to figure out where I’m going to eat it and when I’m going to cook it. Then I actually have to shop for and cook it. Also by forgoing two meals a day, I can focus all my energies on preparing one great meal.
Benefit #2: Reduced environmental impact
I’ve heard a number of people say that the world would reduce reliance on greenhouse gases or whatever if people would eat one meatless meal a week. Well by cutting out 2 meals a day, you’re cutting out potentially 10 meaty meals.
Benefit #3: Spartanism can be pleasurable
I’m a bit of a masochist. I’ve run 2 marathons. I never turn on my air conditioning. I bike in a tank top and shorts in 50 degree weather. I had listened to this podcast entitled “Your Climate Controlled Life is Killing You” and it really spoke to me. I really was getting tired of the comfort. There’s that line in that Goo Goo Dolls Song “You bleed just to know you’re alive” and while that sounds perfectly emo and high school, it does make me feel more alive to suffer a bit.
Benefit #4: It’ll save money
And we come to the headline of the post – of course this will save money! While it seems like you would eat all the same calories you would have in one day, just in one meal, my stomach shrank from lack of eating and I ended up eating a pretty normal sized dinner. Plus I don’t have to buy snacks or any other foods for breakfast or lunch. I doubt you’ll cut 2/3 of your food budget, particularly since breakfast tends to be a pretty cheap meal. But it’s impossible not to save money. Even if you ate out for dinner every day – say $10 a meal – you would only spend $70 on food for the week and never have to cook. That’s quite a low number for eating out, and you could get it much lower if you cooked.
In the end, it’s just an experiment I’m doing to see what works. If I’m hangry and irritable and my hair starts falling out, you best be believing that I’ll stop.
What about you? Have you ever tried intermittent fasting or some other crazy diet?