The day after the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, I began a regimen of full-day “fasting.” Before that I had tried Intermittent Fasting (IF), where I ate within a small window each day (“16-8 fasting”), or I ate just one meal a day (OMAD)and I I maintained my weight, but I didn’t lose. I still wanted to lose a lot of weight, so I decided to just “jump in” with full-day fasting. It was new and unfamiliar to me, so I decided to start with alternate day fasting.
It worked. I lost 62 pounds. I went from 248 to 187, and my BMI went from 36 to 27. Altogether, since starting Very Low Carb at 375 pounds in 2002, I’ve lost 188 pounds. I’m “not half the man I once was,” my wife quipped.
When people ask, “How’d you lose weight?” and I tell them, “Fasting,” they always ask, “How’s your energy?” They imagine, naturally, that they would feel weak because their metabolism would slow down due to the loss of energy “in.” After all, we’ve all been told, “a calorie is a calorie” and “Energy in = Energy out,” meaning if we don’t eat, our body is going to defensively slow down until we eat again. And we believe it because, well…’cause it’s intuitive.
Well, it’s not true. It only applies if your diet is largely composed of AND DEPENDENT ON carbohydrates for energy. It’s not true for people who eat a diet of mostly fat and protein, limiting carbs to very small amounts, in my case just to one vegetable (with fat) at supper. We are “fat-adapted.” We are “fat burners, not sugar burners.” For us, the “Energy in” is not measured by what we put in our mouth; it is measured at the cellular level – where all the nutrients that are circulating in the blood are taken up by the cells. Thus, you do not slow down because your body is being fed.
How is it that when you eat mostly fat and protein, you get to where you can burn body fat? The mechanism is: when you have glucose (from carbs) in the blood, the hormone INSULIN drives everything you eat into storage as body fat and blocks access to your stored body fat for energy. But when the level of your blood glucose (from carbs) drops, the level of your blood insulin also drops. That signals the liver to switch from using glucose for energy to using fat for energy. And then, once the carbs stored as glycogen in the liver are used up, and for so long as you then continue to strictly limit carb intake by mouth to a very small amount, your body will switch to breaking down body fat for energy.
On a “fasting” day, I have a 12oz coffee with a splash of heavy cream (not H&H) and dash of pure stevia for breakfast. H&H is half milk and is loaded with lactose, or milk sugar. I stay “fat-adapted” with stable blood sugar all morning.
Then, if I’ve been working in the garden and I’m dehydrated, I’ll take some stevia-sweetened iced tea and maybe a little pickle juice for salt and nothing else until “supper.” My “fasting” supper is just a glass of red wine topped with seltzer (a “spritzer”), which I use to wash down pills/supplements. LOL
My 300kcal, Modified “Fasting Diet” Macronutrient Composition:
Coffee w/cream: Fat: 16g (144kcal), Protein: 1.2g (5kcal), Carbs: 1.2g (5kcal); Total: 154kcal.
Spritzer (6oz red wine): Carbs: 4.5g (18kcal), Ethyl alcohol: 18g (126kcal); Total: 144kcal.
Macronutrient totals (“fasting”): Calories: 298kcal, say 300kcal; Protein: 1.2g; Fat: 16g; Carbs: 5.7g; ethyl alcohol: 18g. The secret for the success of this “300kcal Fasting Diet” is, since I always eat VLC, I am ALWAYS “FAT-ADAPTED.”
So, when I return to a “feasting” state, I continue to eat Very Low Carb: The same “breakfast” of coffee with cream and stevia, a small lunch, usually a can (for portion control) of Brunswick kippered herring fillets in brine (160kcal). I drink the brine. It’s a small lunch, but enough. Alternatively, I might have 1 or 2 hardboiled eggs. All protein and fat.
Then, for a “feasting” supper, I have a serving of protein with fat (fatty meat, poultry with skin, or fish) and one low-carb vegetable with fat, either stove-top and tossed in butter or microwaved after being coated in olive oil. With this supper I have 2 glasses of my evening spritzer with my pills. And since I’m not hungry, because I’m fat-adapted, this is plenty. Some days I skip “lunch” and some days I skip both “lunch” and “supper” and fast another day. If you have lots of energy and you’re not hungry (because you’re burning body fat), why not? ;-)