MARTINE’S TYPICAL MEALS

One meal a day (OMAD): She’ll start with some nuts or guacamole and chips, and then have a traditional meal like Haitian rice and beans with oxtail and cabbage, or a big baby arugula salad with a bunch of things thrown in — nuts, beets, broccoli, braised turkey necks, quinoa and chickpeas. Some days they might have avocado toast with eggs and cheese, or fish tacos. Salad is a mainstay.

“I have one satiating meal in one sitting. Whatever that may be, I have that meal with my family and then I’m done for the day. That’s why it’s important for the meal to consist of healthy and filling components,” she says. “Once I have eaten my meal, I’m fully satisfied and won’t eat until the next day. It takes time for your body to get used to eating this way but once you get into the rhythm of it, it becomes a daily habit.”

And if Zoe asks for pizza or wants to bake cookies, Etienne-Mesubi is on board with that.

They always have dessert, which could be ice cream or cookies, or yogurt, granola or fruit. “I’m a big sweet eater, but I still try to get my daughter to choose fruits over ice cream or cookies,” she says.

A DIETITIAN’S TAKE

Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, a nutrition and weight-loss expert with a virtual nutrition counseling practice based in New York City, says it’s important that Etienne-Mesubi realized that what worked for her in the past wasn’t sustainable for her current lifestyle.

“At some point, it’s difficult to maintain that level of exercise and rigidity over your food choices, which is why so many people throw in the towel. But you can eat better, find movement experiences that work for you, and get to a healthier weight without going to those extremes,” Cassetty says.

She says that much of the research on intermittent fasting comes from animal research, which is interesting, but not conclusive. “Based on the evidence we have, there seems to be some benefit to intermittent fasting, but the rules can be tough to follow,” she says.

Intermittent fasting might not be a great choice if you:

  • Get get distracted and irritable by hunger
  • Have had a turbulent relationship with food or your body or your weight, since this type of restriction may be triggering
  • Have kids at home, since there’s some concern that normalizing this type of eating pattern for the sake of weight loss can normalize weight anxiety and may influence your child’s relationship to food and his or her weight

Instead, you might want to consider the Mediterranean diet for health benefits, or a regular, calorie-restricted meal plan for weight loss.

She says many people might struggle with just one meal a day: “Studies on intermittent fasters have high drop-out rates, suggesting how hard it is to ignore hunger and eat within limited windows.”

Cassetty also is concerned that people who eat just one meal a day may not be meeting their vitamin and mineral requirements. Etienne-Mesubi says she chooses nutrient-dense meals with leafy greens, eggs, nuts, grains, and loads of veggies and takes a daily multivitamin supplement to ward off any deficiencies.

“But there are some lessons we can learn from intermittent fasting,” Cassetty says. “For example, night-time eating is linked with an unfavorable metabolic shift that ups your risk of diabetes and other challenging, chronic conditions, so it’s a good idea for everyone to think about ways to curtail nighttime nibbling. A 12-hour fast is appropriate for most people, and can help create some structure in the evening, when people are prone to snacking.”

Source: NBCNews