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Friday, April 17, 2009

My experience with Eat, Stop, Eat

"You must eat 6 meals a day to lose weight."
"You have to eat exactly X many calories each day."
"NEVER (and I mean NEVER) skip a meal."
"If you skip a meal your metabolism will be ruined and you will gain weight!"

If you've been researching fat loss and nutrition, I'm sure you've heard or read these phrases before. I know I have! So when I heard there was this so-called "nutrition expert," Brad Pilon, who promoted fasting for an entire 24 hours to lose weight, I thought he had to be nuts!

But after spending time on the Turbulence Training message boards, I kept coming across people who had used Brad's program, Eat, Stop, Eat, with success. Finally, in the Fall of 2008, my curiousity was piqued, and I started asking questions about it. I was encouraged to buy Brad's book, because he explains in detail why fasting does work, and why all of that conventional wisdom is wrong.

Brad points out, quite logically I might add, that people fast for religious and spiritual reasons in countries all over the world, without destroying their metabolisms and gaining weight. And he suggests that you can use a concept called "intermittent fasting" to create a weekly calorie deficit without having to have a daily calorie deficit. He also goes into some extensive discussions and reviews of scientific research which all support his premise that fasting, when done in moderation, is perfectly healthy, and, when done in combination with resistance training, can even be done without losing muscle mass. Seriously!

After reading Brad's book, I was encouraged to give intermittent fasting a try. I started off fasting twice per week. Dinner has always been a troublesome meal for me, and the least likely for me to plan out, so I decided I would fast from lunch to lunch, meaning that I would eat lunch, and then fast through dinner, overnight, and breakfast the next morning before eating lunch again on the following day. During my first fast, I was surprised to noticed that, after I made it past about 3-4 hours from my last meal, I was not very hungry. And when I woke up the following morning, when it had been 18 hours since my last meal, I felt just as normal as I did every day! And, importantly, this normal feeling helped me break my fast with a normal lunch, not a mega meal! And YES, I worked out while fasted and was able to do so without a problem!

After several fasts, I noticed some major benefits. The first was that the weight absolutely started to drop off! It was already coming off due to my great workouts and attempts at healthy eating, but the loss absolutely accelerated. My great results from my first Turbulence Training contest are the evidence! But the other main benefits I saw were:
  • I could eat more the rest of the week. If my daily calorie target was 1300 (a deficit of 400 calories from my "maintenance" calorie level of 1700), and I was trying to eat 4-6 meals per day, that meant each meal was 200-350 calories. That's not much of a meal! But when I was fasting twice per week, I could eat for maintenance (1700 calories) on my non-fasting days, allowing me to enjoy a normal healthy meal without stressing about its size.
  • I was able to stop emotional eating cycles. Sure, maybe I felt like I "needed" a piece of chocolate after a bad or stressful day, but when I was fasting, I knew that simply wasn't an option. So I'd have a cup of hot tea or glass of water, and deal with the stress in a more productive way. The bonus was that I proved to myself that I could deal with stress without chocolate. Who knew?
  • I exposed willpower I could tap into later. When I was fasting for 24 hours straight, I proved to myself that I could get through a day without snacks, serve peanut butter without licking the spoon/knife, or wash my kids dishes without finishing up their uneaten food. On my regular eating days, I could then stop myself before I finished the last few bites of my daughter's bowl of ice cream (who doesn't eat all their ice cream???), remembering that I was strong enough to simply wash it down the drain. And I did!
  • I had less stress in my life. When I was fasting two times per week, that was two nights that I could get home and play with my kids, instead of stressing about what to make my husband and I for dinner (on fasting nights, he had to fend for himself). I also had fewer meals to prepare and pack for me to eat at work. I didn't have to totally obsess about everything I ate, as long as I was eating healthy and doing resistance training.

Now that I've achieved my weight loss goals, I still find myself fasting, but now I do it only once per week. I found that a weekly reminder of my inner strength and willpower is important for me, personally, to maintain my healthy eating habits the rest of the week. If you're curious about intermittent fasting and Eat, Stop, Eat, feel free to ask me questions about my experience in the comments section!

I'll also be featuring a few of Brad's nutrition articles in the coming weeks so that you can hear straight from the expert himself!


  1. i just ordered brads advanced package with "eatstopeat" and various other audio files ect. amazing research put into easy to understand laymans terms. (a must for a hard head like me)

    Ifing pretty much saved my life:

    accountability and documentation is the key for my longterm success :)

  2. Its great to hear from someone who has tried this method and had success. I am going to incorporate this into my regimen too!