Day 130 (T, 110510) — 24-Hour or 16-Hour Fasting, Which is Better?

As you may know, I am investigating two types of Intermittent Fasting (IF) to layer on top of my 4HB Slow Carb Diet (SCD) approach to weight loss.

  1. Eat STOP Eat (ESE) by Brad Pilon, and
  2. LeanGains.com (LG) by Martin Berkhan

Trying to decide between the two programs is tough.

ESE recommends 1-2 24-hour fasts during the week and explains that the benefits of fasting begin at about 16 hours and diminishing returns set in at about 30 hours.   He illustrates this with data about hormone levels over time and how they look best between those two points.  Thus Brad suggests 24 hours as a simple, easy to remember, and easy to stick with fasting period which puts you right in the middle of the maximum benefits you can get from IF.*

LG recommends a 16 hour fast and 8 hour eating window.  He explains this preference by saying:

My take on IF shortens the fasting period down to 16 hours – in my opinion, an ideal compromise between getting the best out of the fasting, without the negatives that may follow with a longer fast. This leaves eight hours as your eating window, in which myself and most of my clients, eat three meals, leaving room for proper pre – and post workout nutrition….All of this is based on trial and error with regards to my own, and my clients, personal experiences. I feel that extreme measures, like confining the eating window to four hours or less, aren’t needed to in order to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting for those wishing to improve their body composition

Unfortunately, I can’t find any other justification about why this method is better than Brad’s version other than his personal experience.


I am leaning toward a bit of each, really.  LG-type IF one some days and ESE-type IF on others.  One benefit of the ESE 2×24 IF model is that, if something comes up where you have to break your fast (e.g. the boss wants to take you out to lunch), you can easily shift your fast to the next day or later in the week.

I’m still thinking it through.

=====

In answer to my question yesterday about “Do I start fasting or not?” the answer was YES.

I stopped eating at about 9 PM on Sunday night.  I did not eat again until about 5 PM Monday. So I guess I split the difference and fasted for 20 hours.

For dinner, I ate: a big bowl of my slow carb chili, some sugar-free jello with a small bit of light Redi Whip on top, a few cashews, a bit of Taco Bell burrito, and a bite of cookie.

According to SparkPeople, this comes in at about 940 calories.  Allowing for windage and distance and we still come in under 1000 for the day.

Today will be a normal SCD day.

=====

This morning was my fourteenth Workout A (lats/biceps and shoulders).

(1) Close-grip pull-down (V-Bar grip) × 190 pounds

(2) Machine shoulder press × 120 pounds

I was going to work out this morning but decided last night not to do it.  Yes, I actively decided not to exercise today.

Yesterday I went to the doctor to have them look at  the pinky finger on my right hand.  It’s been bothering me for months now; it hurts when any lateral or rotational pressure is put the DIP (last) joint.

The doctor took a look and examined some x-rays and told me I have “traumatic arthritis” in that joint and that it would basically never get back to “normal.”

So he put me in a splint and told me to come back in a few weeks to see how things look at that point.

Now don’t go feeling too sorry for me; 90% of the time it feels fine.  It’s only when something puts pressure on it that it hurts.  I can still flex the joint in it’s normal motion (up and down) and make a fist, grip things, etc.

I could have worked out today – though I would need to take my splint off for the pull downs – but I choose not to.

Are you thinking, “John, you’re nuts.  You should work out if you can.  It makes you healthier and look better.”?   I agree, but, as an adult who take responsibility for his own life, I get to choose what I do without fear of contradiction.  Ain’t life grand? ;-)

So this week, I have decided to take the week off from working out.** I can’t run because I am waiting for my ankle to heal.  I chose not to do my Occam’s Protocol workouts.

I will pick it up again next week.  That’s another decision I made. ;-)

=====

Breakfast @ 5:30 AM:  two scoops Jack3d in water, one scoop of whey protein powder in water

Lunch @ 10:30 AM: vegetable soup

Dinner @ 6 PM: ham and beans, chili, cashews, ham, turkey slice, a few bites of strawberry, a spoon of natural peanut butter, an Atkins bar, water, diet soda

Other food throughout the day: water, coffee

—–

* To see all of the charts and details, you’ll need to get the book.  I’m not going to give away all his info here.  Also, as I mentioned yesterday, I am not affiliated with Brad or ESE.  I make no money if you click the link above and then buy his book.
** If it is the wrong decision, that’s fine, I’ll live with it; but it’s a decision I get to make so I made it without regrets.
I know many people who agonize over decisions, second-guessing themselves and living in fear of doing the wrong thing.  This is no way to live a life, folks.  If you need to make a decision, gather your info, use your best judgement, and make it.
Rather than preemptively regretting any possible mistake, simply allow yourself the knowledge that you did the best you could and accept the consequences of the decision, good or bad and make the best of it.  You’ll find yourself happier in the long run if you can.
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20 responses to “Day 130 (T, 110510) — 24-Hour or 16-Hour Fasting, Which is Better?

  1. So much for your piano career.

    My best friend in high school shut her sister’s right pinky finger in the car door when she was about 2. Shattered the last bone – tried to fix it with surgery, it was never the same. She DID go on to be an incredibly accomplished pianist, with only 9 useful piano fingers and even composed pieces that used the left hand more prominently. One can ALWAYS find a silver lining, in my opinion.

    I inadvertently did a LeanGains fast yesterday, eating lunch late (at 3:30) and getting busy and not being hungry for dinner. Ate again this morning at 7:30. Maybe I’ll give it a try a few days a week.

    Another informative and thoughtful post.

    • Luckily that’s the strumming hand on my yet-to-be-born guitar career. ;-)

      How’d the LG fast turn out for you? Did you feel ok?

      Distraction, what happened to you it seems, is the subject of a question on Thursday’s post and the main idea on Friday’s post…..

  2. Either protocol is good. Personally LG works better for my schedule and is my preference. I do a longer fast once in a while as well. I feel that LG is better for a workout schedule as well.

    I had to ease into fasting, and I do sometimes snack and supplement.

    Remember to eat a bit more on workout days.

    Still think you should be doing HIIT and not occam’s workouts if you goal is fat loss. Occam’s is not for fat loss. (beating dead horse ….)

  3. I like that site.
    The other thing that motivates me is making my own workouts and tweaking them based on what ever research I’ve done recently. You seem to read a lot too so thought I would mention it.

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  7. Hi* I started fasting for religious reasons on Fridays…I have done this for 3 weeks now, and I can report, being pleasantly surprised to see my body losing inches, and right before my sons’ wedding! The plan I follow is easy, after arising, on the fast day, I drink plenty of water. I find that I hardly ever feel hungry and it is good to give my body a rest. I will have, however, a lite meal if I find myself getting weak….( have Lupus so need to watch things) and that meal is only after sundown. Now, as you see, I only skip the 2 meals on the fasting times, and I still see a huge improvement.

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