Christmas is a time that many indulge, or more often, over indulge, in the treat foods all about them. Then, 7 days later, many make well intentioned promises to give it all up for another year, loose those extra kilos put on and get “healthy” (again).

Nothing wrong with that really – I did it myself in the past, along with thousands of others – but is it sensible? If you have a problem with food, or would like to have a healthier way of eating, swinging between extremes only makes you feel guilty, and can literally feed the problem.

The key to keeping one foot on the healthy eating wagon during this time, is in the planning. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the festive season but by knowing and monitoring your eating, climbing back up onto the wagon or actually catching the wagon, is so much easier.

Briefly, as a rule, I Intermittent Fast (IF) 8/16. Eating within a window of 8 hours and fasting for 16. Generally my first meal of the day is after 1pm and the last by 9pm. I tend to rise later and work into the small hours so it suits. Others may prefer a 6am to 2pm window if they work “normal” hours, it all depends on personal preference and what works for you.

My first meal is Carb based, to give me energy for the day, and the last revolves around a large percentage of Protein. Most days I will have a snack (or even two) within my eating window. It really just depends on how I feel and what I am doing. If I’m actually busy doing something else, I generally don’t need a snack – another useful ploy to control eating! Snacks are often fruit or even a piece of cake with a cuppa.

Hmmm doesn’t seem very healthy I hear you saying – CAKE! The trick here is to focus on the whole intake for the day, not just worry about individual items – to a point.  Intermittent Fasting has little to do with what you eat or how much you consume, but WHEN you eat. However, in my opinion, I consider IF is not the best way to begin a diet regime but is, however, the best way to maintain a healthy eating regime once you have sorted out your basic eating mechanics. Even if you do not get the mix “right” in the beginning, by controlling the time you eat, it is much harder to overeat in your allotted 8 hours.

Where diets can complicate life, intermittent fasting may simplify it. Where diets can be expensive, intermittent fasting can be free. Diets can be problematical with having to measure and calculate where fasting involves none of these.

Therefore, enjoy the festive season, indulge yourself for a time with the various treats on offer and, with the beginning of a new year, start to seriously look at what you are eating with the view to making positive changes. Then, once you have cleaned up your eating style give IF a go to maintain your gains.

Be non-obsessive in how you go about your life rather than being fixated on details – or as someone else said “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. Life is about balance. A bit of this and a bit of that. The same applies to eating and fasting. Fasting, after all, is simply the flip side of eating. If you are not eating, you are fasting.

Merry Christmas

See also:

Time-restricted eating can help with weight loss, researchers say

What to do when your diet plans go awry.