Jan. 3, 2013 - I can’t believe that after 3 years of working really hard to accept a fatter body, and thinking that I had accepted it for the most part - I got swept up in a new fad, the 8-Hour Diet, which allows you to eat for 8 hours each day, followed by a 16-hour fast. Claims are that it super-charges your metabolism and the excess fat melts away. The most common pattern is eating “break-fast” at noon and having the last food of the day, a light snack, at 8 pm. What you do with the rest of that time, food-wise, is to eat whatever, and whenever you like - except you have to eat one serving each day from a list of 8 super foods - lean meats/eggs, berries, other fruits, green leafy veggies, dairy, walnuts/seeds/avocado, legumes/peanuts, whole grains.
Day 1 - I had dinner at 7 pm last night and didn’t eat until 12 noon today, so I actually did a 17-hour fast, one hour longer than recommended, but I wanted to get on a 12 noon to 8 pm eating schedule. My energy was fantastic all morning. Between 11 am and noon I was famished, a bit shaky, and had a slight headache. I drank water/tea throughout the morning. I forgot to mention that I didn’t sleep too well last night. Excited about this new diet experiment, I suppose. My day was something like this:
7 am - woke, showered (drank herbal tea)
9 -10 - 30 minutes of treadmill walking and then yoga. (drank 16 oz. water)
10 -12 - wrote a blog post
12 noon - ate a 2 egg omelet with bacon and cheese, 2 pieces of buttered toast, a banana/berry/yogurt smoothie, carrots with ranch dip, 2 dove dark chocolates, decaf coffee with milk
3:45 - granola with milk
4:45 - 2 sugar cookies and small handful peanuts
After the peanuts, I felt the most satisfied of the whole day. I have pretty much felt mildly hungry and a bit surreal all day.
6:30 pm - large slice of pepperoni pizza, spinach salad with French dressing, 4 oz. wine, cranberry applesauce, 3 cookies, one chocolate covered cherry.
7:30 - watching TV. Should have saved dessert for 8 pm. I will do that tomorrow. I’ll have cheese and crackers at 8 so I can get through the fast.
Day 2 - Went to bed feeling hungry at 11 pm. Took a Tylenol PM to sleep. I slept well. Woke up at 7 feeling fine. Hunger began as soon as I stepped into the shower. (I can’t do that 8-minute workout first thing in the morning like the book suggests, too stiff - need that hot shower more - so I’ll exercise around 9.) It’s now 8:30 and I am pretty hungry. About to make tea. The book says my body will get used to no breakfast in a couple weeks. I am averse to suffering. And there’s no point in doing this diet unless it’s sustainable. Is it a realistic lifestyle?
12:45 Got through the fast. Today my pants feel looser. (Fluid loss?) The morning flew by. Got a bunch of chores done and had a good workout followed by some resistance work and stretching. Lunch (12:15) was spinach topped with tuna salad, Fritos, sliced tomato, sunflower seeds, decaf coffee with milk. I was not all that ravenous, though I was very hungry at my usual breakfast time. Drank hot tea and the hunger gave way to a light, empty feeling. At lunch, I was surprised at how extra-good the food tasted and how fast I felt full. Is there some stomach shrinking going on? I’ll see how it feels to wait until 3 for a snack. Today, I saved my smoothie for snack-time. I am feeling a little bit shaky and scatterbrained at the moment.
3:45 - snack time - smoothie, 4 Triscuits, small handful almonds. Feel great. A little wired.
9 pm - a great day. Went out to Red Robin for dinner with Gary. We split a cheeseburger and fries. Divine. Then to the grocery to stock up on spinach, and frozen berries for smoothies. Then I capped off my eating at 8 pm with a piece of Great Harvest cinnamon swirl toast and a glass of milk. I feel fantastic!
Day 3 - A weird night - I fell asleep okay, but woke up at 4:30 and had a hard time going back to sleep. I finally did, after about an hour, but had strange dreams. I think it may be because I took a different vitamin yesterday that has herbals that I am not accustomed to. I won’t take that again. It was a long night. I am still determined to give this a 2-week trial.
A good day, felt normal, except a bit spacey after a baby shower this afternoon. I had my smoothie at noon and ate again at the shower, around 2. The food was very high in fat/carb... almost no protein. Tomorrow I will try to get in more egg/meat. I ended my feeding period tonight at 8 - 2 peanut butter cookies and a glass of milk. Now I should sleep like a baby.
Day 4 - Slept very well last night, but I did take Tylenol PM again so it doesn’t really count. Today, I had good energy for the morning. Baked an apple pie. Took a 45 minute walk. Lunch was delayed until after 1 pm. I had a huge lunch - two eggs, and a bowl of oatmeal. I filled up fast. By 2:30 I was feeling nauseated and lightheaded (my typical stress-anxiety response) so I had a small glass of orange juice and put my feet up. Feel better now. I think that basically I need my first meal no later than noon and I need to eat a smaller amount for the first meal of the day.
9 pm - feeling much better tonight. Had a good dinner at 6 - pasta and turkey, steamed spinach - apple pie with a glass of milk at 8. My appetite is much reduced and I think my stomach is shrinking. So here is what I have learned - don’t eat “break-fast” later than noon. Since my stomach has not had food in it for quite a while, eat a smallish meal and eat it slowly and thoughtfully. It was a slightly rough day, but I am learning.
Day 5 - Such a great day! I slept well last night with no sleep-aid. Woke at 6:30 without an alarm, languished in bed until 7, showered, did laundry and chores, exercised from 10-11 and then made lunch. Hunger this morning was minimal. I have my feet up now for a few minutes so my body have a little rest as it begins digesting my lunch. I ate slowly and savored my food.
I am also thinking that if one eats their normal food/quantities minus their usual breakfast, this is not only a metabolic respite (from processing food, during the fast) but also a caloric deficit plan, so I can’t help but slim down, I just don’t want to suffer. My body has always been touchy about large meals. I hate being stuffed. And it seems the fasts have shrunk my stomach. So I need to be careful not to overload my stomach at the first feed of the day - the take a siesta with my feet up for a few minutes. As soon as I finish my decaf, I’m going to run some errands.
3 pm - I had my banana/berry/yogurt smoothie and a small handful of almonds. I feel awesome!
8:30 pm - I still feel awesome. Taught art students in the late afternoon and had no prob. getting through until 6 pm for dinner - nachos (tortilla chips, refried beans, olives, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, guacamole), green beans, applesauce, and half a beer. Homemade apple pie alamode at 8 pm. This is turning out to be a great way to live!
More details of my experiences with the 8-Hour Diet can be found here.
Note: this post is not intended in any way, shape, or form to be medical or dietary advice. Please consult a reliable health care practitioner before starting any diet/fitness program.