Who doesn’t? We spend billions of dollars and time on fad diets and weight loss. Yet, are often left bereft.
But, there might be an easier (and free) way to approach weight loss.
Compelling research suggest the key to success may eating more fiber throughout the day and eating dinner earlier. And, of course, adding some exercise.
I experienced this personally in college because I had no choice but to eat dinner early at 4 pm a few days a week. Combined with more walking around the campus of University of Georgia, this eating pattern made me lose weight effortlessly versus gaining the dreaded freshman 10 or 20 pounds.
Yes, I lost weight freshman year!
Research now shows I was on to something. Little did I know this early eating was a style of Intermittent Fasting (IE), an effective eating pattern to boost weight loss.
The key is to give your body more time to process the food you consume before piling more junk on top of what you already ate or drank.
Your body will love you for the extra time to deal with what it has to process to keep you healthy! Eating earlier in the evening helps your sleep too.
Ideally, with IE, you have an 11-12 or 14-16 hour window where you don’t eat.
That college 4 pm too early? I know that’s tough if you do not have a dining hall, personal chef, or meal waiting for you at home (think slow cooker instead). But with planning could you do 6 pm-6 am? Or 7 pm-8 am?
Plus, IE has a load of AMAZING health benefits. See what the Godfather of Sports Medicine, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, has to say:
There are several options for IE. I suggest KISS.
Keep it simple sexy.
Eat dinner much earlier like I did in college (say 4 pm or 6 pm) 3 days a week, and stop munching after dinner. Drink water, seltzer or Sleepytime tea, and do something to keep your booty out of the kitchen.
Need a more detailed plan? I consulted my friend Barret Butler, RD, LD, MPH, for her professional advice on IE.
She tested a bunch of diets on her friends and clients a few years ago. Out of ALL the diets she tried, the most success and sustained weight loss was with a high fiber version of IE.
Her 3 step plan:
1. Eat three meals a day and one afternoon snack.
2. Avoid alcohol from Monday-Friday.
3. Two nights a week, finish eating dinner by 5 pm.
Breakfast (protein, healthy fat, fruit or toast) Ex. Egg, avocado, toast, or blueberries/grapefruit.
Lunch (protein, healthy fat, big salad) Ex. Chicken, salmon, or tofu on a salad with oil & vinegar dressing.
Afternoon Snack Ex. A handful of good nuts (walnuts) and kombucha or green tea.
Dinner (protein, steamed, boiled, grilled veggies, or a big salad). Ex. Chicken, Fish, Steak, or Beans, on top of grilled (or oven roasted) peppers, broccoli, squash, asparagus. Yum!
Extra boost: No grains or white treats after 1 pm (so if you want your bread or quinoa…get in one serving at breakfast and lunch…..before 1pm).
Protein should be the size of your palm.
Healthy fats are a teaspoon of avocado, natural peanut butter, 1/4 c pumpkin seeds, 1/4 c walnuts. Blueberries are rockstars for your fruit with all their phytochemicals and fiber. Have a cup a day at breakfast. If you have to have a glass of wine or beer after the weekday, ok. Keep it at one glass of robust red wine or a beer you can savor within your window.
Eat dinner earlier: Finish dinner by 5 or 6 pm 2 or 3 days a week.
Eat more veggies: Loads of benefits.
Move it. Take a walk after dinner, call a friend and move around the house. This will help move food and nutrients through your body. Then have a cup of sleepy time tea and relax with a book, juicy mag, Epsom Salt bath, or your favorite show. Yeah, turn off the scrolling so your brain went scroll at night.
The day is done. Good job, friend!