Happy Memorial Day!!  We’re all still sick, but heading to the lake anyway because I’m a masochist.

While we’re coughing on the jet ski and eating BBQ, I asked Travis to write Part II of his guest post series

I hope you enjoy and that he continues to write posts in the future (hint, hint).

————-

I have returned.

Last time, I devoted an entire post to attempting to open your mind a little, specifically so that you don’t just dismiss what I say today completely.  I wrote an article decrying the uselessness of the “People who X tend to Y” finding.  So here’s why:

I haven’t eaten breakfast in 8 months.

Well that’s not completely true. You see my mother cooks breakfast twice a year – once at Christmas and again on Easter. This year she was in China during Christmas (Lindsay has either already told you about that or one day will), which led to the infamous, Biscuits and Powdered Sugar Gravy.  But I ate breakfast that day nonetheless. So, in the last 8 months I’ve eaten breakfast only an handful of times.

I know, I know.  You’ve read it probably a hundred times in all different shapes and forms, “People who skip breakfast tend to be fatter”.

Sound familiar?  Yes, very familiar.

Everyone’s read/heard that?  If not, you are actually better off.  Now for the boom (not as in an explosive boom, more like as a sailing term where you are knocked off your feet by an hundred pound rigging smacking you in the face).

donut

No I don't eat breakfast!

First, I want to combat the “People who skip breakfast” “studies” (if we were speaking face to face studies would be in air quotes, to indicate I am using irony in employing that term).  If you look at the data for this “fact” (in person air quotes again) you’ll see the vast majority of people polled (and actually poll is more accurate than study with these.  No experiments were done.  They took a lot of people, weighed them and asked if they ate breakfast) weren’t even slightly health conscious.  In fact, in one was this wonderful nugget, (paraphrase) “Do you eat breakfast every day?” “No, I normally just grab a donut from the break room at work.”  Which shows two things –  1. this person being fat may just have more to do with eating donuts every day rather than nutrient timing and  2. this person actually did ingest calories every morning.

And now for something truly fascinating.

Here’s something cool to think about, these studies actually become self-fulfilling.  See, this may be hard to believe but, those who care about their health are more likely to be healthy, and also more likely to read health articles, so those healthier people are more likely to 1. have read that eating breakfast makes them more healthy 2.care enough to take the advice.  So now even if breakfast has a negative effect on health you will still find that, those who tend to eat breakfast are healthier than those who don’t.  It’s the equivalent of saying people who read health magazines are healthier than people who don’t.  While true it does not follow that reading health magazines makes you healthier.

I hope I’ve now induced at least some doubt in the knee jerk, “That can’t work because if you don’t eat breakfast you’ll get fat” reaction.  So why aren’t I eating breakfast?  What am I doing? What has this guy been rambling about (building anticipation for) over the last week?

Intermittent Fasting

To keep this nice and organized let’s make a list of the W’s.

WHO is doing this?

Well that’s easy – me.  (In true Lindsay fashion, this is adding useless or already completed items to your list so you can build crossing-off momentum.)

WHAT is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting is fasting for a period of time very often.  There are a few different methods, but the most common method I’ve found and by far the easiest FOR ME (you should see that phrase “for me” a lot as I’m not suggesting this is for everyone at all) is fast for 16 hours, then eat for 8 everyday.  Which 8 hours you eat is completely up to you.  Heck if you wanted to you could eat breakfast.  But since Experimental Studies (these are the real ones) have shown that eating your carbohydrates as late in the day as possible is the best for losing weight, I wouldn’t suggest it.  (Yes it’s true all that, “eat your carbs early in the day or no carbs after 3PM” BS is just that, BS.  I’m sorry.  That’s for a different post).

betweenmeals

That’s really the whole deal.  Find your recommended Calories, Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and get them all in an 8 hour window.  There are some other general ideas that seem to make it work a little better, like try to get half your protein in your first meal of the day, use a 50-20-30 PCF, train in a fasted state and break your fast as soon as you’re done etc.  But these are harmonies to the main melody of “take 16 hours a day and don’t eat.”  As you can see I’m not just suggesting you skip breakfast willy nilly lilly.

WHERE can I Intermittent Fast?

Well that’s another silly question but we can mark it off our list, so it’s worth keeping.

