Atkins had everyone inhaling bacon and waging a war on the breadbasket at their favorite Italian joint. The Hollywood Diet involved a miracle juice that promised celebrity physiques. I even stumbled upon a Blood Type Diet which urged people to eat foods selected by their DNA.
We are looking for a diet that lets us eat whatever we want. We leave in a fast paced, fast food world. It’s hard to squeeze in work, school, practices, deadlines, science projects, recitals, meetings, appointments and cooking meals. It’s possible, but reality checks will prove it to be a challenge.
The truth, according to most medical professionals, is that diets don’t work and if they do it will be a temporary weight loss. I spoke with my family physician on the subject when a new diet was thrown into the mix to break it down.
David Zinczenko, an editor of Men’s Health magazine, created his diet based on fasting. It’s a pretty simple concept…eat whatever you want in an 8 hour period and fast for remaining 16 hours. There are claims of seeing a 2-3 pound weekly weight loss at the hands of this scheduled pig out. Of course, there are other tips in the book that suggest “power foods” to eat and incorporating exercise.
However, my doctor wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I should mention that after I had my first two children I gained about 60 pounds. I was unhappy and was an emotional eater. I decided to make a change and ensure I was living a healthier lifestyle and setting a positive example for my kids. I think of them. For the first time in history, American children face a shorter life expectancy that their parents. It’s terrifying and I refuse to enable my children with excuses. So, I lost 48 pounds by changing the way I eat on a permanent level I exercise twice a week over the course of 3 years.
While the idea seems legit, there are concerns for the 8 Hour Diet. Here is a breakdown of the “good” and the “bad” that my doctor highlighted…
The Good: Following a rule of no eating after a certain time of day might help battle snack attacks.
However, the American Dietetic Association emphasizes that it’s not the timing but the amount being eaten that can cause weight gain. The problem is snacking before bed is a comfort/satisfaction issue. If your body doesn’t need those extra calories and you are eating out of desire instead of requirement, then it will turn to excess stored as fat no matter what time it is.
The Bad: On the other side of the coin, limiting your eating time frame could send your body into survival mode.
If you aren’t eating enough in the designated 8 hours, then your mode will store fuel to help you survive. It can also play with your mood. When you fast for more than 4 hours, sugar levels can drop and cause you to feel weak and cranky.
The Good: If know you only have a certain amount of time to eat, you are less likely to skip meals.
Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your daily diet. If you miss breakfast/lunch/dinner your metabolism has nothing to do. It then slows down with the lack of use. This is one of those myths that holds true to the “if you don’t use it, you lose it” myths.
The Bad: It could lead you into terrible eating habits…remember it’s about being healthy NOT just weight loss. This hit home with me. I like the idea of being able nom, nom, nom on whatever and as much as I wanted. During my weight loss, a friend supporting me told me, “You get what you give. Give your body junk and you get junk in your trunk.” I laughed, but she was insanely right. You might lose some weight, but you also increase your risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes when you eat without thought of saturated fats and calories.
The Bottom Line: Your body needs fuel and has a tank. It can overfill no matter when you are putting the fuel in the tank.If you need 2000 calories a day and eat 3000 then the excess is stored in some fashion. The 8-Hour Diet may be a short term solution to some, but all body types function differently.
PS – Your goal should be health which isn’t just defined by your weight. While that is a part of it, stuffing your face is never “good” and under-eating can be equally as dangerous.