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New Slow Carb Hack for faster progress

It’s not every week that I can share something so game-changing as this with you. So I’m pretty excited about it. If you’ve ever thought ‘those cheat days sure set me back, but I have to do them’, then this is the article for you. This new slow carb hack is not in the book, and it’s not necessarily one you’ll see discussed much online.

As we know, slow carb is a great method to easily lose fat, or control weight, and using it’s guiding principles, life doesn’t get much easier. No counting calories, eating regular, decent-sized meals, feeling plenty of energy and enjoying a healthier, and more lean physique are some of the benefits it offers.

Then there’s that awesome time of the week: cheat day.

Of course, I’ll bet that your first few cheat days were crazy affairs, with chocolate, hamburgers, fries, and all sorts of things flying left and right, all afternoon. I know mine looked like something out of a food-marketers pipe dream. But then, after a while, the appeal started wearing off.

And I’ve heard this from a lot of people: cheat day isn’t as fun as it once was.

There’s a few reasons for this – stomach aches, feeling nauseous, feelings of worry over gaining fat, and discomfort the next day with eating slow carb again.

These are some big challenges to deal with, and for some people, too big. So, some cheat days get skipped, or they turn out to be cheat meals, or cheat snacks even. Gone are the days of calorie-spiking and carbohydrate highs, making way for a more moderate method that isn’t looked forward to at all.

This isn’t right! And I’ll tell you why. Your body needs a cheat day. As you follow the slow carb meals all week long, you are most likely losing fat, and as you do that, this hormone in your body starts to slow down your rate of fat loss. Leptin is the hormone responsible, and it notices the change in your body, and let’s say, starts to get a little worried. Over time, leptin controls your fat loss, and slows it down, just in case the current state of affairs (your nutrition) remains the same for the long haul, and leptin needs to make sure you still keep some functional fat on your frame.

So, as leptin decreases, so too does the rate of fat loss. After a while, you can see how this could really lead to some plateaus and general frustration. So, the cheat day was born from necessity – all those fatty foods, and carbohydrates bump leptin back up again, so that you can continue losing fat at a good rate. Nevermind the slight fat gain due to all those extra calories – your net result, week to week, should be fat loss.

But here’s the problem. No one likes to see progress go backwards. I hate seeing it go backwards personally! And it’s hard to deal with the ‘one step back to take two steps forward’ idea.

The Hack

So, today, I can bring you an all-new slow carb hack that should help you have a wonderful cheat day, with plenty of treats, whilst avoiding a lot of the cheat-day blues that many people are getting.
It’s actually a very simple change to the slow carb program, however it has its roots in scientific research, and many thousands of people around the world have been putting the principles into practice in recent years.
Quite simply, to make this change, first enjoy a full and rich cheat day, and the following day, fast, all day. And by that, I mean consume no food, and drink only water, tea or coffee.

Now, I realize this may feel contrary to good practices, and perhaps against your better judgement, so I’ll give you a couple of good reasons why this works so well. And it works – the benefits could include reduced fat gain, faster fat loss, increase in muscle gains and other related effects.

The simple principle behind this recommendation is a theory called ‘intermittent fasting’. This is mentioned in the book, but only briefly, and since then, a lot more has been researched, experimented with, and written about intermittent fasting. It is quickly gaining support not just for its weight control aspects, but also for its health-improving abilities, and muscle-gaining benefits.

When you fast, your body makes some changes. These may include releasing extra growth hormone, as well as burning more of your fat for energy.

In case you’re concerned that you won’t have any energy – don’t be. With your cheat barely in recent history, you have stored plenty of extra energy around your body to be able to handle this.
And, if you are really dying for something to eat, a very small meal in the evening won’t hurt things too much.

During the day, drink plenty of water, and enjoy a couple of cups of green tea, too. And remember, for most of this fast, you’ll be asleep!

