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Top 2 Ab Flattening Strategies that Work

Top 2 Ab Flattening Strategies that Work

Posted on 15. Aug, 2010 by .

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Let’s face it, a lot of us have stubborn areas of fat that we just can’t seem to get rid of no matter what we do. Well, that is if you haven’t tried the two strategies that I’m about to talk about. Just a note before I move on, this is not your typical fitness article telling you to eat the right foods and move more. Those help but these two strategies are even more powerful because it works from the inside. You will see what I mean as I talk about how these strategies work.

The techniques I’m talking about will not be very new to you but I will go deeper into how they work. I’m talking about fasting and the elimination diet. If you have done them before, you may know that they really work to get rid of stubborn areas of fat but you may not have known how they work. Let’s talk about that now…

Fasting and Hormones

Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat (ESE), talks about the hormonal changes that happen in our bodies during a fast. I will discuss some of the main hormones in this post but if you’d like a detailed explanation for each of the hormones involved (and there are many other besides the ones I talk about here), I suggest you read his book.

The first and very important hormone in fasting or digestion in general is insulin. Our pancreas releasse insulin after we eat a meal and our body goes into fat storing mode. During fasting or times when we do not have food in our system, our insulin levels go down which means that we go into fat burning mode. Because we do not have any food to burn for energy during this time, our body burns our stored body fat for energy instead. This is the beauty of fasting – burning stored body fat!

Fasting has also been scientificially shown to increase insulin sensitivity. This can be especially beneficial to people who have diabetes in their family like I do. Diabetes happens when the insulin hormone is no longer responsive to the changes in your blood sugar. As a result, your body would not be able to lower glucose levels in your body. When you increase insulin sensitivity through fasting, your body will become more efficient at regulating your blood sugars which lowers your risk for diabetes. This is one of the major reasons I turned to fasting because both sides of my family are prone to diabetes.

The other major hormone involved during fasting is growth hormone. Growth hormone is popular among the rich and famous because of its fat burning and muscle building effects. Celebrities pay huge amounts of money to be injected with growth hormone. But, regular folks like us can harness the power of growth hormones through fasting. During fasts, our growth hormone levels go up which means our body burns even more fat in combination with the lack of insulin in our system. Plus, we build muscle which we all know is an active tissue which burns even more calories.

As you can see, all these hormonal responses favor fat burning and because the effects are happening at the hormonal level, the changes are even more powerful. In essence, we are making long term physiological changes each time we fast at the same time that we are reducing our calorie intake.

Eliminating Toxins and Allergens

You’ve heard me talk about the elimination diet before. If you need a refresher on that, read this series starting with this post: Starting the Elimination Diet.

dairy products

For this particular diet, I eliminated wheat, dairy, caffeine, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. These are the most common foods or food components that are toxic to our body or cause allergic reactions because they are so prevalent in our food supply. In general, we store toxins in our fat cells. If you’re familiar with the process of osmosis, liquids follow the direction where there’s more solutes or toxins. For example, when we have toxins in our fat cells, liquids follow the toxins causing us to store extra fluids in our fat cells. It just so happens that these toxins mainly reside in the fat cells under our belly button (that little pooch in our lower abs that we all hate…lol). So, once we free our bodies of toxins, the fluids follow and we eliminate stubborn areas of fat.

Not everyone is sensitive to all the foods listed above but you would not be able to tell what the culprit is if you do not completely eliminate it from your diet and introduce it back to see how it affects you. For instance, I eliminated peanuts or peanut butter from my diet for several days, after just one tablespoon of peanut butter, I felt bloated and gassy. I know it’s too much information but this is very important information you’d like to know about your body since food sensitivities can cause some serious problems in the long run besides difficulty losing weight. Once you find which foods you are particularly sensitive to and avoid them, you will find that you have less bulge in stubborn areas, prevent unwanted weight gain, and reduced digestive problems.

These two strategies have been particularly helpful to me and my clients and they are highly effective once you follow them routinely. From experience, I’ve also found that they are not very difficult to follow as long as you plan your days ahead. If you have any questions about any of the ideas discussed here, please do not hesitate to post them below.

