My fat fasting experiment

You are probably wondering, “What the heck is a fat fast”. In a nutshell, it is a strategy for jump-starting weight loss. It works best for people who are already following a low carb diet but who are battling with the last few kilos or struggling to get off a weight loss plateau. For those of you who are still consuming bowls of pasta and sandwiches for lunch – then I don’t think this is the strategy for you. It would literally be a shock to your system. But low carbers, keep reading, as this approach is rather fascinating.

I became intrigued with this strategy after I read the Kindle version of a book titled, Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender. She very clearly outlines the why, what and how of this strategy and also provides 50 recipes to help you on your way to fat fasting.

Who should do a fat fast?

Anyone who has hit a stall in their weight loss journey and is determined to get it going again. If you are a diabetic on insulin or taking blood sugar lowering medication then please do NOT do this fast without medical supervision from your doctor.

Why do a fat fast?

  • It can rapidly get your body into a fat-burning mode called nutritional ketosis (especially if you are one of those people who are metabolically quite resistant to weight loss).
  • It will help you to lose a few kilos quickly (probably the best kept red carpet secret in Hollywood)
  • A fat fast provides energy while sparing muscle tissue. Who wants to be flabby-thin right?
  • Even though you will be restricting calories, ketones will suppress your appetite so you won’t be overly hungry. This makes it much easier to do over other calorie restricting protocols.
  • It has a very positive impact on insulin and blood sugar levels which is good for weight loss and health.
  • It also banishes any cravings you might still be having for carbs and sugar.

How do I do a fat fast?

Cheese and nuts isolated on whiteYou eat only 1 000 calories a day for 3 to 5 days. 90% of those calories are from healthy fat. Eat four 250-calories “meals” every 3-4 hours. Sounds quite simple hey? Well getting almost 900 of those 1000 calories as fat takes a bit of careful planning. Fat is very high in calories, so you won’t be eating a lot of food at all. Thank goodness for appetite suppressing ketones coursing through your veins!

You will need to use a tool like MyFitnessPal to track calories. Change your goal settings to reflect the 90% fat, 5 % protein and 5% carbs ratio.

How frequently should I fast?

You could do a 3-day fat fast once a month or more frequently depending on your goals. It is definitely a temporary strategy as the fat fast is too low in calories and protein to be sustainable on an ongoing basis. See it more as an intervention than an ongoing way of eating.

Once you have completed the 3 to 5 days of fat fasting, you can go back to a low carb diet and hopefully continued weight loss, provided you keep the carbs low enough.

What does a typical fat fast day look like?

  • Meal 1: 1 egg with a 1 tbls of cream scrambled in 1 tbls of butter with a slice of diced ham and 1/8 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Meal 2: 10 to 12 raw macadamia nuts + coffee/tea with 2 tablespoons of cream
  • Meal 3: 10 olives + bullet coffee (coffee with 1 tbls butter and 1 tbsp coconut oil emulsified in a blender)
  • Meal 4: 85 grams of mushrooms fried in 1 tbls of coconut oil with 1 tbls of Philadelphia cream cheese/Boursin cheese melted on top.

Here is some more info and fat fasting recipes to try from the CarbSmart website.

My experience with fat fasting

I did it diligently for 4 days and lost close to 2  kilograms. I was hungry and felt a bit weird for the first couple of days as I wasn’t already in ketosis so my body had to adjust.  After that it was reasonably effortless.

I exercised every day for an hour and had more than enough energy. I wasn’t obsessing over food although I did have to carefully plan and track my meals in order to do the fat fast properly.

It was a bit of a pain having to cook meals for my family and do something different for me but fortunately 4 days goes by reasonably quickly.

fasting_eating_fast_food_monks_1079795The big question now is, “Will the weight stay off ?” Time will tell and I will let you guys know. I plan to try and stay in ketosis by eating very low carb (under 20 grams a day) and will watch my protein intake as well.

What has been interesting for me to see is how easily one can over-consume calories by eating too much fat. That is something I must definitely consider from now on as it could be a factor to stalled weight loss on a LCHF  diet.

Would I do a fat fast again?

Yes, definitely. It is the only thing I have tried lately that got the scale to budge. Two kilos down is nothing to be sniffed at. So if I have to fat fast once a month for 3 days to lose those last few kilos, then that is what I will do.

