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More Benefits of ESE Besides Fat Loss

More Benefits of ESE Besides Fat Loss

Posted on 07. Aug, 2009 by .

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The other day as I got done with my first fast of the week, I realized that Eat Stop Eat, by Brad Pilon, has become more than just a way for me to lose weight. If this is your first time reading about ESE, please read this post first so that you can have more background information and read about my previous results from the program. Besides all the amazing and obvious results that I have experienced from this program such as:

  • 12% reduction in body fat
  • About 10 inches lost in my overall body circumference and
  • Continued weight loss,

I have noticed several additional benefits when I do my fasts. I never would have thought that this program would work so well for me but I continue to do so because the longer I practice it, the more benefits I get from it. Here are some of them:

Deeper Sleep

I don’t know what it is but when I do fast and go to ben with an empty stomach, I sleep much better at night. One of my friends have asked me if my stomach growls before bed time. To be truthful, it does but only for several minutes. After that, my body just feels so restful. From a scientific stand point, I figured that my body is calmer because my organs don’t have the interference from food digestion which I would normally have if I had dinner.

Determining Food Allergies that cause Gas and Bloating

Ok, I have to say that this can be a very embarassing topic to talk about but it is a very important subject to talk about nonetheless. Before I practiced ESE, I never really noticed any of my gas and/or bloating issues. I figured that these are both a part of everyday life and I’ll just have to deal with it because that’s just the way it is. However, with the combination of eating healthier and practicing intermittent fasting, I’ve noticed that certain foods trigger these symptoms. So, after identifying those foods, I simply stopped eating those foods and I have greatly reduced this symptoms by about 90% without taking any medication! Some of the foods that I have stopped eating are:

  • Cottage Cheese (bloating) – this can be due to the protein found in milk, Casein. Some people can be allergic to it without suffering from any serious symptoms. But, if bloating is bothersome enough then, it might be a good idea for anyone to take it out of their diet for a little bit to see if the bloating stops.
  • Wheat/Gluten (Gas) – this is actually a common allergen for most people and probably the cause of the popularity of many wheat and gluten free foods in health food stores. I noticed that I’m not too sensitive to it but I just can’t have too much of it.

Water Retention

One of the most basic principles of practicing Eat Stop Eat was to simply “eat less.” This means that when you fast twice a week, you’re creating a calorie deficit and also reducing your intake of sugar and salt. My reduction in salt intake is probably one of my biggest causes of water retention. At the same time, I am more mindful of drinking water and green tea during a fast. As a result, I get rid of even more unneccessary water from my body. If you don’t already know, the more water you drink, the more water you actually get rid of and not the other way around.

Restart Button

I always say that I feel like I just clicked on the “Restart button” for my whole body after a fast. After having spent most of my adult life constantly eating (and used to eating bad stuff too), I really do feel cleansed after each and every fast. I feel that I’m giving myself and my organs a break from the constant work load that I put my body through after I eat my usual meals.

I was inspired to write this article because I really do feel that the additional benefits, not mentioned in the book, that I have discovered through intermittent fasting are very important to our overall health. If you have not read the book and have always wondered why fasting is so effective for fat loss, Brad Pilon does a great job of explaining the hormonal effects and the fat burning responses from those effects during a fast in a way that everyone can understand.

I couldn’t recommend this book enough. In fact, I encourage my adult clients, the ones who do not have any serious medical issues, to practice intermittent fasting. To me, it is by far the easiest and most efficient way to burn fat without the hassle of counting calories or what Brad calls “obsessive compulsive eating.”

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3 Reasons Why the BMI is Obsolete

Posted on 18. Mar, 2009 by .

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Yesterday was a big day for my husband. He’s in the Air Force and it was time for his annual physical training (PT) test. He was really nervous that he would score poorly on this test but it’s not because he is out of shape or overweight. The real reason for his worries was the BMI.

Photo by Life Design Strategies

Photo by Life Design Strategies

So, what is the BMI?

Here is the definition by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH):

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women.

The military still uses the BMI as one of their standards for measuring body fat which becomes a problem for people who are heavier relative to their height because of their muscle mass (as you’ve probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat). In the case of my husband, he can’t be more than 200 pounds for his PT test because with a height of 6 feet, 3 inches, this would put him at a BMI of 25.1 which would mean that he’s overweight relative to this “standard.” This totally doesn’t make sense because if you see him in person, the word “overweight” would not even describe him one bit. In fact, he is tall and lean and I’m not even exagerrating here.

The BMI Table

Underweight 18.5
Normal Weight 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight 25 to 29.9
Obesity 30 or greater

So, now that I’ve made that point, let me tell you about why it’s not a good measure of physical fitness or body composition.

  • It is based on your height and weight which means that these numbers do not even have anything to do with body fat percentage which is a big factor when assessing health risks.
  • It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
  • It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.

Take note that the last two reasons are actually limitations that I copied from the NIH’s web site. I am sure that there are some old research studies that support the BMI and which have made it into what it is today but I won’t even bother looking for them because my main point is this: measure your body fat percentage instead. I actually wrote a post about this in another post entitled, “Why Weight is Just Another Number,” and you can view that one here. Body fat percentages actually measure your body fat in a few different sites of your body where you would most likely have body fat such as the lower abs, the back of the triceps, the front of your biceps, etc. So, even if the measurements may be inaccurate, it will give you a better picture of your body composition.

I know that sometimes it can be difficult to get your body fat measured because you either have to get a personal trainer to do it or have someone wiling enough to learn how to perform the measurements on you. If this is the case, I read about another type of measurement which takes into account your waist to height ratio. Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, talks about this in his post and you can see it here and scroll down to question #4. I asked him if it applies to women as well but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

Another option is to buy a bathroom scale that measures body fat but I find that they also have their own limitations as they can be inaccurate. But if you were to buy a scale with this feature, use it as a measure of progress. In other words, even if the number on it is not truly reprsentative of your actual body fat percentage, use the number as your baseline which means that if the measurements go up or down, take the difference between your baseline and the new number. If the number goes down, then you’re making progress and vice versa.

The only other time that I would ever use my weight in any measurement of fitness is when I want figure out my lean mass once I know my body fat percentage – that’s it. As for the military, my husband says that they may me changing the BMI into the waist to height ratio as described by Brad Pilon but it might take awhile for this change to happen (as with any goverment changes but that’s a whole different story).

The lesson I learned is that there are a lot more measurements out there that will give us a better idea of where we are in terms of health risks and physical fitness besides the more general, government issued standards. Sometimes the best thing to do is to not focus on the numbers too much but pay more attention to more important things like eating healthier and living a more active lifestyle instead.

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