I Skip Breakfast 6 Days a Week. Why?
I started fasting way back in 2016 and it made a serious difference in terms of losing my big bloated belly and lowering my overall body fat. Fasting, cutting out sugar and milk resulted in a noticeable, visible difference in how I looked and felt within a week.
By now, the concept of fasting has been popularized since that time but I still get strange remarks and looks when I tell people that I don't eat in the morning because all cultures everywhere are taught that breakfast is the most important meal.
If you want to wake up, feel great and be high energy I suggest as a man you fast in the morning and drink black coffee. On an empty stomach the caffeine hits hard and you'll feel alert and ready.
This video is from 2016 and is what got me to try fasting.
Why intermittent fasting should be a way of life for a man
I'm a man and can only speak from that perspective. I've read that women should be cautious about fasting so do your own research and don't be hard headed about it.
If you are a man like me where you almost exclusively pack on weight in your belly and chest to the exclusion of everywhere else on your body you should give intermittent fasting a shot. It’s been pretty much pure magic for me on managing my body fat levels.
At 5 ft 10 inches tall roughly and weighing a solid 166 lbs when in shape, I can’t handle that much food through out the day. Well I can but then I easily over eat. I'm someone who can really just sit down and eat two big meals and a snack to meet my calorie intake.
It’s easy for me to over eat and become a fat looking 175 lbs person which is why I enjoy fasting. I can eat huge meals and still be lean. My belly now looks like a balloon was pooped.
When I say lean, I want to be around 15% body fat with muscle gains intact. 15% is a healthy level of fat. I know fitness bros talk about getting under 10% but that takes a serious level of commitment. I'm fine at 15% because you have some flexibility with your food.
Flexibility like the drinks on the weekends with friends primarily. I enjoy beer, but another
With intermittent fasting I’ve found the balance that is working for me in maintaining a healthy muscular weight that allows me to eat what I like and lose fat fast.
My original breakfast
For breakfast back in my English teaching days used to consist of two eggs, fruit, toast and a big sweet latte. Full of milk and sugar.
I'm pretty on point with my diet in most ways. Vegetables, meat, light on carbs typically. If it did not exist 200 years ago I don't eat it. But that latte I had everyday was full of sugar and milk.
Yea. I was an idiot in ways like this
Drinking a coffee milkshake everyday makes you fat? Whaaaaat? For some reason I was not strict about sugar in the way I am now. Lesson learned. Now I fast, drink no milk and avoid sugar.
One thing I have quite enjoyed from fasting over the last 5 years is the focus it provides me in the morning and afternoon. My ability to concentrate is quite high and I can work for a few hours solid each morning.
I know, it’s odd.
The common assumption is that not eating would make you sleepy, tired or angry. On the contrary. My energy levels are high, my focus is on point and when I have black coffee with no milk or sugar that coffee gives me that edge to keep working through out the morning without needing food until the afternoon.
It also helps that I’m not normally that hungry in the morning, so you have to know yourself. My older brother is one of those naturally skinny types and could never give up breakfast. In fact, he’s the type that wakes up in the middle of the night and needs to eat.
For me however, fasting for a a bit in the morning is no problem. I look better and more importantly I feel better. Way better.
Is this just a complicated way of saying skip breakfast?
Yes, yes it is. But let me explain it a bit more.
The whole goal is to limit your calorie intake. If you’re fat, you need to find a new eating pattern that reduces your calorie intake. If you’re fat it's because you're eating too much and you're body is too unhealthy to handle unhealthy snacks for your current fitness level.
We are lead to believe that fatness comes from other things. Too much carbs, too much sugar, too much fat in foods, eating at night, drinking beer and so forth.
While the quality of food does effect how you look…
It’s the volume of calories you consume that lead to being over weight.
So again, if you’re fat it’s mostly because you’re eating too much, not burning enough calories, don’t have enough muscle development or some combination of the three.
What intermittent fasting is all about is simply changing your eating pattern:
Most fast either in the morning or the evening.
Some take a whole day off once a week and eat nothing.
Others follow my implementation (which I adopted from Radu's video) and fast for a bit every morning. Pushing their first meal to the mid afternoon roughly and drinking black coffee as a way to suppress appetite and to feel the beneficial effects of caffeine.
