My Experience With the 8-Hour Diet
The 8-Hour Diet Basics
The 8-hour diet was designed with the idea that the body was designed to run best with periods of eating followed by periods of fasting. With this particular plan it's 8 hours eating and 16 hours fasting.
- All of the person's daily calories are to be consumed ONLY during the 8-hour period. That period can be chosen to best suit the dieter, so you can eat from 12-8 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Whatever hours you feel would work best with your schedule.
- You can eat whatever you want on this diet. No foods are forbidden. Just eat your normal meals (example breakfast and lunch) and make sure you eat an appropriate portion. Don't overdo it and don't binge.
- Avoid sugary beverages and do not consume empty calories in drinks.
- The dieter should try to get some exercise in before the eating window begins. This supercharges fat loss.
- Drink lots of water whenever you like. You can (and should!) drink water during the 16 fasting hours.
- Eat as many of the "power foods" as possible to increase weight loss.
Why I Chose to Do the 8-Hour Diet
I thought this would be a good start to my "52 Diets in 52 Weeks" challenge. This diet is one of those diets that you don’t believe will work because it seems too easy. The main idea is that you eat normally for eight hours a day and then you don’t eat at all (or fast) the other 16 hours. They also suggest you exercise for eight minutes before breaking the fast. Doing this mini-workout is supposed to help super-charge fat burning.
It all makes sense. If you’re eating in just an eight hour window you are going to eat less than you would if you were eating for 16 hours a day and fasting for 8. At this point in my life, I’m eating when I wake up, right before I go to sleep, and way too much in between!
The science is there for this diet. There’s a lot of research that says this is a more natural way for humans to eat. Think of the hunt and the daily kill. Early man probably didn’t eat until he made his kill for the day or collected the food to be eaten. There weren’t a lot of food storage opportunities. So everyone probably did some sort of exercise before eating and then ate a big meal later in the day and ate their fill.
If you exercise before you eat for the day, it makes sense that it would super-charge your fat loss. If you haven’t eaten for 16 hours, then you aren’t going to have any calories from food remaining in your system, so your body will have no choice but to burn its fat stores while you exercise. Eight minutes is really the minimum amount of time you should exercise. I believe that if you can handle more than you should do more, but listen to your body. If you’re feeling dizzy or run down, keep the workout short and simple
Back when I was skinny (about 75 lbs lighter than I am today!) I found that when I ate breakfast, I ate more all day long and gained weight, but when I skipped breakfast, I ate less and lost or maintained my weight. I have done a diet similar to this before by simply not eating until lunch every day. It’s been a long time since I’ve followed that pattern or even paid that close attention to my weight, hunger, or eating habits. But I do believe going back to that method will be beneficial for me and an easy way to transition into a year of dieting. I’m excited to see where my results are at the end of the week.
This diet also has some other things in it, like foods to eat that are supposed to boost your metabolism and some other things that are supposed to make the diet even more effective, but I’m really just going to do the basic diet. From the online reviews I’ve read on this diet, it works, and it’s a favorite diet of many fitness buffs.
Results: I Lost Almost Six Pounds
- Day 1: 200.5 lbs (Yikes! Up 23 lbs. in 6 months!)
- Day 7: 193.6
January 2 - I've been on the diet for two days and I must say that it's about the easiest "diet" I've ever been on. I didn't break my fast until 2:00 p.m. Then I had some nachos at 2:00. For dinner I had two tacos at 6:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m. I had about half a bag of cheesy popcorn. I had no hunger or anything. On January 1 it was easy too, and I had some frozen pizza for a late lunch and some turkey and stuffing for dinner. Half a piece of pie in between.
Honestly, I don't feel like I'm eating any different than I usually do, but I am. I'm eating quite a bit less because I eat for eight fewer hours a day. Even though I'm eating the same stuff and the same amount of stuff as I would for lunch and dinner, I'm still probably eating half as much as before! The best part is I don't feel hungry or deprived or even like I'm on a diet at all. You can't beat a diet that doesn't feel like I diet. Even though I don't feel like I'm dieting, I do believe I will lose a decent amount of weight this week. I'll let you know the results on the morning of the 8th!
January 4 - I'm enjoying all the comments on the bottom of the page. Like another reader I am finding that I feel less bloated and lighter in general. I wasn't going to weigh myself until the week was over, but I couldn't help but weigh myself this morning. I'm down 5 lbs! That was very easy!
