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Have You Ever Tried an "Eating Window" For Weight Loss/Maintenance?

Monday, August 19, 2019

If you're like me you are always looking for better tools to help with weight loss/maintenance. Everyone's different, but once I started eating only 3 meals a day (and the closer together the better), my maintenance/weight loss goals become so much more doable. I can't remember where I read or heard this term but it's called an "eating window". I now aim for an 8 to 10 hour window (8:30 to 4:30) but when life happens like my yoga class that goes until 6 pm my window becomes 12 hours.

The clencher for me to go all out and to give this a try was when I read The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung, MD. He talked about how insulin releases every single time you eat and how detrimental it can be to weight loss/maintenance and to your health. It made me a believer and for a long time I visualized the counter-productive insulin that I would be releasing if I snacked between meals and it almost entirely stopped all of my snacking. The thing is when you limit your eating to every 3 to 4 hours in a reduced time window you do not have much time to develop true hunger or even to snack.

This was gradual. I started a long time ago (10 years?) with a goal of no eating after 8 pm, years later 7 pm. From there after reading Fung, it was not such a big step to go from 7 pm to 4:30 or 5 pm. It wasn't easy at first to get DH on board but he came around and he believes in the benefit of giving the body at least a 12 hour rest from digesting food.

There are many, so many things that I now do for maintenance/weight loss and I have my share of slip ups. I am 6 years in maintenance but my eating window has become one of my most invaluable and favorite tools. emoticon

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • DSJB9999
    This is an amazing idea Maria, I know for sure I need to restrict my eating in some more ways so agree that not eating after 7pm or before 9am may be the way forward as I do eat regularly through the day and for Insulin purposes this may be a very good idea and if I am hungry by 9am, maybe that would be a very good thing!

    Hope you are well, have loved seeing your posts on the 100 days and wish you a wonderful day, week, month and year. Love from a healthy (mostly) and happy Donna xxx (now 50 years old)
    71 days ago
    I don't pay too much attention to the number of hours, but generally I don't eat after about 6.30pm, and currently I'm not wanting breakfast until about 10am. So most days, I'm getting at least 14 hrs without eating. I also adhere to the three meals a day - once it became a habit it became just what I do!
    191 days ago
    213 days ago
    I'm doing the eating window too, Maria. Mine is more like 10am to 7pm which allows me to keep to hubs dinner schedule. I like to eat that meal with him and anything earlier than 6 would be way too early but he as willing to move our late dinners to 6-6:30. The eating window plus No S have been great tools for me even though I have struggled at times with snacks. I call it being Covid crazed!
    281 days ago
    This eating window also helps me sleep better. I was gong through my friends list and wondered how you were doing and if the remodeling was a success. I moved from Ventura to Phoenix this summer to be closer to family.
    657 days ago
  • MAWMAW101
    Somehow I missed this blog before but I will use the idea as I set up goals for fall!
    The idea of an eating window makes perfect sense.
    673 days ago
    I just started IF this year

    My eating window is 11am to 7 pm.

    I am never hungry in the morning and I am okay in the evening. Oddly, my most difficult time of day is 2 - 5 pm, when logically I shouldn't be hungry as I have just had my big meal of the day. But it is a pretty small window, and if I tough through it, the other parts of the day are fine, and I don't like snacking in the evening. I think the 2-5 thing is cravings, has to be. So that is the emotional side that needs to be managed. I am a morning person and get most of my things done between 5 am and 11 am. I love this way of eating as my productive time is not interrupted by a meal and I am never hungry during this time.

    I love IF, I think it is a great fit for me

    I have made a lot of progress in more balanced eating and living (exercise and work-live balance) since I have been on Spark, with the information, the great Sparkers and their shared experiences and the teams and challenges that support my efforts and keep me motivated. I have been between 10-25 pounds overweight most of my adult life, I feel I am moving towards goal weight ( I was there for 6 months in 2011) by Christmas this year and then I hope to maintain. Interesting time of year to reach goal weight, I will have to be actively and fiercely mindful to not gain weight during the holiday season. I really, really, really want to reach and maintain goal weight. My current mantra is to not start over, to stay the course so I don't have to restart.

