Lately I’ve been hearing quite a bit about different methods of eating with a specific schedule. One of those methods that seems to be a hot topic is in this article. It’s referred to as “intermittent fasting”. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a method of eating that involves eating all of your meals in a specific period of time and then fasting for the rest of the time. In the example mentioned above, it shows a schedule of fasting after waking until 12 p.m. and then fasting again after 6 p.m. The idea is that it’s condensing the number of hours you spend eating to one selected portion of the day, without reducing the amount of calories you consume. Some of the information that’s out there suggests that there are many benefits to this eating schedule, including adjustment of metabolism and hunger cravings, just to name a couple.
The first time I read about this technique, it didn’t seem that big of a deal. I thought, “Well, I’ve had clients in the past tell me that they can’t stand to eat first thing in the morning, and I know that it’s not always the best idea to eat late into the night, so this might be pretty easy to do.” Then I saw another piece about it here, from someone who shared his personal experience with intermittent fasting. After reading it, I started thinking about how difficult this might be if one were used to eating every two hours, which is a commonly advised technique. In fact, I started to wonder if I could do this. <I haven’t actually tried it, I’ve just wondered!>
There are different types of fasting, however. And some of them make the 6 – 8 hour blocks look easy. This article talks about the variations. Interestingly, it’s made clear from everything I’ve looked at regarding intermittent fasting that the type of foods that should be eaten during this kind of eating plan should only be whole, unprocessed foods. So that doesn’t differ from what I would recommend at all times, regardless of when you eat!
Is this type of eating for everyone? Definitely not. As I tell my clients, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to anything in life. This includes eating, movement, and overall lifestyle habits. Is it worth trying for some? Perhaps. Different things work for different people. Some people swear by front-loading their calories for the day up front and having their meals get smaller as the day goes on. Some folks are on a schedule that has them sleeping through the early morning hours and awake only for the late afternoon and nighttime hours, so their mealtimes look different than those of someone who sleeps only during the nighttime hours.
No matter what you try, the biggest thing to remember is to LISTEN to your body. You’ll know when something is working and when it isn’t.