Intermittent Fasting: Eat Whatever to Lose Weight

by Tanner M. on


Quit worrying about eating every couple hours in order to “keep your metabolism stoked.”

Many studies have recently proven that high frequency meals have been proven inefficient for weight loss (see the following from PubMed.gov: The Influence of Higher Protein Intake and Greater Eating Frequency on Appetite Control in Overweight and Obese Men, Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet, Meal frequency and energy balance, Energy intake, meal frequency, and health: a neurobiological perspective, etc…)

Over the past few months I have dropped 30+ pounds of bodyweight with absolutely minimal to no exercise (not recommended).

Trust me when I say that I have been a huge follower of the Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, strength athletics (Strongman), power (male cheerleading ;-)), endurance (cyclists), and nutrition scene for a long time and have tried many different nutrition and workout programs.

What I can tell you is that constantly preparing and eating food was NOT defining my physique and health the way I hoped it would.

Constantly preparing and eating foods 4-8 times a day was not the lifestyle that I wanted to live.

This is where Paleo Nutrition and Intermittent Fasting comes in.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a nutrition lifestyle that allows you to increase fat burning hormones such as leptin (Low leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in metabolic rate, much like high leptin leads to a decrease in hunger and an increase in metabolic rate, especially in women, see Interactions between leptin, neuropeptide-Y and insulin with chronic diurnal fasting during Ramadan and Intermittent Fasting, Set-Point, and Leptin) by following a fast for a desired amount of hours followed by an eating “window”.

For example, you fast for 16 hours out of a day and have an 8 hour window to eat whatever you want.

At first, I thought this program was absolutely crazy, until I realized tons of people were achieving many positives such as lean muscle mass, decreased body fat, increased energy throughout the day, better blood sugar levels (which play a big part in how you feel throughout the day), and more.

My Skeptical Test Run

I figured what I was currently doing in terms of nutrition was not working and why not try intermittent fasting out. If anything IFing would break the monotonous habit of constantly preparing and eating foods which I hated.

At first, my body saw a drastic increase in hunger as I fasted for 16 hours a day. This lasted for about 4 days.

However, after those first 4 days, my hunger throughout the day has pretty much been turned off.

I was enjoying the new lifestyle of just eating all out (when I do things, I tend to either go all in or nothing, yes eating too) within the 8 hour window instead of spreading my meals throughout the day.

My weight was shedding off at an extreme weight, actually too fast for my liking.

After about a month of intermittent fasting and eating paleo foods, with the occasional 2-3 times a week of eating complete garbage (which makes me feel like hell, no idea why I do it), here is what I noticed:

  • Rapid weight loss (like I said, too fast, had to up calories significantly)
  • More time spent on the important things in life
  • Less time spent on preparing foods
  • Less time spend eating
  • Increase in sensitivity to stimulants (huge for coffee or tea drinkers who find themselves needed to drink more and more to achieve the benefits)
  • More control of blood sugar (Significantly important for overall health such as anxiety, depression, mental clarity, etc..)

Intermittent Fasting Guidelines

Here are some basic guidelines that I follow based on research of various different resources (see below).

1. Break the fast with whole food such as eggs or chicken and veggies
2. Cycle between overfeeding (training days) and slight underfeeding (rest days) to remain lean regardless your goal. The benefits are not only physiological, but also behavioral.
3. Eat 2-3 meals a day
4. Fast for 16 hours before eating
5. Have an 8 hour window to eat
6. Never train completely fasted. Have some BCAAs (branch chain amino acids)/whey protein beforehand.
7. Eat 1 hour after weight training w/no sugars…Protein and veggies and fat
8. Adjust calories depending on lethargy, weight loss, muscle loss, etc..
9. If calories are low, throw in refeed days and diet breaks

Intermittent Fasting Resources

I HIGHLY recommend you follow Martin Berkhan of LeanGains.com to learn more about intermittent fasting.

