There is a fairly well-known theory out there about breaking or forming a habit based on three calendar weeks that I can remember hearing about most of my life. The 21-Day Rule, or, God willing, whatever more clever name one chooses to call it, is pretty basic. If you can give it up for 21 days, you can give it up forever. It’s also said to work the other way. If you can commit to doing something or living a certain way, the mental cement will dry in 21 days and it will become a habit. Is there any science behind it? Absolutely not. In fact, it’s not even really the “go to” in the “self-help world” anymore. The Secret preaches a 30 day window of abstinence followed by another 30 days of reaffirmation to lock it in. Now you’re 60 days pot committed with no guarantee you’re going to bring it home. Thankfully, if you believe in The Secret, you can just want the time to go faster and you’ll be all set.
As I wrap up Week 3 of my six-week experiment with The 8 Hour Diet, I’m certainly starting to feel a more pronounced drift into lifestyle from the original label of experiment or even diet. Right now it just feels normal. Honestly, it feels like this is how I’ve always been and should be in my relationship with food. It’s not perfect by any stretch (we’ll touch on that later), but if you read the book you’ll know, there is legitimate science behind it and it feels that way. When you’re on what I call “All or No” Diets (no meat, all meat, no carbs, all grapefruit, etc…) there’s always this feeling that something is missing from a nutritional standpoint. That’s why, in my opinion, they’re tough to maintain as a lifestyle. I lost my 226 pounds with a self-created diet that was very intentionally based on not excluding or overly including any particular item so that I could maintain it as a lifestyle. And, yes, while I do gain 5-10 (cough… 15…. cough) pounds over long stretches in the winter or when I get out of my exercise routine and into bad food habits, I always know how to get back to a good place because I got there the right way.
That being said, the experiment continues as we reach the half way mark.
(Editor’s Note: Clay spoke about his experience with The 8-Hour Diet recently on his podcast. Check it out HERE!)
If you’re just jumping on-board now, you can get a lot more details about the book, The 8 Hour Diet, and the program by catching up on my Week 1 and Week 2 posts. For Week 3, I kept it pretty much the same:
- I followed the program for all seven days. Not a requirement, but I decided I wanted to be consistent for the entire six-week run.
- My eating window was 11a – 7p. I have to say, it feels right. The most controversial thing in the book is the explosion of the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” myth.
- Marathon training continues. Exercised six days this week. One day of strength, one hard cardio and just under 25 miles logged over four different runs including an 11.2 mile long run on Saturday.
Week 3 Highlights
I can’t bury the lead here, so let me open with the results. I actually gained about a third of a pound this week. Anyone who is scale focused knows that .3 pounds not only is more than the standard margin of error on the device, but, to be frank, I quick trip to the bathroom before or after a weigh-in will swing the number more than that. However, because we’re trying to be at least somewhat scientific in our test, the numbers are the numbers.
I didn’t do anything differently except exercise a little more and, perhaps, a little harder. Because of that, there is a possibility for some extra water retention in healing muscles, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you for sure. This week I have about four fewer miles scheduled in my training, so we’ll see if that shows in next week’s number.
More importantly, I feel great. My energy is high. I’m sleeping very well (despite the sauna like conditions in the Midwest last week) which I attribute largely to eliminating dinner or snacks too close to my normal sleep time. I’m going to bed satisfied and have yet to be woken by a growling stomach.
On the downside, for the first time in the 21 days, I can report a true, true hunger moment. After my 11-miler on Saturday morning, which I finished up at about 9:00a, I really, really felt like I needed some food before my window was scheduled to open at 11. I battled with it as I firmly subscribe to the notion of trust your body over all else, but just stuck to my water until it was time. As I continue down this path, I may need to look at making modifications to the plan on those mornings specifically.
With the scale heading north instead of south, I’m at -5.5 pounds for the three weeks. When I was 400 pounds or even 300 pounds, I could lose 20 pounds in three weeks without even batting a chubby eye. I’m really only keeping the measurable for these six weeks because I want to compare it to some of the reports in the book. What I can say is that the change in lifestyle has spurred physical changes that are even more pronounced than five and half pounds of lost weight might imply. When I start to put on a few pounds, it shows in my face, even more so as I get older. After three weeks, I feel very lean. My face feels tighter. I just don’t feel sloppy like you can when you put on those 5-10 extra pounds.
No one likes to gain weight, especially when you’re on some type of program where you expect to lose weight. The 8 Hour Diet lifestyle has done exponentially more for me in feeling healthy than numbers on a scale. Perhaps it’s over simplistic, but, at the half way point, I just plain feel good. And, in the end, that’s what the goal should be for all of us.
Disclaimer: Do not take this as a review, a recommendation or some type of promotion for The 8 Hour Diet. It’s a science project. For the next three Mondays, I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing. If you have questions, feel free to hit me with them. If you think it’s garbage, let’s talk about it. I’m going to invest these six weeks in order to share it with you. Come back next Monday.
Want to read about the rest of this experiment? Check out the rest of Clay’s Update!