This is the fasting plan that I’m using over at thePrimalme, which is my blog documenting my journey back to the original me. The me before I was fat, unfit and fed up!
I am going to be doing an Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) plan, but unlike true ADF where every second Saturday ends up being a fast day (boring!!), I decided to set the days between Sunday and Friday so that I can have every Saturday as a FEAST (day off!). I’m also going to combine the fasting plan with a ‘Primal’ Diet and a program of resistance training.
1. EAT WELL! A ‘Primal’ diet with an emphasis on the Mediterranean style; fresh fish and lean meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and limited amounts of dairy. All grains and processed foods are eliminated from the diet. I’ll be keeping a record of what I’m eating using a site such as MyFitnessPal. My diary is open to the public.
2. GO HUNGRY! Take a 24 hour break from eating. Not only is there well documented health benefits from fasting, but there is also a strong psychological element, where you learn about hunger, what it is, when it happens and how you react to it.
3. GET ACTIVE! I will gradually incorporate a program of resistance training and light cardio to the plan. This will be done gradually rather than all at once.
4. Have a day off where you completely ignore rule number 1, 2 & 3.
As you can see, there are very few rules and that’s why we like it!
NUTRITION AND FASTING:
Over the course of a week the plan has 3 Feed days and 3 fast days and ends with a FEAST day. But what does a Feed, a fast or a FEAST actually mean?
Feed: The ‘Feed’ starts at 2pm one day and ends at 2pm the next. For illustrative purposes I will call the day that the Feed begins on, the ‘Feed’ day.
My meals will be based on a ‘Primal’ diet, inspired by Mark Sisson at MarksDailyApple.com. Where I do stray from Mark’s Primal Blueprint is that I haven’t excluded legumes and will also be switching on to a Mediterranean style diet, characterised by eating plenty of fresh fish and lean meats, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and limited amounts of dairy. I will also be using olive and nut oils, limiting saturated fats and including moderate red wine intake with meals.
In order to ensure I am eating the ‘right’ carbohydrates, all of my meals are based on consuming foods with a low GLycaemic Load. Keeping the diet low GL makes complete sense when used alongside fasting, because for weight loss they are both trying to achieve the same thing. They are trying to bring down and stabilise insulin levels. This is so important when trying to lose weight because the only way that we can get our bodies to start efficiently using it’s stored fat, is to give it the signal to start burning it as fuel. When you have elevated levels of Insulin we are sending the complete opposite signal to our bodies, as insulin is a ‘storage’ hormone and promotes fat production.
If you would like to learn more about low GL check out books by Patrick Holford or Nigel Denby.
For those interested in my Feed day calorie goals, I will be eating maintenance* (2300Kcal) calories on Feed days. However, to offset the potential damage done by a FEAST day (see below) I will be ‘banking’ 300Kcal per day on Feed days. So in reality the figures look like this: Feed 2000Kcal (FEAST 3200Kcal)
*Maintenance figures were worked out using the Harris Benedict Equation and have had my activity levels factored in. More information on calculating daily calorie needs using this method can be found here.
fast: The fast doesn’t fall specifically on one day, it starts at 2pm one day and ends at 2pm the next. For illustrative purposes I will call the day that the fast begins on, the ‘fast’ day.
I will eat a low GL breakfast and lunch and then the fast will begin at 2pm. The fast will continue for 24 hours until I have lunch at 2pm the following (Feed) day. Non caloric beverages are permitted during the fast.
FEAST: A FEAST day is a day where the rules are thrown out of the window. It is a day off. A day to enjoy some of the things that you might have fancied during the week but decided against having. However, let me make this clear. It is NOT a binge day. It simply means that the doughnut I might have avoided is now available. ONE doughnut. Not a box of doughnuts! Get it? No rules, but a bit of common sense!
To sum up how the FeedFastFeast’ing works, it looks a bit like this. Let’s take a look at when I’ll be eating on each day:
Mon – (Feed) Lunch (begins at 2pm) and Dinner Tue – (fast) Breakfast and Lunch (ends at 2pm) Wed – (Feed) Lunch (begins at 2pm) and Dinner Thu – (fast) Breakfast and Lunch (ends at 2pm) Fri – (Feed) Lunch (begins at 2pm) and Dinner Sat – (FEAST) begins at 2pm Sun – (fast) Breakfast and Lunch (ends at 2pm)
I’ve probably made it sound more complicated than it actually is. It really is very simple.
THE FASTING AND EXERCISE SCHEDULE:
Along with the Fasting and Nutrition plan I also have an exercise schedule. Over the first few weeks I am going to build up to including this exercise rather than suddenly do everything at once. There are three types of exercise; (2x) Resistance Training, (1x) High Intensity Cardio and (2x) Light Cardio/Play Days.
Resistance Training: At the beginning I will be following a resistance training program using body weight called Primal Fitness that has been designed by Mark Sisson. For more information on Primal Fitness there is a free e-book available here. Where I progress to after that I will just have to wait and see, but I’d imagine I’ll follow a program of weight training. Workouts last for approximately 20-30 mins.
High Intensity Cardio: These are short duration Cardio sessions where light/moderate effort is interspersed with intense maximum effort ‘sprints’. I’m going to use the ‘Cardio Intervals’ DVD from the Beachbody – Power 90 Masters Series for the time being but if the weathers nice this could be done in the park by mixing up some jogging and sprinting.
Light Cardio/Play Days: These days are basically ‘active fun’. Whether that’s a swim in the pool, walking the dog, playing football with the kids or frisbee in the park, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to just get active! If the weather or time doesn’t allow a Play Day it’ll be approx 30 minutes light exercise on the elliptical trainer while listening to some music or an e-book. The important thing is that it should be fun and it gets me moving.
This is how it looks in practice:
Monday: (Feed) Resistance Training
Tuesday: (fast) Light Cardio/Play Day
Wednesday: (Feed) High Intensity Cardio
Thursday: (fast) Light Cardio/Play Day
Friday: (Feed) Resistance Training
Saturday: (FEAST) Day Off!
Sunday: (fast) Day Off & Family Walk
I think that covers just about all of the basics, so that you have a summary of what i’m doing. I’ll be going into more depth, adding more blog posts about the exercise, nutrition, meals etc as I continue with the plan.
I hope you enjoy following me on my journey! Please come back for weekly progress reports, including stats updates and reflections on what is or isn’t working.