Want to eat what you want – and lose 14lb in four weeks? It’s all down to timing…
You don’t have to scrap entire food groups, count calories or bin treats in order to lose weight – that’s according to David Zinczenko, author of The Eight-Hour Diet (St Martin’s Press, £6.99). It’s a twist on intermittent fasting – only instead of going low-cal for two days a week, you just do it for part of every day. And since some of your fasting period can include the time you’re asleep, it’s less challenging. Just pick an eight-hour window in which to eat all your meals and snacks – limiting certain foods and including plenty of nutritious ones – and the fat will start to melt away.
THE SCIENCE BIT
Apparently, our 24-hour culture is partly to blame for the fact many of us struggle with our weight. Eating at regular intervals around the clock means your body never goes into fasting mode and doesn’t kickstart into producing the enzymes and hormones that make it work through the energy stored in your cells. The result is that you go into fat-storing mode, instead. ‘Simply, this diet is a way of extending the period between your last snack and your ‘breakfast’, giving your body the chance to burn away fat stores,’ says David.
1 Pick your eight-hour window and stick to it. Most people find it easiest to start eating later in the morning, but you don’t have to. You could have breakfast at 9am and eat an early dinner just before 5pm.
2 For max weight loss, do it every day – but even if you only manage it on four days a week, you’ll still get benefits, especially if you try to base meals on the Powerfoods (see box) and don’t let sugary or fatty foods creep in.
3 For best results you should limit refined carbs – so avoid sugary foods, white bread and pasta – and saturated fat.
4 Eat two Powerfoods every meal at least.
5 Drink lots of water – it will help your body work to burn stored fat and can curb an appetite.
6 You can have tea and coffee during your fasting period, but ideally don’t add milk or sugar, as these small amounts of calories break the fast, strictly speaking.
7 Limit alcohol to two or three drinks a week.
YOUR MEAL PLANNER
You may only end up eating two proper meals, plus snacks, so think of these as ideas you can pick and choose from, depending on when you decide to eat.
» Poached eggs on wholegrain toast
» Plain yogurt with blueberries and sunflower seeds
» Porridge with chopped apple and walnuts
» Roast beef and tomato sandwich
» Green salad with walnuts and cold chicken
» Mixed bean salad with oatcakes
» Pork chop with steamed vegetables
» Poached salmon with sweet potato and steamed kale
» Chicken stir-fry with lots of crunchy veg and cashew nuts
» Houmous with raw carrot sticks
» Green apple and small piece of cheese
» Quark topped with berries
» Pear with a handful of walnuts
THE 8 HOUR POWERFOODS
You should base your meals around these foods for optimal results
THE FAT BUSTERS
» Eggs and lean meats
» Yogurt and other dairy
» Walnuts and other nuts
» Beans and other legumes
THE HEALTH BOOSTERS
» Blue and purple fruits (like grapes, blueberries and blackberries)
» Red fruits and vegetables (such as red peppers, tomatoes and strawberries)
» Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as apricots, carrots and satsumas)
» Green fruits and vegetables (such as apples, kale and spinach)
YOUR FASTING-TIME TROUBLESHOOTERS
Hungry outside your eight-hour eating zone? David has these tricks to help
» CHEW GUM! It can stimulate the nerves in the brain that control feelings of fullness.
» BRUSH YOUR TEETH – the taste of mint can temporarily put you off eating.
» GO FOR A WALK – because sometimes you just need to distract yourself for a while.