Making things makes me happy. To make things I need to be very focussed.
There are many factors affecting how focused I can be: my physical space, the auditory environment, the light, the temperature, but also, critically: food.
I’ve found what works best for me is to eat only once a day. At dinner time. And I’ve been doing so for about seven years now.
Now, an obvious question: that seems crazy, why on earth would you do that to yourself? Don’t worry, you’re not the first to ask. That’s why I’m writing this up.
It started quite accidentally, during my days as a mercenary consultant (designer, business strategist, software engineer, janitor etc) largely as an empirical experiment in concentration.
My experience was: I’d eat breakfast and by mid-morning be very hungry. Thereafter a good proportion of mental horse power was expended strategising about (a) what I would eat for lunch, (b) what time would be appropriate to break for that lunch and (c) how long had it been since I last checked the time to see how long it would be until I could (finally) have lunch. And then the same mental drama for mid-afternoon snack-time, then dinner. All in all, a great deal of energy, and focus, was spent here.
Occasionally I missed breakfast. The common wisdom here was that this was a bad thing, and I’d be lethargic and hungry all day. But I found quite the opposite to be true: I didn’t feel very hungry at all, and I even seemed more alert, more focused. Surprisingly, skipping breakfast seemed quite helpful.
From here it was a gradual, but slippery slope towards eating only once a day, for dinner, when “the work” (whatever that may be) was done.
Again: making things makes me happy, to make things I need to be very focussed and so my life is highly optimised around that, food included.
Now, onto the Frequently Asked Questions:
Was It Hard?
Yes. Getting into the biological rhythm of only eating once a day was not easy. I definitely got pretty ravenous while transitioning into it and there is absolutely a willpower tax to be paid initially. But it only takes a week or two to become well adjusted.
What About Exercise?
I am very into lifting weights, the “big three” especially: squats, deadlifts and benchpress. One of the pleasant, and (anecdotally) repeatable, surprises of eating once a day, is that my performance with these heavy, compound lifts is far better in a fasted state, than a non-fasted state. So, no, my muscles didn’t suddenly fall off.
Is It Healthy To Do This?
After a year or so, I asked a doctor if there were any health risks associated, he said: do you feel good? I said: I feel great. He said: then its healthy.
How Do You Eat That Much At Once?
Its really not that hard. The obesity epidemic of the West (and it is an epidemic health problem!) ought be evidence enough that calories are much easier to over-consume than under.
What Do You Eat?
Pretty much the same thing every night. A big family-sized bowl of salad. Two trays of roast vegetables. Some kind of protein, plant, fish or animal. And lots of fruit for dessert. That’s about it.
Should I Try This?
On balance of likelihood: probably not. This way of eating just seems to suit me physiologically, it may not suit you. Many of my friends and colleagues have given it a shot at one time or another - so far none of them have converted to one meal a day :)