Fasting for Fat Loss

eat-stop-eatIf you’re involved in a body transformation contest or simply trying to lose fat, but finding it difficult to stick to your plan, then I recommend going back to part 3 of my interview with Brad Pilon.  Brad not only offers some of his best tips to help you see your transformation to the end, but also reveals just how little resistance training you need to maintain muscle mass.

Today, in part 4, we’ll take a closer look at Pilon’s fasting for fat loss book, Eat Stop Eat, and get to the truth about fasting and its effect on your metabolism.  Interesting stuff!


Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.  So why don’t you give us a quick background on the Eat Stop Eat?  Everybody who’s got this report also has the Eat Stop Eat book so they can read in detail about it, but why don’t you just give us a quick background on the Eat Stop Eat.

From my understanding it’s just eat normal for six days and then fast for 24 hours and then as a result of that you end up with a caloric deficit and so it’s more important over seven days than it is to worry about dieting every day.

Brad Pilon: That’s exactly my approach.  So the key is it’s still the food in between.  I mean it’s always going to come down to what you’re eating but the concept behind Eat Stop Eat is that if you cut out one or two 24-hour chunks of eating from your week and eat the regular way you normally eat to maintain your current weight, that’s almost a 20 percent REDUCTION in food intake if you fasted twice.

And thus you should see a reduction in calories while on the days you are eating you’re still eating the way you normally eat.  And the concept really WORKS for the type of people – and everybody knows them – who want to lose weight and when you start making suggestions on things for them to change they are simply not willing to change their diet.

So it leaves you in a really odd position.  Like I don’t know how to get this person to eat less and then all of a sudden the obvious answer is just ask them to eat less via frequency.  Or the amount of times they eat.

So what it’s designed to do is just make it extremely EASY to do long term.  I mean I’ve been fasting with the twice a week now for almost 18 months now.  And I’ve never really had a situation where I got tired of it or sick of it because I space it out in a way that completely agrees with me.

For me I fast once every five days and it just seems to work.  It’s been the best way for me to keep my body weight extremely low.  I mean I’m never more than five, six pounds off of the weight I competed at.  And it’s just an easy way to maintain caloric restriction.

Over the years I’ve come to think that the bulking and cutting cycling and the ratios approaching the carbs or fast proteins to slow proteins and high glycemic carbs and low glycemic carbs really becomes just moot points compared to how many calories you are or aren’t taking in.

And whether you can do a diet long term is I think the key to success from not only your physique transformation but maintain that transformation.  I can think back and I used to do it all the time when I was young.

The whole concept of dieting for the summer and then ballooning up during the winter.  I mean how counter productive and frustrating is that.  Whereas if you just maintain a lean body 365 days a year it’s way better.

So that’s basically East Stop Eat in a nutshell.  It’s a way to make dieting flexible but still effective.

Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.  And for anybody that is reading this or listening to this, you also can go into the Turbulence Training Members,  and we have a teleseminar with Brad where I have an hour-long interview with him about Eat Stop Eat and the fasting approach to weight loss.  So make sure that you check that out for more information.

Now, Brad, one of the things that we covered in that call but we’ll cover again here is the concern or myth that doing something like that is going to RUIN your METABOLISM.  Do you want to approach that?

Brad Pilon: Yeah.  Absolutely.  Going back to quoting the research which always irks some people but the main determinant, the thing that determines your metabolism or your metabolic rate is your lean body mass.  And as we just discussed if you’re weight training and dieting your lean body mass isn’t really changing. And so if your lean body mass isn’t really changing, then neither is your metabolism.

If you want to take it a bit further, if you look at research studies, there are specific measurements you can take.  One is metabolic rate.  One is RQ which is just a measure of how much fat versus carbs your body is burning.  And two other things you can look at are the two enzymes.  One’s responsible for moving fat out of your fat cells and one’s responsible for moving fat into your fat cells.