It also depends on when you wake up. You want to aim for 5-6 hours after you wake up to have your first meal. I wake up early so 12-3 pm max is a good time for me to have my first meal because my last meal is usually around 9 pm.
Why do intermittent fasting?
Calories matter, that’s why. Calories are just a measurement of the energy burned by our bodies as well as the potential energy in foods. Specifically, it’s the amount of energy required to heat up 1 gram of water by one degree Celsius.
All foods we consume contain calories and all movements we make burn calories. We also have a specific maintenance level of calories required on a daily basis.
We all know what happens when we get too many or two few calories:
1 – We maintain a our current weight and fat level through our consistent diet because we burn as much calories as we’re consuming. Even if it’s an unhealthy weight and fat level. This comes about through habits, behavior and lifestyle.
Maybe you’re disciplined through the weekday but what about the weekend? Do you make up for the calorie deficit every weekend?
2 – We consume more calories than is required for our current maintenance level. When this happens we get fat, put on muscle (if we’re training), or some combination of the two.
3 – We burn more calories than we are taking in. This forces the body to use your fat reserves for energy. Thus you’ll lose fat on your body but also muscle if you starve yourself which is obviously bad because muscle burns fat. It really depends on the calorie deficit. If you throw a big deficit at your body all of a sudden you’ll lose muscle and fat. It’s recommended that you don’t perform greater than a 20% calorie deficit per day. Unless you want to lose muscle.
Run a small calorie deficit week to week as a way to cut.
This is why I’ve personally found intermittent fasting to be helpful. It’s simply reducing my ability to over eat and it forces my body to use fat as an energy source in the morning. Perfect.
You’ll simply start looking and feeling better. If you go too extreme however you’ll crash. The idea is to fast, not starve yourself.
I know from doing this. I fast one day, feel great, then keep pushing my body by eating one big meal a day. I then have no energy and crash. This was before I understood intermittent fasting. I was just frustrated I could not loose my excessive body fat so I went extreme like most people resort to.
How to implement intermittent fasting
Daily fasting – 16 hours of fasting with an 8 hour eat whatever you want window.
The first model that I normally follow and adopted from Greg over at Kinobody is the Leangains.com model of a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window. I take Greg’s advice and drink two cups of black coffee while I fast. Yes you can drink coffee. It won’t break your fast. As long as it’s under 100 calories it won’t break the fast.
Since I wake up early, I’m ready to eat by lunch. I normally have a small meal at this point and save the big meal for dinner with friends. I also eat a bit of fruit before a workout, or I’ll have some sort of green juice with creatine mixed in. As long as you’re abiding by a 16 hour fast and an 8 hour eating window it does not matter when you eat.
Just do whatever works for you.
Weekly fasting – 24 hours, once a week fast. No food. Only water, and coffee.
My father would actually do this and I thought he was crazy as a boy. Every week he would weight himself. If he noticed a significant increase in weight he would fast from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon. He would only fast if he noticed a change. If no change, no fast.
I don’t suggest you follow this as it’s unsophisticated. It should not be about weight, it should be about body fat.
I’ve tried this type of fast in the past and absolutely hated it. I could see this being helpful after a big celebration meal like Thanks Giving, but since I’ve already adopted the habit of fasting every morning I would simply push the fast to dinner in anticipation of an enormous meal filled with beer, meat, cookies, potato and veggies.
Irregular intermittent fasting – 3-4 days of ALL DAY fasting, other days are eat whatever you want
The idea with this is to do an all day fast multiple times a week and basically be a glutton on the other days. Again, it makes sense if you know you’re going to be eating a gigantic meal and want to keep your caloric deficit stable. Example for most would be again Thanks Giving or Christmas.
Fast a day before, eat all you want, fast all day next. Personally I’ve never tried this and have no intention of trying it. I like routine, I like predictable behavioral change. I like daily fasting because it works for the way I want to live my life.
Why it works + benefits
Why does intermittent fasting work? It works because of the calorie deficit, the fact that you can eat whatever you like after you fast so you don’t feel like you’re giving anything up and it’s easy to adopt after you get over the initial hunger shock the first few days.
Your body can become trained on when to expect food and produce a hormone called ghrelin. It subsides after a few days of doing a daily fast.
Fasting has been shown to actually have a lot of benefits for the human body.
