In the fall, I announced a diet plan that I put together myself, which featured lots of leafy greens, an alcohol limit, and some other good ideas. Long story short, it worked, but only to the tune of my losing three of the pounds I'd set out to lose (I wanted to lose 10 in 60 days and 15 overall). The good news is that I've kept them off, I exercise five to six days a week (pretty vigorously), I have been vegetarian for 20 years, and I only weigh 10 pounds more than I did in high school. (I'm 36).

But ... I'm still over where I'd like to be. So in the spirit of chubby-feeling Americans throughout history, I have been lured into trying the latest fad eating plan, the 8-hour diet. I like this plan because it's simple — so simple, in fact, that it can be described in just a sentence: Only eat (whatever you want!) for eight hours a day, and "fast" for 16. Since I regularly get eight to nine hours of sleep a night (yes, I prioritize my sleep!), that's really only eight hours that I have to not eat.

Of course, the original plan (and book behind the plan) by Men's Health editor David Zinczencko goes into more detail than that. He lays out a plan that includes eating healthfully (lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins and unprocessed carbs), but I do all that already (if you're not, you should be, for a host of health benefits, including weight loss). Probably the most interesting parts of the book are the other health-improvers, besides dropping pounds, that the feast-and-famine plan includes:

"The 8-hour diet works on a cellular level. By making simple changes to one’s daily eating patterns, The 8-hour diet triggers a person’s mitochondria — the energy centers of the body’s cells — to selectively burn fat for energy, while reducing the amount of cancer-causing cell damage caused by the typical American diet. The result: The 8-hour diet trains a person’s body to grow leaner, slows the aging process, and serves as a magic bullet to take down the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s."

What the heck? It doesn't seem dangerous, and if it works, it seems stick-to-it-able. I like that you could eventually (or even from the beginning) choose to do it three or five days a week and still see benefits. How it's going to work for me is that I'm not going to change anything else; I'm going to keep exercising as I do, keep my good eating habits up, and enjoy my weekly treat of an almond croissant. But I'm going to do all my eating between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the next two weeks. (I'm usually up at 8:45 a.m. and go to the gym or hit the trail at 9:30). My only rule will to be sure not to eat outside of these times. Wish me luck!

Would you try the 8-hour diet?

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

I'm trying the 8-hour diet
I'm road-testing the new diet craze to see if I can make it work for me.