Ride out any hunger pangs by keeping busy, and keeping focused on what you stand to gain from doing this. By having a total fast day after cheat day, you will effectively balance out your extra calorie intake, by having a day of calorie deficit, and the net result could be equivalent to having a couple of regular days of eating.

With the absence of insulin in your bloodstream, your fat cells will be free to release energy back into your bloodstream, and as the hours fly by, your body will release growth hormone, more than it usually would under normal circumstances.

You may find your concentration is better, and the likelihood of stomach upsets and discomfort are far less, because you won’t be stuffing more slow carb meals into an already tired and perhaps stretched stomach.

If you are desperate in the evening, try a couple of celery sticks with almond butter, or perhaps a few eggs, fried with butter. Stay clear of beans if you can, you could even try an avocado and chicken salad made with green leafy lettuce and spinach. But generally, you won’t need to eat.

This will give you somewhere around a 30-36 hour fast, depending on your last time of eating on cheat day and your breakfast time on Monday. You might like to know this is the ideal window of time for the benefits that can come from a fast.

I will be writing more on intermittent fasting techniques, however, this is a standalone, and very effective change to the slow carb diet. I look forward to hearing results and experiences from you in the comments! Of course, if you have any medical issues related to blood sugar levels, then please exercise a lot of caution with this, and consider medical advice before deciding to do it.

No matter how scary it seems to go without eating for a day, it’s actually a very liberating experience. Give it a trial run; there’s nothing too big on the line, as you can always have a slow carb meal if you aren’t comfortable. It might take a bit of practice to build up to the full day, but I’m sure you can do it, and enjoy the benefits that come with it!

You might be interested in reading these too:

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81 Responses to New Slow Carb Hack for faster progress

  • Justin says:

    Great to see you on board with IF Luke.

    Fasting before cheat day can also be beneficial as well or fasting for the morning of cheat day then having a 1/2 cheat day is a great tool as well.

    I would also be careful with exercise and fasting. I like the lean gains style of fasting where the big cheat meal is immediately after a workout so you know the sugar->Glycogen are going to your muscles and not to fat stores.

    I think smarter cheat days would be beneficial as well. Eating good quality carbs like lots of fruit, roots and tubers. And avoiding bad stuff like wheat and vegetable oils, then you won’t have the upset stomach and digestion issues, but still are completely satiated and full of carbs :)

    • Luke says:

      Hey Justin, thanks for your thoughts!
      Good ideas, and definitely worth trying.
      I too think the LeanGains approach is a good one – though I have read some conflicting reports about fat storage switching on after exercise, I think if you’ve burned out your glycogen then the cheat meal will head there first.
      Smarter cheat days are definitely an option – and they can still be really fun too! Nothing like gourmet, rich meals.
      More on IF coming.. been enjoying some interesting experiments lately ;)

      Cheers!
      Luke

      • Justin says:

        Any links for the ‘fat storage switching on after exercise’

        If you mean insulin is released then I have heard that too. insulin is anti-catabolic for muscle (and anabolic for fat obviously). And glycogen store in the muslce and liver will be replenished before any fat storage happens. I don’t think that it is required to spike insulin after a workout but I think that it is probably the best time to do so.

        • Luke says:

          It’s a longshot, but I have a feeling that it’s come to mind, perhaps having read it in Gary Taubes’ book ‘Why we get fat’. I don’t have a handy reference right now sorry, but if it appears, I’ll definitely let you know. Something along the lines of the body potentially burning some fat during exercise, but then switching over after exercise stops.
          I’d agree if muscle gains are the focus, then insulin spikes aren’t a bad thing. And definitely from what I’ve read, glycogen storage gets replenished first, before fat storage. Makes sense really, the body uses fat storage as a last option.
          Cheers,
          Luke

    • Kalin says:

      I’m going to second Justin’s suggestion to try a fast prior to the cheat day or meal. Fasting before or after is going to really depend on the individual and their circumstances, but the re-feeding effect can be really dramatic especially for anyone trying to gain or maintain lean tissue. Of course this has to be modified to adapt to training schedules. I’ve been doing LeanGains-style intermittent fasting for a while but it didn’t really start to work its magic until I took the re-feeds a lot more seriously and really upped post-workout carbs and calories.

