29 Jan How Intermittent Fasting Helped This Man From Losing 175 Lbs
John Smith, a runner from London, had just planned to stay at a Wall Street bank in New York City for a one-month spell. But he’d made the U.S. his permanent home after falling in love with an American woman— where he also fell in love with American food. Be ballooned from 200 to 372 pounds during the next 20 years. A friend had then been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2013.
“He was the sort of guy who was always ordering the salad and watching his weight,” says Smith, 51, now a New Orleans hedge fund partner. “While I was playing Russian roulette with my wellbeing, he did something right.”
He read of The Every Other Day Diet (EODD) that year. He was drawn by its simplicity. The only rules were: you’re limited to 500 total calories on Diet Day (either in one meal or spread over the day), and you can consume whatever you want on Feast Day. Smith lost 20 pounds in two months of on / off diet. Today, he weighs 175 pounds less in full.
Skeptic? So was the diet planner and co-author Krista Varady, Ph. D.. “I thought people would be overeating on the days of fasting, but that wasn’t the case,” says Varady, an associate nutrition professor at the University of Illinois. “In addition, our research showed that on their Feast Days people eat only about 10 percent more than they did before they started the program. We think fasting helps people get more in touch with their appetite and know when complete.
One of the main reasons people give up on calorie-restricted diets is because by mid-afternoon they use all their calories and spend the rest of the night starving and depressed, she says. Humans don’t have to cut calories for long periods with EODD — only 24 hours.
For Smith, this is one reason it worked. “Some day you’re just on a diet,” he says. “It was easier to prompt because you realized that the next day you should relax.”
After about two months, also on Feast Days, Smith found that he was eating better. He ate salads and vegetables instead of burgers and fries. “Not knowing it, I developed a much healthier diet,” he says. He was always active; at university he even played rugby but that slowed down once he started working. And he kept hitting the gym along with losing weight. I work out every day now, doing 1,000 crunches every morning and 600 push-ups. I fit into strength training, and I’m running three to five days a week. I vary my goals; a marathon was run in less than 4 hours last year.
Marathon training, says Smith, requires a few more calories on Diet Days but he has kept his target weight below 200.
Good done, intermittent fasting need not be agonizing. If you’re motivated by Smith’s performance, use the top tips from Varady to manage a day of 500 calories:
- Hydrate! Most of our liquid intake comes from food on a normal day. Yet we appear to skimp on water when we run, which can dehydrate and cause headaches. You can take an extra glass when drinking supplements for men.
- For fast days, eat 50 grams of protein. Protein helps ease hunger all day long.
- Save enough calories for the quick day after your workout. Everyone’s hungry after exercise so before that do not exceed your 500-calorie limit.
- Know that the worst is first week. It takes the body about 7 days to adapt to intermittent fasting. The body fights it at first but then it syncs with the new beat.