I recently have been reading about yet another new diet plan called the "8 Hour Diet." In general I pretty much ignore the latest diet fads, as I have long known that they are usually more of the same. Pretty much any diet will work in some way – at least short-term – but will it be the lasting long term change you are looking for? Likely not…and in some cases these diet fads can be dangerous.
I enjoy reading David Zinczenko’s segments on “Eat This, Not That” as it provides great tips for people who may not be aware of some of the hidden calories, fat, etc in the foods they regularly eat, particularly with regard to eating out. However when I read about this new diet, I was really bothered by it. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the focus is on eating all your food for the day within a particular 8-hour window (of your choosing), thereby allowing your body 16 hours of fasting. Premise being that our bodies are meant to have periods of rest/fasting, to allow for repair. This seems to fly in the face of what seems to be the most common dieting advice of late around having many mini-meals throughout the day.
I believe my negative response had to do with 2 key things:
- I love to eat! And quite frankly confining my meals to an 8 hour window seems very difficult, particularly during the weekdays. I tend to get to work rather early and by the time I go to the gym in the evenings, I am way past the 8 hour window. Additionally, it would mean eating at least 2 (if not all 3) meals at work, which despite my best attempts, meals are not relaxing or enjoyable at the office. I don’t have the luxury of eating at home or taking an hour to slowly enjoy my food – lunch is usually perfunctory, even though I do trying to eat slower and be more mindful of my eating. I know some people just eat to eat, but I genuinely enjoy eating (likely why diets have never worked for me) and the constraints of only 8 hours to eat would be a challenge for me. I currently get up earlier than I need to so I can take 30 minutes to quietly eat my breakfast at home and enjoy my meal and similarly dinner is probably my most enjoyable meal of the day. I look forward to what I am making and enjoy ever bite.
- There are NO forbidden foods on this diet! Now I agree that diets with tons of restrictions is difficult for anyone to follow, so in general I do not restrict myself, but rather the more good I add to my diet the less I crave the bad (and of course I have my treats from time to time). But the sample meal I saw on this included 2 slices of pizza, potato chips and a brownie...as long as that was in your 8 hour window…seriously!? Is this really the diet we want to be promoting?
Are you going to lose weight by doing this diet? I don’t know – it may work for people, but I just feel like this goes against all that I believe with regard to NOT dieting and just eating whole, real food. I eat more now than I ever have on any diet ever and I feel better, look better and guarantee I am healthier.