12 Hour Fast

I recently read an article in the new issue of Health magazine called, “Can You Eat Late – and Still Lose Weight?” that I found interesting.

Basically, this article says that new studies have found that to burn the most fat, you should go 12 hours overnight without eating. The reasoning behind it is that during the day your muscles use some of the calories you eat for fuel, the rest is stored as glycogen. Overnight, that glycogen is converted to glucose. Once the glycogen is gone, your liver starts burning the fat cells.

Fasting for 12 hours overnight allows your body the chance to convert the glycogen and start burning fat.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like there’s so many “health rules” that you’re supposed to follow.

According to the article, if you eat dinner at 8 pm, you shouldn’t eat breakfast until 8 am. Okay, that’s fine. But the article also says that juice and milk count as breaking the fast, so if you drink a glass of milk at 10pm, you shouldn’t eat breakfast until 10 am.

Now, here’s where I started thinking about the golden rule – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The article agrees with this, saying that all breakfast eaters typically weigh less, but they say if you eat late at night, around 11 pm or later, you should actually skip breakfast to get the 12 hour fast in.

What about people who regularly eat late because they work late, or go out on the weekends and eat or drink late? Should they regularly skip breakfast and not eat until 11 am? I can understand that if you stay up late, you usually are sleeping later too, but this isn’t always the case. Why is being healthy so complicated?

I tried the 12 hour fast thing, and I got close, but it doesn’t really work for me. For example, Wednesday night I worked out. I got home at 8:30 pm, and had some protein-filled yogurt shortly after. I shouldn’t have eaten breakfast until around 8:45 am. Yeah, not going to happen. I wake up about 7 am, and I need coffee right away. And at 8:45 am, I am busy getting the kids ready to leave the house. There’s no way that I am getting breakfast at the time. I’m eating about 7:30 am. While, I got pretty close to the 12 hour mark, I feel like it’s harder to achieve that it seems.



I am still so sore from the Biggest Loser workout on Monday night. I went to Butts and Guts class yesterday morning, and it was tough. We did a lot of cardio and abs on the Bosu and I was really feeling it. Afterwards, I treated myself to a sugar-free iced coffee from McDonald’s.

I came home, and had some overnight oats for breakfast. My oats included: strawberry Greek yogurt, oats, almond milk, and chia seeds.

I topped it with some sad-looking blueberries.

After picking my niece up yesterday, we packed a lunch and went to the splash park.

The kids had fun playing in the water for a while, and Baby McCutie had fun looking in the grass for things to eat.

Luckily, I’m quick as lightning, and prevented her from consuming grass, sticks, leaves, and bugs.

Later in the evening, the kids had swim lessons. It was a full day of water play.

Questions of the day:

  • What are your thoughts on the 12 hour fast article?
  • How long do you go between your last meal of the day and breakfast?
  • When was the last time you went swimming?


Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Working Out

9 Responses to 12 Hour Fast

  1. katiemoves

    Don’t think I could go 12 hours without eating… Seriously way too long for me.. I’ve heard it’s better to eat within an hour of getting up so who knows! I agree there are too many health “rules”

    • That’s the same thing that I thought – how can you go 12 hours and eat within an hour of waking up. So many contradicting “rules”. I’m just going to eat when I’m hungry :)

  2. Eh, this seems kinda silly to me. I don’t think it’s the difference-maker for shedding pounds. And if you are hungry, you should give your body the fuel it needs when it needs it.
    I usually eat a small snack around 10pm just because I can feel my stomach getting growly and a little acidy, having not had anything since 6 or 7pm. (I eat breakfast during my commute usually, between 8:30 and 9am.) My snack will be a small scoop of frozen yogurt or, as in the case last night, some fruit like peaches. Nothing heavy, no chips or anything fatty. I am not gaining weight doing this, nor am I fat. Calories in/Calories out is more important, in my opinion, than a 12 hour fast.

    I really want to pick up swimming as another exercise, but the bathing suit and the etiquette frighten me. I have zero technique too. Oh, and I don’t have a pool at my gym, which is the best excuse of all. haha!

  3. Diana

    I don’t buy what they are claiming in the article, at least not if you are actively trying to lose weight and are eating a reduced calorie diet. At the beginning of the year I was on a mission to lose the rest of my baby weight. I used MyFitnessPal to track my food and exercise and logged everything. Based on my stats, the app advised me to eat 1250 net calories a day in order to lose 2 lbs per week. I did exactly that. I ate early, I ate late, I skipped breakfast some days and had 2 breakfasts other days.

    Based on your summary of the article, if you are consuming less calories during the day than you are expending, you shouldn’t have “leftover” to be stored as glycogen that needs to be burned off overnight. Your body should be dipping into those stores on and off continuously since you are purposefully creating a deficit in calories to lose weight.

    Also, I do believe that a calorie is a calorie. I can eat a crappy 1250 calories a day and while I’m still hungry, I lose weight at the same rate as when I eat 1250 calories of healthy, unprocessed, balanced foods. I weigh myself daily, and while I know there are natural fluctuations, I can’t see a difference if I’m eating the same number of calories. The hard part is not eating more than 1250 calories when I eat poorly because I’m still hungry.

  4. I think it’s best to do whatever works for you. I sometimes have a small bowl of cereal before bed because I’m starving and I can’t fall asleep if I’m too hungry. I leave for work at 8 and need to eat breakfast before I leave or else my whole day of eating gets screwed up. So I don’t listen to all of those rules. I think you should just eat when you’re hungry and do what makes you most comfortable.

  5. I probably stop eating around 8:30ishpm and eat breakfast around 8:30am.

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