The Little Lunch Nutrition Plan for Serious Table Tennis Players

I know. Just what the world needs….another article about losing that unwanted belly fat, or getting your body ready for the beach. I’ve written about two hundred blog posts, and this is just the second one devoted to properly fueling your body. The first one I wrote was entitled Jon’s Table Tennis Diet …. Seriously.

I mostly stand by my findings, which were based on my enthusiasm about weight loss once I cut sugar out of my diet. The only problem was that after a few holidays, a couple of vacations, and a lot less attention being paid to what I was eating, most of the weight came back. It’s not like I wasn’t exercising. I did find I typically weighed less on the days after league matches. Perhaps the added intensity of competition allowed me to sweat off a pound or two. I tried getting back to running. My joints are still in good shape, and I’ve had very few injuries, but it’s really hard to run much when you feel like you’re carrying along a fifteen pound bowling ball.

My current plan is based on doing some research into intermittent fasting. The idea is that it’s not just important what you eat and how much you eat, it’s very important when you eat. Ideally you should only be eating during a small window of time, typically in the evening. Some people only eat one meal a day. I thought I would give it a try and see what actually worked best for me. Your results may vary.

When I was younger I seemed to be able to eat just about as much as I wanted, whenever I felt like it. I didn’t gain weight, but thinking back on those days, I didn’t always feel so great either. What I’ve discovered with my first attempts at eating only one meal a day is that I generally feel better. I don’t get sleepy in the middle of the day. I don’t spend so much time eating, leaving more time for other activities. If you are eating less often, there’s a good chance that you’ll find that eating unhealthy foods, while initially satisfying, will make you feel worse than you would if you were eating more often. I usually only start thinking about eating when I’m bored, so that’s some incentive to keep moving and engaged in life.

Any plan that would work for me was going to have to be simple. I don’t want to count calories or scrutinize every bite I take. It would also have to have some flexibility to it, or I’ll find myself missing out on family dinners or holiday feasts. It would also have to be a program that I could stick to for as many years as I’m around. I decided to name my particular version of intermittent fasting after my favorite kids television show.

If I begin with the premise that breakfast is not necessarily the most important meal of the day, and it’s a natural reaction to get sleepy after eating, one nice evening meal actually makes sense. It’s only one meal to really plan for. If necessary, I can make that meal happen earlier, so there’s some flexibility there. I’ll save some money, eat less, lose weight, feel better, and my table tennis rating will jump one hundred points. That’s the plan, but it didn’t work quite that way for me. There’s a good reason that I call it the Little Lunch Plan. I expect that there’re are as many approaches to intermittent fasting as there are people. My routine is coffee in the morning, a satisfying, but not gluttonous meal in the evening, and the little lunch being as little as possible, and as late as possible, sometime in the afternoon. It doesn’t take much, but a healthy snack/lunch around 3:00 seems to make this plan work best.

If you’re serious about your health, or serious about playing better table tennis, you simply can’t ignore the effects that your eating habits have on you. I’ve lost about fifteen pounds and been able to adjust my belt a couple of notches. As I suspected, running is a lot easier when you’re carrying a few pounds less. I am definitely spending less time and money on food. I’m not getting sleepy in the middle of the day. My table tennis rating hasn’t gone up a hundred points, but if and when it does, eating smarter will have helped. I’m not necessarily saying this plan will work for everybody. It seemed to me that food was becoming more of a problem than a blessing, which seems like a strange problem to have. Food is the fuel for our lives. It’s important to get the right fuel, the right amount of fuel, and to fuel up at the right time. Right now it’s 12:30 pm. I should be good for a few more hours, then I’ll be ready for a little lunch. 

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