WHY I Chose Intermittent Fasting:

Last fall, Lindsay and I came across a list.  On my 25th birthday, we went out to eat (at Sweet Tomatoes) and created a list of things we’d like to accomplish by the time we were 35.  One thing that was on that list is I wanted to Bench Press 1.5x my weight.  For the me that’s existed since college that means roughly 300 pounds.  Now a couple of years ago, I worked my Squat up to 1.5 but I had to gain about 26 pounds, or 13% of my body weight, to do it.  I didn’t want to do that again, so I started looking around for protocols that would allow me to gain strength without gaining a lot of weight.

In my search I came across the acronym/philosophy “IIFYM”.  The acronym breaks down to “If It Fits Your Macros”, the philosophy is forget all the tips and tricks, if you ingest over a couple day period the correct amounts of Calories, Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates, you will progress towards your goal.  Drinking 4 cups of green tea, adding chia seeds to your oats, eating vegetarian or not, and drinking ice-cold water, are all nice and fun and maybe give you a slight edge.  But in the long run they aren’t going to make or break you.

It was after adopting this mentality that I was introduced to Intermittent Fasting.

The thing is –  it’s like it was designed for me.  I’ve always hated the, “Try and half fill your stomach every two hours, so get used to being unsatisfied, unhappy, constantly low on energy, constantly hungry, irritable, and uncomfortable, permanently and for the rest of your life. ”  I enjoy the feeling of overeating.  I like a big meal I like to stop eating not because the food is gone or my plate is clean but because it hurts.

WHEN do I eat?

First on a typical non-workout day, I wake up, having stopped eating at 8 the night before, already 10 hours into my 16 hour fast.  I either go to work or find something around the house to do (boredom will get you more than hunger most the time).  Until Noon I’ll only drink water and coffee.  So here we are arriving at noon having ingested 0 calories in the last 16 hours.

I strive for this first meal to be quite large.  I really have to work at it.  In general I could eat 100 grams of protein meal at noon (for reference, if you don’t want to drink 3 fitmixer protein shakes; that’s 6 oz. of chicken, plus 6 oz. of beef, plus 1 cup of yogurt, plus 1 cheese stick, plus 4 egg whites. I shudder to think how a vegan would accomplish this – Heather?).

meatman

delicious meat shirt

Then around 3PM, or as soon as I can stomach it, I drink a protein shake.  As you know we have been an Optimum Nutrition family, and without a doubt their new Performance Whey tastes better than any other protein powder I’ve tried (that’s saying something).  But recently I’ve been using fitmixer protein because you mix it with water and that makes it a lot less filling than mixing with milk.  (I know a new concept for you.  Most people are looking for their protein shake to be clean filling meal replacement that causes them to eat less.  Oh and BTW if this is you, you shouldn’t be using Whey.  Whey was designed for people like me who are looking to be as hungry as possible as soon as possible after ingestion.)

That’s normally about 3 in the afternoon.  But it will normally take me until 6:30 7 just to stop feeling full.  At which point I eat a “normal” sized dinner.  Sometimes I just can’t handle it so I eat a bowl of cereal or maybe a bowl of chobani-lovegrown-peanut butter type thing.  Then right at 8 I eat my nightly Ice Cream bowl.

I have to work out at 6 in the morning.  It’s my only chance.  It’s a now or never kind of deal.  So I have to do a little something special on workout days.   On workout days to stave off catabolism, I drink a serving of aminos at 6, 8, and 10.  6 as a pre-workout deal – 8 when I get to work then 10 which will hold me to 12 when I “Break My Fast” and that meal as well as the rest of the day we’ve already discussed.

eat stop eat

There are entire websites devoted to Intermittent Fasting and a whole wealth of information on what good it does your body to have it’s 16 hours of fasting.  There are quite a few studies, including one that just got released last week (though it was using rats which doesn’t always translate perfectly to humans).  But that’s all for another post.  For this one it’s enough to think of it as an eating plan that makes it easy to stick to your Macros.