Mr. Berkhan is my main resource on Intermittent Fasting and is currently working on two books, one of which is focused on his intermittent fasting methods which you can pretty much learn by reading through his blog at LeanGains.com.

He also does nutrition consulting (not affiliated in any way) and by the looks of Berkhan’s client results, seems pretty successful with it.

I also recommend that you follow (especially The Paleolithic Solution Podcast)Robb Wolf and Andy Deas at RobbWolf.com, who are also big proponents of the Paleo Diet.

Finally, Dr. Lyle McDonald of BodyRecomposition, who backs up just about every article he writes with scientific studies.

While your at it, check out some of my other techniques on dropping and/or maintaining weight:

Final Thoughts

I am starting up a new strength program today and will test it out with IF and the Paleo Diet.

My goal is to drop to around 8-10% body fat (bodyweight will not be a concern). This will largely be determined by the mirror and a bodyfat calipar (which might not be entirely accurate, but it will gauge whether I am going in the right direction).

If you currently are stalled or not making the gains in your nutrition and health program then I suggest you switch ANYTHING up. It insane to continue to do the same thing over and over expecting different results.

A healthy entrepreneur is an efficient entrepreneur, so hopefully I will have some more health and fitness posts that I can share with you in the coming months.

What do you think? Think you could give intermittent fasting a test run?

If you have any questions about intermittent fasting, do not hesistate to contact me.

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  • Question

    Why do you not advise carbs/sugars PWO?

    • Tanner

      You can do either or. Those are just the guidelines I follow when I am trying to lose fat. Whenever I am in a muscle building phase I consume a good bit of simple carbs post workout.

      • Supernatural2003

        I find it also easier to lose fat when having minimal amounts of carbs after training, and just eating lots of protein with some fat. The carbs and insulin spiking is bullshit anyway. Glycogen compensation at least 4hours before the workout is what's important, not right after the workout. It will only kill fat burning (not immediately after training, mind you).

        I know this is different from Martins Berkhans approach, but what can i say, it works better.

  • 44010577

    Out of the many protein sources out there, hemp protein is the ultimate. It comes from nutrition. Go to http://www.hempproteinguide.net/ for great information.

  • Chrischada

    a couple things. Are you from Western PA? I hear a big time western PA (Pgh) accent :)

    2nd, you still have to watch the cals during the feeding window right? I am thinking about trying Berkhans technique ( I currently do Pilon's ESE and it has worked really well). But I'd rather not have to count cals so religiously (I know some cant be avoided, but it seems cumbersome to have to count every last cal)


    • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

      Got me. From WPA.

      Yeah you still need to have an understanding of your caloric intake during the feeding window as the energy balance still applies. Eat 5,000 calories but burn 3,000 and you will get bigger (fat to muscle ratio is more individual based). Counting cals can be a pain but if you have track your eating habits for a few days then you can get an undertanding of where you'll usually stand without tracking every bit of calorie. I use the FitDay program and have all my foods and meals inputted so it usually takes me maybe 2 minutes the whole day to throw everything in to see where I can in terms of my protein, carbs, fat and caloric intake.

      • Chrischada

        Thanks for the info. It takes one to know one with the accent….:) I went to Pitt, was born and raised in WPA but am in Los Angeles now. Looking to head back though sometime….too expensive and crazy out here.

        thanks again

        • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

          I'll trade you spots…You can come back to WPA and I'll head out to LA!

          Went to PSU myself.

  • Serratus_magnus


    what are the macro % of protein/carbs/ and fat on workout days and restdays?

    And I want to add muscle, any tip to determine the calorie need for someone?
    I am 6 feet tall and my weight is about 72kg (159 lbs) and my bf % is about 11.8%.
    What do you would recommend for me?

    I don't have a clue how much I should add the calories, I am still scared to gain only fat…

    Thanks in advance,


    • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

      I dont really follow percentages..I focus on my protein needs, fat needs (usually .5 x bodyweight) and total caloric intake.