      That being said, many people will find that they’ve accidentally restricted calories to such an extent during the week of slow carb eating that they can’t function well on a full day fast until after their cheat day, and it can definitely act as a corrective with minimal discomfort as you suggest.

      As a side note, there’s been a lot of interesting research lately looking at autophagy as a potential common mechanism for explaining the broad-based health benefits from both caloric restriction/fasting, and exercise. We’re at early stages in this, but it’s really interesting since it goes beyond the hormonal explanations that are usually the focus of discussion around the benefits of fasting.

      See http://www.economist.com/node/21543129 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v481/n7382/full/nature10758.html http://www.cell.com/retrieve/pii/S0092867407016856 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969996109000047

      • Luke says:

        Hey Kalin, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
        For those focused on muscle gains, I think there are more effective alternatives to fasting after cheat day – like the leangains approach (training fasted, then enjoying a refeed after that).
        You’re right that a lot of people may not be able to endure a fast until after a cheat day, though some people may prefer it. One option there would be to actually fast from the last meal before cheat day, until sometime in the afternoon, yielding around an 18 hour fast which would still deliver a range of benefits. After this, cheat day could commence and go for the next 8 hours.
        Thanks for the links – they make for some very interesting reading!
        To quote one study : “Based on new understandings of the physiological functions of autophagy we now know that both basal levels of autophagy and stress-induced increases in autophagy are likely important in promoting mammalian health.”
        It seems like it’s very early days, but with further research, this area will be better understood, and more specific recommendations made. For now, it seems like intermittent fasting is a traditional and long-standing way to try to aide this process.
        Cheers!
        Luke

  • Justin says:

    Take a look at Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and HIIT. I wrote about it a long time ago here http://www.myfourhourbodydiary.com/2011/04/05/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-affects-on-fat-loss/

    The most fat burning is done after high intensity workout, which is why over the long term high intensity is better for fat loss, where as the short term low intensity burns more fat.

    There are counter points though Lyle Macdonald has a write up about that here http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/research-review/research-review-effects-of-exercise-intensity-and-duration-on-the-excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption.html

    • Luke says:

      Hey Justin, thanks for posting your article – it’s well worth a read for anyone who found this article useful, likewise the Lyle Macdonald article (for those who don’t know he is a very well-researched author worth reading).
      Cheers!
      Luke

  • Jason says:

    I’m going to second Luke’s hack as I’ve seen it provide results myself. I first pulled it out of Tim’s Christmas experiment from his kindle app. It works really well! And it also makes you feel better about “overdoing” your cheat day. ;)

    -j

  • Nice idea – may well give it a go as I get close to those ‘last few pounds’.

    Once question – do I also not have my protein shakes during this time? Just water and tea only?

    • Reverend Ken says:

      Stewart – fasting means no calorie or nutritional intake, so you would not have protein shakes (which are food) during your fast. water, tea, and coffee (no soft drinks, either).

      • Thanks Ken – I thought as much, but just wanted to double-check.

        So from an Occam’s or G2F perspective, I would want to avoid working out on either the Saturday (cheat day) or Sunday, since if I tried fasting as part of my Slow Carb/High-protein weekly mix I wouldn’t be taking in sufficient protein to repair the muscle, right?

        • Abhimanyu Ardagh says:

          same question!
          because if i am working out with 2 days of rest in-between that would mean

          M T W TH F SA S M T W TH F SA S (Days of the week)
          R W R R W C F W R R W C F W W=Work out
          R=Rest
          is it ok to not have your cheat days the same day each week? C=Cheat
          and it would mean that ever week the cheat day would move F=Fast
          back a day.