I was very hungry this morning. That's the first time I've been hungry. I didn't eat very much yesterday. My 8-hour window closed and we had company there, so I didn't really get to eat my evening meal. I had a little bit to eat before the company came. Now it's 3:30 in the afternoon and I still haven't eaten because my "window" didn't open up until 2 and I've been at work. Although at this point I'm no longer feeling hungry, so I must not have been as hungry as I felt this morning. I probably won't get a chance to eat now until around 7PM. So that will be over 24 hours fasting.
There was a lady who commented who seemed to think this diet is disgusting and said what good is it if you are still eating cheese laden pizza. Well, for one thing, I was eating cheese laden pizza anyway. Now I'm eating LESS cheese laden pizza. There has to be some health benefits to that, right? haha
I actually believe this diet has a lot more to offer than a gimmick; it "rests" your digestive system, you eat less, and you are more aware of the fact that you weren't actually eating from real "hunger" before you started this diet. That's been the revelation for me. I wasn't actually hungry when I was eating first thing in the morning every day. Why stuff calories in a body that isn't asking for them? It's nice to learn that you can go quite a long stretch "fasting" without feeling any serious hunger pangs. I really feel a bit more in control of my hunger now.
At any rate, eating fewer hours a day isn't going to hurt me. There will probably be many diets that are much worse that I will try in my 52 diets in 52 weeks experiment! And I do wish that I could afford a trainer and a gym membership and all of those nice things that keep the wealthy in shape, but with 4 kids and a couple of mortgages, that's not going to happen for me! For all those trying this diet; good luck to us all! Hope you find weight loss painless and simple this time around!
The Results of the 8-Hour Diet
So my first week of 52 diets in 52 weeks was a lot of fun. I didn't expect much out of the 8 hour diet. I mainly picked that diet so I could sort of ease into the idea of dieting while not drastically changing what I eat, just when I eat.
I found the diet to be supremely easy to follow. There was really only one day where I even felt hungry during my 16 fasting hours. That being said, it's hard to expect much in results. I still ate pizza and had a cheeseburger, but I did almost no snacking because during my usual snacking hours my "window" was closed, and when my window was open, I didn't snack much either because I had either just had lunch or dinner.
During the diet I felt better. I felt less bloated and heavy. I had more energy and felt better in general. Because I didn't feel so full and sluggish all the time I was in a better mood and did more things around the house. I also got more sleep. This was a strange side effect. You see, I used to wait for my kids and husband to go to bed and have a snack and a soda. But since I couldn't do that, I was sleeping before midnight most nights while before I was awake until nearly 2 due to not being tired.
The verdict: A great diet. It offers many health benefits for those who have pretty awful diets like me. For someone who is already healthy and not snacking very much I imagine the weight loss won't come off as fast as it has for me, but it still would have the other benefits. Not having that heavy morning meal is great. The body adjusts easily and quickly and the morning hunger can be quickly quenched with a glass of water and a task that takes your mind off of the hunger.
Results - Start - 200.5 (BMI 31.5) 5'7"
Finish - 193.6 (BMI 30.3)
I think the nearly 7 lbs I lost speak for themselves! You certainly can lose weight effortlessly by simply adjusting your eating schedule. I am sad to move on to a new diet today, but I definitely believe this is a diet I will come back to in years to come when I need to lose a few pounds!
I haven't done this diet in a couple weeks, but it's still my favorite. I really enjoy reading everyone's comments and I wish there was a way that I could make the comment section even more interactive for all of you.
For those of you on the 8 hour diet I want to just comment on one thing. Those of you having milk or creamer in your morning coffee are greatly inhibiting this diet's ability to do it's magic. The big thing is that after your body burns up all your calories it goes into Ketosis and starts burning fat. As soon as you consume calories again it quits burning fat. That's why this diet works. Even the small amount of calories in your coffee can sabotage this diet. You will likely still lose, but not as quickly as if you hadn't had those calories. If you are okay with your weight loss, then I wouldn't worry about it, but if you want lose more or faster, cut out the morning creamer or milk, or the coffee all together. As a caffeine addict, I feel your pain though!
More Reading on the 8-Hour Diet
- The 8 Hour Diet, Power foods Listing and Review
An overview of the 8 hour diet by someone who has tried it. A great solution for the long-term dieter.