In my experience, intermittent fasting has very few downsides. It’s convenient, cost-effective, flexible, and offers a host of health benefits. But as a mother of three very active little boys under the age of 12, there is one issue that I’ve run into several times since I started. As much as I hate to admit this, I sometimes forget that my kids need to eat. ???♀️
I know it sounds ridiculous. Logically, I know that my children need to eat throughout the day. They are growing boys whose bodies are quickly developing and need nourishment to keep them going. But since I’ve gotten so used to fasting throughout the day, I simply lose track of time and forget that they haven’t eaten yet.
Although this has happened several times over the past year, it really didn’t hit me until this past Mother’s Day weekend. The boys and I took a 5-hour road trip to visit family without my husband, who had to work that weekend. We left the house around 11 a.m., but stopped at a local convenience store to gas up before hitting the road.
While fueling up the car, my 6-year old innocently asked when we were going to eat breakfast. CRAP! In that moment I realized that I had completely forgotten to feed my kids before leaving the house. Normally, I make them a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and grilled cheese sandwiches, but in preparing for the road trip, I had completely forgotten about it. And since I no longer get hungry during the day, the thought of food never crossed my mind that morning.
Quite honestly, part of me wanted to say, “We can eat when we get there,” but my sensible Mom-Brain overrode that thought and I said we would pick something up along the way. Fortunately, (or unfortunately,) there was a fast-food restaurant attached to this particular convenient store. So we went through the drive-thru and picked up some chicken strips and fries for their “breakfast.” I wasn’t thrilled about that option, but it was fast and they were hungry!
Five hours later, we reached our destination. I started unloading the car, but before I could even put our bags down all three kids proclaimed, “I’m HUNGRY! What are we going to eat?” My first thought was, “How can you be hungry? You just ate!” But Mom-Brain kicked in again and reminded me that it’d actually been five hours since they ate, which is an eternity by kid standards. *Sigh!*
I was so looking forward to unwinding with the family and getting some swimming in before eating dinner, but I knew that I had to get something in my kids’ bellies first. Fortunately, my family expected us to be hungry after a long trip, so they quickly comforted the boys and offered to order some pizzas. Then, after we ate and played in the pool for a few hours, we would all go out for dinner. My kids were ecstatic! Pizza, swimming, and eating out…three of their favorite things all in one day.
Now, I had caught myself “forgetting” that my kids need to eat before, but for some reason this realization hit me extra hard that day. I’m not sure if it was because I was traveling without my husband, who always makes sure that we have plenty of snacks on hand. Or maybe it was seeing how concerned my family was that we had not eaten anything since leaving our house five hours before. Whatever it was, I now recognized that my thoughts about food and what my body needs to thrive had completely changed. But not only had my thoughts changed…my reality had completely changed as well!
Food used to be my go-to for just about everything: quick energy, socializing, boredom, etc. Now, food had become just another thing on my to-do-list. It’s a necessity of course, but I’m no longer dependent on it the way I used to be. And I still enjoy eating at social gatherings, but it’s no longer my main focus. I can also feed my family without feeling deprived or scarfing down a meal so I can tend to their needs. Instead I can simply wait and enjoy eating dinner and dessert with them later in the evening. Never in a million years did I think I’d feel this free from food worries, but I must say that it feels fantastic!