Some food for thought from our Operations Manager, Lawrence, who is also a practising Buddhist:
A few years ago I stumbled across a piece of research (as one does), about the benefits of going to sleep with an empty stomach. It claimed that it took up to 4 hours for the body to fully digest, and ideally one should stop eating by 6pm. Since I often had a good breakfast, a big lunch and then a light dinner, I thought I could give it a try.
It was not as easy as first anticipated, but I did realise that it was my cravings and habits, and not a need for food, that made me uncomfortable. It was my conditioning that made me think I needed dinner. It was routine. And sometimes, without realising, I was eating as a reaction to my emotional state instead of as a means of nourishment; cravings often disguise themselves as hunger. While cravings seek to fulfil the senses, hunger seeks fulfilment of the stomach. It is important to know the difference.
My experience was also influenced by the 5:2 diet, which entails fasting for 2 days out of 7. I practiced it for 6 months, and had similar results; I began feeling frustrated but soon enough I could feel my lethargy begin to wane.
So, I have been practising not eating dinners for a while now, which is not always easy and sometimes I don’t adhere completely. If I do eat, though, I will try to eat something healthy and light – fruit or nuts. Occasionally I will eat a full dinner if I am out, and sometimes I indulge in the not-so-healthy things – chocolate or biscuits. It is important to be honest to oneself and acknowledge that sometimes you are allowed to slip out of your routines.
Overall, I feel much better for changing my eating routine and listening to my body. I find I sleep more easily, and my quality of sleep has improved. My energy levels have increased; I have freed some of it from the struggle of craving and am now able to channel this into the activities I love, such as Chi Kung and Aikido.
Although it may not work for everyone, I highly recommend giving this a go to see how it effects your energy levels and moods!