And you can look at those four things during a one, two, three, four-day fast and you see that okay lean mass doesn’t go down so you’re maintaining your metabolic rate.  The RQ does go down which means you’re burning more fat.  And the activity of the enzyme releasing fat goes up while the activity of the enzyme that brings fat into your fat cells goes down.

So all signs point to the fact that you’re maintaining your metabolic rate while burning more fat which is exactly what you want during a diet because the GOAL of the diet isn’t just to lose weight.  It’s to LOSE FAT.

So based on that data, small, short periods of complete fasting don’t decrease your metabolic rate or mess up your potential fat burning ability.  So then over a long period of time considering the fact that you will go back to eating you are eating smaller amounts and you are resistance training to keep your lean mass up.

There’s really no reason to believe that you are slowing your metabolism or ruining your fat-burning ability.  Now, you throw inactivity in or become bedridden and lose muscle mass, then that’s a completely different story.  And it’s a result of muscle wasting is indeed a loss of metabolic rate but if you maintain that muscle by training properly it’s not a concern.

Craig Ballantyne:  Okay.  So the big point there is people seem to be getting carried away with articles these days that if you miss a meal your metabolism is going to decrease.

Brad Pilon: Ridiculous.  And I understand in a way it’s a great SCARE TACTIC to sell the idea of multiple meals or certain types of meals or certain ratios but just in the sense of your metabolism slowing down or ruining your ability to burn fat, it just isn’t there.

Craig Ballantyne:  So why don’t you give us a success story of Eat Stop Eat and maybe some beginner that came up that had a hard time losing body fat and has been able to succeed with Eat Stop Eat and how they have done it and put it in their lifestyle.

Brad Pilon: Absolutely.  The people I notice that have been having the results from Eat Stop Eat and the ones who are emailing in and I get a chance to talk to are people who have either had problems with diets in the past or just didn’t even want to bother.

It’s the type of people who when they looked at the pros and cons of dropping 30, 40 pounds of fat versus massive alterations in their lifestyle they just weren’t into it.  They did the pro and con and said as much as I’d love to look better and drop some weight, it’s not worth the change.

And so that’s when those type of people were like okay, this program here which is pretty easy to follow.  As long as I can make it through one of these fasts I know I can make it through all the subsequent fasts so they all sort of start out the same.

People are fairly HESITANT at first.  They give me all the reasons why they probably can’t do the fast.  And then I don’t hear from them for a while because they’ve tried the first fast, they’ve realized it’s fairly easy and they’re just going forward with it.

And then it’s people I have talked to once or twice and then all of a sudden four or five months later I get these emails and these pictures of people who have dropped 40 pounds.  Really amazing things like that.  And a couple of them I’ve had a chance to meet and it was like an entirely different person.

The STORIES were always the SAME.

It’s always I started fasting.  It was easy.  I got the hang of it.  I started working out.  And then the workouts are typically like I really started weight training and then I started intervals.  They were hard but I could do them.  And then I found that I could do them on my fasting days.  That wasn’t a problem.  And then four months later I’m meeting people who have lost a tremendous amount of weight.

And the cool thing is then because fasting is so easy they don’t have to all of a sudden worry about and then I stopped my diet and everything went to hell.  And I’m still fasting.  I just don’t fast as often.

So that’s the great part.  Is so many people who went down from 240 to 200 but then I see them a couple months later and they’re 195 and they’re 180 but they’re not just ballooning back up because they just incorporated the fast lifestyle and the weight training and the rest of the life changes that kind of happen as you start seeing weight loss.

But it’s for those people who really think they can’t do it on other diets that seem to have the best success.

Let’s find out what other nutrition and transformation tips Brad has for us in part 5 of this interview.

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  • Jacqueline

    Interesting, not a new concept as this is a biblical principle and still practiced with some Christians, both past and present. You could make this a double effective tool by taking the money saved from that day of not eating and give that money to a local food bank or homeless shelter. Perhaps a little self deprivation is what our society needs both emotionally and physically as we tend to eat what, when and how much we want with out even the slightest idea of what it is like to go without.

