So after my 60 day carnivore diet completed I decided to enjoy the next month in regards to food and the Thanksgiving Season. Now that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is around the corner this is the perfect time to get back into a regular fasting regimen. I did gain some of the weight lost on my carnivore diet back, but given how extreme that diet is by usual standards that is not surprising, but my healthy habits curtailed the overall impact and still keep me well below my weight of 270 lb from when I was on an unrestricted standard American diet in college. Even with fasting nutrition is still important, so learning how to manage daily habits and lifestyle is suggested before just jumping into fasting and fasting is seen as a tool and not as a free pass to eat junk all the time. However, it does seem to give me a little more freedom in food quality.
The biggest reason to me for fasting is simple. I like to enjoy food and don’t like to count and obsess over foods and regular fasting is a habit that has afforded me great results on the scale, more freedom of food choices (I seem to have better metabolic flexibility when I do regular fasts), and generally just feel better without as much worry about food. In all honesty the hardest part of fasting is getting started. It is a strange thing in American culture to go without food for a prolonged period and once you start fasting you will realize how much eating is just habitual and not hunger driven. Once you become used to fasting certain types of eating no longer feel obligatory, but you also have the freedom to enjoy eating in social settings when other diets might not allow it.
Beyond the social and habitual aspects that fasting helps with, it has a host of other benefits. Fasting lowers IGF-1 , inflammation, and insulin for example while increasing mental flexibility, HGH secretion, free fatty acid mobilization, and autophagy to name a few. Many of these benefits may be what increase my personal “metabolic flexibility” (my ability to eat food that would normally give me digestive issues or make me more prone to overeat).
What kind of fasting?
There are many specific fasting protocols and there are pros and cons of each specific protocol. I will do prolonged fasting from Tuesday evening to Thursday evening most weeks as this fits very well with my usual late Thursday social outing and will limit eating to an 8 hour window or less on other days. I may change this up around Holidays and social gatherings, but this will be the typical week. The prolonged fast will help with habitual eating while the 16:8 fast on other days will help keep in the fasting habit and make the longer fast easier to comply with.
What will I eat when not fasting?
This will vary quite a bit, but there are a few things that are constants. I will still prioritize protein and natural fats. I don’t count all my protein as I easily hit the 0.72 grams per pound of lean body mass that science tells us is plenty for lean mass goals. I will usually get a minimum of 150 grams per day excluding Wednesday as this is a full day of fasting. Thursday and Sunday afternoon meals are generally group outings for me and are free meals (I basically eat what sounds good on the menu and get a good protein portion). Other meals will likely be lower carb meals as this is a very effective way for me to control cravings and intake.
What will I take in on fasting days?
Mostly water with electrolyte, a non-calorie beverage or black coffee here and there. That’s it. I add electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) as these are lost during a fast and replenishing them make the fast much more manageable.
My main goal is to get back in the habit of regular fasting. I like the self control it demands and how it affects me mentally and physically. Fat loss is a good secondary goal, but that could be achieved by a number of methods that also result in negative caloric balance.