Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | January 19, 2015

Is it the Food, or is it the Fast?

Exciting recent research about the benefits of restricting eating to a certain window of time during the day: it works. On mice, at least. Granted you can’t extrapolate directly to humans, yet it supports my empiric observations that people who eat at night (technically, “when they’re supposed to be sleeping”; mice are nocturnal, so in the study, they were restricted to eating at night, corresponding to “when they’re supposed to”) find it very difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight.

Yet I find myself wondering whether it’s the restricted eating period, or the enforced fasting that’s doing the trick. When you’re talking 12 hours vs 12 hours, this wouldn’t seem to be much of a distinction. But here’s where it comes into play.

What if I try to eat only during a certain window of time during the day — say 7:00 am to 7:00 pm — and screw up? Can I get back on (biologic) track by waiting a full 12 hours since that last indiscretion? Although the research doesn’t yet exist, I’m going to bet Yes. At least, it’s a tweak to my current weight loss program (basically just writing down everything I eat, which worked before) that’s not all that hard to do.

If I know I have a late dinner planned as a special event, I wait until later in the day to begin eating. Then the next morning I just wait 12 hours after I finished the night before.

If nothing else, it’s a strategy to help get through the holidays and other times when special events collude to sabotage the best dietary intentions.



  1. And I always thought it was about calories in vs calories out. Tracking your food intake, particularly with a calorie tracker like ‘Lose it’ really helps. Good luck. Xo


  2. Saw this program in a TED talk and thought “I can do that!” and have neen doing this for several months. Lost about 8% of my body weight in the first few months. Didn’t do so well over the holidays, but didn’t gain. Back on track now and the numbers on the scale are edging down again.

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