Like most the rest of the "civilized" world, it as been drilled into my head that I must eat regular small meals to be healthy. And if I were to skip one of those "healthy" meals I would start losing the precious muscle mass that I work so hard to build or my metabolism would come to a screeching halt.
So I was intrigued when I ran across a few fitness enthusiasts talking about intermittent fasting. A little more "Googling" and I stumbled on Eat Stop Eat. The author, Brad Pilon, sent me a copy of his book and I got to reading right away.
Mr. Pilon includes a practical approach to intermittent fasting that is very flexible. The book, however, is less focused on "how" to do intermittent fasting and focuses more on what benefits come from intermittent fasting and dispelling many of the myths surrounding fasting. Everything he writes is fully referenced and I was pleased to see many scientific studies among the list of references.
I decided to give the program a try.
How did I use the program?
- I ate dinner on Saturday and then my fast began.
- I fasted until it was dinner time on Sunday. (Two times a week was recommended in the book but I only did one)
- I was not too militant on hitting an exact 24 hour fast. I followed a dinner to dinner protocol and the hours fell where they may. My fasts ranged anywhere from 20 hours to 26 hours.
What have I taken away from the book?
- Intermittent fasting makes it so I don't have to stress over meeting the perfect, magical macro ratio all the time. I don't have to worry as much about getting too many carbs or calories because I know the fast will balance everything out.
- If I get stuck and have to miss a scheduled meal I no longer stress over it.
- If I get hungry and can't satisfy that hunger immediately, I don't find it stressful anymore. Being hungry is no longer the end of the world.
What did the fasting do for me?
- In addition to the above mentions points, I lost about a pound and a half a week. More than that showed up on the scale the next day but some of the weight (about 25%) was back the next day. So the net loss for the month was 6.5 pounds.
- I was very productive on the days I fasted. I don't think my house has been this clean in a while and I have finally managed to declutter some of my closets! So energy levels were great. (I never did workout on a fasting day but I don't think it would have been a problem.)
What problems did I encounter?
- The biggest problem I had was during my last fast after I returned to a very low carb eating plan. I struggled to make it to 20 hours that day. I do not know if that is at all related to low carb or not. I will have to see if future fasts are equally difficult.
- Another problem I had was remembering that it was a fast day. Sounds crazy but I have tried very hard over the last year to force myself to eat breakfast that it has become habitual. On two occasions I was in the middle of breakfast when I realized I was supposed to be fasting. I simply fasted the next day, so it was no big deal.
I would definitely recommend the book to anyone that was interested in intermittent fasting. It was an easy read and answered many questions and dispelled several myths.