Let's drop what you are eating for now. Never mind workouts, we'll hit that later. When to eat is the topic of this article. So let's tuck in.
I eat only between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. and rarely stray from this schedule. I've been at it a few years, so it has become an integrated part of my life and routine. These hours work best for me as I'm generally in bed by 10 or 11 p.m. This schedule ensures that I have stopped eating a good two hours before bed, with sixteen hours passing before my next meal.
We refer to this as, "intermittent fasting," and, by now, you've likely heard of it. A lot. It is all over social media. But this is not a fad diet. With fad diets come 200-page national best-selling instruction manuals. They are often complicated and difficult to follow, especially for the long haul. And many of them are downright unhealthy and results often not long-lasting. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know about those.
While volumes can be written about the benefits of intermittent fasting (please see linked video and articles below for more), learning how to follow such a diet doesn't require enrollment in a class on nutrition at your local community college adult education program. The fundamental principle and goal is to induce ketosis, daily.
Simply, when the body is in a state of ketosis it taps into our reserves (fat) as its fuel source for energy. This is great for both shedding that little extra weight, if that's what you're shooting for, and for maintaining a svelte physique. The main benefits I have reaped from this eating schedule are better sleep, more consistent energy throughout the day, and a much leaner muscle mass.
And what other benefits? It seems studies are revealing more and more. For example, I was just reading an article about how studies suggest it can increase the levels of HGH (human growth hormone) which leads to all kinds of cool benefits, including deceleration of the signs of aging and rejuvenation of our skin. One can get sucked into a google hole with all of this.
Frankly, we don't need to eat as much or as often as we think we do. Survival instinct insists otherwise, but it's really okay to be hungry and still not eat every now and then. But it is definitely something you that takes some time getting used to—and you can. So be patient and loving with yourself.
Operating under the assumption that you have no underlying health conditions that would go against such recommendation (diabetes, hypoglycemia, etc.), I suggest that you try eating only between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. (or adjust according to your sleep and daily life schedule) for the next few weeks and see what happens. For review and summary, the keys are:
- 16 hours between your first meal of the day and your last the day before
- 2 hours after your last meal of the day should pass before retiring to bed for the night
It can be a little difficult at first. You may get "hangry", and you're going to have to challenge that old "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" adage, suggesting we must break fast first thing in the morning. Malarky. But this meal schedule can help tremendously with trimming down and having more consistent energy levels throughout the day. And studies suggest it may lead to a longer and healthier life.
The information on this site is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
- Read The Benefits of Fasting by Katie Holmes, lead editor at OutwitTrade.
- Watch this video from Tech Insider which summarizes intermittent fasting and its benefits really well. I had intended to publish a video of my own, but they pretty much nailed it.
- Read Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update, by Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School. It will provide greater details the studies behind intermittent fasting and its short and long-term benefits.
Update, October 3rd, 2021, 10:51am (MST): Check out a couple comments in a brief conversation on the Instagram for a little more information and important point someone brought up.