Time Restricted Eating

You might not expect to see this kind of post on a food blog, however, since many of us who are interested in food, have been, on occasion, a bit too interested in food, we wind up spending quite a bit of time and angst trying to get back to our svelte selves again. Well, I’m not there yet, but I am making progress, and this is the only thing I’ve done that has yielded results. Slow, but steady results.

Now, I am not a weight control professional nor am a doctor or nurse or anything like that. I am not giving advice, but I am sharing my experience in the hopes that it may help others.  That having been said, this is what I did.

In March, I began researching fasting and discovered quite a few articles about intermittent fasting. We experimented with some of them, specifically the 16/8 plan and the 5/2 plan. It was a very stressful spring and summer with a serious illness and then a death in the family and it wasn’t always possible to adhere to either plan. Back in July we recommitted to the 16/8 plan, as that is easiest for us and fits our lifestyle better. The 5/2 plan means that one eats normally five days and then fasts, eating only 500 calories or so on the two fasting days. The 16/8 plan requires one to eat within an eight hour time period and fast the remaining sixteen hours. For us, we get up and have black coffee and water and nothing else until 1 PM when we have lunch. We eat only from about 1 PM to 9 PM. Purists would encourage the fasting period to be essentially from mid-afternoon or late afternoon until breakfast, but we have a really active social life and that wouldn’t fit our lives. For lunch we have salads, healthy ones and I make sure to add some nuts, fish, chicken or garbanzos. For dinner we try to have something reasonable, and again, if at home, I make sure that we have plenty of steamed, roasted, or raw vegetables.

Results have been encouraging. I have lost 13-14 pounds. I do exercise four or five times a week. I ride my bike approximately 10 miles outdoors, row on my indoor rowing machine about 3 miles, swim 1/2 mile worth of laps, and do strength exercises. So, I am getting decent workouts. Of course, I have been exercising like that for many years, so it is definitely not the exercise that has prompted the weight loss. We try to eat healthy food, but we have not eliminated any particular food category from our diets. I can now get in clothing I haven’t been able to wear for years. We allow ourselves to have one cheat day a week, usually on Sundays. The last cheat day I realized that I had eaten too much food that day and I just didn’t feel that well. I have felt great, for the most part, although I did have a major arthritis flare-up but was still able to maintain this.

For me, one of the biggest advantages to this is that I don’t feel deprived. At all. I think the fact that I go without food for 16 hours has made me feel truly hungry at times and has contributed to my stomach getting smaller. There are a number of articles out that indicate there may be some health advantages to this type of eating plan, since the body gets a break from constantly eating and digesting. There is quite a bit of research, so you can look that up if interested.

Eating like this lets me try different foods and not feel limited. Many times I have tried to lose weight by following other approaches. I have done the food diary, have counted calories, etc., and while it may help many people, it did not help me. We will see if I can lose another 6 or 7 pounds by the end of the year.