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More Ways to Perform Intermittent Fasting

More Ways to Perform Intermittent Fasting

Posted on 25. Jul, 2010 by .

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Since I have read the e-book, Eat Stop Eat (ESE) by Brad Pilon, a couple of years ago, fasting has become a majorly accepted way to lose stubborn fat in the fitness industry. This can be due to the fact that a lot of people have seen how effective it is in terms of losing weight even though your diet is less than perfect. If you haven’t heard of Eat Stop Eat, here is a little background for you in this article: Fasting for Weight Loss: Unravelling the Controversy. The article talks about how I first came about fasting and my experience and results from applying it.

fasting

Since I wrote that article, fasting has become a way of life for me. It has given me freedom from obsessive-compulsive eating and counting each calorie that goes through my mouth. But, do not get me wrong. I still pay attention to what I eat and I eat fairly healthily but I find comfort in the fact that I can still occasionally enjoy not-so-healthy foods every now and then and not put my health and fitness progress to a screeching halt.

I originally started with two 24-hour fasts as outlined in Eat Stop Eat. But, I find that during the winter months, I get really cold and my body can not tolerate this long of a fast. The longer fasts works well for me during the summer as I stay nice and cool even though it’s 100 degrees outside. So, in my quest to keep up with my fasting during the winter months or have an alternative choice when I do not want to do 24-hour fasts, I searched other fitness blogs for an answer. I was fortunate to find two very well-researched and applied blogs that talk about different ways to perform intermittent fasting.

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Other Fasting Protocols

The first one is the IF Life by Mike O’Donnell. Mike has been an experienced fitness blogger who has been advocating fasting for as long as Eat Stop Eat was released (just getting this from memory but he has been blogging for quite sometime and has quite a following). Just like Brad, Mike tells you about the benefits of fasting and outlines a few ways that you can do a fast. You can get his free-report here: IF Life Free Report and read it for more information. Mike is also known for calling this strategy intermittent feeding as fasting may turn off some people when they hear it for the first time.

The second one that I found was from fellow fitness blogger, Martin Berkhan, at Leangains.com. I like Martin’s site because he specifically outlines the ways that you can fast based on what time of day you workout. For instance, I am currently following his early morning, fasted training protocol where I take Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) 3 times in the morning before a workout, several minutes post-workout, and 2 hours after that. I then eat my biggest meal at noon and eat during my 6-hour feeding window. Please note that Martin recommended an 8-hour feeding window but since I only eat about 1500 calories, I can eat during these 6 hours, feel satisfied, and have a longer fasting window. I also sleep fairly early so eating my last meal at 6 p.m. helps me sleep better at night without the disturbance of digestion during my sleep.

If you’re interested in other ways to fast besides the Eat Stop Eat way, you can read Martin’s post here: Lean Gains Guide. In this page, he talks about how you can include fasting if you workout in the morning, at noon, and in the afternoon. He also talks about how you should distribute your macronutrients between meals and during workout days.

I have been doing a 6-hour feeding window for 3 weeks now and I have to say that it has been working very well for me. I do not see a decrease in strength at the gym and the shorter fasting window is a bit more manageable especially with my busy schedule. My husband asked me the other day what I’ve been doing differently because he’s noticed the changes in my body already and I said – just the way I fast.

To me, if you can do something consistently over time with fewer rules, the more likely I’ll be able to stick to it for the long run. This is definitely the key to programs like Eat Stop Eat and other ways of fasting. They have helped me get the benefits of fasting such as increase insulin sensitivity (less prone to diabetes), increase fat burning in stubborn areas, increase in growth hormone (favors fat burning and preserves muscle mass) and much more. At the same time, I am able to stick to a long-term nutrition plan instead of a fad diet that is difficult to follow and not recommended to be used for long periods of time.

If you haven’t ventured into the intermittent fasting world, I suggest you start looking at it and find out how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle. But, be aware that this is not one of those “diets” that promise to help you lose weight fast (which is a too good to be true claim anyway). Intermittent fasting will give you a way to continually better your health and constantly reduce stubborn areas of fat when you follow it consistently.