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About Nicky Perks

Passionately sharing information about the paleo/primal, high fat/low carb lifestyle that will rock your world! I am on my own journey to good health and a slim body. My goal? To enjoy the ride as life on this beautiful planet is just too short to do it any other way.

Posted on February 21, 2014, in Primal 101 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Hi, Nicky. Would you ever be willing to put your four-day eating plan on here? I’m interested in trying this for sure, but definitely could use direction when it comes to the calories.

  2. Hi Nicky! I’m interested in if the weight from your fat fast stayed off? I have lost 7kg so far and am SO very close to my goal weight, but as luck would have it things have slowed to a crawl. I am still losing but only 100 or 200g per week.
    I’m wondering if this fat-fast is the way forward for me…
    Thanks!

    • I lost almost two but have only kept 1 kilo off, so maybe some of the original weight lost was water retention. You can expect the weight loss to slow down the closer to your goal weight you get. The fact that you are still losing is fabulous.Before you know it you will have reached your goal. Keep at it. Try the fat fast for a couple of days. It might help to get things going again. Otherwise investigate intermittent fasting. There are various ways of doing that too. Change your exercise routine possibly. Short 30 second duration sprints seem to work well for weight loss. Otherwise you could try going even lower carb and cutting out all fruit, nuts, alcohol and dark chocolate and keeping dairy to an absolute minimum. Good luck

  3. I’ve totally stalled after a 65# loss – and I have another 100# to go. 😦 My stall has been for the past 6-mos when I had bunion surgery but I did manage to maintain during the holidays. I know I was in ketosis then but I know my carbs have crept back up (darn alcohol!). I want to do this fat fast to re-ignite my body!! But, I have question or tow: I don’t do any dairy except some ghee or grassfed butter. What would you suggest I do to replace the cheese in the example you gave above? I can do coconut cream in my coffee (skim the top off the can – yum!). And, I already do BP coffee.

  4. Maybe just eat more fat from other sources, such as olives, homemade mayo, macadamia nuts, coconut oil etc to make up for the cheese. You might find some other meal plans for fat fasting on the internet as well which could cater for dairy free. Good luck. Stalls are very frustrating, I know. If it continues despite adhering to the diet plan, then maybe check out your hormones, thyroid and gut health with some blood tests and stool tests. These can all impact your ability to lose weight. Also incorporating some Tabata exercises can help too.

  5. Hello Nicky, tks for your comments on LoseIt, and great to see these tips here! I will be trying a 3 – 5 fat fast for sure!

  6. my name martha, I have not lost any weight, just 6 lbs, I started in the middle November last year, is this normal.

    • Hi Martha, there are many reasons for weight loss resistance. It all depends how metabolically damaged you are. Are you insulin resistant? Do you have a history of yo-yo dieting? Do you have any hormonal imbalances, like oestrogen dominance or PCOS? What about leaky gut? The key is to keep going as LCHF is a very healing eating protocol. The body needs to heal first before it will let go of the weight. Just persevere. Perhaps you want to consider consulting with one of our Banting Buddies coaches to make sure your diet and eating plan is correct? You can go to http://www.bantingbuddies.com for details of who our coaches are and their contact details. They do telephonic, Skype and online consultations and support groups too.

  7. Amazing article Nicky, thank you!
    I have just started with the banting lifestyle (again! – I tried it a couple of years ago but gave up.)
    I’m 2.5 weeks in – the first week I put on a kg, now second week I seem to have lost it (but I’m still the same overweight weight)
    Anyways, I am going to persevere as I have heard of so many great success stories, such as yours.
    I’d just like to say thanks for the great website and great articles – I am definitely going to try fasting. I also think I’m eating too much protein, and my calorie intake has not decreased, so that’s probably the reason for my lack of weightloss.

    Keep up the great posts 🙂

    • Hi Rae, it can take a while for your body to adjust to a new diet and to let go of the fat. Definitely persevere. My recommendation is don’t drop protein too low. Women tend to do better when their protein is adequate. Protein is also very satiating and it allows you to spare muscle when losing weight. Don’t have too much fat either. Just enough at each meal to last 5 to 6 hours until your next meal. It is better not to snack in-between meals. This allows insulin levels to drop nice and low which encourages fat release from the fat cells. Don’t try fasting too soon. It can be quite stressful for the body. If you really aren’t hungry and don’t feel like eating, then by all means don’t eat, but don’t force a fast. Women don’t do as well as men with fasting. I think it has a lot to do with the complexity of our hormones compared with men. I wish you the best of success.

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