Sometime during the spring, when I first heard about using fasting from time to time to lose fat I thought it sounded a bit odd.
But then I thought about how people in all kinds of religions have been fasting for thousands of years.I read a bit about it online and it seemed to be a pretty popular topic on various fitness blogs. Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training – the program I use every week and that helped me to lose 26 pounds – is a fan for example. So I got curious.
So I read a book called Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon (the guy above in the photo). It’s a pretty short and concise ebook at 91 pages.
In it Brad dispels many myths about fasting. He counters the arguments people may use to not try it out – like slowed down metabolism, fear of losing muscle, fear of becoming just too hungry – with facts and research (the book has over 50 references from different scientific studies).
The main idea of this way of losing fat is to fast for 24 hours once or twice per week. This will create a calorie deficit and you will use more energy than you put into your body. And so you lose weight. That’s it.
My Four Week Challenge
First, a quick note on fasting. As Brad writes in the intro to the book: “The information within this book is meant for healthy adult individuals. You should consult with your physician to make sure it is appropriate for your individual circumstances.”
Now, since I had gained back a few of those 26 pounds I lost earlier this year I thought I’d give it try. So I have fasted for two 24 hour periods during the last four weeks. The results? I lost 4 kilos/9 pounds.
I did no cardio exercises – I usually do the bodyweight exercises from the Turbulence Training program – during these four weeks to see how much I could lose without that training.
I did however do two 25 minute workouts with free weights per week to maintain my muscle mass and just lose the fat. I did not lose any strength during the four weeks.
So how was it?
Well, pretty unobtrusive and I guess that is the point of this way of eating. You don’t have to prepare special meals. Or constantly think about what you are eating. You just stop eating. Then you just eat again as if nothing happened. It’s a pretty relaxed and very simple way of eating to lose weight.
I had hunger pangs when I usually eat but they dissipated again pretty quickly as I kept busy with work and other stuff. An interesting side effect of fasting is that productivity goes up. When you don’t have to cook food, eat and wash the dishes you can get quite a bit more done during your day of fasting.
I did however notice that it did become harder to focus for maybe four hours before the fast was done. My mind was foggier. I could still work and do some light stuff but for example writing a blog post would be hard.
But the thing is, this way of eating is very flexible. Taking your fasting day on a day when you for example have an important test in school is nothing you need to do. You can take your fast any day of the week, when it fits you and your schedule.
Besides dispelling the myths about fasting and changing how you think about food and fasting Brad also goes into the benefits of fasting from time to time – like decreased insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity and growth hormone levels – and gives you a how to guide to live the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle with a helpful frequently asked questions section.
You can get an E-copy of Eat Stop Eat here