Early in 2013, I wrote the below article, recording the results of an experiment in fat loss. See at close of article for my recent body fat test results…
Research shows that intermittent fasting (going without food for 14-36 hours) coupled with exercise forces the breakdown of fat and glycogen (liver ‘sugar’), helping your body burn fat without sacrificing muscle mass. I did an experiment late in 2012 which incorporated this method of eating/exercise. Here are the results from just two months of intermittent fasting with exercise:
1.1kg body weight lost; 2.29% body fat lost; 5.5cm on girth measurements lost.
When looking at these results, bear in mind my margins were small to start with as my body fat was relatively low, so one could expect even more impressive results if starting from a higher body fat. I also didn’t lose much weight because I was engaging in resistance training activities and was therefor building muscle mass. What’s important to note is both the girth and body fat measurements.
How did I do it?
I didn’t eat from dinner until lunch the following day, making sure that when I exercised, it was done before the lunch meal. Fasting happened between 5 and 7 times weekly; exercise occurred between 4-5 times weekly and lasted anywhere from 20-40 minutes. I had my body fat, weight and girth measurements taken at regular intervals and kept a food diary, so that everything was on record. Although my diet is pretty good, I wanted to prove that one doesn’t have to be too obsessive about diet if you bring other factors into play, which can impact on body fat in a positive way.
Later in 2013
Subsequent to the above, and considering that I no longer eat breakfast and always exercise on an empty stomach, I went and had my body fat, weight and circumference measurements taken again. Bear in mind that I wasn’t hugely circumspect in my diet (I firmly believe in letting your hair down at least 25% of the time and eating healthfully 75% of the time). My very good friend Georgie is a chef and boy does she know how to make chocolate brownies – it’s fair to say that I ate a fair pile of them throughout the year:)
My point is that I haven’t been perfect with my diet and exercise-wise, have trained between 3 and 5 times per week (3 X 45-60 mins fitness pole dancing and the balance being 20 mins high intensity interval training). My body fat has remained unchanged (awesome!); I’ve picked up 3cm (muscle) and my weight remains unchanged too. This is a great outcome, as I had been wondering if I might not have picked up a little body fat (I’m serious about those brownies!).
Could it work for you?
Some of my clients start eating at 10.30/11.00am; some at 12.30/1.00pm and most have finished eating/drinking (anything other than water) by around 8.00pm. One client in particular lost 10kg in 11 weeks using this method (we also added more fat to his diet and reduced his carb intake).
So – why not give it a try and see how you feel? Don’t do it if you’re pregnant, highly stressed, or hypoglycaemic. For everyone else – you may be surprised by how energised, focussed and ‘light’ you feel (and you may just lose that annoying bit of extra body fat you’re carrying)…
(P.S. It’s now 2017 and my body fat hasn’t changed! I’ve been intermittent fasting since I did this experiment and am delighted to tell you that it works incredibly well long-term!)