How many diets have you tried? How many times have you failed? The term ‘fad diet’ is a gross understatement, all diets are fads. I cannot think of a single diet that has been around for years, can you? Most diets are difficult to follow – bland, costly, inconvenient – subsequently there is a high rate of non-compliance to the diet strategy. What if a diet asked you to eat a little healthier and take 1 day off per week? That doesn’t sound that hard does it?
The concept of Intermittent Fasting has been around for many years. In fact, our ancestors were forced to occasionally fast. Recently, John Berardi, Founder of Precision Nutrition System and a leading nutritional scientist got me hooked on the concept of Intermittent Fasting. In simple easy to read E-book I learned of this dieting strategy. I like it, its easy, and so far it works. The diet is simple, but I will make it more simple: One day a week, fast for an entire day (20-24 hours). For example, eat regular meals Tuesday through Sunday. On Sunday night eat dinner at your normal time (7 pm). Then don’t eat until Monday evening at dinner time. In between, drink water – take a multivitamin if you want to.
I am sure your immediate response is “No Way, I’ll Starve to death!” First, no you want – our ancestors went 2-3 days without eating – they survived. Second, you will quickly learn that you are less hungry at hour 20 than you were at hour 4; no joke. We have hormones in our body, which trigger the feeling of hunger, but once you get past the initial hunger phase, the hormone response is suppressed and the hunger feeling begins to die down.
How we lose weight on this diet shouldn’t require explanation, but simply. A single day of fasting creates a significant negative energy balance (expending more calories than consuming) of 2000-3000 calories. Consider that one-pound of fat loss is equivalent to 3,500 calories – you can see how easy it is to meet this mark by fasting. However, Berardi also shares the benefits of intermittent fasting that go well beyond weight loss:
- Improved blood lipid profile (decreased LDL, increased HDL)
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduction of inflammatory markers such as C-Reactive Protein
- Improved fat metabolism
- Increased insulin sensitivity (blood sugar control)
- Enhanced Autophagocytosis (cellular repair)
It should be noted, improving health is never quick and easy. Exercise or diet alone will not create life lasting health improvements. The improvements noted above are a result of intermittent fasting, combined with overall healthier eating and regular exercise. Intermittent fasting alone will not yield such significant results, much like exercise combined with a McDonald’s happy meal will not be beneficial. Ultimate health and wellness comes from a combination of the above.
Those who know me, do not take me as a healthy diet guy. My traditional diet consists of exercise, wings, and beer. Not the greatest combination. Two months ago I started a paleolithic diet after doing my own independent research on diet and inflammation (I blogged about it). The data was so overwhelming I had to try it for 30 days. I loved it. Now I am combining a less strict version of Paleo with John Berardi’s intermittent fasting program. After 45 days, I lost 15 pounds and feel fantastic. Easiest diet I have tried.