    Best wishes in your evolving to what works for you and
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    687 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/14/2019 4:10:53 AM
    I do this too - it started with No S and eliminating snacks. Then it evolved to switching my main meal to lunch-time. Then to the 'earlier, lighter dinner' advised by Ayruveda. It has meant that I am no longer excited about evening events that involve meals! But I enjoy my friend's breakfast club, and love to go out to lunch!
    694 days ago
    I never thought of my meal times as windows, but when I stop to consider I guess that pretty much describes what we do. I seem to have a 10 hour window with breakfast around 8:30 a.m. and dinner around 6 p.m. That gives me a 14 hour window of fasting most days. I haven't believed that snacking is a good habit to have for some time now and the No S plan that I follow supports this.

    So great to hear from you, Maria, and great to hear that all is going well for you!
    710 days ago
    Yes, like for you and some others here, it evolved for me. It has been one of the most freeing things, in asense, for me. It took years of trials and methodologies. For over two years now, I eat two main meals breakfast and lunch around 12 and 7 then an evening snack before nine. Two larger meals makes me feel full and satisfied and leaving my snack for the evening gives me something to look forward to enjoying with DH so I don’t feel left out, so to say. It’s working for now, so I won’t tamper with it. Lol

    You are so right about continuing learning how to balance life and food for losing and maintaining weight.

    Kudos on your efforts and success after so many years!
    You are an inspiration!
    711 days ago
    I'm a Jason Fung fan too . . . so much great (free) info on his web sites. And I think that intermittent fasting combines well with intuitive eating, at least for me . . . makes all kinds of sense!!
    712 days ago
  • no profile photo CD24963523
    The closest thing I do is not snacking in the evening. That has a good effect.
    712 days ago
    Hi Maria! Hope all is well in your world! Thanks for your blog.....I completely agree! My husband gets home from work at 6:00 and doesn’t want to eat as soon as he gets home. Our late dinners create a little problem, but I’m going to try this. emoticon
    712 days ago
    I eat 3 meals a day, no snacking in between, just like people did when I was growing up. Now they call that "intermittent fasting".
    712 days ago
    When I joined Spark 10 years ago, I decided that eating 3 times a day intuitively
    made sense to me. I already never ate after dinner, so it was pretty easy to
    to keep my commitment. I just naturally started eating in a 8 to 10 hour window
    eating every 4 hours. For me, that was starting at 11:00 AM and having dinner at
    7:00 or 7:30 PM. I am very comfortable with this plan and now I understand
    that it is all the rage as in intermittent fasting with lots of heath benefits. emoticon

    I, also, understand the importance of not over triggering insulin response and eat
    a low-glycemic diet. Both of these habits have definitely helped me maintain the 60
    pound loss I achieved 9 years ago without extreme efforts. emoticon
    Spark helps too! emoticon

    712 days ago
    I have not heard this before. And I haven't heard of this book either. I will look into it.
    712 days ago
    An eating window ABSOLUTELY supports me! I didn't even know it was a "thing". I just did it because I felt better when I ate like that and I'd been raised to eat that way: 3 meals, no snacking, no eating after dinner. And, we tended to eat dinner early.

    These days my eating window tends to be 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Sometimes it slides a bit: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. But, I typically see close to 16 hours between dinner and breakfast, sometimes as little as 14 hours, and very rarely as few as 12 hours.

    I never used to understand why I'd hear folks talking about how hard it was to do fasting blood work because they couldn't eat for 12 hours before the blood work and I was like "What? I do that every day." I didn't realize how my eating patterns differed from those around me.
    712 days ago
    This is something to consider. Thank you. emoticon
    712 days ago
    This is very interesting to me.
    712 days ago
    Always looking or the b3st way to loose and maintain weight loss. Stay encouraged my friend!!
    713 days ago
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