The science behind it: metabolic enzymes in your body are on a clock, activated from the moment you ingest anything but water. Once you go beyond the 12 hour window, your metabolism is not working as well as metabolic enzymes start shutting down and your body is not insulin responsive. Your metabolic system is basically entering a ‘rest mode’.
In other words, anything you eat past the window will not be metabolized properly… and what does that mean? Well, among other issues, weight gain.
Dr. Patrick recommended limiting eating to a 9 hour window to see results in weight loss and energy levels.
So I figured: why not try? After all, it’s a minor change to implement in my life.
Here are the things I’ve learned since limiting my food intake through intermittent fasting.
1) I was eating way past 12 hours a day
It became immediately evident that I was eating way past the 12-hour limit window on a daily basis.
I woke up early in the morning, had my breakfast and then ate meals and snacks all day long until late at night, when I found a quick snack to eat an hour or so before bed.
Once I calculated my regular eating habits, I realized I was eating at least 15 hours a day.
Could this be what was making me progressively gain weight? It was worth testing.
2) The results were IMMEDIATE
When I say immediate, I mean… within 2-3 days of limiting my eating window to 9 hours, I actually saw my body fat shrink.
I was as astounded by it as you may be incredulous reading this.
It’s like my body was giving me a big “THANK YOU” the moment I let it rest and stop working so hard all day and night to break down my food.
My boyfriend decided to do the 9-hour window with me and he too saw the same results. His stomach deflated.
We were shocked and giddy… it was like discovering the holy grail of weight loss.
All this time and all this effort put into diets and exercise and yet the best result happened from something as easy as eating less hours a day?!
My pregnant friend tried IF as well: not only did she stop gaining weight (unlike prior weigh-ins where she had consistently gained 2 kilos) BUT she no longer felt heartburn.
I’m still amazed by the impact of such a minor change.
3) Bad eating habits are easier to change than expected
The first few days were a bit challenging on us mentally and physically. When I say “bit”, I’m not downplaying it – it was very bearable.
We were used to eating an earlier breakfast and eating something small late at night, so our body and mind were calling for it.
I had some pangs of hunger, but I battled through them.
Within a week, my body was fully accustomed to eating less hours and my stomach stopped demanding the extra food.
4) Results died down after a month
One month in and we were both thrilled with the impact to our bodies. They had definitely shrunk in body fat and our stomachs had deflated.
The scales were not reflecting the change but our clothes sure fit loosely.
And better than any other result, we felt amazing in the morning. Our sleep was more restful and our mornings became more energetic. We’re not morning people so to us, this was a blessing.
Unfortunately at this point, I stopped seeing a noticeable impact. The first 2 weeks were so dramatic that it was a bummer to feel stagnation in the results.
Still, I much prefer maintaining my weight over gaining, and the 9-hour window was ensuring I didn’t gain weight.
5) SO I went more drastic
At that point, I started researching more about intermittent fasting to understand what I was doing wrong or if it’s a natural progression of IF. Everything has a peak in terms of results.
Here, I discovered experiences by people who pushed themselves to limit their food intake from a 9-hour window to a 4-hour window and the impact was huge. They not only lost a ton of weight and built-up muscle but they also felt better.
This was backed up by athletes, nutritionists and doctors.
I figured… why not try? I have a wedding dress to fit into. As long as I do my research and do this in a healthy way, it’s worth a go.
So I started the 20:4 intermittent fasting lifestyle, which means that for four hours a day, I scarf down food like crazy (healthy food, mind you!) and then spend 20 hours fasting.