No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

5:2 DIET - INTERMITTENT FASTING AND THE HUNGER SWITCH



Since I began practicing intermittent fasting 16 months ago, I've discovered quite a lot about the body - and, in particular, how the appetite works. 

When I began, I struggled to explain why I (and others) feel more hunger on feed days (very) than on fasting days (not at all).

The more I thought about it, the more I came to an insight into the possible cause of this phenomenon - and it relates to the way our bodies have developed over the millenia:

As far as the body is concerned, it recognises two states - famine, and feast.

When we don't eat, our bodies assume there is no food available - famine situation - and it suppresses the (for want of a better term), 'hunger switch'. Feeling hungry all the time would just be a distraction for someone who is hunting for the next meal - so hunger is suppressed.


Which is why the days when we fast are much easier than when we don't

(I use the term, 'hunger switch', because it really is like flicking a switch - which is easy to turn on, but takes time to reset to the off position.)

When we do eat, our bodies assume there is food available - feast situation - and goes 
into hunger mode. So, we eat breakfast, then a short time later, the body says, "There is food available, this must be a feast day - I will kickstart the appetite so that I can build up reserves against the next famine." The trouble is, in this day and age, in our society, famine never comes!

There are some things you can do about managing the appetite and controlling the hunger switch:

Recognise the danger times. If you don't eat, the switch doesn't get flicked on. If you have more than the slightest bit of food, the hunger switch goes on and you want more food throughout the day. In fact, after you've eaten, your hunger switch slowly resets itself - until you activate it with more food. Check this out next time you prepare a meal. If you haven't eaten through the afternoon, your hunger switch is 'off'. Leave it until just before you serve up the meal before tasting anything and it will remain off. Start tasting as soon as you start chopping your veg - and you'll want to pick all through the meal preparation.

Wait for 20 minutes before having seconds (works for your youngsters, too!). It takes this length of time for the food to travel through the large intestine and activate the satiety hormone, leptin.

So set your kitchen timer for 20 or 30 minutes when you've finished eating, and, more often than not, you'll feel your appetite subside.

For me, the danger time is when I make myself a hot drink - I want to constantly nibble while I'm drinking something. So, to hold this at bay, when I've made myself a cup of coffee, I set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes or so - I can't have that first biscuit/bit of chocolate/whatever, until the alarm goes off. By then I'm halfway through the drink and I nibble a lot less than I would have done. Or, if I don't want to eat anything, I'll set the timer for 20-30 minutes. This only applies on a 'feed' day - I'm never tempted when I'm fasting because I don't activate the hunger switch.

If you do over-indulge in the afternoon/evening, have a 'mini-fast' the following day. I've always got something on the stove (the kitchen is my office!) and I often nibble away at this in the evening. If I think I've gone overboard, I'll just miss out breakfast - or I won't eat until dinner time when I'll have a normal meal. I justify this to myself by saying 'Well, you had your breakfast and lunch last night'.


In the past few weeks, to combat this, I've instituted a 'No Evening Snacking' rule (NES). I eat nothing after my evening meal, and this has been largely successful. The one time I broke this rule I woke up in the night and was violently sick (after picking up a tummy bug from my granddaughter)!

Now I'm much more aware of how the appetite works, it has become a mind game - once I declare myself to be 'in the zone' - as in my fast days and with the NES rule - I am remarkably strict with myself.


15 comments:

  1. Hello Pauly,

    I follow your articles and I am interested in Intermittent fasting also. What I have also realized as you mentioned is, whenever I have a bad breakfast, I keep being hungry all the day.

    I have tried IF for 3 weeks, but I could not get any weight loss result, this may be due to my over indulging eating in non-fasting days I guess?

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, and many greetings from Germany,

    Yasemin from breadpassion.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yasemin

      I'm delighted to hear from you, thanks for getting touch!

      One thing I've found that helped me when I was losing weight was the support of a forum full of like-minded posters. The first one - and the best, IMO, is this one on Mumsnet:

      http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/fasting_diet/a1786736-The-5-2-Thread-number-22-Put-down-that-biscuit-you-can-eat-it-tomorrow

      But there is also the wonderful 52fastdiet site, which has a wealth of research, and has the same ethos as the Mumsnet thread:

      http://www.52fastdiet.co.uk/index.php?sid=c58ca6b972467b0ba6e20490877fc409

      HTH! Paul

      Delete
  2. I found this 'hunger switch' explained a lot and it helps me understand why as a new intermittent faster, fast days are easier! We are fearfully and wonderfully made indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Gwen

    Knowing this helps me keep my appetite under control. That first nibble is so dangerous!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Cheers, Paul

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  4. Hi Paul. We met last week when you popped in to drop off the chocolate hedgehogs for the boys!!! both myself and my husband do the 5:2 diet! It was really nice to read your take on the "hunger switch" I call it the "Apistat" but it's the same sort of thing. Really nice to read your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, anonymous!

      Hope your boys enjoyed the hedgehogs!

      'Apistat', eh? I'll have to google that...

      Delete
  5. Brilliant information and tips, Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, AS! I've learned a lot over the past year - happy to share.

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  6. Interesting. I always feel starving if I start the day with a big brekkie so that makes sense. Just starting 5:2 and finding easier than I thought I would. I am ex HK too. Dad worked for HK govt and I was born 70, and went to Peak school and Island school. Miss it lots.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Growing up out there, I can quite see that. HK holds a special place in my heart, seeing as how I met my wife there.

    About breakfasts - we've always been fed the line that it was the most important meal of the day. Trouble is that it was Kellogs that were spreading that misinformation!

    Good luck with the 5:2, it really does work!

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  8. What a wonderful blog do you have ! Thank you very much for sharing this. I have started 5:2 diet today and it is really helpful for me to learn from the (my!) appetite from an experienced IF"er . And see it as a mind-game. Had to laugh out loud about your NES; wonderful. But makes sense the way you tell us. Thank you again and I am definitely going to try the timer to learn my appetite.
    Margreet from Holland

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Margreet
    Glad you like the blog - and I hope you benefit from IF as much as I do.

    If you want some companionship on your IF journey, why not join us here:
    http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/fasting_diet/a1889711-The-5-2-thread-number-29-The-C-word-party-season-is-not-too-far-off-come-join-us-and-drop-a-few-pounds-Warning-This-way-of-eating-is-so-easy-you-may-never-want-to-stop

    Best wishes, Paul

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Paul,

    Thank you very much for your advice. I have been lurking at mumsnet for a while and I know that motivates me to go on with 5:2 ! I am very enthousiastic about IF till so far. I am using the timer to learn my appetite and that really works for me too. This WOE changes a lot more than only my food-intake :):).

    Best wishes, Margreet

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  11. Hi Margreet

    Glad it's working for you - and you're right, IF gives you more than control over your appetite, it gives you control over your life!

    Would love to see you share your story on Mumsnet - you know how welcoming and supportive everyone is on there.

    Best regards, Paul

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  12. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your response ! Feels very supportive ,thank you.
    It"s been al while. And I must honestly say that I stopped the IF during the festive season...which lasted until half january here, with my son's birthday. It was ok for me. Gained a couple of pounds :( And now I am totally passionate about vegan cooking ! So much more fun and I feel much better now. I understand that you"re a veggie too ? Are you still happy with that ? Also in combination with IF ?
    I find myself breathing out again and want to restart IF. For several reasons :):)
    I hope you are doing fine. I still feel a bit shy to share my story on mumsnet. Athough you are absolutely right: everyone is very supportive en welcoming there ! It"s a friendly place.

    Best wishes, Margreet

    ReplyDelete