Like Jimmy, I was insulin resistant, I was poor, I was sick and I was obese. I was metabolically damaged yet I am still able to maintain my weight loss and continue to lose weight year over year. Why? I don’t fast and I don’t calorie restrict. That is it. Other than that we had the exact same experience.
Lets look at what fasting has done for Jimmy:
It has gotten worse. If fasting was beneficial should he not be getting leaner with all the many multiple day fasts he is always doing? He appears to be getting more metabolically damaged not less. Why can’t he see it?
I read Jimmy’s book. Primarily because I thought it was written by Dr. Fung. It turns out it was written by Jimmy and made to look like it was written by Fung. Fung was only a contributor. When I read the book I implemented the recommendations.
I started the year at 214lbs. I did extensive fasting periods. Way too much from what I now understand. I likley spent 3/4 of an entire year in a fasted state with alternate day fasting and numerous extended fasts ranging from 3-5 days. I ended that year at 215lbs. Really beneficial right?
The only time I had this type of results when I was doing paleo and eating 1500 cals a day. Complete stall. This past year I have not missed a single meal. I have also spent 42 days eating 5,000 calories when my normal intake is approximately 2500 calories. I started this year at 215lbs and I am currently sitting at 195lbs consistently. My lowest weight in 6-7 years and I also have the most amount of muscle mass I’ve ever had. With no fasting.
Carl Franklin (Two Keto Dudes): Carl often talks about the latest extended fast he is doing. From 7-14 days is what he refers to mostly. He is also still obese and can no longer lose any weight. Despite his constant fasting. How can a person not eat for 14 days and not lose weight? Extreme metabolic damage. How does one cause this? By shutting down their thyroid with fasting. He has now gotten himself to a point just like Jimmy where he can no longer lose weight no matter what he does.
Luckily Carl has not gained any weight back but he clearly is not having any success in losing anything with his continued fasting. Why continue to starve yourself if there is no measurable effect? Yes he lost alot of weight but at 297lbs he is still obese and is now stuck and cannot seem to lose anymore. From what I understand he didn’t start fasting until late into his weight loss.
The one common factor in every person I work with that is having a hard time losing is thyroid function and that they have a long history of calorie restriction and fasting.
It is a clear fact that low calorie drops metabolic rate. What is the most extreme version of calorie restriction? Fasting.
Here are some articles I wrote with links to studies showing the fact that caloric restricting and fasting lowers thyroid function:
Here is a video by Dr. Stephen Phinney Discussing why he disagrees with fasting. I don’t agree with his estimates on lean mass loss and there are lots of reasons I don’t think it is accurate but mainly because the physiology dictates that lean mass preservation is taken as priority. What he is using as an extrapolation is what very active people see when fasting and only in the short term. The act of the body shutting down thyroid decreases the amount of lean mass losses. You will still lose lean mass though. There will always be a need for some glucose so if you are fasting you will need to get that from somewhere. Some of it will come from autophagy (breaking down of unnecessary/defective tissue) which is why it is said that fasting is good for autophagy, but some will still come from lean mass. For me that part that is bad is the thyroid shutdown and the more fasting you do the more damage you do.
Lastly I want to discuss something that someone brought up in the facebook group.
“But I know people that do long fasts and they feel great. They are full of energy and don’t feel cold. How can it be true that thyroid function drops?”
Lets look at what happens in fasting:
1. Caloric intake stops. Insulin and blood sugar drops.
2. The body continues to use glucose to fuel the tissues that need it.
3. Thyroid starts to down regulate metabolism to preserve lean mass
4. After a full day all possible glycogen stores are gone and blood sugar starts to get very low.
5. This causes an increase in cortisol in order to trigger gluconeogenesis to keep blood glucose stable and prevent hypoglycaemia.
6. Epinephrine and adrenaline are also released as a result of the low blood glucose. These are the reason people get surges of energy and clarity when fasting. Especially in later stages like day 2 and 3. This is for one reason and one reason only. To give you the energy and mental clarity to HUNT AND GET FOOD!!!
This whole process is one of survival and not one of some magical fountain of youth or magic healing process. It is survival of the fittest and nothing more. It is the body doing everything to keep you alive long enough to eat again. No animal in nature is foolish enough to purposely go without food. Except humans.
Our ability to use science to dig into the mechanisms of how the body reacts to eating or not eating is amazing but it is also our greatest enemy. It led us to “fat is bad” and “eat less and move more”. Two of the greatest mistakes of our time and now it has led us the next great mistake. “Fasting is good for you and will help you lose weight!”
Don’t let this next big mistake ruin your thyroid and your ability to get healthy and maintain that health. Just eat the right foods and enough of it to keep your body functioning properly and the weight you lose will stay off rather than creeping back like it has for so many others.
If you want to get your Ketogenic Diet back to a place of Common Sense and learn how to heal your metabolism you can get personalized coaching from Coach Jack.
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Personalized Coaching with Coach Jack