I mentioned a condensed eating window in various posts about eating for an hourglass figure but there are some factors to consider when deciding if this is for you. If this is your first time hearing about this style of eating there's basics of how to get started below too. By the way the cute meal o clock is available over at cafe press.
A condensed window of eating means that you limit your calorie intake to a few hours within a 24 hour period. So instead of eating right after you get up then eating eating every 3 hours, you would instead wait to eat your first meal until mid morning or almost noon AND you would cut off your eating time early evening. The benefits of doing this are 1. you allow your body to naturally detox daily 2. your ghrelin levels (hunger hormone) normalize 3. you increases HGH production (fatloss hormone) which means increased fat burning.
A condensed eating window is NOT a radical form of calorie restriction, it's NOT fasting and it's NOT starving either. It's also not a strategy to get away with eating excess calories of poor quality foods. Condensed window eating is less like intermittent fasting and more like intermittent feeding.
You could almost think of it as interval training where you perform high intensity exercise for intervals of varied lengths within a set amount of time. With a condensed eating window you eat adequate calories of high quality foods at specific intervals within a set amount of time. Sounds odd but is far less complicated than those 6 meal a day grazing plans that make you feel like a pig/cow who's constantly eating yet never truly satisfied.
As I've mentioned in a previous article about fast fatloss, humans were not designed to graze like cows and grazing is actually an extreme form of feeding that bodybuilders use to get HUGE muscles. Steroid use, over- training, severe calorie depletion, severe dehydration, would be some of the other extreme things they do before they set foot on a stage looking as huge/ripped as possible.
Some experts claim that C.W.E. is the same as I.F. but in reality they are only similar not the same.
An intermittent fast requires that you not eat any calories of any kind for a 24 hour period while condensed window of eating allows you to eat adequate calories for your needs and goals whether that be maintenance, loss or gain.
So if you end your last meal at 7:00 p.m. and start your first meal at 11:00 a.m. then you would not be eating for 16 hours which some people classify as a fast but in truth is not really fasting and actually feels quite different.
*click pic to see Mercola's I.F. benefits infographic.
If you are healthy, exercise consistently, are close to your desired weight/bodyfat and are simply looking for a way to control calories easily then I highly recommend you experiment with this. I started by pushing my first meal all the way to 11:30 a.m. then setting a dinner cut off time of 7:30 p.m.
Some days this works for me and other days it doesn't so I just go with whatever feels right for my body that day. If you have not developed intuitive eating skills yet then this may be exactly what you need to help you do that. I've had two male clients who were very successful with this strategy when all else had failed for them and the reason for their success is they learned how to stop constantly eating and started eating only when it was meal time.
Obviously this style of eating isn't for everybody and you should do plenty of research about people exactly like you who have tried it before you decide whether to try it. You could also seek the advice of a holistic health expert with experience in this area. They would be able to assess you and make recommendations based on your current health, fitness level, lifestyle, goals, etc.
Expect zero approval or support from your doctor, nutritionist, most friends, family members, coworkers, bodybuilder type trainers, athletic trainers or other traditional health and fitness people. Most people who have never ventured away from grazing plans are still stuck in the dark ages and will tell you that you're metabolism is going to shut down and die or that you're going to suffer all kinds of horrible side effects.
The truth is you won't know how your body will respond until you get out of your comfort zone and try it and I can tell you from personal experience that I LOVE it and what it's done for me mentally, emotionally and physically.
I was intermittent fasting once a week for a year while recovering from a hip injury before trying C.W.E. so transitioning to it was a natural progression. Condensed window eating is the way I eat many days of the week but not every day. I find that it's easy, stress free and keeps me healthy fit and most importantly happy! It feels WAY better than any fad diet I ever tried including low fat, vegan, south beach, atkins, paleo and 6 meal a day bodybuilder plans.