Wow, has it really been over a month since I last posted on here? With extra work coming in, a bit of traveling and a family bereavement to deal with, the last few weeks have been a bit of a blur.
I’ve been away from home a lot lately, so I haven’t been able to take my weight and body fat measurements very often, but I think I’ve been hovering around the 21% mark.
I’m pretty happy with the shape I’m in at the moment, which is probably one of the reasons why I haven’t made changes to keep my progress going, but it hasn’t exactly been foremost in mind lately anyway. That said, I still have a bit of fat I’d like lose and I know I’d feel bad if I gave up on this before reaching the 18% body fat target I set for myself, so I am starting to think about upping the ante a bit.
I’ve been reading about intermittent fasting for quite a while. This is where you go totally without food for a set period of time before returning to normal eating. You still have liquids of course, just nothing with calories. A lot of people I know have been trying it out since seeing the BBC Horizon documentary about it a few weeks ago and I’ve been hearing some very encouraging reports. Most people seem to find fasting for a period of up to 24 hours is manageable and, so long as they don’t over-compensate by gorging-out before or after, they’re achieving impressive fat loss. There also appear to be various other health benefits to fasting. Personally, I’m not convinced these go beyond what you would expect from any restricted calorie diet, but some people fast for health reasons alone.
One of my biggest concerns when I started looking into fasting for weight loss was that it would put the body into “starvation mode” and cause it to cling on to fat rather than releasing it for energy, making people feel lethargic and ill during the fast and causing them regain any lost fat and more besides once they started eating again. I was also worried that it would cause a loss of muscle tissue. But having read up on it, it seems that isn’t what happens, at least not when fasting for period a short as 24 hours. Quite the contrary, most of the people I’ve been speaking to have said their energy levels are not affected and, although they notice peaks and troughs in their weight, as you would expect around days when they’re not putting any food into their bodies, over the long term their body fat levels are falling.
For me, one of the biggest attractions of intermittent fasting is the simplicity of it. No one can claim it’s anything new or some kind of amazing breakthrough they’ve made in weight loss science. Fasting is basically just eating less, which unsurprisingly causes the body to use its fuel/fat reserves. If someone fasted for two days every week, then over the course of each week they’ll have cut their total calorie intake by 2/7, which is almost 30%, so it’s no wonder they’d lose weight.
Fasting is definitely not for everyone. But, for some people, taking food off the menu entirely for a set period of time can be an easier resolution to stick to than an eating programme. Obviously, this is not something for children, or anyone in ill health, or pregnant women, or people with a history of eating disorders, etc. But for people who are in good shape physically and mentally, it could be an option.
I want to stress, that I’m not at this stage advocating intermittent fasting. I’m just kind of thinking out loud here while I’m looking into it. But I am certainly intrigued. So intrigued, in fact, that I tried it out myself yesterday…
I had intended to write all about my experience in this post, but I seem to have a got a bit over-excited about the background there and now I have to go and get on with some work! So I’ll leave you with that for now, but I will tell you about how yesterday went in a post either later today or tomorrow.
In the meantime, I’m very keen to hear your thoughts on this, so do please leave a comment.