Time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting is not a new concept, but it recently has become a popular strategy to lose weight. There are many potential health benefits of time restricted eating beyond weight loss due to an improvement in metabolic health, reduced inflammation and decrease in insulin resistance. This blog will focus specifically on why and how time-restricted eating can be a great tool for weight loss.
What is time-restricted eating?
Time-restriction is not a diet, it is a way of describing meal patterns and timing. It describes how long people eat rather than specifying what to eat. The idea is that you will alternate between set times you eat (“eating window”) with times you avoid food (“fasting window”). An example of time-restricted eating would be an 8-hour eating window in which you choose to eat your meals between 9AM and 5PM. The additional 16 hours of the day is the “fast.”
Some popular examples of time-restriction include:
· 16:8-You fast for 16 hours and then eat during an 8-hour window every day.
· OMAD (one meal a day)-You fast for 23 hours and then eat one meal over a one-hour window.
· Warrior Diet-You fast for 20-hour and have a 4-hour eating window.
Why does it matter if you keep your eating window narrow?
When you are fasting, your insulin levels are able to drop which should allow your body to use body fat as energy. When you are eating, insulin is produced and your body stores energy while shutting off fat burning. A good goal is to fuel your body in your eating window and allow for your insulin to drop in your fasting window to allow for fat burning.
What is the best way to start?
If you are interested in exploring time restriction, start off by determining your current eating window and meal frequency. Many people eat breakfast very early and may have a pre-bedtime snack along with other meals and snacks throughout the day. If your eating window is 12-15 hours, do not try to limit your eating window to 8 hours right away. You can gradually narrow your eating window over time. Many people find 16:8 to be the easiest way to start, and you can decide if you want to do this daily or even just a few days per week. One of the nice things about time-restricted eating is you can plan your eating window around what works best in your life.
In my coming blog posts I will further explore time-restriction benefits and discuss obstacles. If you are interested in learning more, please subscribe to my blog.