Every now and then I get in a conversation -- about food, exercise, meditation, whatever -- and it makes me think that I need to remind some of you not to think too hard.
Last night, a paleo/CrossFit friend expressed concern that having "bulletproof coffee" for breakfast just wasn't holding her through the morning. She said she wakes up hungry, staves off the hunger with a mug of coffee, butter and coconut oil, and then is starving again by 10:30 a.m., whereupon she eats her lunch earlier than expected.
That generally doesn't happen to me.
But we're not all the same.
If you want a veritable treatise on why we aren't all the same, you could read Stefani Ruper's fine piece from a couple years ago about why intermittent fasting often doesn't work for women. (You could also, if you are either (a) a woman, or (b) a paleo professional who counsels folks on food, etc., read Ruper's new book Sexy By Nature for a more in-depth look at how to make paleo/primal living work in a way that is properly integrated into a woman's hormonal profile).
But I think maybe the place to start with any issue like this is a simpler question: how do you feel?
If you are waking up hungry, I'd suggest a pretty basic solution: eat something.
Bulletproof-coffee-fueled fasts are great. Unless they aren't. The basic idea behind any intermittent-fasting regimen is that if you wake up in a ketogenic, fat-burning state, it can do wonders for fat-burning, autophagy, etc., to prolong that state through the morning and then have one's first meal a little later, like around lunch.
But if you are waking up with a hunger that rates anywhere between "Yeah, I'd like to eat," or "Stop blocking my path to the fridge, or you gonna die," or if BP coffee doesn't last you for long, I think the way to handle that is by…. eating!
Hungry? Eat? A radical concept, I know….
Just like I have told you in the past not to get yourself all tied up in knots over trying to reach the vaunted and coveted seventeenth level of paleo nirvana -- where Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson appear to you in a hazy dream bearing bacon snacks and effusive praise for your ability to alter your leptin and Vitamin D levels on demand while deadlifting 500 pounds and sleeping like a contented Zen master -- don't get so caught up in the more gimmicky (albeit often legit) "tricks" of paleo that you lose sight of the goal: happiness through living a lifestyle that actually works well for you.
So, my smart friend who tries really hard to get everything perfect, listen to your body. And don't worry about perfect. Eat in a way that makes you happy.
Or, as a wise band once sang: "Don't get tangled up trying to be free."
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