          • Luke says:

            Personally, I would throw in an extra rest day after your fast day, to keep it to a weekly schedule for now. As muscle develops, however, workouts will need to be spread apart more and more.. up to 5 days’ rest if you’re very well trained and pushing very heavy weights.
            The extra rest day I suggest certainly won’t hurt your progress.
            Cheers,
            Luke

          • Abhimanyu Ardagh says:

            ha 5 days!!
            i dont know if i could do that haha…
            hard enough with 2 days of rest
            but will work towards it!

            just feel like my mussels aren’t workout out enough then

          • Luke says:

            I know what you mean, but the more you train, the more you’ll find you are stronger, and can lift heavier weights. Plus, you’ll be really able to push yourself to absolute failure point. Combine this with plenty of sleep, and you could easily be recovering from that for up to 7 days afterwards.
            All the best!
            Luke

        • Luke says:

          You could in fact experiment with working out in the middle of your cheat day, as the calorie load could be distributed into your muscle cells, as well as fat cells. Just ensure you get a big dose of protein with your cheat day. If you fast the following day, it could argued that you don’t have sufficient protein for development and repair, however if you continue the following morning with a high protein breakfast, and keep that up, I think net-net your benefits are going to be higher with fasting, as it releases growth hormone, as one of it’s many effects.
          I’d be interested to hear your progress if you decide to go this route!
          All the best,
          Luke

  • Katie says:

    I started Intermittent fasting post cheat day a few months ago and it’s a great way to feel that you aren’t ruining your progress every cheat day. Glad to see you are endorsing it as well! most times i’m still really full from cheat day anyway so fasting is not too hard. thanks for writing about it!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Katie, good on you! Thanks for letting us know it’s working for you :) That makes it much easier for other people to get started!
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Reverend Ken says:

    I started doing an intermittent fast one or (usually) two days a week after reading ‘eat stop eat’3 months ago. I don’t know how good it is for weight loss – that wasn’t the reason I started fasting – many of the benefits have nothing directly to do with that. I recommend the E-S-E e-book, which was published 5 years ago, I think.

    Fasting has been beneficial.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Ken, great to hear from you.

      There’s certainly a lot of traditions and cultures that incorporate fasting into their healing and rituals, and I think that says a lot for ‘ancient wisdom’ filtering through to today. There are a range of health benefits to it.
      I also recommend eat-stop-eat – click here to check it out – http://www.fourhourbodycouple.com/link/eat-stop-eat/

      Cheers!
      Luke

  • Kendra says:

    Hey Luke! I was having that same problem with cheat days… just this past week I felt horrible at the end of my cheat day with bad stomach cramps as my body started reacting negatively to the increase in fat and carbs on those days. I had just read an article about fasting and so I decided to try it the following day. I was really surprised by how well it worked for me and the 24hr fasting was really bearable! I am glad that having read your article, I got confirmation that I am on the right track! Thanks!

    • Luke says:

      Hey Kendra, Great to hear from you.
      Really stoked to hear that it’s working out well for you! Good on you for experimenting with something new!!
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Tomas says:

    Sounds interesting. I actually thought that if there is a longer period of no food intake, your body stores most of the calories as fat, because it doesn’t know when the next meal is coming..

    • Luke says:

      This is a popular theory that unresearched websites, magazines, authors and even healthcare professionals will use, to keep people eating. Realistically, fasting provides a calorie deficit, and a large window of time when there’s no insulin in your blood, hence you’re able to burn your own fat for energy.
      The so-called ‘starvation mode’ that people talk about really is the muscle cells being used for energy, which, according to what I’ve read, kicks in at around day 3 of fasting, therefore I’d never recommend that. Fasts of 16-40 hours are ideal, especially when combined with weight training, you should see muscle gains.
      All the best,
      Luke

      • Tomas says:

        Luke, what about someone who has only a little bit of that stubborn fat left and otherwise is trying to gain muscle. Would this work?

