In this episode, Dr. Scott and Tommy discuss the 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule, a very common starting point for many people. In their experience, 16:8 is an easy way to become more comfortable with fasting, as it usually just involves skipping breakfast, but if fat loss is the goal, 16:8 may not move the needle very far, which can be confusing. They get into the reasons this happens and how to fix it, starting today.
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Fasting For Life Ep. 52
[00:00:01] Hello, I'm Dr. Scott Watier, and I'm Tommy Welling, and you're listening to the Fasting for Life podcast, and this podcast is about using fasting as a tool to regain your health, achieve ultimate wellness and live the life you truly deserve.
[00:00:15] Each episode is a short conversation on a single topic with immediate, actionable steps. We cover everything from fat loss on health and wellness to the science of lifestyle design.
[00:00:25] We started fasting for life because of how fasting has transformed our lives, and we hope to share the tools that we have learned along the way.
[00:00:40] Everyone, welcome to the Fasting for Life podcast. My name is Dr. Scott Watier. I am here, as always, with my good friend and colleague, Tommy Welling. Good afternoon to you, sir.
[00:00:48] Hey, Scott, how are you?
[00:00:50] We are fantastic, sir. I answered for you 16 eight intermittent fasting. What is it? Why does it work? Why sometimes does it not work? Where what's our perspective? It is probably the most searched and questioned time eating window phrase terminology combined with intermittent. What is it? Something we actually don't talk all that much about. I think we've done maybe one other episode on intermittent fasting, but I cannot wait to dive into the conversation on the perspective on what is we're really not accomplishing.
[00:01:28] Yeah, I like the the perspective on it because we get the question a lot and they're usually they're usually similar questions. And even when I when I tell people, hey, we're we talk about fasting on the podcast and then they say, oh, well, I've tried some I've done a little bit of that. I've done a little bit of intermittent fasting before and it's usually 16 eight. I think that that that's just kind of the natural starting point for for a lot of people, it seems like.
[00:01:58] Yeah, the Google machine will tell you that, you know, that's typically and sometimes it'll define it all the way up to doing one, maybe two twenty four hour fast week. So intermittent fasting is a pattern that cycles between periods of food and no food, periods of fasting and eating, periods of feeding and whatever time restricted, whatever you want to call it. But it's times where you actually are going to be consuming food in a certain amount of time and then time when you are not consuming food. And the most clear time window, the most basic starting point is going to be that sixteen eight window, which is most commonly defined as the intermittent type fasting. The most common thing that we hear. I've tried it. I did some of it with kids back in the day, couldn't get the results to stick. It was really difficult for me to live a very strict keto lifestyle. My family didn't eat that way. So we're making more food. And it's just I got to that point where I just couldn't break through that low number plateau until I started doing some longer fasts. So I had some experience with sixteen eight. But a lot of people come to us with questions on sixteen and say, hey, I've been doing this for a while, why isn't it working.
[00:03:12] Yeah. You know, and we just we just heard that on a coaching call earlier about doing intermittent fasting like sixteen eight along with kids as well. Me personally, when I was doing keto, I, I didn't I didn't try it with intermittent fasting. My first time I fasted was was after I started hearing about longer fasts actually. So I had never tried it because I figured if I was counting all my calories and all my macros, that I didn't really need to restrict the time because I didn't know that that would that would give me any additional benefit. But turns out there are some additional benefits even if you're taking in the same amount of calories. Yeah.
[00:03:51] And so the easiest thing and if you've been to a website, you've downloaded the Fast Starky, we start with one meal a day, which is homemade. And if you've been listening to the podcast for a while, then you know that, right? That's a good starting point. Now we're getting into the challenges and the customized fasting plans and using fast cycling, which is certain windows stacked on top of one another to to get more aggressive fat loss results. So, no, we will not be doing back to back forty eight, forty eight. Seventy two hour fast for the rest of your life. That just seems silly. That is no way to live. You know, we want to enjoy and make make our life full and not have to worry about, you know, all of the stuff that comes with the conversation around fasting. When you tell someone that you work with that you're going to stop eating for sixteen hours a day, that's like what? Right. So it's becoming much more common. But back to the starting point of the sixteen eight, you had a couple of analogies that really resonated with me as to why we feel that it's probably not working or if it used to work and it stopped working. You know, it probably has something to do with with the caloric intake, right. With the calories, because here in abundance, your body stores, if you're in deficiency, your body burns.
