The benefits of eating by the clock
Two words I rarely pay attention to are “diet” and “fasting.” When you hear people speak of fasting it elicits visions of living without food for days, stomach growling and discomfort as well as that ever-hungry feeling.
I don’t even like the sound of it, but recently I found an encouraging article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, who explained the nature of fasting and that there are benefits in intermittent fasting that can work in a 12-hour period of time as well as in a few days. Yes, avoiding eating for 12 hour increments can be healthy and cleansing. It can put the body into a fat-burning mode.
Mercola references a new book by author Dr. Michael Mosley, “The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, stay Healthy and Live longer with the Simple Secret of intermittent Fasting.” Mosely initially writes of those serious fasts that most of us wouldn’t consider, and that many diabetics couldn’t abide by. Mosely suggests we eat normally for five days and fast for two days. After about two weeks of that type of intermittent fasting, the body begins to burn fat in a serious manner.
“On fasting days, he recommends cutting your food down to one-quarter of your normal daily calories, or about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women, along with plenty of water and tea,” Mercola wrote.
I do that all the time when I’m too busy to eat. But since most of us don’t consider a serious fast, it’s good to know that even when we eat in a particular window of time, anywhere from six to 12 hours, we can benefit from those mini fasts.
The idea is to set a time in the morning or afternoon to begin your eating pattern, and do all of your eating within the window you’ve set — seven or eight hours. I am presently attempting to do all of my eating within an eight-hour period which leaves me to fast the other 16. The one thing I’ve learned from this schedule is that drinking more water and herbal or white tea seems to help overcome any hunger I might feel. This schedule forces me to drink more liquids.
Frankly, eating at night is not a good practice for anyone. The digestive system needs a break. I can have discomfort or even reflux if I eat after 7 p.m. so this routine is working well with my system. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about giving the system a break and allowing yourself some recuperation time. After all, breakfast derived its name because you are breaking your overnight fast.
Additionally, Dr. Mercola speaks of the dangers of lack of movement and sedentary lifestyles. He explains that it’s important to remain in motion and to move about in order to get the most benefits from your new, limited eating schedule. Face it, sitting around without activity can be dangerous for anyone, to say nothing of the atrophy we suffer when we avoid movement. Mercola explains that something as simple as sitting less may be the key for maximum longevity.
If you want to be a bit more healthy without getting into a rigorous schedule and ridiculous diet, just eat within a certain timeframe and keep moving. It’s not all that difficult and it’s worth the benefits. Just this simple change can make a difference.
Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at