        • Luke says:

          Hey Tomas,

          I think this would be a fantastic way of trying a new strategy for a plateau – by giving yourself a long time without insulin, the body is free to send more fatty acids into the bloodstream, from your fat cells. This gives you a chance to burn up more of it, and make it more likely to keep it off. Over a few cycles of this, perhaps 4 weeks, the body will become more used to the new lower bodyfat, and be more likely to stick at it, than try to gain back what’s been lost.

          All the best!
          Luke

  • mark says:

    HMM..

    IM NOT SAYING IT DOESNT WORK, AND IM GOING TO GIVE IT A TRY THIS WEEKEND, BUT:

    WHY NOT THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE STUFFING YOURE FACE WITH?? LAST WEEKEND I TRIED THIS BECAUSE I WAS GETTING FRUSTRATED WITH ADDED WEIGHT:

    MY CHEAT DAYS LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

    MORNING: REGULAR SLOWCARB BREAKFEST. PERHAPS WITH ADDED BACON OR SMOKEDE SALMON. KINGSIZE PORTION HERE.. TO REALLY FILL ME UP

    LUNCH:STANDARD SLOWCARB

    SECOND LUNCH: USUALLY DONT HAVE IT ON CHEAT DAY

    BETWEEEN LUNCH AND DINNER: FRUIT AND A BIT OF NAUGHTY STUFF IF I FEEL LIKE IT..

    DINNER: SOMETHING OTHER THAN SLOW CARB.. CAN BE EVERYTHING JUNK FOOD TO A REGULAR MEAL
    WITH THE INCLUESION OF BREAD,RIS OR PASTA AND GRAVY/SAUCE

    AFTER DINNER IS USUALLY WERE MY ACTUAL BINGE STARTS… A HUGE FRUIT SALAD. GRAPES,PINE APPLE,APPLE,PEARS,ORANGES, BANANAS AND KIWI… TOPPED WITH SOME VANILLA FLAVOURED CREAM.. SOMETIMES A BIT OF CHOCOLATE SAUCE.. I FEEL A DECENT SIZE CONTAINER, AND GO AT IT OVER THE EVENING TIL ITS GONE..

    RESULT? I HAD GAINED 1 KG THE MORNING AFTER (BEFORE POH)..AND I WAS FEELING QUITE FULL ALL DAY WITH ALL THAT FRUIT FIBER IN MY SACK. BY WEIGH IN DAY (THUESDAY) MY TOTAL WEIGHTLOSS WAS DOWN A FURTHER 1 KG..

    SO IM GOING TO TRY ALL FRUIT AS BINGE BEFORE A TRY STARVING MYSELF TO COMPARE..

    ALL THE BEST

    • Luke says:

      Hey Mark,
      Interesting results! Some of the weight gain from cheat day can usually be attributed to water retention (from eating extra carbohydrates), and extra food being digested. Your fruit cheat day sounds like an interesting plan, but if you’re going to try a fast the next day, you might be fine to include some carbs like bread, pasta, pizza, etc on your cheat day.
      Let us know how you go with it.

      All the best!
      Luke

  • Jason2 says:

    I’ve wondered about this and was thrilled to read your post (another great write-up). Would I skip PAGG and Athletic Greens on IF day too?

    Thanks!
    -jj

    • Abhimanyu Ardagh says:

      ya i was wondering about this too..
      since i am taking the supplements for the Geek TO Freak do then skip them on fasting day? because if i take Alpha Lipoic Acid and Slo-Niacin without food i get pretty itchy.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jason, really excited you enjoyed this article!
      I’d suggest skipping PAGG, as it works with the meals you’re eating, hence the timing of dosage.
      Athletic Greens would be fine to take, though if it stimulates your digestion and makes you feel hungry, you might want to skip it.
      Cheers!
      Luke

  • EA Nanes says:

    This is an interesting hack. I’ve actually fallen of the wagon and am now trying something else, but this may have me going back to slowcarb.

