I enjoy breaking my fasts in the evenings after coming home from work. I’m able to maintain steady energy and mental clarity throughout my work day, then come home, eat dinner, and relax with my family. However, there are several reasons that I may decide to break my fast early.
Most often, I break my fasts early for work or family functions, such as a lunch meeting or “Muffins with Mom” with my sons. I also get hungry earlier in the day the week that I’m PMSing. Oh yes, and I tend to get hangry when I haven’t gotten enough sleep for several days in a row. While some of these reasons may seem more valid than others, I’ve come to believe that they are all valid reasons, depending on our personal goals and reasons for fasting.
At this point in my “What IF?” journey, I continue practicing IF because I like not thinking or worrying about food throughout my day. I’m able to focus my attention on work, school, or kids during the day, and eat whatever the family eats in the evenings. Plus, now that my body is used to burning fat for fuel, I actually have more energy when fasting than I do after I’ve eaten. Once I break my fast and eat, my body knows it’s time to relax! ?
For this reason, I no longer feel bad or guilty if/when I choose to break my fasts early. Instead, I do it knowing that I’m making the best decision for myself at that time. I also try reframing my reasons in a positive manner.
For example, instead of thinking that I “felt pressured” to eat lunch with my husband when I wasn’t hungry, I remind myself of how nice it is to have a lunch date with the man I love! With three kids at home, it’s rare that we can go out together and just enjoy each other’s company. The experience of talking and laughing over lunch will last much longer than the afternoon slump I’ll feel afterwards. ?
Likewise, instead of beating myself up for “giving into temptation” and eating doughnuts at 10am, I commend myself for only eating a couple of doughnuts. You see, not too long ago I would’ve polished off a half-dozen doughnuts at 10am… and still eaten a full lunch at noon! I also remind myself that the health benefits of consistently IF-ing for the past two years will last much longer than an afternoon of gas pains and grogginess I’ll feel from a couple of doughnuts.
So if you break your fast early for whatever reason, give yourself some grace and know that you always have an opportunity to extend your next fast once you finish enjoying your meal. ??