Keeping that gut flat may not be as hard as many think, particularly if you’re up for making one small change. According to experts, the key to weight loss and maintenance isn’t what you put in your mouth—though you have to be reasonable—but rather when you do it. Scientists found that time-restricted eating (TRE) is a great way to lose pounds, and keep them off. Also known as intermittent fasting, TRE assigns a specific window of time for people to consume food. For the study, experts used a test group of overweight individuals and gave them one rule: no food from 6pm in the evening to 10am. Participants in this type of lifestyle, known as the 16:8 diet, for its ratio of time fasting to eating, could only consume water or zero calorie drinks during fasting periods.
The results were impressive. Participants had the following changes in a 12-week period:
- They consumed an average of 350 fewer calories per day
- They lost an average of three percent of body weight
- They reported lower blood pressure
“The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods,” says Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and study co-author.
The biggest challenge for folks looking to make this change is the commitment to revamping eating habits. Here are some easy modifications to consider.
- Drinking water in the early morning before 10am (this also gives a boost to consuming the recommended 8-10 glasses per day)
- Bringing lunch and dinner to work if you’re in the office past 5pm.
- Hit happy hours early. That way, you can still have a few drinks and appetizers while hitting your goal time of 6pm.