Just two day ago I posted Intermittent Fasting 70 Day Review of the Leangains Method. In that post, I openly asked why the first month was so successful, but the gains stopped and reversed in the second month. A brief recap of the problems I experienced in the 2nd month of daily 16 hour fasts include:
- Fat loss stopped
- Lost muscle
- Weaker immune system
- Colder body temperature
Some ideas put forward to correct the stall included reducing caffeine, reducing sugar, increasing glucose carbohydrates and not doing the 16 hour fast on weight training days. Chuck from Escape The Herd, made a wise observation in his comment.
the term intermittent doesn’t seem to apply here. seems more like scheduled fasting.
This brings up the question on if there is an important distinction between long scheduled fasts and intermittent fasting. While I was pondering the question, I tuned into the latest Jimmy Moore podcast, which was an interview with Art De Vany. De Vany was the writer that first exposed me to the intermittent fasting concept back in December 2007. During the interview, Jimmy asked De Vany the very question I was pondering.
They were discussing metabolism and the topic shifted to the potential downside to doing 16 hour daily fasts.
Jimmy Moore : It sounds to me Art that [daily 16 hour fasts] would kind of – your body would get used to that. Because it would say “OK I’m not going to eat for 16 hours, I better hold onto the energy.” How does work exactly?
Art De Vany: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. The genes are these amazing learners. “OK that is my last meal for the next umpteumph hours – I better do some things to conserve energy.” It has to be a surprise. That is why spontaneous and random – are big elements of my approach to exercise, everything.
The Leangains method is not spontaneous and random. It is scheduled. If De Vany’s understanding of genes and metabolism is right – and I suspect it is – then this could explain the problems I’ve had in the last month. I need to bring back spontaneity and randomness to my Intermittent Fasting. It also falls more in line with our evolutionary past. Nature is not scheduled.
Going forward I am ending the daily 16 hour fasts. I’m going to mix it up more. Maybe a few short fasts (12-16 hours), a longer fast (18-22 hours) and a few days where I feast. I’ll go back to listening to my body more and looking at the clock less.