Intermittent fasting is when you eat all of your calories within an eight-hour window (your “feeding window”). During the other 16-hours, you can drink whatever you want as long as you’re not consuming any more calories.
Many individuals would agree with me that intermittent fasting is a great diet for those wanting to lose weight. But I would also contest that it’s great for improving performance. The consistency in (1) how much you eat and (2) when you eat have produced amazing gains for my performance.
For example: If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be consistently eating in a calorie deficit. If your goal is to perform, you need to be consistently eating enough to support exercise (but not body fat). Regardless of which goal you want to accomplish, you need to be consistently eating the same number of calories day after day.
For this reason, I support anyone wanting to do intermittent fasting regardless of their goals. However, they must follow this single rule: Your feeding window must happen between 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
And here’s why.
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. is prime working time. You’re usually thinking about things going on at work, school, or your family. You’re in meetings, on the phone, or driving. The thought of eating becomes almost a second-thought to anything else you would like to be doing during those hours.
As a result, you eat less and at the same times. Forget the science behind suppressing your blood sugar levels. Your body is extremely rhythmatic and will remind you when to eat.
No diet is better at teaching your mind how to listen to your body than intermittent fasting.
The second reason why I would recommend 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. is because you start to unwind after dinner. Your mind becomes more relaxed and you begin to process the events of the day. After you do the dishes and put the kids to bed, you and your spouse sit on the couch and watch t.v.
And because you start watching t.v., you begin to mindlessly eat.
Mark and I meet with at least 100 different people every month interested in joining RxFIT. It’s actually kind of funny how similar we all are, especially when we ask about nutrition.
“Tell me a little bit about your diet,” I say.
“Oh, I usually eat pretty healthy. I like some salads and I eat a lot of chicken and rice…” they reply.
I follow-up with, “Between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. last night, what did you eat?”
“Oh. Well I had some ice-cream and m&m’s. But that doesn’t happen every night!”
It happens to all of us.
The simple reality is this: You and I eat junk food when our mind is bored. You don’t wake up and eat ice-cream. You’re also not eating entire sleeves of Oreo’s during lunch.
But when Netflix is streaming in the background at the end of a long day or week, you and I consume an incredible amount of sugar in a short period of time.
And sugar is bad for both weight loss and performance.
I’m turning into a broken record, but health is a game of consistency.
I wouldn’t blindly recommend to you that you do intermittent fasting; but I support it if you told me that you were going to try it.
Just make your feeding window between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
You will become a mindful eater while also eliminating sugar from your diet.
And that’s because intermittent fasting encourages consistent habits in (1) how much we eat and (2) when we eat.