The 5 + 2 diet vs the 4 + 8 +12 diet
Every era brings with it new trends reflecting our need for constant improvement and search for solutions to make our lives easier. More often than not these trends focus on our diet. How can we eat better so that we will lose weight, improve our health or just enjoy life more? One trend that has been much in the limelight lately is the 5 + 2 diet which entails eating “normally” 5 days a week and fasting or eating 600 calories or less 2 days a week. Research seems to show that the 5 + 2 diet helps people lose weight and even improve their health. I seriously doubt though that this diet, like any other, suits everybody. I for one can not imagine having to function normally during the fasting days in light of the fact that I seem to almost pass out if I have not eaten for 2 or 3 consecutive hours. I also wonder about the claim that it doesn’t matter what you eat on the non-fasting days. How can fasting 2 days a week make it healthy to eat processed and low quality food the rest of the week? After observing people around me struggle with following this diet in the last few months I suddenly realized that I myself have been following a diet which includes regular fasting for the last few decades with good results it seems.
The 4 + 8 + 12 diet
So what is this diet that has been so helpful? And how has it helped?
After comparing my dietary habits with the 5 + 2 concept I came up with the 4+8+12 dietary model. The numbers in the 4 + 8 + 12 model represent hours; every 24 hour period is divided into 4 or 8 hour slots of intermittent fasting/eating. Each 24 hour period starts with a 4 hour fasting followed by 8 hours of normal healthy eating, followed finally by 12 hours of fasting. About 25 years ago I read about how fasting every morning would help your body to better process the food you ate the day before and therefore help with maintaining a healthy weight. I had always had very little appetite in the morning and had been forcing myself to eat something before going to school since I was a kid as it was supposed to be essential for your health. “Eat like a king in the morning and a beggar in the evening” – that’s what you always heard but just didn’t seem to work for me. Fasting in the morning for me means eating very lightly from the time you wake up until noon. Typically I will drink a glass of water (with some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) soon after I wake up and have some fruit an hour or two later and maybe some more fruit or even nuts/almonds as it gets closer to noon. Some mornings I will have a boost made of fruits and veggies.
I try to eat as little as possible during this 4 hour period (from 8 to 12) and will never have any grains, meat, eggs or fish. I can not begin to describe how good it feels to consume so lightly the morning after a big meal such as during x-mas for example. From noon to 8 PM I eat like everybody else apart from the fact that I try to eat as healthy as possible avoiding processed food, preservatives and any kind of additives. Between 8 PM and 8 AM I fast with some exceptions of course like any other person enjoying dinner parties etc. with family and friends.
The 4+8+12 diet may not suit everybody as can be said about any other diet. We each need to find what suits our bodies the best. As far as I am concerned the fact remains that thanks to this diet, healthy eating overall and regular exercise I have maintained the same healthy weight for over 35 years or since I was 15 years old.