Time Restricted Eating
I‘m going to be honest with you.
I’m a bit of a pig.
I love food. I mean I really love food. Good food, bad food any food. Before I found out about time restricted eating I would eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
The only reason I haven’t ended up the size of Maui from Moana is the fact that I’m ultra health conscious and I enjoy working out. This has always stopped me from contributing another percentile in the obesity epidemic that grips modern day society.
No matter how much I tried to stick to the latest diet that guaranteed me the elusive 6 pack I always wanted, my craving for my late night naughty snack would always win the battle.
Until I discovered a diet that actually works but isn’t actually a diet.
Enter time restricted eating!
The reason I mentioned it’s not a diet in the traditional sense, is that it doesn’t actually focus on what you eat but more importantly, when you eat.
Time restricted eating is a way of eating that follows the body’s internal clock, which is known as the circadian rhythm.
Recurring naturally on a 24 hour cycle, every cell in the human body follows a circadian rhythm which governs when a cell is most metabolically active, when hormones are produced, when repair process are activated and more.
Restricting food to a certain time period of 8-12 hours allows the body to self repair itself overnight leading to many health benefits.
- Improved sleep
- Improved brain function and lower risk of dementia
- Stronger cardiovascular system
- Improved heart health
- Better management of blood sugar levels and lower risk of developing diabetes
- Improved control over appetite hormones including leptin and ghrelin
- Improved lean muscle mass
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced risk of cancer
And the list goes on!
There have been many scientific studies carried out on mice, heralded by Dr Satchin Panda,which show some very interesting findings.
What they found was that mice fed a high fat, high sugar diet gained 21% more body weight than mice on the same diet who were strictly fed their calories within a 9 hour window.
The mice that were fed a high fat, high sugar diet in the 9 hour window also became physiologically more healthy and their blood biomarkers went back to almost normal range.
This clearly shows that it may not be WHAT you eat, but WHEN.
All these studies were carried out on mice, I hear you say.
Well read on for some shocking statistics.
Random eating patterns shown in shift workers indicates a large percentage that suffer highly with gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
So much so that the number one killer amongst fire fighters isn’t actually fighting fire but cardiovascular diseases as a result of their eating patterns.
There is also a mountain of evidence connecting shift work with all kinds of cancers. The World Health Organization has even gone as far as to classify shift work as carcinogenic stating: “shift work that involves circadian disruption is probably carcinogenic to humans”.
If that is not enough to make you start paying attention to your circadian clock then I’ll let you in on what initially sparked my interest.
The stat that really got me intrigued was the fact that mice who ate a relatively healthy diet on time restricted eating had an increase in lean muscle mass, and in true Quickness Fitness fashion, I wanted to test this out for myself.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Any food or drink that isn’t water has to be consumed within a 8-12 hour window. Meaning, if you have your first coffee at 7am, you will realistically need to eat around 5pm but no later than 7pm. The jury is still out on if the first coffee counts as breaking your fast, but airing on the side of caution I’ve decided to count it in.
Initially this is something I struggled with for 3 reasons:
- I would look forward to my morning coffee
- I wouldn’t be able to function before I had my hit of early morning caffeine.
- I wouldn’t get home till after 6pm and by the time I sat down to eat most nights it would be after 7pm.
What I started to find, which is very common among people who follow this form of intermittent fasting, is that after a few days I noticed that I was no longer waking up groggy and suffering from what I now know to be a ‘Food Hangover’.
Instead, I would wake up feeling fresh and fully rested, no longer needing that coffee to wake up, so I cut it out. Now I have a coffee at around 10am, purely for the fact that I enjoy a good Americano.
Delaying the start of the metabolic process now means that I’m eating within at least a 9 hour window, which seems to be the optimum amount of time to fully benefit from the protocol.
DOES TIME RESTRICTED EATING WORK?
For me it has been a game changer.
Before I started I was relatively lean because of my work output and semi clean lifestyle. The problem I had was I felt like I could get away with eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and the late night binges became a really bad habit.
Initially there was some adjusting, where I played around with times to find what suited me best and experimented with how many days a week I would follow time restricted eating.
There is evidence to suggest that not following the process once or maybe twice a week, you may still have the overall health benefits of time restricted eating, but I’ve found that sticking to it every day works better for me.
It becomes a great unconscious habit and I feel like I’m now the captain of my own ship, not being controlled by cravings or bad habits and it’s a great feeling.
I mentioned that you wake up alert and ready to take on the day, but throughout your day you also feel energetic and your mind is clear. I’m longer have to fight through the afternoon crash and the constant distraction of food on my mind and the uncomfortable feeling of hunger throughout the day has gone.
Like I said, following time restricted eating has been the biggest game changer for me. I am in the best shape I’ve ever been and I can finally see my abs. Something that has always eluded me for over 20 years.
What might surprise you is that I never do any abdominal exercises and I work out less than an hour a week.
Is it just the amazing fat burning qualities of time restricted eating or is it the fact that I’m eating cleaner and not binging on carbs at night. Or is it both those things combined with the daily short intensive workouts thrown into the mix.
That I can’t answer, but it’s by far the best formula I have found.I’m sticking with it and I hope you jump on board too!
Watch the video below to hear Dr Rhonda Patrick talk more about time restricted eating.