I know it works. It said so in Reader’s Digest. (Gimme a break. I was at the home of some older relatives, and it was the only thing available for bathroom reading.)
The premise is pretty straight-forward: the body metabolizes food differently during daylight hours. To that end, if you eat all of your meals while there’s light in the sky, your tummy will evaporate and your love handles will fall off.
That’s not really the end conclusion, but it’s what I was going for.
There is some research that supports this notion.
One of the subjects of the RD article was a woman that had gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. Following the birth of her child, she had either a new job or new working hours. Regardless, because of that schedule change, she needed to eat supper by 5 each day. Then, it was off to work, arriving back home around 11 p.m.
The big change for her was that the 5 o’clock meal was not just her last meal of the day, it was her last food of the day. Upon returning home in the evening, she showered and went to bed.
The way I remember the story, she lost over seventy pounds of baby fat with just that one change. No change in her diet, only in the times she ate.
A lightbulb went off over my head, however dimly. Could this program help me lose some baby fat? In my case, baby back ribs fat.
February was about to begin. That seemed like a good starting point. New month, new plan. My wife was onboard; she thinks we eat too late, anyway.
Initially, the hardest part was that it was, in fact, the beginning of February. It gets dark early!
In order to have supper consumed by dark, it needed to be completely ready to eat by 5 o’clock. As the month wore on and the days grew longer, having the meal prepared by 6 or even 6:15 still had us finishing before dark.
There were a couple of exceptions, as there are bound to be, but I was faithful to the plan.
Thinking back to when I announced the new diet on social media, the very first question that came up was, “Does that go for liquid consumption after dark, as well???” It came from this girl I used to work with who is now a fitness queen and is trying to eat all healthy and probably assumes that I enjoy a toddy or two in the evening. Knowing her, she wanted me to fail.
I did. It didn’t work.
Oh, I lost two pounds, but I was hoping for twenty.
Now for my analysis of what might have gone wrong: liquid consumption after dark, probably. I admit, I am a man of many empty calories.
Supper may be over, and I may have finished eating before dark, but that wine bottle is still half-full. Or half-empty, depending on your point of view. From my angle, there is still some work to be done, and that article didn’t say anything about wine.
To be fair to me, I do try to limit my wine intake to two glasses.
But then there’s the splash or two of a good bourbon over ice that soothes the soul and helps one sleep at night.
You don’t want me to not sleep well, do you?
I do want to point out one HUGE positive to this particular eating arrangement. If you have decreed that all meals must be taken during daylight hours, you have effectively made late-night snacking against the law.
That’s a really big deal for those of us that are prone to getting the munchies because that steak and potato and beans and salad and rolls and wine you had two hours ago suddenly is not enough, and you must go thrust your spoon into that jar of peanut butter… twice, maybe three times, or you will die - quite literally, die - of starvation!
(A very small half-pound sliver of cheddar cheese will also do the trick.)
This plan sets the rule: when dinner’s over, eating is done for the day. I liked that, and I stuck to it.
So, I’m going to hang with it for a while. If nothing else, I quit gaining weight. Best case, I’ll hit my target weight in 8 -10 years.
My wife has had more success than I have, but then, she has taken a month-long sabbatical from all alcohol. She suggests I do the same.
I have found that staring at her blankly, like she’s a martian (which of your 7 eyes should I be looking at?), is an effective response.