Book Review: Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon

“By following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle you are able to lose weight by using an uncomplicated and stress free style of eating that balances your fed and fasted metabolism. This allows you to reap the health and metabolic benefits of short periods of fasting, including weight loss, decreased inflammation and improved metabolic profile, all while reducing the amount of time you stress about what you are eating.” – Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat

Eat Stop Eat is perhaps the easiest dietary lifestyle to incorporate for anyone that is looking for a simple way to diet off any excess pounds permanently. The basic premise of Eat Stop Eat is to begin taking periodic breaks from eating, or intermittent fasting (IF), lasting up to twenty-four hours for best results. The book is an easy read discussing the benefits of fasting and why his style of intermittent fasting works for best for fat loss and improved body composition. With almost 340 references cited, Eat Stop Eat is the best resource out there for anyone interested in using IF as a weight loss tool.

Eat Stop Eat’s ease and simplicity comes from the idea that you really don’t need to obsess over the macronutrient composition of your diet like other programs out there have you do. Indeed, Brad makes the point that fat is the result of any unused surplus of calories no matter if they come from protein, fat or carbohydrate, a premise that I agree with. Conversely, losing weight requires that you shift the energy balance equation to favor fewer calories than the daily expenditure of what your body uses, also referred to as the metabolic rate. Simply put, losing weight requires a person to eat less. Eat Stop Eat’s simple solution to this conundrum is to take periodic 24-hour breaks from eating. Depending on your goals, you can choose how to eat, when to eat as well as when and how to fast. The suggestion is those looking to maintain weight should aim to fast once every week and those looking to cut weight should aim to fast twice – but now more than twice – per week.

While calories are important, it’s important to understand that we don’t eat calories or even macronutrients; we eat food. Therefore, Eat Stop Eat’s recommendation is to eat within your tolerance on non-fasting days by looking at what you are eating. You should pay attention to haow much your eating and not worry about how many calories are in a given food. Not having to count calories only adds to the simplicity of Eat Stop Eat.

Done correctly, a person fasting twice per week will see roughly a 15% to 25% drop in their weekly caloric intake. This is what is often referred to as the sweet spot of any fat-loss diet. Of course, this is another reason I like the Eat Stop Eat approach to fat loss which is that it is best to think in terms of weekly caloric intake instead of daily caloric intake. Far too often dieters stress that they need to cut calories every single day or their diet is absolutely ruined. Nothing is further from the truth. Dieters need to learn to be more flexible in their diets and that means taking a longer-term view of their goals. Mess up and grabbed a cookie? No problem, tomorrow is another day, you can fast then or even the day after. Just be flexible and take the long view. So maybe you don’t even have to worry about your weekly calorie or food intake, just think long term and be flexible.

Fasting Beyond Weight Loss

Eat Stop Eat also outlines the benefits of fasting beyond weight loss and improved body composition. Many of these benefits are seen with better hormonal profiles and cellular cleansing, a process referred to as autophagy. One of the hormones that receives a lot of attention in Eat Stop Eat is Growth Hormone, the same hormone that celebrities inject daily into to their backside in the hopes of staying younger. The good news is that higher levels of growth hormone can be seen in those who fast. Also, autophagy, the process by which cells empty out waste from their systems, has been shown to prevent diseases such as cancer and diseases resulting from a chronic inflammatory state. Lastly, there is also compelling evidence that those who adhere to a calorie restrictive diet or fast intermittently have longer lifespans. Essentially, you’ll look younger, die later and be leaner while doing it.

The rules of the fast are pretty simple according to Eat Stop Eat. First you have to fast or not eat. Well, duh. However, you will still need an adequate amount of fluids during your fasts. Eat Stop Eat fasting means abstaining from calorie intake. This allows and encourages water, tea and black coffee to be taken during fasting hours. Also, diet colas and even zero-calorie sports drinks are allowed as well. Zero calorie gum is also fine. Any type of sugar, cream or even milk, even the non-fat variety, is discouraged. It is best to drink your coffee or tea without any additives save for a little bit of the zero calorie sweeteners.

Exercise … Yes, It’s Still Necessary

The other lifestyle change that Eat Stop Eat encourages is resistance exercise. It is recommended that exercise three or four times per week, but again be flexible so twice is okay too. While most people, including myself, think of resistance exercise as weightlifting. Brad has been experimenting with other forms of resistance exercise including suspension training. That is to say he is using his body for resistance and not heavy iron. Really, what is important is that you put your body under some type of undue stress that progressively increases over time. This is easy with weight lifting in that all you have to do is continually increase either the load, repetitions or the frequency of the exercise. It can still be done with other activities as well, but you will have to experiment and see what works for you.

The importance of exercise is that your body hold on to any lean body mass while dieting. This is where the important distinction between weight loss and fat loss occur. When people diet they don’t necessarily want to lose weight; they want to lose fat specifically. Cutting calories through fasting will ensure that you lose weight; exercise will ensure that just about all of that weight will come from fat.

Eat Stop Eat Fating and Exercise: Tying It All Together

As previously stated, resistance is an exercise that puts undue stress on the body. Once we recover from that stress, we become stronger. The same is true with fasting. Once we recover from our fasting bout, we are leaner than we were previously as well as having an improved hormonal profile. The interesting thing about resistance exercise is that it promotes a lot of the benefits as fasting. All of the hormonal benefits, including improved growth hormone, and autophagy come from resistance exercise as well as fasting. That is a two for one punch with the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle. Make no mistake, this is a lifestyle change with its own set of unique challenges. However, if you truly desire an improved body composition, then you understand that certain habits must change and those changes cannot be temporary. Still, compared to many other programs out there Eat Stop Eat’s approach is the simplest and easy to follow. You can follow this program without thinking or stressing too much. In my opinion Eat Stop Eat is simplest way to bring about many positive changes.

To learn more about the Eat Stop Eat, you can purchase it here.

Brad Pilon’s blog can be found here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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One Response to Book Review: Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon

  1. Pingback: Book Review: the Ketogenic Diet by Lyle McDonald | The Palaestra Forum

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