      Check out my post here, I write on determining caloric intake: http://lifedestiny.net/how-to-gain-20lbs-of-mus…

      • Serratus_magnus

        Thank yu very much, that helped a lot!
        Actually I was about 3-4 weeks on a vegan diet, but that really sucks ass… fuckin' beans :)

        Going the leangains way now!

        Thanks again,


        • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

          Cool, update us on your progress with LeanGains!

          • Serratus_magnus

            I will, though I have not regular access to a gym I will do my best.

            One last question, what blood type do you have?
            If you don't want to make it public send me an email please and I will tell you for what I will need it if interested.

            • http://lifedestiny.net/ Tanner @ Life Destiny

              Not even sure. What is it for. Shoot me an e-mail if you dont mind. Those blood type diets, I believe, are garbage. However, I never tried them nor met anyone who ever tried them so I guess I cant make that judgement, just an assumption.

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  • Helen

    Hey, nice post and thanks for the tips but I was wondering…when we are allowed to eat, do we go back to eating 3 meals a day in a 24 hour period? Or does it NEED to be between an eating window?

  • Sunshine381

    I have been reading lots about IFing and am decided. I'm going to give it a try. I'm a female, 5ft 5ins weighing 150lbs. I'm aiming to lose 10lbs of body fat. I'm tired of trying to eat every three hours so this seems like something I can do. I have a PT who I see twice a week so with IFing and my PT sessions I hope to see good results soon. I'll keep you posted.

  • anonymous

    How many calories do you consume over your metabolic rate? Within your eating window that is.

  • Leonvar Alz

    1 egg, 1 cup rice and 1 banana is enough for me to lose weight, it help to maintain your leptin level. your guideline is good!

    Leonvar Alz,
    Whole Health

  • http://www.rhinoplastyguide.com/ rhinoplasty

    Interesting!  It is indeed a new way of loosing fat.  I might even try it.

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    Very new and interesting..more people should know about this.

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    I really loved the minformatin that you have given in the videos…great work bro.

  • http://intermittent-fasting-secrets.com/ al90

    Fantastic outline and write-up, though I would have to say that any resistance training should include some carbs PWO. You can avoid them any other time though.

  • Katie

    I just began to practice Intermittent Fasting as described by you and Martin.  I am a 55 y.o. female, overweight but active.  I ride my bike to work every morning as one means of exercise.  It is not a long ride–maybe 25 minutes.  I'm wondering if it would be breaking the fast if I drank some whey before riding.  I make yogurt at home and have some of the awful stuff just sitting in my fridge…would this be bad?  I'm currently stopping eating at 7 p.m. and resuming eating at 11 a.m.  I ride to work at 7:30 a.m.  I feel a bit depleted in the morning, but I'm assuming once my body adjusts to the fast, it won't be so hard…advice?

  • http://twitter.com/acebrickman Ace Brickman

    just starting this… does the fasting period include no water?

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    Well, I think this is good for the people who wants to lose weight and maintain their fit body.

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  • Bonnie Montleon

    Since I started IF, I have been feeling really tired. Is it still effective for fat loss if I'm not working out as much as I used to be? I've only been doing it for a week, and I figure it will get better but I don't want to hinder my progress. Am I just being a wimp?

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  • phil

    can i eat whatever i want and when i have my calorie to survive 2500 i stop . like ice cream and chocolate and all that shit . mcdonalds


  • Brog

    Ok so what about intermittent fasting, 16-18 hours a day fast, and during refeed eating whatever, but NOT Paleo? I'm vegan and I eat high raw some days mostly fruit other days all cooked vegan, some days low fat some days heavy on the nuts… I've only been trying IF 5 days now and I like the energy and clarity so far, but everything I read about it involves this Paleo or Primal style of eating that is heavy on animal protein… Thoughts?
    Great post by the way, thanks, I learned a LOT :)

