Want to eat what you want – and lose 14lb in just a month? It’s all down to timing…
You don’t need to scrap entire food groups, count calories or bin treats in order to drop some pounds. It’s a twist on intermittent fasting – only instead of going low-cal for two days a week, you just do it for part of every day. And since some of your fasting period can include the time you’re asleep, it’s less difficult. Just pick an eight-hour window in which to eat all your meals and snacks – avoiding certain foods and including a lot of nutritious ones – and the fat will start to melt away.
From the scientific point of view
It seems that our 24-hour culture is partly to blame for the fact many of people struggle with weight. Eating at regular intervals around the clock means your body never enters fasting mode and doesn’t start producing the enzymes and hormones that make it work through the energy stored in your cells. The result is that you go into fat-storing mode, instead. The 8-hour diet is a way of extending the period between your last snack and your breakfast, allowing your body to burn away fat stores.
1 Pick your eight-hour window and stick to it. For most people, it’s the easiest to start eating later in the morning, but you don’t need to. You can have breakfast at 9am and eat an early dinner just before 5pm.
2 For max weight loss, follow the diet every day – but even if you only manage it on four days a week, you’ll still see results, especially if you try to base meals on the powerfoods (see below). But do avoid sugary and fatty foods.
3 For best results you should limit refined carbs – so don’t eat pasta, white bread, sugary foods, and saturated fat.
4 Eat at least two powerfoods every meal.
5 Drink plenty of water – this will help your body work to burn stored fat and can curb an appetite.
6 You can drink tea and coffee during your fasting period, but don’t add milk or sugar, because these small amounts of calories break the fast.
7 Drink no more than two or three alcoholic drinks a week.
THE 8 HOUR POWERFOODS
For best results, base your meals on these foods.
THE FAT BUSTERS
- Eggs and lean meats
- Walnuts and other nuts
- Yogurt and other dairy
- Beans and other legumes
THE HEALTH BOOSTERS
- Blue and purple fruits such as grapes, blueberries and blackberries
- Red fruits and vegetables such as red peppers, tomatoes and strawberries
- Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as apricots, carrots and satsumas
- Green fruits and vegetables such as apples, kale and spinach
You may find yourself eating only two proper meals, plus snacks, so consider these:
- Poached eggs on wholegrain toast
- Plain yogurt with blueberries and sunflower seeds
- Porridge with chopped apple and walnuts
- Roast beef and tomato sandwich
- Green salad with walnuts and cold chicken
- Mixed bean salad with oatcakes
- Pork chop with steamed vegetables
- Poached salmon with sweet potato and steamed kale
- Chicken stir-fry with lots of crunchy veg and cashew nuts
- Houmous with raw carrot sticks
- Green apple and small chuck of cheese
- Quark topped with berries
- Pear with a handful of walnuts
SOME FASTING-TIME TROUBLESHOOTERS
If you are hungry outside your eight-hour eating zone, these tricks may help you.
CHEW GUM! Chewing stimulates the nerves in the brain that control feelings of fullness.
BRUSH YOUR TEETH – The taste of mint may temporarily put you off eating.
DISTRACT YOURSELF – Go for a walk, clean your car, play with your dog, or whatever makes you feel good.