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Got an email today from a reader interested in cheese and whatnot in my diet. I love getting stuff like this. It repeats much of what I've written, but what the hell. The main point I'm trying to get across is that it's the fasting that dramatically changed everything. Up to that point, it has always been a struggle. Adding lean mass through the workouts helped. Eating in more of a Paleo fashion helped a bit more, but nothing so turned on the fat loss, plus fundamentally altered my appetite like the fasting.

Here goes.


Mine has been an evolution. When I began pushing weights last May I wanted to focus on that, so I did and I built muscle and lost a little fat. Tried to eat good some of the time, but still lots of burgers (which are fine, without the bread). I was losing about 1 pound per month net (I was also gaining muscle).

Then around October I began to eat well most of the time. Probably the closest approximation is "Paleo." This is the authoritative resource:

Now I was losing maybe 2 lbs. net per month. However, I kept hearing about intermittent fasting at Art's site…

…and so I decided to try it. It made a lot of sense from and evolutionary perspective. After the first 30-hr fast, ending with a workout and a nice meat dinner, I knew I was hooked for life. I just cannot begin to express all the benefits. I simply think that we evolved to go long periods with hunger and that the body adapted itself to do things over those periods of time that just might be necessary for full health and well being. Think about it: the average person has sufficient fat stores to go two, possibly three months with no food. That didn't just happen by accident.

So that was the major piece to the puzzle, and then I realized something. Since I was putting myself in a state of evolutionary hunger, I was allowing for gene expression to mold my appetite to a greater extent than the complex hormonal biochemistry that prevails when we're perpetually in a fed state. (That's my speculation, so it may be gobbledygook, but I doubt it.)

I just really can't believe how my appetite has so dramatically changed with the fasting. I seriously don't even have a craving in the world for a pizza, and that is almost unbelievable to me. I always crave pizza — every day of my life. Haven't been to a fast-food place in 2-3 months (I haven't paid attention) and that was probably 3-4 times per week for years. Love fast food burgers & fries.

But this has nothing to do with will power. For me, it takes no will power to fast for 30 hours (well, maybe the first two did) twice per week, and the change in appetite is a natural result. And what I crave is lots of animal fat and meat. I couldn't even finish a light vinaigrette salad last night coming off a 30-hr fast. Instead, I ate nearly a pound of ribeye smothered in butter-sautéed mushrooms, and broccolinni blanched and bathed in melted butter, lemon, and parmesan.

So, I think the Paleo and all those are fine, but a person ought to feel great doing them; naturally great. Given my experience with fasting, I now understand that I would have never known and understood my true appetite had I not started that.

As to the specific question, yea, I eat quite a bit of cheese. And butter; and bacon dripping and dipped in the grease. I now eat the strip of fat on steaks because it's so appealing.

Radical; but I feel fabulous, I'm gaining strength and muscle, and fat is falling away.

Your mileage may vary, but that's my story.

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  1. J. Bennet says:

    I have also recently started Art's EvFit. I am about a month into it. Now I too am going to take the IF plunge. I bought EatStopEat and am going to use that system. But I have a question for you. Why do you go for 30 hours? Art himself says he usually goes for about 17 (lunch to breakfast) and EatStopEat recommends two 24 hour fasts. Why did you settle upon 30 hours? Did you read that this is a better time frame than anything shorter?

    Anyway I enjoy your blog and I love reading about your success with Paleo and IF.

  2. Adam Cilonis says:

    Great question J.-I was wondering the same thing.

  3. J:

    It was by accident. I actually did two fasts before getting the Eat Stop Eat book. I wanted to be able to skip three complete meal cycles, so rather than after dinner to dinner, I chose to do before dinner (i.e., after lunch) to dinner. Then, as Brad shows in ESE, the max fat burn is from 18 to 30 hours where it begins to taper off. I concluded that I had by accident extended my fasts to the most efficient time period, 30 hours.

    I don't know, but I also suspect that because my greatest hunger is the first evening (skipping dinner) that it makes the fast actually easier, as I wake up the next day with no problem regarding the hunger. Sleep conditions you for a fast.

    Of course, this is all predicated on the desire to loose fat. Once I get down where I want to be, I'll probably play with shortening the fasts, doing the same thing but less frequently, or going very intermittent in all respects, i.e., skipping meals sometimes, maybe skipping two or three, and maybe even very occasionally going 3-4 days for maximum gene expression in a fasted state.

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