After reading the post on Tim’s Blog about the slow carb diet almost 4 years ago I had always tried to keep it in mind when eating, and thought it was an ideal way to eat. After reading the book I took it seriously and jumped right in. I did pretty good on it (plus PAGG for 4 weeks) and lost 10lbs. I then ended up in the hospital due to appendicitis and lost 10 more lbs. I was at my goal weight but still around 24-25% body fat (based on my bio metric impedance scale). My goal is to get down to 10% body fat and I was far from it. I kept eating the slow carb way as best I could, and working out 3 days a week but could not seem to get my BF% down anymore (had to take a break from PAGG).
Unfortunately I was not following the slow carb diet as strictly as I wanted to or needed to to reach my goals. I always ate within 30-60 minutes of waking and always had the Tim Ferriss breakfast, which I do like, but after that it was all down hill. The issues I had are probably common issues that any busy person has trying to eat as healthy as possible to lose fat:
- I don’t do much of the grocery shopping, my wife did try to accomodate and did often buy thing I needed but beans are not high on her list
- I also don’t do much of the cooking, and my wife does not like to add beans to her cooking (although she does cook healthy and is a good cook)
- I am not a planner, my wife is but not me, that make things like meal plans a difficult thing for me to do. Working the hours I do I just don’t have time to spend a few hours planning meals for the week.
- There are often evens and social outings that I go to that don’t have things that are slow carb allowed
After reading a recent post on the 4hourpeople.com forum that had a link to http://www.leangains.com, a blog by Martin Berkhan, I started doing my research into intermittent fasting. The biggest selling point for this way of eating is the list of Martin’s clients results which made me realize that intermittent fasting won’t cause muscle loss. Reading most of leangains.com is a bit technical, but Martin does have a post with example protocols to follow, which is pretty easy.
So I thought I would try it this last Monday, which was an off day for my workout schedule. I ate a normal size diner Sunday night, then didn’t have anything other than coffee (actually mocha) and water until around 2pm I had a small amount of tuna salad, some nuts and a small piece of dark chocolate, followed by a normal dinner. The next morning my weight and body fat were the lowest they have been after I had plateaued for a week.
I was hungry most of the day on Monday, and it was a bit odd, had some hunger pangs but they were easy to manage and I did not eat until after 2pm. The weird thing was I had a ton of energy, and never got the 2pm drag that I usually get when I eat a breakfast and decent size lunch at noon.
So I tried it again on Tuesday but modified it a bit. I got up and had my normal Tim Ferriss breakfast with 2 eggs and salsa with a cup of spinach and lemon juice. Then I did my stretching and workout. Then drank just water until around noon when I had a few homemade cookies (homemade oatmeal rasin that my amazing wife put in my lunch, who could resist?), then some nuts around 6pm, but mostly just drank water until I got home and had a high protein diner of baked salmon with vegetables. Again 5pm came way faster then it usually did, and I did not slow down at 2pm or get tired.
I remember having read an article about intermittent fasting on Tim’s blog a while ago, so I looked it up and re-read the old 2008 guest post that Dr. Eades did. It was called Real Life Extension: Caloric Restriction or Intermittent Fasting? It is interesting in that he didn’t really come to a conclusion but animal studies did show some amazing things. I think there have been many more studies done since and some real world examples like those at leangains.com to prove that this is good protocol and for most healthy people something that is beneficial for fat and weight loss.
Wednesday I picked up some Xtend BCAA (bodybuild.com link), which is recommend by Martin, at a local supplement shop, and used it before and after my Thursday morning workout. I also altered my workout a bit after researching how to add mass with bodyweight exercises. I again waited until 2pm for lunch, got home had more left over salmon and stew, and felt pretty good again.
Friday morning I was down to 158.6lbs and 22.1% body fat. That is 25lbs that I have lost since January, I have not been under 160lbs for 10 years (since I met my wife). You may wonder why I keep losing weight if I am already past my goal weight. As I mention my goal body fat % is much more important, and once I am at that % then I will re-evaluate what my weight should be.
In summary benefits to intermittent fasting over the slow carb diet:
- Don’t need to plan much
- Don’t have to be as selective with food (but you still need to eat smart)
- Still get a cheat day (I know this is the same not a benefit)
- Rapid fat loss
- No problem with stubborn fat
- Does not cause muscle loss (See Myth #6)
- Really, really easy
- A bit cheaper
- Less time worrying about food, more time to do other things
- Don’t spend so much time sitting on the toilet (but lots of time spent having to pee)
- Water consumption is forced to be increased
Wether you try intemittent fasting or not I still would suggest that reading Martin’s article on leangains.com about the myths of intermittent fasting. He does a very good job explaining things and citing recent studies that debunk these myths.
I have not felt that I was ready to post before and after pictures yet, but after this weeks loss of weight of 5lbs and BF% loss of ~2% I feel the results were worth sharing. Before starting intermittent fasting I did not look this trim. These 2 pictures are 65 days apart (2 moths and 4 days) total weight loss 24lbs total body fat% loss 7.9%. I took one relaxed as well as one flexing my abs, why because I have abs again!