Part 1: Reduce Decision Fatigue And Improve Your Health With Time Restricted Eating
Last week I wrote a blog post on the following question, What is the best the way to lose weight? As I stated last week, I believe that any diet can work for anyone as long as you can adhere to the diets guidelines. However, not every diet will work for everyone due to genetics, social life or food preferences. Therefore, I recommend trying out numerous diets to find the right one for you. Based off my experience as a trainer, time restricted eating has been highly effective for my clients. I hate to sound like a broken record, but we live in an age of food abundance where every craving can be satisfied with a click of a button. This is the first time in human history where we have access to food 24/7 and our hearts are paying the price. Food availability will only continue to rise and as technology increases physical activity will decrease. Obesity will continue to affect millions of people and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The obesity crisis has a massive effect on the economy and costs us between 147 and 210 billion dollars in preventable health care spending (1).
Have I gotten your attention yet? Obesity is draining the economy and it is time we put an end to it. Time restricted eating is the answer to ending this crisis for three reasons: You make less decisions, you consume less calories due to the smaller eating window, and it improves your circadian rhythm.
Not only do we live in a world filled with captivating food advertisements, but we are overloaded with information constantly. Every time you go on your computer you are hit with advertisements to buy the newest product, food or supplement. And if you think this isn’t draining yourself of willpower then you are mistaken (2). The brain, like everything else in the body uses energy to function and eventually you run out of that energy.
Have you ever wondered why it is much easier to stick to your diet in the morning versus the night?
Decision fatigue is the answer. Put simply, decision fatigue refers to deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making (3). Therefore, every decision you make reduces your willpower and your ability to say no to unwanted foods. Which brings me to the first benefit of time restricted eating, it prevents decision fatigue from occurring by having one golden rule: you eat food for eight to twelve hours and fast for the remainder hours. To be successful with weight loss or any other goal you must have strict, clear guidelines. Time restricted eating does just that. Instead of deciding between eating and not eating upon waking, you know that you can only eat at a certain time and that is it. The same can be said for night time snacking. It is imperative that you adhere to the same hours everyday to develop a pattern so your body can become automated to it. For example, if you set an eating window of 7am to 6pm you don’t have to make any decisions upon waking because you know you can’t eat until 7am and if you get cravings late at night after 6pm you know you can’t eat anything because it is outside your window. Granted, this will be tough in the beginning, but everything in the beginning is always uncomfortable and eventually your body adapts to it. This adaptation will lead to fewer cravings and you won’t even notice them. But you will notice a smaller midsection and body composition. Stay tuned for next week when I go over the effect a smaller eating window has on total calorie consumption.