I tried the eight hour diet three months ago. I was at my parents house one afternoon and my mom was on her first day of this diet. I had never even heard of it and I was intrigued because I’m always in for trying something new, especially if there is some research behind it. So I looked it up and read reviews and the research associated with the concept and decided I’d give it a try.
The premise is pretty easy. You eat eight hours out of the day and fast for sixteen. You can pick whichever eight hours work best for you as long as you stick to those hours or at least always have sixteen hours of fasting. The book says that you can eat whatever you want during those eight hours but don’t try to cram as many calories as possible, in other words don’t overeat. The research exposed says that their are many health benefits to fasting such as lowering the risk for dementia, heart disease, and diabetes and that during those sixteen hours your body will have a chance to properly process nutrients and get rid of toxins. Sounded good to me and seemed to make sense, give our body a break to do it’s job and it will do it better.
So I started on a Tuesday around 11 am, I chose to eat my first meal pretty late in the morning so that I could eat later into the night. I did this diet without cheating on the fasting part for three weeks. The second morning was hard as I had stopped eating at 7 pm on Tuesday and wanted to go all they way until 12 pm Wednesday so that I could have my last meal around 8 pm that night. So my first fast was actually seventeen hours, and I was starving and had a headache. I was drinking lots of water to try and silence the hunger pains. It got easier over time to push off the hunger. I went until 2 pm so days so that I could have dinner and wine with my husband later at night. I didn’t go crazy and eat burgers, fries, pizza and junk non stop, but I also didn’t practice my typical healthy habits. I would eat sandwiches with…wait for it….bread. I even had fried rice one night and pizza another. But for the most part I stayed within a reasonable calorie range, I did drink alcoholic beverages within the eight hour period and the book says to limit them, which I really didn’t do.
I found that this diet was pretty easy to stick to and I liked the idea of limiting the amount of time I could eat because I consumed less. I did however feel like I needed to eat even when I wasn’t hungry just because I was within my eight eating hours. Which I don’t think it is ever a good idea to eat when you are not hungry. I didn’t lose weight doing this diet so after three full weeks I quit.
Would I lose weight if I didn’t drink alcohol while on this diet? Maybe, but I also realize anytime I cut the extra calories of alcohol out of my diet I lose weight. Did I lose weight fasting 16 to 18 hours a day? No.
I just don’t think the idea behind eating whatever you want for eight hours a day is healthy. If you eat terribly during those eight hours you might even gain weight and you certainly won’t be giving your body a healthy rest because it will be working too hard to overcome all the unhealthy junk you are throwing at it. If you cut down the hours you eat and the calories you eat then of course you would lose weight…but that can be done without focusing on fasting for a certain amount of time.
One note about fasting….I think the health benefits of fasting go beyond weight loss and I believe it is a great way to help rid your body of impurities and if you can do it, fasting for any period of time has been shown to have many healthy benefits. There are many fasting diets out there and cleansing programs that can help you discover the wellness effects of a fast. See my post about intermittent dieting (IF Dieting) for more about the benefits and research associated with fasting..