It never fails that each new year brings out a new “diet.” It’s usually something that has gained traction the previous year and is set to bring us all health and great bodies in the new year.
Even Weight Watchers, which had success for many years with a little tweaking, decided to rebrand to WW in 2018, trying to cash in on possibly being the diet to do that year. It slowly has brought back a lot of its basically principles and is yet another piece of proof that the basics might be best.
Some of these plans, such as Keto and Atkins, have had doctors coming out with studies that show they can possibly harmful. What happens more often is that they are simply too hard to follow, and any weight lost comes right back on. Then, we all wait for the next great thing.
I usually pass over these diets as fads that will fade. I happen to be a believer in calories in, calories out. If I want to lose weight, I eat less or exercise more. I know this sounds too simple to be sold to anyone, but it tends to work for very solid reasons.
This year has brought to the forefront something which definitely has me talking: Intermittent Fasting. The reason I’m so perplexed by this one is because it’s not a diet. It involves no measuring or eliminating. It is a lifestyle change, but not one for me. It’s exactly what I do almost every day!
Even though Intermittent Fasting may not be what everyone else does, isn’t it a way of eating we’ve all be told to follow for the last 100 years? Hasn’t every one of us been given the advice that the best way of losing weight is to stop eating after 7:00 pm?
This article by The New York Times, touches the surface of the point: “What Is Intermittent Fasting and Does It Really Work?”
The thing which makes this plan most difficult to argue with that you can’t follow it. It’s as simple as setting your alarm clock. As the author of the NYT piece says, “Time-restricted feeding — fasting overnight and into the next morning — is likely the easiest form of fasting to comply with.”
It’s true. There are no forbidden foods, calorie counting, restrictions, or even forced exercise. The basic plan is all about not eating for at least 12 hours.
This brings me back to my initial point — isn’t this what we’re doing anyway? I certainly am. I rarely eat anything after 7:00 pm and before 9:00 am. That’s an intermittent fast right there. I spend 14 hours without eating any food — and have been for a good part of my life.
I confess that my “fast” was probably closer to 10 hours before I developed GERD (Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease) and couldn’t go to sleep within hours of eating. Did that change make a difference to the rest of my health and body type? Probably not, at least not anything that I noticed.
Now, some of these Intermittent Fasting suggestions are much more drastic. This story from Good Housekeeping discusses the 16:8 plan, “you spend 16 hours of each day consuming nothing but unsweetened beverages like water, coffee, and tea. The remaining eight-hour window is when you eat all of your meals and snacks.”
That form of Intermittent Fasting does not have such consistent results, although the article notes a 2018 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating “suggests that a 16:8 fasting plan can help obese dieters lose weight without having to count every single calorie they eat.”
The bottom line is the same as it has always been, the less drastic the diet the more chance that you will stick with it the rest of your life as a plan. What better plan could there be than that voice (whether it was your mother or your doctor) who always said, “don’t eat after 7:00 pm?”
Everyone should check with their doctor before making any major changes in your diet. Unless you are diabetic and can’t go long periods without food, Intermittent Fasting is an easy one for most to do. I just wouldn’t expect to see a major change in your waist circumference or health, because it’s probably very close to what most of us do anyway.