Time Restricted Eating: Reduce Your Eating Window To Lose Weight
In my five years as a personal trainer I am often asked, “Erik, what is the best way to lose weight?” When I first started training clients I recommend a low carb, gluten free diet due to my own success and research on it. The research convinced me carbohydrates were the culprit and that if you kept them low you would lose weight. I followed this approach for the first couple years of my career. But as I became more experienced in my career, I started to realize my advice wasn’t right for everyone. I experimented more and found numerous diets could obtain similar results.
Multiple Paths To Weight Loss
A caloric deficit is essential for weight loss. Every successful diet operates on this principle, including the diets below:
Time restricted eating
There isn’t a magical diet or a one size fits all approach. You may thrive on the low carb approach, while your friend suffers. This doesn't mean the diet doesn't work nor does it mean it does works. As fitness professionals we must realize the importance of specificity, and treat each client as a unique case study. We must question old beliefs and use sound research to see what is actually true. Let us not forget that twenty years ago the “experts” in nutrition were screaming about the dangers of fat. We now know how wrong and biased they were.
So Where Should You Start?
I have found time restricted eating (TRE) to be very effective for people who appreciate simplicity. To reap the benefits of TRE you should follow either a 9,10, or 11 hour eating schedule followed by 15,14,13, hour fasting window. In essence, if you wanted to obtain a 15 hour fast then you would eat from 9am to 6pm. I recommend TRE due its simplicity and structure. It isn’t magical, but it does work well due to the restricted eating windows.
Generally speaking, smaller eating windows tend to lead to fewer meals and fewer calories. The majority of your meals should be whole foods composed of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. And of course you can have a cheat meal here and there. But remember, calories do matter and too many cheat meals will lead to weight gain. If you have failed on diets in the past or are looking to change things up, try time restricted eating. It might be the right path to start with. In the next upcoming post, we will dive deeper into the science of TRE and why it works.