    • Luke says:

      It’s a great way to test a new method, keep things interesting, and get some results all in one. All the best getting back into it – do your best to change your environment (throw out other food, etc), and it should be easy to stick with slow carb.
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Dave says:

    Hi Luke,
    My wife and I enjoy your website and appreciate the articles very much. We are 9 hours through our post cheat day fast and are excited to see the results when we weigh in next Saturday. I have a quick question. Should we still take the PAGG supplement on the fasting day or should we make that the one day a week when we skip taking it? Thanks especially for taking the time to answer our question!

    • Luke says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for your kind comments. I’m very glad to hear you both enjoy our site!
      A fast day would be a perfect opportunity to take a day of PAGG. PAGG works with the meals you’re eating, hence it’s usual timing. So, with no meals, making this your day off PAGG sounds ideal!
      All the best with it :)
      Luke

  • Dave says:

    Luke,
    In a related question, what is your recommendation about consuming supplements on the fasting day such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium?

    • Luke says:

      A good question, and depends a little on how they react on an empty stomach – let this be your guiding method here. Supplements like those are best to continue with, however if they do anything to your stomach, then leave them out.
      Cheers!
      Luke

  • mitch says:

    Luke – took the fast-day challenge and after a really high caloric consumption day on saturday, challenged (punished) my self with fasting all day. Only water and coffee and a 3 mile run to kill time and so far it is going great. the science behind it seems sound and im feeling totally fine, not to mention unbloated. cant wait for breakfast tomorrow. the hack sounds like a great addition to the 4HB lifestyle.
    thanks
    Mitch

    • Luke says:

      Hey Mitch, good on you for giving it a go!! Great result too.. hope you enjoy it enough to make it part of your routine over time, or even something to do once per month, for example.
      All the best,
      Luke

  • Jan says:

    Again, good stuff! I tried it yesterday, after my cheat day on sunday. Around 8 pm, I had a can of tuna and that’s it. Lots of water, a few cups of coffee and 2-3 glasses of diet coke. That’s it… over a 38 hour period. I expected it to be much more difficult than it eventually turned out to be, so thanks for this great advice!

    Cheers, Jan

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jan, really glad to hear it was so easy! It actually surprised me in a big way too! It’s something that you expect to be very difficult.
      Look forward to hearing some of your results!
      All the best, Luke

  • Angela says:

    I tend to eat a bunch of healthy stuff on cheat day too (in addition to my cheeseburger and donut fix)… fruit, smoothies, sushi, raw chocolate bars (I am addicted to ombar!) and other things that I just don’t eat the rest of the week. The day after, I don’t fast, but I do detox with wheatgrass juice, water, green tea and a very light meal of fish, lentils or soup. Feel SOOOO much better for it.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Angela, that’s a really nice approach! I’ve heard of people doing lots of fruit, and other goodies that they can’t have during the week, but that aren’t fast food. I’ll bet you feel great! Sounds like your day after is quite light on food, though not a fast. This is a real trend, as people find they just aren’t hungry for loads of food after that big cheat day.
      Thanks for sharing your method! I’ll bet some people will try this and feel awesome.
      Luke

  • Dave says:

    Luke,
    I was so interested in intermittant fasting that I read Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat book. he states that IF should be combined with resistance training to maximize results. I had been doing your recommended 20 minute intensity workout but am thinking I should start using the machines instead. Would you or other readers offer your suggestions? I’m out of my league but am willing to try. Thanks again for your assistance.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Dave, thanks for your question. A very good one!
      Combining things like IF and resistance training gets you a multiplier affect. As does HIIT training, like the 20 minute intensity cardio I have written about. Programming a routine so that all three are included will get your cascading results, so I would aim for 1 or 2 HIIT workouts per week, plus 1 or 2 efficient high intensity weights workouts going to failure, like Occam’s protocol (heavy weights, low reps, around 120 seconds time under tension), plus 1 or 2 IF days.
      Eat Stop Eat is a good read – though there are other ways to do IF. For reference, common fasting intervals are 24 hours, 18 hours, and 12 hours. The ‘golden zone’ of benefits seems to be around 14/16 – 30 hours. Nothing gained by going any longer, not as many benefits going shorter (such as growth hormone).
      All the best!
      Luke

