A blog post by Mike Hodkinson
I decided recently that actually going without any food (including snacks) for 24 hours isn’t really so much or a chore as you would think…
Why would that have anything to do with anything? Well it’s come to my attention that it’s actually a very effective weight loss technique.
One day recently I had completely lost my appetite, personal circumstances most likely and the next day on my two mile walk to work my trousers were kind of slipping down my waist, now I wouldn’t mind but my belt doesn’t go any smaller tighter than it was already! I already had a tubby belly which I’ve loathed for a while now and before I moved to Worcester I was a member of Virgin Active Gym in Solihull, despite being a regular (well 2-3 times a week) I didn’t really notice any loss of weight although people did comment I’d lost weight in my face… don’t get me wrong I did a full workout as was developed for me by my PT when I joined, I did the full workout every time, Rowing for 10 minutes, 6km was my best in this time, cross trainer at the end of my workout which absolutely killed me, my heart rate kept flashing up as being too high! And around 6/7 weights such as the lat machine, arm curl etc in between before rewarding myself with a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and a cold bucket of water before leaving (heaven).
So fasting then! Once I’d lost my appetite and as soon as I established I’d lost a considerable amount of weight just from going a day without food, I kind of thought to myself hmm hang on a minute am I going to do myself harm if I do this regularly? Google is your friend! So I looked it up
I found a website which referred to the Eat – Stop – Eat diet, which essentially gives reasons for and against what I was preparing to do to my body, I mean lets face it, if you’re ever ill you lose your appetite and don’t eat for 1-3 days this is probably the only time your body every experiences food deprivation. In reality we live in a country of such wealth that regular meals are just kind of expected, there’s no shortage.
Even on top of the regular meals we have a snacking culture too, confectionery/sweets, crisps, the McDonalds saver menu comprises mainly of snacks, I’m steering completely clear of these… infact I havn’t had a McDonalds for months!
I also just drink water now, before I was a sucker for soft drinks, Pepsi in particular see, if you consider that each 330ml can of Pepsi accounts for 39% of your GDA of sugar and I’d guess I would drink maybe 5 or 6 maybe more each day which is terrible, a total of 42% of my GDA calories aswell… I used to be pretty much ignorant to all this!
You would expect that food deprivation leaves you feeling low on energy but it’s just not the case, I’m excercising more too, in addition to my 2 mile walk to work of a morning and my 2 mile walk home of an afternoon, I’ve also recently been able to start a light jog on my ankle (which is still not 100% recovered) so I do this occasionally now of an evening
Reasons fasting works:
- Hormones are usually at the root of most of your metabolic functioning, and fat burning is no different. Growth Hormone is the most important fat burning hormone in your body. Fasting pushes growth hormone production into high gear and this makes your fat burning furnace start to work overtime. Fasting also decrease your insulin levels, which ensures that you burn body fat instead of storing it.
- Fat burning hormones need the help of fat burning enzymes to get their job done. Fasting will sky rocket the activity of two of the most important fat burning enzymes in your body. Adipose tissue HSL (Hormone Sensitive Lipase) is the enzyme responsible for allowing your fat cells to release fat so it can be burned as energy in your muscles. Muscle tissue LPL (Lipoprotein Lipase) is the enzyme responsible for allowing your muscle cells to take up fat so it can be burnt as a fuel. Fasting increases both of these enzymes to optimize fat burning – A perfect combination.
- Short term fasting (12-72hrs) actually increases your metabolism and adrenaline levels. This causes you to increase calorie burning during the fast period. The more calories you burn the faster you can lose weight. The extra energy you get from the fast might actually help you through a workout or get more work done at work or around the house. When I did my first fast I was shocked at how awake and energetic I was. My fasting days are now my most productive days of the week.
- Fasting shifts your metabolism from burning blood sugar to burning mostly body fat. When you eat a meal your body likes to burn carbs first, then the fat from your food. Any extra fat that your body can’t burn in the few hours after you eat get stored as body fat. When you fast your body has no choice but to burn stored body fat. By the end of a 24 hour fast your body is burning way more fat than it would during a regular day of eating.
- The most surprising benefit people report back when they start fasting is a new found awareness of what causes them to eat. When you make a conscious decision to fast for a day your less than flattering eating motivations become painfully obvious. This is the first and most effective step to getting rid of bat habits for good. Knowing what your motivations are for poor eating choices is essential before you can change them and build better habits.
- Each short fast is an accomplishment that can build self confidence and gratitude. At the end of a 24 hour fast you can feel good about your accomplishment and start feeling good about your relationship with food again. The positive empowerment from each fast builds on the last until you feel completely in control of your food choices.
- Short term fasting allows you to lose weight and burn fat without restricting any of the foods you love to eat. With this style of eating you can consume any and all of the foods you like whenever you choose without feeling guilty about it and still lose weight. You will never again have to be sitting in a restaurant picking at a salad while everyone else at the tables indulges in their favorite entrée and dessert.
As with many diets there may be side effects or health risks associated with the above activity, as such I am documenting my progress for my own purposes and for the interest of anyone considering doing the same but I do not endorse, encourage or support anyone following my footsteps, though I am happy to receive your feedback.
I need to close my eyes now as the packet of bourbons are staring at me!!