Weight loss – part 5
This is the fifth part in a series about weight loss including diet, exercise, measuring your success and keeping the weight off when you stop.
So far we’ve looked at the principles behind calorie deficits and some specific foods that should ideally be avoided in order to improve weight loss results. However, there are just a few other approaches to the weight loss diet that need to be covered to ensure that we’ve got the full picture.
I’ve written about intermittent fasting before. At the time I was trying an experiment of intermittent fasting on a weekly basis. My experiment only lasted for a few weeks because I found myself in a cycle of regular intermittent bingeing on foods that I would generally classify as junk foods. I wondered whether the intermittent fasting was causing the bingeing, but stopping the fasting didn’t stop the bingeing, so that was the end of that theory.
However, it is inescapable that plenty of people seem to see good weight loss using intermittent fasting. You can read some people’s success stories in the comments on my post as well as in other posts that I linked to as part of that post.
Martin Berkhan, who I referred to back in part 3, also uses a form of intermittent fasting by missing breakfast each morning. However Martin also re-feeds several times a week, coinciding with his workouts.
I’ve been working at a longer-term weight loss program over the last couple of months, something which inspired me to start this series. A few weeks into this, when I didn’t feel I was seeing the results I had hoped for, I started to try this approach of fasting daily until lunchtime, creating a fast of about 16 hours. So far the results have been pleasing and I’ve ensured that I’ve not reduced my calories my introducing this fast. Instead I have been putting my egg whites and broccoli into my lunchboxes with the salad I was already having, so it is merely a timing issue.
Something that is of endless concern to anyone trying a longer-term (more than 4-5 weeks) weight loss diet or significant intermittent fasting is the idea that the metabolism enters a form of “starvation mode” and starts to do everything in its power to preserve energy. I touched on this in part 2 with the study that looked at creating a calorie deficit in rhesus monkeys.
I was therefore fascinated to read a post by Methuselah about the possibility of intermittent feasting being used with IF as part of a complete diet program. I have to say that I liked his ideas and recommend that people read the post.
Re-feeding is something that Chris and I are trying during the current weight loss cycle. At the moment we are doing this once a fortnight and the re-feeds are planned to include plenty of whole foods. A standard re-feed on a Saturday evening will involve us ploughing into tuna and prawns as a starter, followed by a joint of roast beef or pork and tonnes of vegetables and then topping it all off with bananas and some dark chocolate.
This seems to be working well. Chris has seen some amazing body composition changes over the last few weeks and these re-feeds help prevent the mental problems and sense of deprivation that normally comes with a tough weight loss diet.
The diet – a summary
I’ve written plenty of times about diets for weight loss (just check the Body Composition section of my diet page) but hopefully in the last few posts of this series I’ve provided some more ideas on things to avoid or things to try.
Those of you who live in the US should at least benefit from the new Healthcare Bill, which is apparently requiring restaurants to post up the nutritional information of their menus. Some of us may have heart attacks just from finding out the calorie content of some of the foods available out there!
Next week, I’ll move on to exercise for weight loss. In the meantime, if there is anything in particular you would like me to explore as I work through this series, please let me know and I’ll build it into my research.