    • Julia123

      With women, and this is firat person as well as echoed by others, IF can cause humongous amounts of sleeplessness (pretty awesome side affect for women, but not for those who actually like to sleep and be normal), hormones go out-of-wack, loss of menstruation highly possible (but not in women who are overweight, this happens in IF women who are already lean), the tendency to feel faint upon doing different postures (Ive had those mornings where I miss the door and run Into the door), thinning of face is common in women I know and myself, glucose sensitivity heightened; there is a magnificent disproportion in studies done by sex in that women only have science from rats in order to know exact effects, wherein there are over 70 studies on the impact on men. Now, also, you can consult slight starvation medical history and journalism for more info on the effects of women's bodies in fasting. I truly do not understand why people call the 'paleo' diet a 'paleo' diet, because truly, humans started with vegetation and then went to eating massive amounts of insects and when they Did start eating meat, which was way way later, and, we have only eaten meat for a short amount of time in the course of all human history; Eating this meat was a rarity over months of time, so. It really is just this odd stereotyped eating behavior and structure based upon some odd notion of the caveman Ive come to reason.

  • MusicalThtrGeek

    How do I properly time it if I don't work out at the same time every day? Like, if I am gonna work out in the morning should I fast all day and then not eat until 4? And then in the evening I should eat during the day and work out at night? What time of day do you usually put your 8 hour window in??

  • Milo

    Hi Tanner,

    Interesting page. I am new to intermittent fasting and am giving the 5:2 a try. I do cardio every day though (swimming sqad or a 7k run in the mornings and cycle about 15km), this equates to about 500 calories on top of my basic calorie intake. I am having trouble deciding on what my calorie intake should be on fasting days. The recommended calorie intake for 5:2 on fasting is 1/4 of your normal calorie intake which is about 500 for women. I wonder what you would suggest as the calorie intake when training? Should I do the same 500 calories on training days? Should I add my other 500 exercise calories? or should I add a quarter of my 500 exercise calories?

    Would you have an idea?

    • Kimberley

      HI Milo – I am in the same boat!  I recently started the 5:2 IF diet as well.  I am a cycle-commuter and wonder if I should account for these calories.  Have you found out anything else?  I have done some searching but can't find anything.

  • Foss0007

    Does it have to be 16. Or. 15. ?

  • Sarah Heaton-caffin

    I workout for 40 mins each morning before work and once at the weekend (6 days a week). I am serious about getting my body in an impressive shape as I am 31 in March and want to make the most of this body before the age thing starts happening lol!! I started the IF eating window diet 4 days ago. My eating window is 12pm to 8pm so with my excercise being bang in the middle of my fast I have a small protien shake after the work out to see me through to midday. I am getting headaches at the moment and am very hungry on the last couple of hours leading upto lunchtime but I figure this will stop as my body adjusts to the new eating times. I am excited to see what results this brings. It was news to me that your metabolic rate is determined by lean muscle mass and not how regularly you eat which has never delievered results for me!! Fingers crossed this will…… 6 pack here I come! x

  • Torgeir

    Hi Tanner! Impressive results you have :-) I thought I would give this a go. I've been training most part of my life. From football to Crossfit. I've put on 3-5 punds lately. So now I wanted to lose my belly fat and build muscle. I'm about 170 lbs and 5'7″. Do you recommend to cut first or build muscle first? Since I don't need to lose weight, just lose my belly fat. Great website btw :-)

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    Losing weight fast is possible.
    I have done it and you can too, http://bit.ly/lose-weight-heal…

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  • babakan

    personal favourite is “1000 Paleo Recipes” book because it covers all types of
    meals: Paleo chicken, red meat,
    Shellfish, seafood, breakfast, salad,
    Condiment, dressing …


  • Yannick Messaoud

    book marked thanks i got for 30h sometimes starting again now, need to lose 30 hahaha. Great site and info thanks again.

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