1 – It boosts human growth hormone which is needed for muscle growth and development. It’s not enough to move the proverbial dial as they say, meaning you’re not going to notice a dramatic difference as you would if you were to say, take human growth hormone, but the observation that human growth hormone increases is none the less a good reason to fast.
2 – Daily fasting forces the body to burn fat for energy. So if you’re like me and wanting to loose a big bloated looking belly fast, give intermittent fasting a shot.
3 – This form of dietary restriction has been shown to reduce insulin sensitivity (a high sensitivity helps block fat break down), reduced morbidity and an increased in lifespan. I’m particularly interested in the insulin sensitivity. It’s this that makes it very hard to get down to a 9% or 10% body fat simply because of your bodies self preservation mechanisms.
4- Increase longevity. A study was done on mice and it was shown that irregular fasting increase their lifespan.
For reference to the above check out this study go here, here and here.
At the time of writing this I’ve been doing a daily fast for about a month now. Here’s what I like so far:
1 – It’s easier than “dieting.” I put diet in quotes because we’re all on a diet. A diet is simply what you eat, but many take the word diet to mean “low carb” or “vegetarian”. The reason diets don’t work is because of habits and behavior. People just don’t stick to them and for good reason.
Diets that restrict foods are hard to follow because we simply have a tendency to cheat:
I’ve been good, I deserve this.
Just one time won’t hurt.
Oh what the hell.
The goal of any diet is the same. Caloric restriction. With intermittent fasting you can eat what you want. You don’t have to give anything up and you may gain a lot of benefits like I have:
- Reduced body fat
- More awake and alert in the morning
- Muscle strength
- Food is much more enjoyable when you’re hungry
2 – It’s easy to implement and you see results fast. When you get results doing anything, that positive reinforcement makes you want to keep going. Fasting for me is easy and it works.
Do you workout on a fast?
I personally don't make it a point to work out on a fast. I've done it and what ends up happening is your body stops being hungry because it needs to refocus your energy expenditures to the task at hand.
I just workout 3 days a week in the afternoon when it works for me. Sometimes that's after I eat, sometimes it is before. The whole point is I don't go out of my way to workout in a fasted state.
I could never skip breakfast. How do you do it?
I’m not normally that hungry in the morning so it’s not a big deal for me.
Just try a daily fast for a week and see how you feel. Also, no one says you must skip breakfast. You could simply reverse what I do and eat breakfast but begin your fast at dinner time.
Breakfast makes more sense for me because I’m already not that hungry in the morning and also it’s a meal I have alone. I would rather have a big dinner and some beer with friends than breakfast by myself everyday. I also like how I feel when I drink coffee on an empty stomach.
Black coffee? No milk, no sugar? Why black coffee? I really don’t want to drink black coffee, gross.
Then don’t. You don’t have to drink coffee. Water during the fast is fine. Black iced coffee is an acquired taste. It's not like I enjoyed it myself at first. But over time you grow to like it and once you break the sugar addiction you'll find anything overly sweet to be gross.
In short, I’ve actually grown to enjoy the flavor and the effects of the caffeine are very helpful for staying focused on work. It’s something I look forward to every morning. Also, coffee blunts appetite so it’s helpful in getting through the fast without any problem.
Just limit your intake to two cups. You don’t want to over-do the caffeine as it could wear out your adrenal glands making you tired. Studies have also shown that coffee helps during a fast because it up-regulates your metabolism while suppressing appetite.
What about skipping lunch instead?
Skipping lunch will of course reduce your caloric intake which may lead to a caloric deficit and thus fat and weight loss but the whole point of a fast is to burn excess body fat while maintaining your muscle mass.
When you’re in a fasted state, meaning you’re a little bit hungry, your body has to resort to your body fat for energy. It’s in this state where you get all the benefits of fasting that you would not get if you ate at night, then again in the morning.
Is fasting for everyone?
To be honest, intermittent fasting on a daily schedule may not fit everyone’s lifestyle. If you’re a big guy who needs to consume a lot of calories to maintain your health, size and strength then eat.
If you're a skinny guy trying to gain weight and put on muscle then lift some weights and eat some steaks.
What do you eat when breaking a fast?
High protein, low carb, fruit and vegetables. I don't drink anything with sugar in it and restrict having a beer to the weekend.
I also stay away from processed foods, soda, excessive sugar. If I know I’m going to going out with friends, I make sure to maintain a caloric deficit so I can enjoy myself as much as possible when out.