Fasting For Fat Loss

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Intermittent Fasting is by far my most successful eating strategy for fat loss to date. I’ve detailed my initial experiences quite extensively in past articles but thought it deserved some more ink - errr pixels - with regards to its’ simplicity. While most other diet styles have multiple rules, lists of bad foods to avoid, and fancy spreadsheets, fasting takes you above the low-level details to the most basic question: To Eat or Not To Eat?

[Enough with the empy plate pictures. After a fast I have so much energy I feel like I can outrun this 2009 Dodge Challenger...bare foot!]

Who Does Fasting?

It seems fasting has been a part of almost every culture since man set foot on this planet. Many of the world’s religions have some form of fasting built into their traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim, Judaism, and many others. As an example, A Jewish friend of mine recently celebrated Yom Kippur a couple of days ago and as part of the preparation for this holiday it involved a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer.

Of course, these traditional forms of fasting are not meant to be used as a fat loss strategy, but rather for other purposes such as spirituality and personal reflection. But from a “its-a-small-world” perspective, it’s interesting to see how many people from different backgrounds use fasting in their lives.

Intermittent Fasting Defined

Intermittent Fasting is the practice of fasting on a semi-regular schedule. By pure definition people who follow an intermittent fasting program take every second day off from eating. For example, if you decide to eat on Saturday, you would then abstain from eating on Sunday then resume eating again on Monday. It’s also been described as the “one day on, one day off” diet in various places.

The Problem With Strict Fasting

Although following Intermittent Fasting by the books will produce weight loss results, it is too restrictive for the majority of people to follow. A strict fasting schedule where you alternate days of eating can easily become disruptive to your lifestyle and most importantly become an obsessive compulsive habit. Imagine also the lack of flexibility with the choice of fasting days when the weekend approaches and you have social, family and other events to consider. Don’t we have enough to worry about already?

A Better Approach To Fasting

Allowing yourself to choose when you would like to fast allows for greater flexibility and increases the likelihood that you stick to an intermittent fasting routine indefinitely. The exact time you start and stop your fasts with this kind of eating may also vary. You may choose to start and stop your fast based on a particular time of day, or perhaps time it with your sleep cycle, or even the rise and fall of the sun. For example, I enjoy a 24-hour fast where I have a normal sized diner and then fast until the following evening when I enjoy a normal sized dinner again. There is no hard and fast rule with Intermittent Fasting. The purpose is to simply eat less calories over the course of the week or month by adding in prolonged periods of abstaining from eating food.

Why Fasting and Weight Loss Go Well Together

Typically people who have followed any of the fad diets (South Beach Diet anyone?) struggle with regaining most of my weight back because these plans are too rigid for their lifestyle. After a period, people would simply give up and return to their old ways of eating (shameful, I know). However, sometimes a step back is necessary to gain two steps forward and with Intermittent Fasting I felt like I was taking four steps forward! Keeping the weight off permanently was easier because every time I felt like I was starting to over eat and gain some of the weight back I simply added in a fasting day to burn the extra calories off. This is a great example of how the simplicity of a diet is the most important factor to its effectiveness. I enjoyed my weekend BBQ so today I will fast: Done!

Take a Break From the Grind of Eating

Eating high protein food - specifically from meat sources - in most of your meals day in and day out can cause its own stress to your digestive system over time. It requires a lot of energy to break this food down so give your body a break once in a while. I like to hit the proverbial reboot button on my body with a 24-hour fast and I feel alert and energetic afterwords.

Be Flexible and Enjoy the Results

While most other diet styles have iron clad rules with regards to what and how you eat certain foods, fasting allows you to eat whatever you like whenever you like on your “eating days”.

NOTE: Don’t take the “whatever you like to eat” statement literally. This isn’t the junk food open invitational tournament; instead we’re talking about healthy food choices, especially before and after a fast. The urge to overeat after a fast will be strong but avoidance to do so is key. Since the digestive system slows down during a fast, it’s also been suggested by many studies to avoid heavy foods such as meat as they’re liable to cause indigestion. Eating light with dairy foods kept to a minimum has served me well after a fast.

The only rule in an intermittent fasting program is the fast itself. True intermittent fasting of one day on, one day off is too strict for many people, however flexible intermittent fasting that allows you to choose your fasting days according to your social eating schedule makes intermittent fasting much more sustainable for long term fat loss success.

For more details about  intermittent fasting for weight loss can help you achieve your fat loss goals, check out our Eat Stop Eat review. Anybody that has struggled with the usual low calorie, low carb, low fat bland diet routines should seriously consider this book to reaching their fat loss goals.

To Find A Fat Loss Program that’s right for you, click the button below:

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  1. Fast Fat Loss says:

    Its really counterproductive to say the least.

