Intermittent Fasting System

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

-Albert Einstein

If you know me, you know I like to self experiment. More importantly, I enjoy learning, especially about the human body. The human body is the most complicated, elegant, and efficient system in the world, requiring minimal tune-ups if provided the correct means. I have written about the COR Rapid Weight Loss System and suggest anyone looking to lose weight to start with this diet as it requires no calorie counting or mental stress.  Simply put, this system is effective with an average of 1-2% decrease in body fat percentage and 5-10 pounds of weight in one month. Most importantly, I feel this diet is a lifestyle change which is possible for life! Acute success is simple, but chronic success is the goal.

The intermittent fasting protocol is a different beast. First and foremost, I must give credit to John Berardi, PhD. He has done multiple trials on fasting and wrote a free e-book for those looking for more information. From my experience, the intermittent fasting protocol is for those looking to shed the last few pounds, challenges themselves mentally, or intrigued by self experimentation. Once again, this is not a system to start on! If looking for a place to start, go with the COR Rapid Weight Loss System. This is for those who have tried the Rapid COR Weight Loss protocol with success, but have reached a slight plateau, this is one option. However, first correct the common diet downfalls. Also, when I say slight plateau, I mean a few months with no change, remember weight loss is not linear. More importantly, weight loss is not the only variable. How do you look? How do you feel? How is your blood panel? These are the important questions! Start any diet and you will lose 5 pounds in a month, especially a diet restricting intake, but finding a diet which you are able to sustain is important, unless you are competing for a figure competition, or crazy, I fall in one of these categories.

I started the intermittent fasting protocol to figure out if it was right for a few of my clients. These athletes are paid for their physique and borderline crazy. Before I suggest any diet, I like to try it myself. I do this know the difficulty of the diet and determine if it is successful (at least on one person, not the most important variable).

Intermittent fasting may sound like cruel and unusual self-mutilation, but there is abundant research on the benefits of chronic low-calorie intake. Unfortunately, 1000 calorie/day diets have low success and low energy levels. More recently, a lot of research has associated similar health benefits with acute low-calorie intake compared with chronic low-calorie intake. Research suggest the following (Berardi 2011):

Reduced

  • blood lipids (including decreased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol)
  • blood pressure (perhaps through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity)
  • markers of inflammation (including CRP, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)
  • oxidative stress (using markers of protein, lipid, and DNA damage)
  • risk of cancer (through a host of proposed mechanisms; we’ll save them for another review)

Increased

  • cellular turnover and repair (called autophagocytosis)
  • fat burning (increase in fatty acid oxidation later in the fast)
  • growth hormone release later in the fast (hormonally mediated)
  • metabolic rate later in the fast (stimulated by epinephrine and norepinephrine release)

Improved

  • appetite control (perhaps through changes in PPY and ghrelin)
  • blood sugar control (by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity)
  • cardiovascular function (by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart)
  • effectiveness of chemotherapy (by allowing for higher doses more frequently)
  • neurogenesis and neuronal plasticity (by offering protection against neurotoxins)

This is a long list of benefits, but once again, research is still preliminary.

Intermittent Fasting System

Like all my systems, the ease of understanding the system is essential or the failure rate is high. Essentially, here is the system:

  • Pick five days to consume protein, vegetables, legumes, and good fat (nuts and fish oil)
  • One day is a cheat (carbohydrate load) day, then a fast day
  • Pick any 24-hour period, and don’t eat during it (for the most part, there are a few exceptions, see below)

Here is an example of my Fast Day:

10 PM Saturday

  • Eat your last meal of the day
  • Drink 500 mL (2 cups) of water

10 AM Sunday

3 PM Sunday

6 PM Sunday

10 PM Sunday

  • Drink 500 mL (2 cups) of water

Monday

  • Eat normally

Some of you may wonder what I mean when I say eat normally, here are a few meals I enjoyed on a regular basis:

Meal frequency: Eat 4 meals per day, with about 4 hours between meals.

Meal content

Most meals should contain

  • 2 palms (8 oz) of lean protein
  • 3 fists (3 cups) of veggies
  • 1/2 handful (1/4 cup) of raw nuts
  • 1/2 handful (1/4 cup) of legumes
  • 500 mL (2 cups) of water

Supplements

Each day I took

  • 1 multi-vitamin
  • 15 mL (1 tablespoon) fish oil
  • 10 g BCAA capsules before workouts

Results

The results were interesting, but as I said body composition is not the only variable for those looking to lose weight.

Overall, this diet taught me many things. I have been a historic 6-meal a day person, therefore not eating for one day seemed crazy from the start. However, this diet taught me to not fear hunger. I used to be frustrated and sometimes rude once hunger occurred. Now, I realize hunger is not a bad thing. I’m not going to die the instance I’m hungry! It allowed me to take a deep breath and realize I will survive, even with slight hunger pains.

This diet also made me realize how much time I spend with food during the day. Preparing, cooking, and cleaning six meals a day is labor intensive! The cheat days were long! This allowed me to get a lot of self-reflection and catch up on sleep.

During the week my energy levels were great! On the cheat days, my energy spiked and the fast days were mellow, causing much needed relaxation.

However, on Sunday I had to ensure I had minimal work. One day I was working all day, and was on the irritable side. This was during the second week and was the toughest cheat day. I also need scheduled time to relax and nap if desired. However, throughout the system, I was able to do more things without a required nap. On the fourth fasting week, I was able to travel to San Fran and walk around the city all day without the need for food!

Physique Stats

At the start of the diet I weighed 155.8 pounds with 9.5% body fat. At the end I dropped 5 pounds to 150.8 with 8.6% body fat. This is a 10% drop in overall body fat percentage, an adequate loss for a lean individual in four weeks!

I also noted a visible decrease in waist size and face size. Lastly, I noted a large increase in vascularity (volume of veins). This is not ideal for many, but for all my ex-collegiate athletes, this vascularity may intrigue you!

Once again, these results are from only me. Don’t expect the same from yourself or the ability to perform this diet. If looking to shed pounds, I suggest a diet without food volume restriction, this allows you to eat as much as you want (just not what you want!).

Keep experimenting and keep me posted with your success! I think a Muscle Mass System is next on my list.

Optimize Life Everyday,
John

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