From Michael: Okay, listed below is what I have learned and experienced since I started the Intermittent Fasting (I.F.) approach to get down to my goal weight (165 lbs). Currently I’m at 175 lbs so I’m still working to lose that last 10 lbs. I think a healthy rate to lose weight would be no more than 1-2 lbs a week so I don’t think I will meet my deadline that I set for myself (December 23rd) but I feel confident that I will get there.
How did you first hear about IF and when did you start utilizing it?
I first read about intermittent fasting in Mark Sisson’s book “The Primal Blueprint” He stated that occasional intermittent fasting and deregulated meal habits would produce accelerated caloric deficits and lead to greater fat loss. So back in May 2013 I started experimenting with IF for periods of 24 hours at a time. I would eat dinner on Monday night and then wouldn’t eat again until Tuesday night. I got to where I felt comfortable doing two 24 hour fasts a week (usually Tuesday’s and Thursday’s). I kept this routine up for about 6-8 weeks but eventually abandoned the approach because I wasn’t sure it was healthy for me. Friends and co-workers started to make comments like “Do you think that is healthy for you… starving yourself”? And “If your body goes into starvation mode then you will not lose any weight”. A few months went by and one night a documentary was on PBS with Dr Michael Mosley about intermittent fasting. It was called “Eat Fast Live Longer”. This rekindled my interest in the idea of I.F. and using it as a tool to get down to my goal weight.
Were you doing anything prior to that for weight loss?
Prior to starting my second attempt at I.F. I had completed the “Whole 30” cleanse and had great success. I lost 15 pounds on the whole 30 and afterwards I continued to eat whole 30 compliant but wasn’t able to lose any more weight. So I started skipping meals but on the days I ate I would keep it whole 30 compliant. I will say however that I have had the occasion slip up along the way (usually on the weekend) when I dive into a Baconater from Wendy’s and some french fries. There are many variations of I.F. (daily, 2X week, etc.)
There are many variations of I.F. (daily, 2X week, etc.) Which have you done and what are the pros and cons of the ones you have tried?
Initially I started out doing two 24 hour fasts a week. Once I got comfortable with that I stepped it up a notch by doing one 48 hour fast and a 24 hour fast. Going 48 hours without food is definitely tough but I feel like it has gotten easier for me to do as time goes on. I guess my body has become used to it to some extent and the hunger pains are not as intense as they once were. For me it was helpful to slowly condition my body into learning how to function without a constant source of food and gradually increase the length of time I went without eating. I would say the Pros to the I.F. pattern that I’ve been doing (aside from the weight loss) are that I actually feel sharper (cognitively) and that my energy levels are more stable throughout the day. I no longer get that afternoon lull that people normally get after they eat a big lunch. The pros definitely outweigh the cons in my opinion but if there is any downside to I.F. it would be the uncomfortable hunger feeling you get when you smell something delicious and you don’t allow yourself to have a bite. I’ve also noticed that I have lost a little bit of strength but it has been a trade off because now I have more energy and I can run faster for longer periods of time.
When you eat what is your nutrition like? Clean or whatever you want?
On the days that I do eat I keep it Paleo (with usually 1 or 2 cheat meals on the weekends to keep from going insane). I would say it is especially important to eat energy rich foods for the first meal after fasting. I usually will have a protein (chicken breast or pork chop), a green veggie (cooked spinach or asparagus), and a starch (mashed butternut squash or sweet potato hash) right after fasting. I know that fasting is controversial to many doctors and conventional wisdom. It is probably not for everyone but it has been a great tool for me to drop those few extra pounds that I otherwise would not have been able to get off. If anyone is thinking about trying I.F. I would recommend to start of slow with a fasting time period that your body is comfortable with. After you get used to it you can then start to increase the duration of time you go without eating to achieve your weight loss goals.
More info at the links below.