How Does the 8-Hour Diet Work?
The 8-hour diet is also known as the 16:8-hour diet—16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. It is based on the idea that the body was designed to run best with periods of eating followed by periods of fasting.
The science is there for this diet. There’s a lot of research that show this is a more natural way for humans to eat. Think of the hunt and the daily kill. Early man probably didn’t eat until he made his kill for the day or collected the food to be eaten. There weren’t a lot of food storage opportunities, so everyone probably did some sort of exercise before eating and then ate a big meal later in the day and ate their fill.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
How to Lose Weight on the 8-Hour Diet
- Eat all of your daily calories during an 8-hour period. Choose a time-frame that works for you. For example, you can eat breakfast at 9 a.m. and then be finished eating for the day by 5 p.m. You could eat your first meal at noon and be finished eating by 8 p.m. Whatever hours you feel would work best with your schedule. Your 8-hour window does not need to be the same every day.
- You can eat whatever you want on this diet. No foods are forbidden. Just eat your normal meals and make sure you eat an appropriate portion. Don’t overdo it and don’t binge.
- Avoid sugary beverages. They’re just empty calories.
- Try to get some exercise in before the eating window begins. Exercise will supercharge fat loss.
- Drink lots of water, whenever you like. You can (and should!) drink water during the 16 fasting hours, but you can’t drink anything else during the fast period.
Don’t Skip Lunch!
Is This Diet Healthy?
In early 2017 the University of Southern California released a study showing that intermittent fasting—or eating only during prescribed windows of time–can reduce the risk of getting some major diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Intermittent Fasting Is Controversial
There is debate, however, about whether this approach leads to sustainable weight loss. Also, nutritionists question whether diets like this one just teach people how to deal with fasts, and not how to develop healthy eating habits. Some nutritionists worry that intermittent fasting will encourage eating disorders and raises cortisol levels.
Where Did This Diet Come From?
Developed by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore, this diet was published as a book in 2013. The 8 Hour Diet offers other tools, like a list of “power foods” to eat that are supposed to boost your metabolism and other tips that are supposed to make the diet even more effective, but I just did the basic diet.
Exercise on This Diet? Yes!
If you exercise before you eat for the day, it makes sense that it would super-charge your fat loss. If you haven’t eaten for 16 hours, then you aren’t going to have any calories from food remaining in your system, so your body will have no choice but to burn its fat stores while you exercise.
Eight minutes is really the minimum amount of time you should exercise. I believe that if you can handle more than you should do more, but listen to your body. If you’re feeling dizzy or run down, keep the workout short and simple.
Eat a Full Dinner
Why I Chose to Do the 8-Hour Diet
At this point in my life, I’m eating when I wake up, right before I go to sleep, and way too much in between!
Back when I was skinny (about 75 lbs lighter than I am today!) I found that when I ate breakfast, I ate more all day long and gained weight, but when I skipped breakfast, I ate less and lost, or maintained, my weight. I did a diet similar to the 8-hour plan before by simply not eating until lunch every day. It’s been a long time since I’ve followed that pattern, or even paid that close attention to my weight, hunger, or eating habits. But I do believe that going back to that method will be beneficial for me. I’m excited to see the results at the end of the week.
My Results After One Week on the 8-Hour Diet
- Day 1: 200.5 (BMI 31.5) 5’7″
- Day 7: 193.6 (BMI 30.3)
I found this diet to be supremely easy to follow. There was really only one day where I even felt hungry during my 16 fasting hours. That being said, it’s hard to expect much in results. I still ate pizza and had a cheeseburger, but I did almost no snacking because during my usual snacking hours my “window” was closed, and when my window was open, I didn’t snack much either because I had either just had lunch or dinner.
During the diet I felt better, less bloated and heavy, and I had more energy. Because I didn’t feel so full and sluggish all the time, I was in a better mood and did more things around the house. I also got more sleep. This was a strange side effect. You see, I used to wait for my kids and husband to go to bed and have a snack and a soda. But since I couldn’t do that, I was sleeping before midnight most nights.
This is great diet. It offers many health benefits for someone like me who doesn’t eat very well in general. For someone who is already healthy and not snacking very much, I imagine that the weight loss won’t come off as fast as it has for me, but it still would have the other benefits. Not having that heavy morning meal is great. The body adjusts easily and quickly and the morning hunger can be quickly quenched with a glass of water and a task that takes your mind off of the hunger.
I think the nearly 7 pounds I lost speak for themselves! You certainly can lose weight effortlessly by simply adjusting your eating schedule.
Article excerpt from CalorieBee