Does only eating at certain times of day make you lose weight?
(I know this is a writing blog. Stay with me.)
Over the last few years, intermittent fasting has become a massive craze for people trying to manage their weight. It involves restricting eating to a particular time window during the day. For example, one popular variation involves the 8-16 cycle, in which someone eats only for an eight-hour period each day and then fasts for the other sixteen (including while sleeping).
In practice, this might look like a schedule in which you have your first meal at 9am, then eat normally without actively restricting calories until 5pm. After that, no eating until 9am the next morning.
Proponents of IF (the trendy-fitness-cult acronym for those in the know) swear by it. Hell, I did it. I once lost 40 pounds on an 8-16 cycle diet. It worked for me!
I don’t recommend it to anyone.
In fact, anyone who knows me will find that I hardly ever recommend anything to anyone.
Ask me how I feel about a given topic and I’ll have a very strong opinion. But whether someone else shares that opinion doesn’t weigh heavily on my heart. If you ask me what you should do in a given situation, I’ll usually give one of those annoying non-answers that puts the decision back on you.
Why? Because people are just too different from one another for there to be many “universal truths.”
Sure, there are a few. It’s good to be kind. You should get outside every day.
But we all want there to be universal processes— some shining, research-proven answer to “How should I do X, Y, and Z for maximum results?” There’s an entire self-help industry built around the idea that someone out there has the simple new science of getting motivated, the one trick that will make us all happier, or the six easy steps to using our phones less and looking people in the eyes more.
I go through these books like candy. I love them. Most of them do nothing for me.
Investigating methods for self-improvement isn’t about uncovering the one trick that works for everybody; it’s about sifting through the stack of tricks, tools, and strategies to find the few that work for you.
So, let’s get back to the question we started with:
Does only eating at certain times of day make you lose weight faster?
Answer: Yes, if you’re the kind of person for whom restricting your eating window will help reduce your total calorie intake relative to what you burn.
Or, to put it more simply: It works if it works for you.
So why are we talking about calorie intake and eating windows in a writing blog?
Because writers spend most of their time alone in a room, trying to write more, work more efficiently, ban distractions, streamline their workflow, and feel good about themselves along the way. We’re constantly on the hunt for the best way to achieve all of those goals.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were one single answer that we could all follow to get there?
There isn’t, and we can’t. As human beings, we’re all doomed to a life of experimentation. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
So read all the self-help. Try all the “one simple tricks.” Listen to that audiobook of David Goggins telling you that if you don’t get up at 3am and run a marathon before doing 10,000 pull-ups, you’re a worthless piece of human garbage.
But always remember we’re not zealots at a shrine. We’re audiophiles rifling through shelves at a record store, looking for that one old album that just does it for us.
You might find someone else who wants to listen along. If not, it’s all good.
It works if it works for you.
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