Consistency, consistency, consistency... I can't stress that enough. When you sway from the very basics is when results will diminish.
A lot of folks overeat. We know this. Often times we don't realize when we do it. Many folks believe they are eating healthy, but then when they are not healthy and/or can't understand why they cannot lose weight it usually roots back to two main things: timing of meals and type of foods consumed. When I talk about intermediate fasting to my clients I am usually looked at with a weird questionable glare of disbelief. I think it's because most trainers and nutritionists recommend eating several times throughout the day. It's not that they recommend that over intermediate fasting, but the biggest reason has to do with their lack of education or knowledge of intermediate fasting. So they simply recommend what they do know and are comfortable recommending.
If eating throughout the day worked and the 5-6 small meals a day protocol was the best then why oh why are there so many fat/obese people walking around living their life very unhealthily. The reason is simple- lack of desire. They lack the desire to work hard at living a healthy lifestyle. Those who do are indeed healthy. Those who don't- are not. It is really that simple. What you put into your lifestyle is exactly what you will get out of it.
Ok so the argument is out there that when you don't eat every couple hours your body will break down it's own muscle tissue for energy. Well that's just rubbish!!! If that was true then when does it use your fat? When all the muscle is used up? I thought the fat on our bodies is our reserves and when we need energy, such as when we are not eating, it will tap into those reserves. Yes that is true. The fat is used when we undergo two different situations: exercise(intense activity of any kind) and fasting. It has been proven that it takes about 72 hours at a complete fast for the body to begin to cannibalize it's muscle tissue.
Additionally lengths of time when not eating- as in intermediate fasting- the hormones are triggered and an increase in testosterone, growth hormone, and glucagon is experienced putting the body is in a very beneficial state.
When intermediate fasting the main meal should always be at night. If we simply eat that meal in one sitting until we are full that would not be nearly adequate to suffice for the entire day's calorie needs. It must be staggered for full eating and digestion potential. The digestive system works well in this way. I have been intermediately fasting for over a year now and have my body's needs down to a science where I can gain or lose weight(fat or muscle) at will.
During the daily fast the liver stores up enzymes that need to be released to break down proteins and fats so beginning a meal with a big mixed veggie salad will do that trick nicely. I eat with usually about a 30-45 min. between stages in my main meal. My intermediate fasting is structured so I 100% fast every day until the main meal except post workout where I have my raw egg and fruit recovery smoothie. My main evening meals are huge. I mean huge! I stagger my feeding when my eating window arrives and never linger past that window. Most days I only have about a 2 hour window due to my work schedule, but that suits me just fine. I make sure to drink about 1.5-2 gallons of water daily to curve any hunger cravings, facilitate detox, and maintain energy levels. With even a 15% decrease of bodily water energy levels are diminished by about half. Water is vital to overall success and wellness.
I think this is the best, meaning most convenient and results driven, way of doing it rather than "needing" to eat during the day. Keep in mind that there is a big big difference between needing and wanting. Your body does not need to eat during the day. You are programed habitually to believe so. Fasting rejuvenates and refreshes your system ensuring everything is functioning properly and efficiently. Fasting also gives you a lot of energy as long as the adequate water intake is there. Since you will still be eating quality natural foods and getting in nutrients- but at night- the body will be fine.
Additionally striving to fight to eat or not eat within blocked hour parameters is just not needed at all. My advice is to be flexible and just do your best to stay around the same pre-determined timing. Not all schedules can be mathematically mapped on a daily basis. That would make a healthy lifestyle just too cumbersome. Focus on what can be done and how easy it actually is to do once you decide to do so.