Time Restricted Eating

Time restricted eating or time restricted feeding is a method of Intermittent Fasting, sometimes referred to as “eating windows”. Instead of saying what (or what not) to eat, it says when to eat. Simply put, it requires consuming all the daily calories (through meals, drinks and snacks) within a set time frame. The time frame depends on the individual but the most popular range to eat is between 6 and 12 hours a day, this provides a fasting time of between 12 and 18 hours each day. Because there is no restriction in terms of the types and amount of food you can eat on this “diet”, it may be more sustainable.

Restricting when you eat may lead to weight loss by reducing the amount of time in a day that you can eat, so instead of being able to graze from waking up until going to bed, you eat only within a specific time period. Please note, this is not the case for everyone – some people a quite comfortable “packing” all of their calories into a smaller eating window. Weight loss is only likely to occur if you reduce your overall calorie intake.

What I’ll try

I will try a variety of time restrictions;
12 hour window (eat between 8pm-8am)
10 hour window (eat between 9am and 7pm) – Studies show that a 10 hour eating window led to weight loss, reduced abdominal fat, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
8 hour window (eat between 11am and 7pm) – this is also known as 16:8. There is also a protocol called Lean gains which follows this eating schedule but is focused on muscle building and the daily calorie amount and macronutrient composition changes depending on the activity level on that day

12 hour window

This isn’t too far off what I do at the moment, however, it will curb any late night snacking that I may or may not have become accustomed to during this weird time were all going through at the moment πŸ™„

Verdict after a day: Very easy for me to do, a nice breakfast with coffee at 8am followed by a day of normal eating until dinner/supper at around 7.30pm – no dessert/snacks after that. Would be super easy to stick to.

10 hour window

I’m not expecting this to cause too much trouble for me, perhaps I will have to delay breakfast by an hour or 2 to fit in with our usual routine as we tend to eat a bit later on an evening since moving to Dubai.

Verdict after a day: No problem. We had a nice early dinner of sushi which filled me nicely and I didn’t feel tempted to have any late night snacks. Would be easy to stick to.

8 hour window

With this narrowing of the eating window, I expect to find it slightly more difficult and require more forward thinking, and would likely require skipping a meal (something I’m not really accustomed to).

Verdict after a day: This is much easier if you have a lay in! Delaying breakfast until lunch time and having a protein filled early dinner left me satiated. I’m unsure how this would fit in with my usual wake up routine on a long term basis – I’d have to keep myself busy to forget about missing a meal.

Other options

6 hour window (eat between 12noon and 6pm)
4 hour window (eat between 3pm and 6pm) – this is the most restrictive and is also know as the Warrior Diet

Points to note

  • Only drink ZERO calorie drinks outside of the eating window – think water, black (of green) tea or black coffee
  • Do not sugar/milk/creamer to any tea/coffee that you drink outside of your eating window
  • No alcohol to be drunk outside of the eating window – although there isn’t any nutritional benefit to alcohol, there’s still calories!
  • No sweetened soft drinks outside of the eating window
  • To get maximum benefit, try not to see the time as a reason to feast! Just because it is coming up to the time for you so start fasting shouldn’t mean you try and cram in as much as possible… You will not starve – you’ll be eating again tomorrow!