If you’ve got questions about Intermittent Fasting, you can explore those in the Intermittent Fasting FAQ. Questions about Buddha and what he had to say about all this thousands of years ago? We’ve got you covered in What’s Buddha Got to Do With It (a lot actually). If you want all of this information – the scaffolding for the diet, the approach, the explanation, the mindfulness tricks and data about how to make this work for you, the book holds a wealth of information and guidance as well.
Where you are now
The first step is understanding how you eat now. That is, the acknowledgement of the eating clock you are currently on. To begin, you must pay attention to when you start and stop eating. This doesn’t mean when you sit down and have breakfast or when you get up from the dinner table to clear your plate. This means when you first and last consume calories. If you slug back a latte at 7 AM on your way to work but don’t eat anything else until noon, that latte still counts; your ating clock started at 7 AM. If you don’t have your coffee or breakfast skip breakfast entirely and have an early lunch, but while making breakfast for someone else or packing lunch for kids, you helped yourself to a handful of chips or eat the crusts of the pb&j they rejected, that’s when your eating clock started. At night after dinner dinner but then have a glass of wine while watching TV afterwards, the last sip is when your eating clock ends. In other words, it all counts.
This is one of the most eye opening things when people begin this way of eating. How many hours during the day they were actually eating before Buddha’s Diet. It’s often longer than you think. Many people, when presented with the research on Buddha’s Diet say, “Oh I stop eating at 7 anyway,” or “I pretty much never have breakfast.” But once we explain the eating clock and how it’s more than when you eat your meals, there’s often a fair amount of sad recognition. And therein lies the problem. Eating today happens around the clock. Modern conveniences, readily available food, microwaves, grab and go packaged meals, take out, drive through, snack packs, bulk buying, means many of us are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have food around us at all times. Unfortunately in many parts of the world – and the United States in particular – cheap, easily accessible, and poor quality food is ready and waiting for us 24/7.
Remember: Just because you aren’t having a meal, doesn’t mean you aren’t eating. Do you have a snack while watching TV before bed? Do you finish your glass of wine an hour before you turn in for the night? All that counts.
Begin by keeping a food log to help you discover your true eating clock. There are plenty of apps out there, but if you want something quick and easy you can download our super simple printable Buddha’s Diet Food Journal. Record everything, every bite, every swallowed and sipped calorie. There’s no need to record calorie count or nutritional content or even portion size, though those may be revealing and helpful too. You may notice for example that every day at 4 PM, you eat something sugary, or that at around 8 PM when the kids are in bed is when you reach for the booze. For purposes of Buddha’s Diet though, we’re concerned with the when of your eating. We recommend recording three days worth in a food log, but at the very least two days. Don’t let shame get in the way, don’t change your behaviors just so you can have a prettier looking log. There’s no need for shame anyway. We already know shame is proven not to help with dieting or improving your health, even self shaming. Do as you always do, just record it.
Remember why you’re here and reading these words: want to lose weight or you want to feel better or you want to eat more mindfully or healthfully. Maybe you already feel pretty good but are looking to sleep better or have more energy or you are tired of feeling sluggish all the time. To begin that journey, you must first take stock of where you are now. Once you have taken stock, it’s time to implement the steps of Buddha’s Diet.