Intermittent Fasting: My three-day experiment with early dining

Through the lens, lightly


Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 6:37 PM

The term ‘intermittent fasting’ was being tossed at me from everywhere; everyone seemed to be atop the bandwagon. Hmmm, I thought, let’s see what the fuss is all about. Turned out to be pretty simple. You need to have your last meal of the day by 6pm, and then have the next one after 10am the following morning (this is referred to as the 16:8 ‘type’, it’s the most popular type: 16 hours of no food — 6pm to 10am — and 8 hours of mindful ingesting).

Having the last meal — aka, dinner or supper — at 6pm was rather far-fetched, but 7pm seemed doable. Even if I am at work, I can carry a light sandwich (or order one), I reckoned, and tuck into it before signing off from food for the night.

I tried it one evening, went off rather well, but when I woke up next day morning, I was starving. It was not even 8am. Would I be able to hold fast till 10am? Nah, I decided, and dashed off to the kitchen to fix myself an omelette. Is this the end of the road, I wondered aloud to a friend, who proceeded to give me a sensible, meeting-halfway-type solution. “Why don’t you simply focus on getting dinner out of the way by 7pm — religiously? That way, even if you have breakfast at 8am, your body is fasting for 12 straight hours? Who knows, maybe you can become an advocate of the 12:12 intermittent fasting?”

For long, I’ve read — and been told — about the virtues of an early dinner. Yes, let me at least go for that. This was on a Saturday, there was someone’s birthday party that evening which would start late (it was those midnight ones). Sunday is when I start, I said to myself. Two friends are supposed to drop by at my place for dinner, but I can make them dance to my tune. “We need to eat by 7pm, I’m on a new diet regimen,” I call them and tell them sternly. “Please fetch up by 6.30.”

“Yes, yes, of course,” they both agree in a flash.

They land up at 8.30pm, without even bothering to give an excuse. By the time we get down to dinner, it is well past 9.30.

Never mind, there’s always Monday, there must be a reason why they say Monday stands for new (weekly) beginnings.

Monday arrives. A college batchmate is in town, he’s an important figure in the Indian political circle, so I cannot ignore him. “I want to have dinner at the Burj Khalifa,” he states grandly.

“So, here’s the problem,” I say. “I’ve started having dinner by 7pm — we’ll need to meet at 7 sharp.”

“Of course, we will meet at 7pm” and sends me a confirmation of the dinner booking at 7pm. At 3pm, he calls to say the reservation has been moved to 8pm since some work has cropped up. “I’m so sorry, but it’s only an hour!” he doesn’t sound particularly apologetic.

I reach at 7.55pm. At 8.15, I call him. “I’m lost,” he says. “Trying to find my way out of Dubai Mall, no one is helping me with directions.” He shows up at 8.45. We order at 9pm.

Tuesday. I make myself a dinner sandwich. When I go to work, I keep it in the fridge, that’s housed in the pantry. “Ooooh,” a colleague sitting in the pantry observes, “What’s that you’re sneaking into the fridge?”

“It’s my dinner,” I say smugly. “I’m having it at 7pm.”

As I’m getting ready to leave for the day, around 8.30pm, the same colleague asks me, “How was your dinner?”


“I thought you kept your dinner in the fridge!”

“Damn,” I say. “I clean forgot.”

On Wednesday, I log off from my early dining intent.

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