    Muscle burns fat, fasting kills muscle, when you eat, you gain fat without muscle. fasting actually increases your body fat (IRONY!)

    Look into a different diet like say the keto diet, combine it with HIIT and full body exercises. just try it out once, see how it goes.

  2. Michael says:

    Hi “fast fat loss”,

    In fact fasting does not “kill muscle”, in fact if you are lifting weights 2-3 times per week you will still maintain and often build muscle even if you are fasting once a week. Also, by fasting we’re not talking about Ghandi type fasts here. We mean 24 hour fasting.

    As we mention at the end ofthe article, I highly recommend you take a look at our review of Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat program. Then when you’re a little more informed on the topic, come back and let’s chat.

    thanks for the comment.

  3. The Fat Runner says:

    I’ve read Brad’s book which inspired me to do intermittent fasting. I started in middle of August, and I’m now 20 pounds lighter and feeling great.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that one of the things which makes this an easy to follow approach is that it’s so simple! For a couple of days every week, I simply don’t need to think about food. I don’t need to make food choices and worry about whether I’m making the wrong choices or not. I get to work through my lunch hour and get home earlier… I could go on!

    Have I lost muscle mass? Perhaps, but before I decided to do this, I rationalised that losing a little muscle and a LOT of fat was a worthwhile trade-off. However, the facts are these:
    1) Even under semi-starvation diets, typical ratios of fat to lean body mass loss are well over 5 to 1 (i.e., you lose 5 times for fat than muscle)
    2) Larger people (even fatter people) tend to have larger muscles than thinner people (STATISTICAL AVERAGE). Therefore, if you’re 30 pounds lighter, it stands to reason that you need less muscle to haul yourself around…

    In fact, as an illustration of the 2nd point, even if I have lost a bit of muscle, my reduction in weight now means that I am running a 5k well over 2 minutes faster than before I lost the weight…

    Anyway, if anyone’s interested, I’ve got more about my experience of intermittent fasting on my blog under the “Losing Weight” tab, and I’m also posting my daily weight - you can even see a graph of my weight every day since I started intermittent fasting.

    Bottom line - it works for me.

  4. Can Fasting To Drop Weight Actually Work Out For You? | Body Fat Loss says:

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  5. Fat Runner,

    Many solid points in your comment. I especially enjoy the point about not having to worry about food during a fast. No decisions necessary. Is this a good/bad carb? How much sodium is in this? And so forth…


  6. sangita says:

    Back here after long! I love the picture of the car - the comparision is so apt! As for myself my skin glows after a day of fasting. I really wish people would give up their misconceptions about fasting. Its really liberating a couple of days a week not to think of food at all (but at the same time look forward to a guilt free health meal in the eveing!)
    My favorite meal is a brown rice pulao - brown rice, sprouted mung, lots of veggies (onion, tomato, capsicum, carrots, cabbage ….) little oil and spices. Its delicious! I take a more of the mung and veggies so it becomes filling as well. Wash down with a glass of buttermilk - a staple in many Indian homes.

  7. Michael says:

    Hey sangita,

    That brown rice pulao you described sounds fantastic. I haven’t a good indian meal in far too long. Thanks for the reminder;)

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  9. Fat Loss Diet says:

    Hey Michael, I have to admit I never heard of this intermittent fasting. It’s an interesting idea. What would happen on your “eating” days if you eat your favorite “evil” foods. I mean I would hate to give up pizza on a regular basis. I suppose being sensible about what you eat will still allow you pleanty of pizza and greasy cheeseburgers…lol

  10. George Super Boot Camps says:

    Hi there,

    Just to add my 2 pennies worth (I am in the UK after all!), I think Intermittent Fasting is the best thing since sliced bread (which I don’t really like, much prefer to make my own from freshly ground grain).

    I have been following the Leangains approach to IF and have got some pretty decent results so far. I am going to post some pics next week, by that point I will have been doing IF for 6 months, and have had a good learning curve. You certainly have to manipulate your diet, as with any other fat loss program, but I have found it both easier and more enjoyable to cut calories when fasting than when doing, say, Keto.

    In addition to it cutting my fat off, I have increased my lifts over the last 6 months, to the point this week where I have been setting new PB’s in a few lifts!

    You can read about my results here if you want

    Keep up the good work,

  11. Michael says:

    I agree about IF. I used to fast rather frequently, but now that I am at my ideal weight and staying active I really dont see the need to go the full 24 hours. Because just by living life and knowing that I dont have to eat every 3 hours I will go streteches of hours without eating. I tend to only fast now if I notice my appetite is really getting away from me again, or if I am on a travel day and dont want to get stuck eating and paying for scandalous airport/airplane food. haha.

    thanks for commenting and congrats on your amazing results.

    you’re an inspiration for sure.