QUESTION:  What’s the longest you’ve gone without food?

splendid…travis

  1. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    Interesting concept! I’ve heard of this before, but not something that would work for me personally. I’ve tried running on an empty stomach before and I have zero energy to do anything worthwhile, although I KNOW it works for many people. 100 grams of protein is a LOT – I’m sure you could do it on a vegan diet with protein powder, tempeh, beans, etc – but that really is a lot. I’m certainly not a nutritionist though, so I know my limitations. :)

  2. Sara says:

    This was really interesting. Thanks for posting. I heard about IF on some tumblr and it seems to be the rage in the weight lifting circles over there. When you say it “works” does that mean you’ve lost fat, have increased the amount of weight lifted, etc? I have so many questions!!!
    Does your eating time frame need to be the same every day for optimal results?
    Do you HAVE to have a big meal at the end of the fast period in order to achieve the best? Or can you just snack away your calorie allotment throughout the eating window?

    • travisvwright says:

      There are so many more details it’s becoming obvious I’ll need to write another post. For now I’ll answer what I can.

      Yes, notice that “works” for me is probably different than the majority of peoples goals. My goal has been to increase my strength without gaining weight. So that’s what “works”, I’ve never tried this for any other goal.

      You’re eating does not have to be the same everyday, but it is easier due to entrained circadin rythms.

      Ideally the biggest meal will be whatever meal follows your lifting session. So if you workout at 5:30 after work, your 7PM meal should be the largest. Tied in with this is a whole paradigm of “fasted training” (working out in a fasted state) that will again have to wait for another post.

      Go to fitday or myfitnesspal or some other daily calorie counting sites and try and develop an ideal eating day. You’ll find that it’s quite difficult to fit that into 8 hours of “snack away”.

  3. Brianna Williams says:

    My husband does this everyday. Only, he only eats dinner. He works out at 6am, goes to work all day, and then eats only dinner (a REALLY big dinner). Sometimes he will have a carrot, apple, or cashews at work. It totally works for him, but I’d be single and have no friends if I ever tried that.

  4. Christin@christinjoyful says:

    whenever I don’t eat in the morning I become a not nice person to be around…but then again I doubt what I consumed from noon to 8 the previous day would have amounted to enough food to tide me over…very interesting post and concept! :)

  5. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning says:

    When I first read about not eating breakfast, I was like “okay, whatever… this is not good.” But I have to say- you do make some excellent points! I’m a little intrigued. I don’t know if I could do it though. I feel SO low-energy and bitchy if I don’t eat in the morning. Especially on days that I work out in the morning. I couldn’t imagine having to wait hours to eat. Plus, with my current job, I don’t get to just eat whenever I want. I basically have to shovel food in my mouth in the 10 minutes of “lunch” that I get (I’m a teacher).
    I’ve probably gone a day without eating before… like if I was really pukey sick. :)

  6. Ashley F. says:

    Very interesting post – it’s not something I’d thought about before. As a vegan, I think it’s entirely possible. It would involve several protein packed smoothies throughout the 8 hour window, but as long as your meals are well-rounded it’s really not that hard to get your recommended protein as a vegan. Lots of veggies have a good amount of protein (broccoli) and when combined with a protein bar/shake it takes no time at all to get in your daily needs – even when you are trying to gain muscle mass.

    Thanks for the post – definitely something worth trying!

  7. Robert Taylor says:

    “Intermittent fasting”? Never heard of it. Now it does make me wonder though (and laugh). Very true on many counts. It is amazing to know that with all of the “proper nutrition” suggestions out there, we are still fueling our bodies this way. Thanks for the sharing.

  8. blackhuff says:

    This was an interesting read because;
    1. I have never heard of Intermittent fasting; and
    2. I can totally understand why it works, to eat in an 8 hours window. Going to read up more about this because I am intrigued.
    Would love you to do the post on the “no carbs after 3pm BS” because I can vouch too, that that is a myth.

  9. Miz says:

    THANKS FOR THIS POST.
    I find the concept of IF interesting—not for me though :)
    I do NOT rock the one day fasts for religious reasons.
    they make this nonobsessive woman obsess.

  10. calee says:

    Thanks for having Travis post again, Lindsay! This is a great post.

    I’ve actually heard great things about intermittant fasting. I tend to do this as a detox the day after a “bad day” (ie. eat something with gluten or drink a lot of booze). I drink a TON of fluids and try to flush my system for about 12-16 hours after my last meal (usually the last meal is later than usual because I swear I only do this on Sundays.)

