Over the years fasting has become what you would call an “up and coming diet fad”, but the problem is that it’s not a diet, it’s a way of life like eating healthy or running every morning. Now you can go online and find a whole lot of people trying to sell you their own personalized fasting programs like it’s a cure-all. I especially can’t stand seeing these social media celebrities lying to people about how they fast for a full day and eat a crazy number of calories for dinner made up of everything you crave after a night of binge drinking. I saw a video the other day of a guy who claimed that he fasts all day and eats nothing but junk food for dinner (4k calories worth) and ended up shredded. Well, the truth is they are all full of $#@T, all they’re doing is trying to sell you a lie to make some money.
If fasting didn’t make these social media trainers ripped, what did? A sound diet controlled using fasting and a lot of time spent in the gym. At the end of the day, it all comes down to calories in vs calories out and your workout, if you eat more than you use you will gain weight and if you eat less you lose, simple as that. Calories are the bodies energy source or fuel, if there is excess it will be stored for a later date and time. By eating junk food you’re also hurting your body in the long term by not absorbing the needed nutrients from quality meals. I am not trying to dissuade you from fasting, it actually has some amazing benefits beyond just the weight loss, I just don’t want you to think that you can eat thousands of calories in junk and there would be no repercussions.
What are the actual benefits of fasting? For one thing, insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases which facilitate fat burning and numerous other benefits. Helps you eat fewer calories while boosting metabolism slightly, and it’s a very effective tool to lose the belly. Fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14% and According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, it can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks. People also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease.
Fasting benefits go beyond just weight loss; it protects against type 2 diabetes, in human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6% while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%. Studies even showed that fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body which benefits from aging and development of numerous diseases. Helps against heart disease, cholesterol, blood pressure, increases the bodies removal of waste material in cells, and several animal studies show that it can even help prevent cancer. Fasting increases levels of a brain hormone called neurotrophic factors, hormones that have been implicated in depression, Alzheimer’s and various other brain problems when low.
Do you honestly believe that you would have all these amazing benefits from fasting if you weren’t following a quality diet? Eating pizza, chicken tenders, and washing it down with a soft drink is not going to help your insulin levels, metabolism, cholesterol, blood pressure, or overall health for that matter.
Look at it this way, say you are a person that works out moderately 4 times a week and needs 2,000 calories daily (14,000 weekly) to maintain your current physique. And say you fast an entire day and only eat dinner if you’re eating junk that might be 5-8 slices of pizza for example made up of mostly carbs, saturated fat, and some protein. How many nutrients do you expect your body to absorb from that meal? Not much at all, you’re mainly getting bad fats and carbs. Yes, you will definitely lose weight because if you’re eating 2,000 calories in one shot, your body will not have the time to absorb it all as it passes through your digestive system vs eating several meals throughout the day. But by not getting the proper nutrients all you will get is a smaller version of your current physique.
There are two methods of fasting I recommend. If you are a person just looking to fast to become healthier overall, you might want to try the 24 hours fast one to three times a week. You can read in-depth about it in the book “Eat Stop Eat”. If you eat an average of 2,000 calories or 14,000 a week and fast a full 24 hours twice a week, you drop 4,000 calories out of your diet. Combined with eating healthy, very light exercise, and yes, a few cheat meals (preferably right after breaking the fast) here and there to keep your sanity, you’re looking at a pound of fat loss a week (that’s over 50lbs in a year without really working out much).
The intermittent fast is really geared toward people looking to create a specific physique. I recommend you follow Martin Berkhans “Lean Gains Guide” at leangains.com for everything you need to know. Intermittent fasting consists of 14-18 hour fasts followed by 1-3 meals. Generally, the idea is between those hours (14-18 hour fast) your body is at its optimal point for fat loss and muscle gain and combined with a proper diet and workout program, you can attain your optimal genetic physique.
With social media and the internet, its seems that anyone can become a nutritionist or trainer. But remember just because they look the part doesn’t necessarily mean they know anything. A lot of these guys and girl’s workout hard, know their bodies well and are blessed with good genetics. They are not just fasting to get to where they are. Take the guy I spoke of earlier in the video I saw that eats 4,000 calories of junk in one sitting, I will bet those videos are of his cheat meal days, and his real diet is pretty clean. Social media is all about the wow factor, who would be wowed by someone showing you a video of a standard diet and workout that includes fasting.
our bodies haven’t evolved much from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we aren’t meant to eat every 2-3 hours, and that’s why fasting works so well for our bodies. It’s more natural for us to eat one, two, or even 3 large meals throughout the day. So, do your homework, and think logically about some of the things you read, hear, and see before you follow; learn your body, eat healthy, diet properly, and you’ll reach your goals.