[00:05:18] Right. And, you know, depending on exactly where you're coming from, if you're in fat loss mode right now, you're trying to lose twenty pounds or fifty or one hundred pounds in sixty eight is is is not that much time realistically fasted because, you know. If you normally would eat dinner at eight o'clock at night, then you might eat breakfast at that eight or nine a.m., that's going to be 12, 13 hours fasted right there. So that means that going from there to a 16 eight is is just another three to maybe four hours. So it's basically like skipping breakfast. If you do like a 12 to eight eating window, it's basically skipping breakfast every day. So, you know, it's not earth shattering. And I think that's why it's it's easier for people to start there. But that's also one of the reasons why you're not going to be in in a very significant calorie deficit, if any. You so so that that may be why you might have had good, good results in the beginning. But then they may not have continued. They may have slowed down.
[00:06:27] There were some cool research articles that have come out recently about looking at the 16 eight window when it's compared to a standard diet or a standard standard weight loss diet, meaning the three to 500 calorie decrease per your daily needs. And you do that over a three to six month span. The low and slow, the eat less move more type type mindset. Right. And from that perspective on fat mass, you know, intermittent fasting seems to have a greater impact or an equal impact as that standard diet.
[00:07:09] So I like the analogy here is because you just said you like it could put you in a deficit right within. And it just depends on what you're eating in that eight hour window. So I like the analogy of, well, if you just did one push up. Right. Yeah, what did you say, because I was like, oh, man, that's so good.
[00:07:29] If you did just do one push up and then you start looking at the research data on how effective is it to do one push up, you're probably not going to find very clear data. Right. And as we go through the data for sixty eight fasting, it, it tends to be summarized like there seems to be some some benefits maybe, but the research is a little unclear. Well again, it's, it's not earth shattering. You're not you don't have an opportunity to skip all that many calories. And breakfast was a relatively recent invention, you know, from a productive standpoint also. So it's almost like going back to one hundred years ago before we had all the processed breakfast foods. So much so. So it's really not necessarily enough time to get at those fat stores that we've been holding on to for a while. So that's not enough time to to really get into ketosis, to clear out the glycogen stores and to start burning the fat.
[00:08:30] And so the six and one of the things to kind of lay on top of those two is when people come and they'll they'll start doing more of the one meal a day or pushing their eating window to, let's say, instead of 16 hours of fast food, they'll go to 20 hours, maybe twenty two hours and just eat dinner just to eat lunch. Right.
[00:08:49] Depending on the situation, you know, we have a lot of people that try to still consume their entire daily need in that window. So the beauty of fasting is that it automatically sets you up for a deficit that automatically gives you the ability to just skip consuming a meal. So simply, just like you said, don't eat breakfast, that doesn't mean take breakfast and make it lunch and lunch becomes midday meal and then, you know, dinner stays dinner like it doesn't mean to fit it all in.
[00:09:25] It means it's a simple way to frame how to actually get some pretty pretty good fat loss when when staying within those those parameters of the mindset that you have this window without food. And like you said, you're not really pushing it much farther. It's just really like skipping one meal.
[00:09:47] Yeah, it's just consistently basically doing two meals and but the thing about it is it can actually, like you alluded to, it can be worse than that, because if you're of the mindset that you need to take in a certain number of calories, because usually that comes from the fitness world and from some of the metabolic fear that we run into and that I personally had a couple of years ago where I was thinking that if I didn't consume and didn't consume enough calories, I would slow down my metabolism, I'd kill it, know, do some permanent damage there. So if I if I had skipped breakfast, I would have been thinking I needed to still bring in those calories. Otherwise I would have too low of a calorie deficit and then I'd be doing some sort of damage. But in fact, the opposite is true. I would be I would be burning through some of the fat stores that I had already been holding on to and actually started to make more progress towards my goals and that it can succeed.
