11 Ways The '8-Hour Diet' Changed My Life

11 Ways The '8-Hour Diet' Changed My Life

A "diet" that doesn't involve dieting? Sign me up!

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I learned about the 8-Hour Diet (aka "16/8 Fasting") after hearing about some of the amazing benefits from a friend. The part that really sold me on this "diet" was that it's not a diet at all! It's more of a lifestyle choice (which sounds totally cliche, but it's totally true).

The "diet" involves selecting an eight-hour period of the day in which you are allowed to eat and then fasting (no eating and only drinking water) for the other 16 hours. This may sound difficult but think about it — if you're getting eight hours of sleep per day (which you should be), that means just eight waking hours of fasting. If you're like me and skip breakfast often, this might sound similar to what you already do BUT I can't believe the differences I'm noticing just by being a little more strict with my eating schedule.

Here comes the best part — I don't have to limit what I eat and how much I eat as long as I stick to eating within I selected 8-hour window. That means all of the pasta, burritos, cookies, and lattes I could ever dream of. I feel like there's definitely bonus points for the days that I'm committed enough to actually "diet" during my eating window, but it totally isn't required.

Here are 11 ways the 8-Hour Diet changed my life!

1. I have more energy.

I honestly don't know the science behind it but ever since I've been on the 8-Hour Diet, I've had so much more energy.

2. I drink more water.

Whenever I start to feel hungry during my fasting period, I drink water. Sometimes when we feel hungry, we are really just dehydrated. I almost always feel better after drinking some water.

3. I appreciate my food more.

Before this "diet," sometimes I would eat just because I was bored. I didn't always appreciate and enjoy the food that I was eating. Now that I only eat within an eight-hour window, I really appreciate my food on a deeper level.

4. I lost weight.

My goal in trying this "diet" was NOT to lose weight. However, I have certainly noticed my pants getting a little looser these days. It really is just an added perk.

5. I don't snack just because I'm bored.

Bored snacking is the worst because it always ends with regret, guilt and an uncomfortable overstuffed feeling. Now that I can't eat after a certain time, I don't have that option to snack. Instead, I drink water, which is even more fulfilling!

6. I can still eat my favorite foods...

I love that I don't have to give up some of my favorite foods (pasta, pizza, cheese (I'm obviously Italian)) for this "diet." I'm noticing the benefits of a typical diet without limiting myself.

7. ...but I also feel motivated to eat things that are good for me more often.

Even though I can still eat my favorite carb-packed foods, this "diet" has motivated me to challenge myself even further and eat some of my favorite healthy foods more often. It magnifies the benefits!

8. My digestive system loves me.

My digestive system has been SO happy ever since I've been on this "diet." It's so much easier for my body to not have to worry about constantly digesting food. Talk about self-love!

9. I can sleep better.

Speaking of digesting food, we've all heard that it's not good to eat right before bed. I usually set my eating time from noon to 8 p.m. so my body is done working by the time I go to sleep around 11 p.m. which equals better sleep!

10. I spend less money.

This is another benefit that I wasn't necessarily looking for but it's certainly nice. I find myself spending less money on food and morning coffee when I can only eat within an eight-hour period.

11. I am happier!

All of the benefits mentioned above have made me a happier person overall. Just as with any "diet," everyone is different and it is important to find what works for YOU. However, I would encourage anyone to give this "diet" a try.

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Counting Calories Instead Of Blessings Ruined My Self Esteem

My body used to be a point of happiness for me and it has become the opposite.

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Growing up, I was always a skinny twig. I played travel soccer three seasons per year then would run two miles a day, do 200 situps and 100 pushups in the summer simply because I loved it. I would come home from a game or tournament and shove thousands of calories down my throat without consequence. All of this was great until I graduated high school.

It didn't happen all at once, but I looked in the mirror and realized that I gained 25 pounds. I was disgusted. My toned stomach had turned into a fat one that I felt the need to suck in all the time. My thigh gap disappeared and was replaced with thighs that now chaffed when I walked around in shorts for too long. Even my face had seemed to hold some of the nasty weight I had gained. I was crushed when my size two jeans slowly became a size eight. Surely, I thought, this has to be a mistake.

All of this came to a boiling point when I went into the doctor for a medication refill and asked his opinion on my weight. And it all got worse when he said my BMI was on the high side of normal, possibly the low side of overweight. I didn't hear the rest of the conversation, at least not in the way I probably should've.

All I heard was "overweight."

My once calm life was now a stressful one that contained hours of schoolwork, studying and two part-time jobs. I found myself throwing a frozen pizza in the oven and eating the entire thing while I studied. I would promise myself the gym was in my plan, then come home far too tired to even take a shower, let alone lift and work in some cardio. I set my calorie tracking app goals to weights lower and lower, limiting the things I would eat.

My life had become more about counting calories than enjoying my food. My favorite Starbucks drinks weren't options anymore when I found out they were loaded with 400-500 calories. I found myself chugging water and chewing gum in an attempt to curb my growling stomach. I would plan my meals before going out to eat with my friends, just to make sure I didn't go over my calorie limit for the day. I stood up at work one day only to be greeted by a dizzy spell from eating less than 500 calories for breakfast and lunch combined. The thought of doing this forever not only gave me anxiety, but it also made me want to cry.

It still does.

Having an obsession over being thin has truly ruined my confidence, my feeling of worth and my relationship with food.

Instead of seeing it as nourishment, I see it as the enemy. I know that isn't right and I don't want it to be. I'm tired of poring over beanpole Instagram models at 11 p.m., wishing I could magically wake up and look that way. Nobody likes the fat girl, right?

It wasn't until I mentioned my calorie restricted diet to more than a few people that I started to feel a little better. The looks people gave me when I mentioned losing weight were not the looks I gave myself in the mirror. They were looks of genuine surprise.

I may have a higher BMI. My size two jeans might not even be able to make it over my thighs anymore. But my weight doesn't define who I am. It doesn't show that I work 30 hours every week to pay my way through school. It doesn't show the two 100% grades I got on an article assignments in one of the hardest undergrad journalism classes in my program. It doesn't show that I have family and friends who love and care about me.

My obsession with weight may have ruined the way I look at food, exercise and even myself. But I don't want to let it be the only part of me that people see because I have chosen to be so OCD over it. I'm more than a 5'4", 152-pound college junior. Hopefully, the world can see that too.

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When You're Afraid You'll Cheat On Your Diet, Read These 5 Phrases

The pizza is not worth it in the long run.

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Starting a diet as a college student is really freaking hard. We are all so used to eating a bunch of crap in high school and remaining fit-ish due to sports etc. Going from eating whatever to eating clean sucks. People that say it doesn't are lying to you. Write these thoughts down in your notes on your phone and when you want to give up, read these and push through.

Be healthy! You can do it.

1. "Is this piece of chocolate going to be worth it when I don't fit into my favorite pair of jeans?"

2. "I never want to feel how I did in a bikini last time I was at the beach."

3. "Eating a piece of broccoli might suck in the moment, but will help my body feel better in the long run."

4. "The first week of a diet is the hardest. Make it through one week and my glucose levels will balance out and the cravings will calm down."

5. "If I don't start being healthy today, when will I ever?

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