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  • Meric Ekren

Time Restricted Eating


As my daily yoga practice continues to inform & guide my lifestyle and food choices, I constantly find myself being 'curious'.

What increases or decreases my endurance and energy levels; both on the mat and life in general?

Like a scientist, I experiment- mostly with food, nutrition, exercise and sleep. Over the years, through this curiosity, my body and mind have become a laboratory in which 'with care' the compost is finally growing into a blooming flower.

Last summer, I was in Mysore/India practicing Ashtanga Yoga; an endurance based yoga method- six-days a week under the guidance of Sharathji. He recommended; in order to wake up early and to practice in the morning, we should stop eating at 5pm the previous day. At first, this sounded radical but in time we all understood how vital it was to give the body enough time to digest and rest if we wanted to feel light & less sluggish in the morning.

Upon my return to Hamar, I explored this further and continued to maintain a "time-restricted eating". I stopped eating completely after 5pm. Somedays this was not possible; say if I finished work late, travelled or took it easy at weekends. However, in general I maintained this idea fairly steady. After almost 6 months, I feel just great. I have outlined the benefits below.

But first;

What is 'Time Restricted Eating'?


It is based on "when to eat"; a person eats within 8-12 hours time window that begins when the first food or non-water drink enters the mouth.

I'll give an example of a 12-hour window. Let's say, you wake up at 6am. Then you have a 12-hour window to eat your meals. After 6pm in the evening, you stop eating completely until you wake up the next day. This means you have fasted for 12 hours.

In time, the aspiration can become a 9-hour window. Example; from the time you wake up, you stop eating after 9 hours. Then you are fasting 15- hours a day. This is not radical at all, our ancestors functioned when hungry. Starvation is necessary. Long gone the idea of eating 3 meals a day.

Benefits of 'Time Restricted Eating' include:

Reduction of fat mass - your body is eating the fat during fasting

Increase in endurance

Sharper, better brain function

Increase in lean muscle mass- very important to maintain as we age

Lower inflammation

Better sleep

Improved heart rate

Ketone body production

Improved repair process

Curing of Type 2 diabetes, Insulin resistance, High blood sugar

Our body works on an internal biological clock- the circadian clock- . Light sets and regulates this clock. The body knows when it is time to wake up because there is light and when to sleep because it is dark. Mice for example don't have the same clock, they live mostly at night and therefore eat at night. However, we are different, the production of melatonin- sleep hormone- asks us to rest at night and eat during the day. Are you waking up early? Do you feel sleepy by 10pm? Please ask these questions. Your answers will indicate how good the internal clock is working.

The circadian clock also responds to the food we eat. Unhealthy food such as refined carbohydrates( pasta, bread, pizza, rice) and sugar breaks this clock. Elimination of these carbohydrates will increase your energy levels naturally and the mid-day fatigue that results in desire to sleep will go away.

Start eating high-fiber via 'natural carbohydrates' such as vegetables and fruits. They increase the production of oxygen in the body which is necessary for endurance. Endurance requires "aerobic respiration" 'oxygen' and that depends on your mitochondria volume. Read my previous blog 'Alkaline food ' the best way to increase mitochondria volume in the body.

You can also download the app - Zero- Fasting tracker and set it to circadian clock. It will keep a track of your progress.

I now know that our food choices change so many aspects of our life; our health, potentials, thoughts and emotions. The only control we have is over our 'time' and the only thing we really possess is our 'body'.


So....Let's care for it and turn the compost into a blooming flower.

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