What do you hate most about dieting?
When I am counting calories, measuring my portion sizes or eliminating certain food I can get pretty crazy. All of that thought about food makes me want to eat food! I think I may have actually found something that works for me, despite my apprehension. Let me just say, I am not a dietician, nutritionist or a physician. I am only telling you what has proven to work for me.
No person is created equal, which means that no nutrition and eating plan will work the same for all. I have tried many eating styles, many of which work to achieve my goal at the time. I ate a paleo diet while pregnant and shortly after, I have done portion control diets that allow all types of foods, I have done a sugar detox.. you name it I have probably done it.
Two things I have learned about myself; strict elimination only makes me binge in the end, and if you give me a little wiggle room with my food I can talk myself into eating anything!
So what am I up to now? I recently listened to a podcast about interval fasting. I have to say I was skeptical, in disbelief that I could actually do it, and anxious to try!
So let me break it down for you. Basically you calculate your macros, or for simplicity sake, the calories you are allowed each day within each food group, and you eat them in a small window within a 24 hour period.
I have never done any of my own research, only studied how it has affected me. First of all, I can tell you the only down fall I have encountered is when there is a social function at a meal time. It is tricky to avoid eating when everyone around you is.
On to the positives! If you have ever dieted you may recall that you are never really full. Let me tell you, eating a days worth of food in 3 hours is sure to make you satisfied. Also, knowing that I am not eating until a certain time is cut and dry. No eating means no eating, not “I’ll have just one that leads to a whole bag.” It is amazing how much you eat without even realizing it. A bite here and a kids leftover there.
Moving past what I am not doing, lets talk about all the water I drink. I easily drink 7 shaker bottles of water each day. Most of the time when you think you are hungry you are actually thirsty anyway! I have also been a little more lenient with what I eat, allowing what I may have previously eliminated with other eating lifestyles. When I only have 3 hours to eat I can’t do that much damage right?!?
I know what you are thinking, how do you only eat 3 out of 24 hours? Let me just say I started with a 16 hour fast, eating 8 hours. I only did this a few days a week to adjust my mindset. I slowing added fasting hours and the number of days I would commit to doing it. I am currently up to 6 days a week of eating 3-4 hours, typically 4-8. The toughest part is stopping again once I start.
So what is my motivation? I can honestly say I have a flatter stomach now than I have in a long time. I have not changed my calorie intake, only my eating time. On the 7th day I still eat clean and stay within my macros, but I will occasionally indulge. With that being said, My recovery from a cheat day is a lot faster and easier with this eating style as well. Also, I am a lot more productive during my fasting time because I am not distracted by food and meal breaks.
If you want all of the ins and outs of how and why this works, check out The Chalene Show’s podcast with Dr. Sara Soloman. She has done the research and explains perfectly the concept.
Like I said, this is not an eating style that would work for everyone. I am a personal trainer, however I have no official education in nutrition. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below! I would love to hear if you try it out as well.