I was hiking the other day, and had a thought…
“Restriction is relative.”
What I mean is that what is not restrictive for me may be restrictive for you.
And, what is not restrictive for you may be restrictive for me.
Example: What is not restrictive for me may be restrictive for you.
Some days I don’t chew a bite of food until dinner.
I enjoy a delicious date-sweetened hot beverage throughout the morning, and sip a fruit smoothie throughout the afternoon.
It isn’t until dinner that I actually chew a giant salad, cucumber noodle bowl, dip and veggies, raw wrap, raw soup and salad, or other tasty raw vegan creation.
For some people, this might sound like total restriction. It may seem like a forced liquid diet cleanse thing.
But for me, it’s what works for me some days. It’s easy. I’m not hungry when I do this.
I don’t have to stop and have an intentional meal until dinner. I can just go go go. It’s especially handy when you have a 9-to-5 job, and don’t have to take a lunch break.
Admittedly, this is very pitta of me. If you view stopping to have a meal as time wasted or disruptive to your flow, then you may be pitta too!
Don’t know your dosha?
Example: What is not restrictive for you may be restrictive for me.
On the other hand, intermittent fasting (IF) is a meal timing technique that many people absolutely love and practice every day.
People extend their nightly fasting window to 14-20 hours to optimize healing, because the body heals and repairs itself when it’s not busy digesting food.
IF can speed up weight loss or give you the cut physique that you want, if paired with intentional exercise.
Intermittent fasting works really well for some folks.
For me, IF sets up the binge-restrict cycle.
I’ve practiced intermittent fasting sporadically throughout the last 4-5 years. The longest stretch was for about 5 months in 2015. I ate two meals a day, lost a buttload of weight, and found I couldn’t sustain it.
I craved cooked food and salt all the time. I had crazy blood sugar spikes and crashes.
During that time, I fought to stick to the IF plan. I was eating at least a pint of heavily salted sauerkraut a day to curb my cravings, and gave into small amounts of cooked food about once a week.
Eventually, I fully gave in. I started eating more and more cooked food, and less and less raw food.
I put back on the weight.
The weight gain plus stressful life events triggered my need to restrict and drop weight fast. So, I planned a massive cleanse.
7 days of coconut water, followed by 28 days of water, followed by 10 days of juice.
By the way, I do NOT recommend doing this–or any type of fast or cleanse–unless you’re working with a qualified health practitioner and treating a serious health problem, for which the cleanse or fast is appropriate and healthy.
During my 45 day cleanse, I withered down to my lowest adult body weight.
Guess what came next?
Because I am a slow learner in certain heavily entrenched karmic patterns, I have tried IF a couple other times since then. Each time, the binge-restrict cycle inevitably began once more.
So, the point of all this is to say that restriction really is relative.
We all walk a fine line.
Only you will know for sure what is restriction for you.
If a way I am relating to my food triggers a binge-restrict cycle, then it is too restricting for me.
I need to my food practice (the practice of planning, preparing, and consuming meals) to be EASY enough that I can do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
If it’s too difficult, then I know I am toeing the line of cleanse or restriction mentality…
And, that ultimately, I will revert back to old, unhealthy ways of relating to food.
My advice to you is to be honest with yourself.
Check in with yourself to see if what you are doing is feasible in the long-term.
Can you see yourself still doing the same thing next year, and being happy about it?
If so, then you are probably on to something. Keep doing what you’re doing.
If not, you may need to dial it back, and adjust your food practice to be more sustainable for your lifestyle and needs.