Over the past week I have been writing about how you can use fasting for weight loss. Today I want to wrap up this min-series with my personal opinions and how I would use fasting.
First I wanted to answer a question that several of you had asked (on the blog and via twitter).
How does fasting influence your metabolic rate?
This is a fair question as keeping your metabolic rate up is a very important piece of the fat loss puzzle. I emailed Brad Pilon who knows more about fasting than anyone else I know and this is what he said:
Up to 72 hours you see no change in BMR and 24h EE, after that I’m not sure (my work was only on 12-72 hours). The theory is that the small effect that TEF has on 24 EE is made up by an increase in substrate cycling and the metabolic cost of fat burning.
So let me ‘de-science’ that for you.
Your metabolic rate won’t decrease if you don’t eat for 24 hours. As you may or may not know when you eat it costs your body energy (i.e. you burn calories) to digest that food. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). When you fast, you don’t have that extra calorie burn because you aren’t eating. However, your body seems to make up for that decrease caloric burn because it needs to release stored body fat and sugars and turn that into energy – that process burns calories.
Does Mike Fast?
So….I’ve made a pretty good case for fasting for weight loss over the last couple posts. Am I going to adopt this approach?
I have said it before in regards to low fat diets – there are many ways to lose weight.You need to pick what works for you. I have tried fasting for weight loss. I just didn’t like it from a personal preference standpoint (From experience, I do think there is a psychological benefit to the occasional fast). But if done right(as Brad outlines) and ADHERED to – then you can be successful in losing weight.
Admittedly, when I first met Brad and he told me about his book Eat, Stop, Eat….I thought he was either joking or crazy. Who would voluntarily NOT eat for 24 hours on a consistent basis. It just sounded…wrong. But I got Brad’s book, read it over, and it didn’t sound too crazy (he’s a rigorous scientist).
It really works for people. I actually have friends that swear by it. They say they get a lot done on days that they fast as well (no eating, food prep, etc). Look at Brad, it obviously works for him (he must be fasting in his picture as he isn’t smiling 🙂 ).
Here are 3 pieces of advice if you do decided to experiment with fasting for weight loss.
- Don’t workout when fasted. I know that Brad disagrees with me on this one but research from Dr. Stephen Bird shows that you can negatively impact your protein balance (potentially losing muscle) with just one weight training session without proper workout nutrition (I talk about this in more depth in my Fat Loss Edge presentation). Just schedule your fasts around your training.
- Follow Naked Nutrition the rest of the time. You will be fasting two days per week. This means you have another 5 that you still need to eat. All the rules of proper nutrition. Follow the 6 Pillars of Nutrition (remember it is about health as well as weight loss).
- Fasting is not a quick fix. Fasting for weight loss is a lifestyle approach to eating (like Naked Nutrition). Fasting is not like Warp Speed Fat Loss where you are only supposed to be on this program for a finite amount of time. The first couple times it may be tough going 24 hours without food but it will get easier and you will have better results if you adopt it as a lifestyle change (as with any nutritional change).
With those three pieces of advice in mind, if you want to give fasting a shot….
For those of you that do decided to meld the Eat, Stop, Eat and Naked Nutrition approaches I’ll see if I can get Brad on the phone and we can do a teleseminar for you.