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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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Eat Stop Eat and Protein

Posted on 23. Feb, 2009 by .

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If you have been following my blog for some time now, chances are you’ve probably read about my amazing results with Eat Stop Eat (ESE). But, it just dawned on me that I actually haven’t talked about my actual experience with intermittent fasting as described by Brad Pilon in this e-book.

Eat Stop Eat

Eat Stop Eat

While I can’t go into details as to how the ESE style of intermittent fasting is carried out, I will talk about how I incorporate this lifestyle into my daily life and what feelings/effects I experience during the process.

Here we go…

On my fast days, I usually plan to fast from lunch to lunch. This means that if I plan to fast on Monday until Tuesday, my last meal on Monday is lunch. Then, my next meal on Tuesday is not until lunch time. So, if I normally eat breakfast, a morning snack and a lunch, I would eat these meals as usual. In the same sense, if I normally eat lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner, I would resume this normal eating schedule after my fast.

While the situation I just described seems simple enough, a lot of people are afraid of the fact that they would go for several hours without eating anything. I was one of those people. Knowing myself and how much I loved food, I didn’t think I can do it either. Fortunately, I already knew some people in the Turbulence Training Forums who were actually doing it so I thought that if they can do it, so can I.

My first fast was no problem at all. I wouldn’t say that it was easy but it was definitely doable. My day would go like this:

  • Afternoon – start to get hungry
  • Late afternoon to dinner time – hunger would go away
  • Before bed time – my hunger would return but it’s tolerable
  • Early morning (right after I wake up) – not hungry at all
  • All morning – I don’t even get the chance to think about/feel my hunger because I’m busy too with work

For me, hunger really is not a problem during my fast days. I even cook dinner for my husband while I’m fasting. So, it is definitely something you can get used to. The one big problem for me is that my extremities (hands and feet) get cold during the last few hours of my fast. Usually, if I fast once a week, the cold is not bad. But, if I fast for a second time during the same week then, I get really cold. I find this to be a problem for me especially during the winter time as I get cold easily to begin with. But, because I know and expect to be colder than usual, I usually try to wear something warm or bring a scarf or fingerless gloves with me during my second fast. Other than that, my fast days usually go pretty well and have some pretty nice benefits because:

  • I have some extra time in the morning because I don’t have to prepare and eat breakfast.
  • I prepare fewer meals since I won’t be eating my usual number of meals.
  • I save money on food.
  • I save time on food preparation and meal planning for the whole week.
  • I sleep better at night – this is a nice effect. I’m not sure why but I do get tired during my fasting nights.

As for my results with ESE, the pictures in my video really do speak for themselves. But, if you want some concrete numbers, I have lost 14 pounds and 8.2% body fat since I started practicing intermittent fasting on a regular basis. Of course, I still had to go to the gym 3 times a week and do my Turbulence Training workouts on top of intermittent fasting but ESE really helped make fat loss an easier goal to achieve. While, I also try to eat healthier on days that I’m not fasting, ESE gives me more room to “cheat” or eat “normal” foods than any other eating lifestyle available out there.

So, other than an easier way to lose fat, what more can a girl ask for? Well, I would like to know how much protein I really need to feed my muscles or which foods are the best sources to get it. To my delight, Brad wrote another e-book entitled, “How Much Protein?” and he even sent me a free copy through my e-mail just because I already purchased ESE. I was busy this past weekend and I didn’t get the chance to read the book yet but I know for sure that Brad has some great stuff to say.

How Much Protein?

How Much Protein?


If you’re curious as to how much protein you need, you can grab a copy of “How Much Protein?” by purchasing Eat Stop Eat. But, you gotta hurry because this promotion ends on Wednesday, February 25th.

If you have been on the fence about Eat Stop Eat, now is the time to finally try it for yourself. Besides myself, other TT Members and fitness bloggers have also found success with Eat Stop Eat. So what do you have to lose? A a few (or several) pounds of fat maybe?

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