I don’t do diets, especially extreme diets. I love food, and I’ll never turn down a new or delicious taste experience because I’m watching my weight. That said, my upcoming wedding next year has me thinking I should at least try to get in shape. And I thought that this plan, which limits eating to eight hours a day, could've helped put a dent in my out-of-control late-night snacking habit.
The premise of the plan is simple: Fast for 16 hours (including overnight when you’re asleep) and eat what you like (within reason) during the remaining eight. Since I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, this sounded good to me. And I liked that even though it’s considered fasting, there are no insane caloric restrictions or rules.
I tried to keep my meals generally healthy, in line with the sample day of eating a nutritionist sent me as a guideline. Here’s how it went:
I never wake up starving, and today the excitement of wedding dress shopping had me completely distracted from food anyway—a good day to get started on this whole fasting plan. I started the day off with a smoked salmon scramble around noon and ended it with champagne and some roasted vegetables and spicy pork at a restaurant in Brooklyn. The excitement of finding my dress that day sent me to bed happy, full, and not even thinking about a snack.
One week in, and I’m doing okay. I tend to get hungry around noon but hold out (with the help of plenty of coffee, water, and busy work) until 2 p.m. to start eating. I’m thinking that I’ve totally got this diet nailed—until I go out to a dinner with friends one night and can’t order anything. I love eating socially, but I was an hour past my fasting window.
I’m SO hungry this morning—my stomach growled in a meeting and it was not cute. I definitely need to hydrate more, so I’m working on drinking more water to hold me over. The one good thing I’ve noticed: When I was snacking at night, I would usually wake up looking and feeling pretty bloated. Though I haven’t really lost any weight at this point, I feel so much less puffy, which is nice!
I usually prefer working out on an empty stomach (even when not doing this plan), but I slept in late today so I decided grab a quick meal of eggs on toast before I hit the gym to get things rolling. I felt super strong after a weightlifting session and ended my workout with 100 burpees (so unlike me!).
Okay, some days I’m just HUNGRY. Definitely finding it hard not to gorge myself during this first meal. But, another positive side effect I wasn’t planning on: productivity! Keeping myself busy with work in the first half of the day definitely takes my mind off of food.
I’m down three pounds, which feels like nothing, but the real difference is in how I feel. I’m less bloated, full of energy, and kicking that midnight snack habit! I made it through three weeks of fasting without too much trouble, but I don’t think it’s a lifestyle change I want to make permanent. In fact, I have to admit I’m already back to my late-night snacking habits—oh well! I think to prep for the wedding, I’ll go with something that’s more consistent, like counting calories, since on this plan I tended to fluctuate between days with no issues and days where I was forever starving and would eat everything in sight. The biggest benefit I got was not feeling so bloated all the time, which is a good trick to know before I walk down the aisle.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.