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  11. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes says:

    Great post. I find IF super interesting, mostly because I know it would never work for me for so many different reasons. If you think about it this is probably more so how “primal man” ate anyway…a big feast before or after hunting all day. Or maybe they just ate berries all day long. I really have no idea, I shouldn’t claim to understand history.

  12. lindsay says:

    i never really promote this to others but I often do it myself, because it works for me. It does not work for james but we have tried it. I think you just have to try it to tell. And acutally, the body detoxes (liver and all) first thing the morning, so i juicing is another option. Loved that you wrote this and glad it works for ya.
    ;-)

      • Lori says:

        Mine, too. My fast is 7:30 to 11:30 and the first meal is almost always 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, and a mix of something like smoked salmon, turkey sausage, or lean ham mixed in with either tomatoes or spinach. Then, I add a dollop of greek yogurt and sriracha for a kick. Sometimes, I may add smoked mozzerella or goat cheese. That fills me until late afternoon or early evening…

  13. Lori says:

    I’ve been following the LeanGains program (16/8 fasting as noted above) for about a month. I’ve lost 10 lbs with no muscle loss and am beyond happy. This is a lifestyle that really can work long term. On vacation, my schedule was a little off, but I DIDN’T gain anything the whole week, which has never been the case in the past. That includes wine/alcoholic drinks and the occasional fries for that week, too.

    Love this program and plan to follow it long term….

    • travisvwright says:

      When we went to CO for three weeks Lindsay asked if I would stick to IF. I told here I’d just see what happened but I wasn’t going to forcee it. I found it very easy and natural to stick with a 12-8 feeding window, but I didn’t hardly even think about my macros.

  14. Kris says:

    I used to do this in college. my internship was from 5-8 each morning, then get to class by 9am. I’d teach my first step class at noon each weekday, and I’d eat “first meal” promptly after. I often still number my meals rather than name them breakfast lunch… and this is why – nothing to do with Taco Bell ;)

    when my internship broke for summer, I had free time each morning, and I ran 5 miles each morning. I then ate a doughnut – this was standard practice each day – then went to the racquet club to play and teach tennis all day, all summer. I would eat balanced meals there, and aside from the doughnut, still sort of followed the plan.

    right now I work out early in the morning, so things have changed… but I do try to finish eating very early in the evening, because I have a paranoid notion I cannot sleep otherwise!

    great post, happy weekend, feel better soon XO

  15. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says:

    Interesting post! So I’m guessing you don’t subscribe to the belief that you need to get at least 0g of protein in within 30 mins of weight lifting to help build muscle? Big breakfasts don’t appeal to me, but I lift in the morning and follow it up with a green protein smoothie. I find drinking my breakfast is a lot easier/digestible.

    • travisvwright says:

      Partially. This is about half the post I originally wrote, so a lot of stuff got cut (it’s still about 2000 words and long). I’ll probably end up writing again to flush it out. This was just an intro.

      Anyway ideally I would go to the gym from 11-12. That’s just not in the cards, I workout at 6AM and use amino’s not as the best method but as a compromise, to hold me over until I can eat my X amount of protien. Sometimes in the reality vs. ideal, reality must win.

  16. Shelley Williams says:

    The longest without food at all ….would have to be the infamous 30 hour famines we endured at church. (remember those fun times?). But I intermittent fast without realizing it everyday. Not something I think about though. I have a weird schedule *night owl* and don’t wake up until later than most people. So I stop eating around 11pm and don’t eat until about 3 pm. Never knew I was doing this until you just pointed it out. LOL. Lindsay love your blog! (and good job Travis)

  17. Shelley Williams says:

    The longest without food at all ….would have to be the infamous 30 hour famines we endured at church. (remember those fun times?). But I intermittent fast without realizing it everyday. Not something I think about though. I have a weird schedule *night owl* and don’t wake up until later than most people. So I stop eating around 11pm and don’t eat until about 3 pm. Never knew I was doing this until you just pointed it out. LOL. Lindsay love your blog!

  18. Katie says:

    Ahah! I’m getting that meat shirt for Meeker. Punky the dog will probably kill him for a bite of it…oh well, he’ll love it anyway.

    So glad you did this post – I loved hearing all about it! Glad it works for you…I would be a grumpy, hungry, terrible monster without breakfast.

    Oh, and one time I fasted for 4 days. It was actually not that bad.

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