Intermittent Fasting

My research and my plan for intermittent Fasting.

As I get closer to my goal bodyshape and look, I have started to look around for different methods to not necessarily accelerate this process but to support it, in my younger days while I was training quite seriously I did take varying supplements to aid fat loss, and to get “Shredded” now, being young I did not take the time to assess these properly before consuming, I was just interested in results, now, some 30 years later I have a much wiser head on my shoulders and take a more considered approach.

When I started my weight loss journey back in 2018 I weighed in at 25st 6lbs, so less than optimal, this is a BMI of 45.6, now I will just explain that I hold the BMI measurement in some contempt because it is just too vague, it is simply an equation as follows BMI=kg/m² where kg is bodyweight and m is height in meters, I don’t have to explain why this is such a terrible measurement, however in this particular case I, as a sedentary male who is unlikely to have built any extra muscle beyond what I need to support daily function it has some merit, however, I and a lot of people will warn that this is useless and indeed so inaccurate as to be potentially dangerous when it is applied to Bodybuilders, athletes and very active adults as well as the elderly because it cannot give any kind of accurate picture on which to base a diet or exercise plan, and in my opinion applying this measurement to children is almost criminal, as the results are completely misleading and can lead to parents being concerned about an issue that does not exist and even worse instilling an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise in children that could easily follow them into adulthood.

But as I say in my case it was a fair assessment of the situation, anyhow, I digress, this was around about seven months ago. I have stated 11 in a post but was pulled on this by the Mrs who pointed out that it was eleven months ago that we were on holiday and I did not start altering my diet until some time after that.

So my average weight loss, over a period of seven months assuming four weeks in a month was, 104lbs lost over a 28 week period = 3.71 average a week, and although this sounds like I am patting myself on the back this was without any stimulant or weight loss aid it was achieved by simply altering my diet, I still had a takeaway usually one every other week and if we went out for a meal I would, and still very much do, order what I want, although it has to be said that nature has taken care of my over eating as my stomach has shrunk by some considerable margin and thus I cannot eat as much.

So, now that I have got to this stage and with two weeks to go before I venture off again for my holidays I have started to look for other ways to support the fat loss, one of which was to try a fat loss or as they are sometimes called metabolism support supplement, and at the end of next week I will have completed the prescribed course and I will be able to report my findings.

As well as the fat loss benefits, there are reportedly several other benefits of short-term fasting, and by short-term I mean between 16 and 48 hrs, some practitioners stay the course for a lot longer, some claiming to go for up to a week without food, just drinking water.

And so looking at some of the results, I have decided that this could be yet another effective tool to reach my goals when weaved in with my current physical development plan.

So looking at the different ideas on the internet around how long to go for your first try it would appear that the 16-8 method is recommended, this involves predictably enough fasting for sixteen hours then having an eight hour window in which to eat as normal, however this is considered to be right on the edge of just being hungry and starting to reap benefits from the fast, as this is the case I will be starting initially at eighteen hours and as I am reliably informed this does start from the end of your last meal, and is not affected by if you are asleep or not so overnight is the best time to start, I am also going to continue with whatever training I have for that day although I will be beginning on Saturday of this week meaning that I will be fasted for the majority of Sunday and fortunately for me that means I wouldn’t normally be going to the gym.

While there are several good sources that look reliable on YouTube and around the internet as a whole, I have reached the age where I look for as qualified an opinion as I can get on matters like this, as with my financial goals and activities, the time available to reach the goals is greatly reduced due to me failing to address the issues at an earlier age, so I need to make sure (as much as I can that not only am I being as safe as I can be but that the paths I am choosing have logical and practical merit, as I have got older I need a reason why I am doing something rather than I just am),

To this end I use a couple of sites but the quotes below can be found at this link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22414/ I found this to be very in depth and I was very quickly out of my depth, but the layman’s terms are there and the parts that are easy to grasp (the effects and changes not the chemistry involved) support what I have picked up from more abundant less technical sources.

The first priority of metabolism in starvation is to provide sufficient glucose to the brain and other tissues (such as red blood cells) that are absolutely dependent on this fuel.”