[00:10:47] It is a very good starting point for a lot of people, especially if you've never fasted. Now, what we'd want to do, though, is not stay at sixty eight for very long. If you're looking to lose weight, quit if you've got 60 pounds to lose. I feel like sometimes and I lost 50, so I was there speaking from experience. I could always get off that first 15 or 20. Right. Sit down from two fifty to, to twenty five and to twenty five is that number that stuck with me for so many years. It was the weight I got married at. It was a weight that I was at for a while when I leaned down from my powerlifting days where I felt pretty good, had an or to, you know, like I felt good at that number. But then I could never get through that and push down through that. And that usually took me about 12 to 16 weeks, right where I'd get there. And then I'd plateau and I'd be doing everything the same I was doing. And it would start to tick up and I'd start to just I never could push through that. So the reason I'm saying this is 16 eight can be a viable weight loss strategy. If you're doing 16 eight that and you're trying to put all your food into the window and probably stop remove the meal, simply do that for a little while. If it's still not working, then it's time to kind of push the envelope.
[00:12:02] And this is what we do in the challenges. And we found that it's been so great, just like some of the severe diabetics that go to Dr. Funk's clinic, he starts them off with a long, fast in the beginning. Right, five or seven day fast to really reset that insulin sensitivity and give the body the best opportunity to to start to heal and reverse that disease. So with weight loss, we've got insulin resistance. You've got underlying hormonal imbalances, 16 eight might get you short term results if you stall or plateau, just like you mix up your workouts in the gym, it'd be good to push that window. So when the ramp ups in the coaching we do is we start with those shorter windows and then we start to push the envelope and build on it and do spring boards and then start adding in some of the fasting cycling with the insulin friendly lifestyle. And now you're talking about being able to hit that 60 pound weight loss in under a year rather than and keep it that way or even another six months. In some cases, you know, you can get the 40, 50, 60 pounds off where most of the weight loss programs that I experience with or even the ones that we had in our clinical side of things, people would get that first fifteen to twenty pounds and then that was it. And then it would start creeping back on.
[00:13:10] Yeah, because the the insulin resistance is usually so high and it can only go down to that first set point or two, and then you just can't push past beyond that point unless you can continue to keep insulin levels just so low. But in order to do that, the glycogen stores have to be depleted. You have to start dipping into ketosis to actually rev up the fat burning and usually with a low and slow type thing, you're not going to get there. So I really love that perspective.
[00:13:37] So I guess the Take-Home message would be if you've come to six fasting and you're new and you're really worried about missing a meal, start with the 16. I wouldn't say do it for too long if let me let me rephrase that. I would say do it as long as you are still getting the result. If there's a point in time where you stop getting the result, where, Tommy, you and I were right, where it didn't really get us anywhere. And this was with tracking and counting and weighing and all that stuff. It it's it's really probably time to consider even going a little bit farther, just based on all of the things that we just stated, so push the window, start with 18, go to 20, go to 20 to try one meal a day, mix it up to a twenty four hour fast. In between your days, take weekends into account. There's all these little different nuances that come with, you know, putting fasting. But it's one of the things we've known as recently as the consistency or the perfection. So set it for a week or two. And if you're getting results, great. If you're not, some of the things that we've talked about might might be some of the sticking points.
[00:14:49] Yeah. And if you're if you're if you're in 16 eight and you feel comfortable with it, but you're not really seeing results, but you're not sure why, just think about the opportunity for a calorie deficit, because with or with an open eight hour eating when they're like that, even if you did skip breakfast, there's a lot of time opportunity in there to snack or to have other calorie dense foods. So it can be really easy to overconsume within an eight hour eating window. And so a lot of people who come on board or who send us an email asking us questions, we'll describe what they're doing during that during that eight hour time frame. And it's it's obvious right off the bat why they're not seeing results, even if they did see some in the beginning. So just understanding that opportunity to eat and the fact that six, eight is a really, really good maintenance type schedule for most people, like eating two meals a day is a really good way to maintain your weight. But it's not it's not usually going to get most people to where they want to go. Fat loss wise.
[00:15:51] Yeah. In terms of weight loss. Yeah. Perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. All right. If you guys have questions, give us a shout in. Fill out the fasting for life dotcom. You can go to the website, download the fast start guide is going to be our guide to one meal a day. Fasting comes with a mini master class, which is a 20 minute little video series explaining how to put that into your day to day routine. Tommy, as an action step, as a one succinct landing, landing the plane, so to speak. I think you just said it, but it would be start with a 16 eight window and then see where it goes and see where it goes.
[00:16:28] And if you've never tried a longer fast, then. Push yourself, challenge yourself to do one a little bit longer, see how you feel, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, because usually that's where the growth happens.
[00:16:43] Love it. Absolutely love it. Thank you, sir. And we'll talk to you. Thank you. Bye.
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