  • Harry, Athens-Greece

    I’ve just finished reading The Alternative Day Diet and was thinking of giving it a go. I the alternative day diet, the down days are about 500 calories (or about 20% of your maintenance calories) and the up days are whatever you like (at least to start with, later the author advises healthy choices over pizza, ice-cream and hot-dogs). I was planning to follow the plan where you eat 20% on Mon-Wed-Fri and enjoy Tue-Thu-Sat-Sun.

    Now that I came across the Eat-Stop-Eat appoach, I want to see what would suit me best. Am I correct in thinking that with the Eat-Stop-Eat the fast is a proper/total fast (i.e. only water and herbal teas probably allowed)?… but on the other hand one to two 24-h fasts are fine?


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Harry, yes, full on proper fasts for 24 hour periods.

  • Chantal Parry

    I follow a sought of healthy diet, but it is very erratic! I still do well with my training! As I am a SPINNING INSTRUCTOR(Indoor Cycling), I need to train very hard and keep up my fitness, as I need to be fitter than anyone else in the class because of talking to the members and cycling! I also do weight training! I just need to know what kind of food/drink do I need to do the Fasting thing……does it only consist of liquids or are there also some solids!?!
    Thanking you!

  • CJ

    I am worried about what to eat on the non-fast days. I am a mess. I have been working out with turb. train. for two years and have become very strong. However, I can’t get this layer of fat off. I need to lose about 20 lbs.

    I generally eat really good. Sometimes I will binge. However, I have often gone on a 1300 cal a day diet and won’t lose any weight.

    I am 5’10” though and think maybe I was not eating enough?

    I am at a total loss of what to do. I was going to try to go to about 1700 cals a day and see if that would work. I read this and am now wondering if this would be worth a try. I need help!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      CJ, what is your daily nutrition plan look like and how often do you binge?

  • CJ

    By the way, I am a female.

  • CJ

    That was fast response. I always eat a 1/2 c oatmeal with 1/8 c dried cranberries, 1/8 c walnuts and 1/4 c orange juice every morning. If I am doing turbulence training, I eat this about 30 min before hand. If I am on the off day, I will eat it after I run/walk on the treadmill for 30 mins.

    For lunch, I usually have cottage cheese, 1 cup and some hot sauce on it. Many times for dinner I will have 6 egg whites and some avacado, sun dried tomatoes with some garlic pwdr and cayenne pepper. (I like hot stuff).

    I will also often have a protein drink with a coup of blueberries, and apple, a carrot, 1T of cocoa pwdr in it and some green tea. I always drink at least 2 c of green tea a day.

    That is about it. Except when I binge. I have a weakness for chocolate but that usually only happens about once every two weeks. But I have to tell you, sometimes it is two big size candy bars in one day.

    Also, what body fat percentage should I aim for? I want to be really lean. I want to do the local triathalon this summer and I do not want to carry this extra weight around.
    Thanks much,

    • Craig Ballantyne

      A woman will be very lean at 15-16% body fat.

      Your nutrition is pretty good. I would drop the orange juice, it does nothing for you. You should also eat a lot more vegetables. You barely eat any at all.

      Have you not lost any fat on that routine? Unless the binges are more frequent than you state, you should be losing fat.

      • CJ

        I think you are right with the vegetable thing. I eat a ton of vegetables and some fruit during the summer from my garden but really don’t in the winter because I hate the taste of the veggies at the store. I have kept track of my calories and nutrition on a food database and really, I do have the binges sometimes more frequently where I will see my progress totally reverse but I was very careful for about 3 weeks and literally didn’t even lose 2 pounds.

        I really have been struggling with this for a long time. Before I found your program, I was riding my bike at least 7 miles a day every other day and doing hill sprints. I have been working out fairly steadily for at least 5 years now. I just can’t get this off. As a matter of fact, in those 5 years, I really haven’t varied in my weight at all, nor in the size of my clothes. I have just gotten a lot more muscle and a lot stronger. 🙁