From the National Center for Biotechnology Information

This gave me the assurance that during starvation (the less sexy way of saying fasting) cognitive function is preserved which is awesome because a dribbling incoherent fool is something that I really don’t think my employer would be happy to accommodate.

the second priority of metabolism in starvation is to preserve protein, which is accomplished by shifting the fuel being used from glucose to fatty acids and ketone bodies

From the National Center for Biotechnology Information

Again this provided confidence that during this time I wouldn’t be putting my lean muscle gains at risk, one of the things that had concerned me is that actually when you think about it fasting to promote fat loss is sort of counter intuitive, as the more lean muscle mass you have the faster your resting metabolism in fact some sources suggested that 10 pounds extra lean muscle mass could increase calorific requirement by 100 calories so the last thing I wanted to do was to sacrifice that in order to gain a small advantage in fat loss, in this case though the study just backs up the visual evidence, as when you look at people that are practising intermittent fasting, they are seldom carrying a lot of fat.

And finally what I discovered about what to consume while fasting, basically anything that contains any kind of calorific value is pretty much out, as this can trigger a metabolic response in the form of an insulin spike and from what I can tell any insulin spike is like essentially resetting the fast, so for your ease of reference should you choose to go along with me on this I have listed below Do’s and Don’ts.

Do

  • Water – Important for all functions within the body, including metabolism, staying hydrated is of utmost importance and as it contains no calories it is all good.
  • Black Coffee / Tea – May well help as an energy or focus boost as well as meaning you do not have to go through caffeine withdrawal as well as being hungry.

Don’t

  • Diet Soda – Although technically calorie free the contain Aspartame as a sweetener, this has been proven to trigger a response as it is detected as being sweet by the tongue, some sites say it is OK to have artificial sweetener with Tea / Coffee but in my opinion this would add up to the same thing so I would avoid it.
  • Any Vitamin / Supplement that is suspended in oil such as Cod Liver oil, these have a calorific value and as little as it is will have a response, so leave them until you are eating, so far it would appear that water soluble is fine so Vitamin C and the like are good to go.

And that is just about that, I hope I have helped you to understand a little more about it and there are plenty of sources around the internet which I do suggest you look for, as there is no decision making in this world than one of informed free will.

It goes without saying that I am NOT medically trained in any way shape or form and before you enter into any form of diet change or exercise regimen you should be happy in your own mind that you have sought the advice you need from qualified professionals and that you are satisfied that you are ready to embark on your chosen path, I will be updating this page and the episode section of the blog with my progress.

Update 1

So as I have updated on my blog this is the end of my second day of fasting, I can report that I do feel a little easier in my clothes, and although I still have some considerable distance to go there is a hint of definition starting come in around my shoulders and across the top of my chest, as well as my outer thighs, so it does feel so far that all of this lives up to the hype, one issue I did find was with regard to entering the ketosis state, I tested first thing in the morning to get a base level and also to familiarise myself with the testing process, the result was predictably a negative and exactly what I expected to see however when I tested at 15.5 hours the level had not risen very much at all at 0.5 mmol/L, this is so little a rise as to be either the beginning of ketosis or simply a margin for error in the measuring process.

I would strongly suggest that you get testing strips for this process as it will indicate how long you need to fast for as everybody is different they are available from amazon, Ascensia Ketostix Reagent Strips (Ketone) these are the ones I used and I found them to be clear and concise with instructions and had a good amount of positive reviews, of course the above link is an affiliate link so feel free to either use that one of simply search yourself for the strips.

I will raise the fasted time to 20hrs for the next round and see if I can push my body more into the desired state.

And as I always say please don’t do anything you are not sure of, I am pushing as hard as I can in the spirit of the trainee superhuman but I am also keeping a very close eye on how I am feeling, if I feel more than just tired or fatigued I do stop and take a rest, and so should you, listen to your body and react accordingly, no matter how educated or good a blogger is they can only advise not prescribe, smash it by all means but stay safe, all of your efforts will be for nothing if you end up in hospital or worse!

Update 2

First a confession, I did actually stop the intermittent fasting journey, there were a few health issues (unrelated) and time constraints got in the way.

But I have been at 17.6 stone now for a few months and feel like I need to re visit the method to try and push myself over this plateau, the only concern being losing the muscle I have managed to regain.

So starting tomorrow I will work through 16hrs, 24hrs, 36hrs and finish with 48hrs over a four week period and report my findings as I go.

The main lesson to learn here is that progress and gain is far from linear, but taking no action at all will always return exactly 100 percent of effort put in.

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