Time Restricted Eating: Is It Effective for Fat Loss?

Time-restricted eating is a dietary method that involves eating in a narrower window than most of us are used to, and sometimes skipping meals.

Before you say, “Whoa! I could never skip meals!”, read on to find out how this method of eating can be helpful for both weight loss as well as improving other health conditions.

time restricted eating

What is Time-Restricted Eating?

Time-restricted eating is a strategy that focuses on when you eat, not what you eat.

Time-restricted eating (also called time-restricted feeding) is a pattern of eating where you eat all of your calories (meals and snacks) within a specific window of time each day.

The period when you consume your calories is usually called the eating period. Eating periods range from 4 to 12 hours.

Outside of the eating period, you don’t eat any calories. This period is usually called the fasting period. Fasting periods vary from 12 to 20 hours.

During the fasting period, it’s acceptable to drink approved beverages like water, tea, and black coffee.

Time-Restricted Eating vs Fasting

Time-restricted eating is an umbrella term for intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting refers to any method of eating that involves specific eating and fasting periods. There are many types of intermittent fasting, each with different eating and fasting periods.

Different types of time-restricted eating work better for different situations. For instance, my favorite form of time-restricted eating is the 16/8 type of intermittent fasting. With this method, I simply skip breakfast, fast for 16 hours, and eat for 8 hours.

Health Benefits of Time-Restricted Eating

The health benefits of time restricted eating are not surprisingly, the same as the benefits of intermittent fasting. These benefits range from weight loss to improvement in cholesterol levels.

time restricted eating for fat loss

Is Time-Restricted Feeding Effective for Weight Loss?

Time-restricted eating has been shown to result in weight loss and fat loss for normal-weight and over-weight people without any reduction in calories consumed.

Whether you experience weight loss with time-restricted eating depends on whether you are eating a healthy diet, or filling up with high calorie junk food during your eating period.

It’s important to make healthy food choices during your eating period to reap the maximum weight loss benefits of this eating pattern.

Several studies reported that this method can actually reduce the number of calories consumed in a day, even if the subject wasn’t trying to restrict calories.

Most of us have been trained to eat from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep at night. Three daily meals and multiple snacks mean we are constantly eating so our bodies never have to draw on our fat stores for energy.

Time-restricted feeding is my favorite weight loss method. By eating a healthy diet during my eating period and sticking to a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule, I have had excellent results with this method of eating.

This method works great because you don’t have to do it every day to be successful. This makes the occasional night out or special occasion possible because you don’t have to stick with it all the time.

How To Get Started

Time restricted eating is one of the easiest types of diets to do. You simply choose a period of time to eat all your calories, and another period of time to not eat.

This strategy is simple because it requires no special food, no special diets and no special equipment to be successful.

If you’re not ready to jump in with both feet, here are some tips to gradually ease into time restricted eating.

  • Start with shorter fasting periods and work your way up. The easiest way to start is to stop eating after dinner at 7 PM and fast until breakfast at 7 AM. You’ve probably already done this many times – it’s actually a 12 hour fast!
  • Once you feel comfortable with the overnight fasting, add on an hour a day until you’ve worked your way up to a 16 or even 20-hour fast.
  • Focus on eating protein-rich food choices during your eating period. They will make you feel full longer.
  • Make sure you’re drinking enough fluids during your fasting period.
a healthy diet for time restricted eating

Time-Restricted Eating Diet Plan

Time-restricted feeding is not a calorie restriction plan. Rather, it is a plan that simply divides the day into periods of eating and non-eating.

There is no need to count calories, restrict calories, or go on a special diet to follow this plan. This method is simply a pattern of eating.

Because it’s not a diet, time-restricted eating can go hand in hand with other kinds of popular diets: high-protein, low-carb, ketogenic diets, etc.

Exercise and Time Restricted Eating

If you love to exercise and worry that dieting will cause you to lose strength and fitness, this method of eating may be perfect for you.

A study reported that subjects who participated in a weight training regimen and followed a time restricted eating pattern were able to increase their strength and endurance just as much as the control group who ate normally.

If you are trying to build or maintain muscle, time restricted eating can be a way to lose fat without losing muscle mass.

Is Time Restricted Eating for You?

Time restricted eating is simply a strategy that focuses on when you eat, not what you eat.

Time restricted eating is my favorite way to lose weight without starving yourself and feeling deprived. Since this method of eating is not a restriction of calories, it works well with many other kinds of diets, like high-protein diets, keto, and low-carb plans.

Aside from the weight loss benefits, time-restricted eating has shown to help improve many other health issues as well, such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor before you start if you have any health issues.

If you think you can skip a meal once in a while, you probably be successful with time restricted eating!

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Time-restricted eating is a dietary method that involves eating in a narrower window than most of us are used to, and sometimes skipping meals.