  • dave l. says:

    Luke,

    Week two of fasting after cheat day down, and results are definitely showing. This finally kicked me off the plateau I’ve been at for some time now. Thanks for the valuable info.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Dave, that’s awesome to hear!! Really excited for you. Thanks so much for leaving your results – I’m sure many other people will find them very encouraging!
      Luke

  • Hey Luke,

    tried your hack and it’s amazing. I can only recommend it to all of you! Here is my data:

    Cheat day Morning: 87,9 kg
    Fasting Day Morning: 89,8 kg
    Next Morning: 88,2

    That’s gonna be a great week! Thanks for the hack!

  • Graham B. says:

    Hi again Luke.

    Your hack to the cheat day, from my thinking, aligns with the Paleo way of eating. a successful harvest, that is, a large animal caugth and eaten by the tribe in a large feast, would be most likely be followed by a form of Intermittent Fasting.

    the hunters of the tribe would need to search again for their next large meal, which in many cases would be unpredictable, and therefore produce random inter-eating times, and therefore, IF, by default.

    Cheers

    • Luke says:

      Hi Graham, thanks for your comment.

      This kind of thinking is very close to sources I have read recently. It’s most likely that our forebears had to deal regularly with periods of no food consumption – suggestions range from 1 to 4 days at a time. Indeed what I have read is that the body’s true ‘starvation mode’ kicks in after around 3 days without food – much longer than what the proponents of constant-eating diets would have people believe (I actually read 4 hours the other day and almost choked on my tea!).

      All the best,
      Luke

  • AJ says:

    Now that is one interesting suggestion, never considered fasting alongside slow carb before. will you be posting an update on this anytime soon Luke?

    • Luke says:

      Hey AJ,

      Thanks for your comment. So far, I can let you know that I’ve had good feedback from quite a few readers, suggesting that they really like the fast day, and that it’s helping them in terms of settling their stomachs, and also progressing a little faster. The reality is that a fast day after cheat day is likely to be like adding an extra day or 2 of fat loss to a regular week (or taking a cheat day once every 8 or 9 days, not 7), so over time this effect could really add up, perhaps resulting in around 10-15% faster fat loss, but of course, that’s an estimate!

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Linds says:

    Wow, this was so refreshing to read, because I feel like such trash after cheat day that eating is torture the day after! We tried the fast this past sunday and I feel like my body was jumping up and down inside thanking me! It really did need more time to digest all the crap I ate!

    Now question, If you incorp. a cheat meal on wednesday, should there be any fasting on Thursday, or maybe all day thursday?

    • Luke says:

      Hey Linds,
      So glad to hear this helped you out!

      I haven’t heard of cheat meals during the week, unless you’re following a TKD – targeted ketogenic diet, which would be quite a bit different to slow carb. If this is the case, I could see a fast the next morning working well – maybe 18hr total, so you go back to eating in the afternoon/evening the day after. A cheat meal midweek doesn’t give you a lengthy time to be in a fat burning mode, before it is interrupted again, so if fat loss is your primary goal, sticking with one cheat day a week is better.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Nitin says:

    Hey Luke,

    So my first ‘IF’ day after a massive cheat day (dominos you make me so happy) ..
    I was wondering .. which of the following can we drink on this fast day: Green tea, Coffee (black or with splenda), Tea (other teas or english breakfast with splenda), Diet coke, lemonade (with lemon and splenda)

    Is it basically better to avoid sugar substitutes on the ‘IF’ day?
    Additionally, what do you recommend as alternations in my workout regime which is the following:

    1) 1 hour swimming (TI is my Bible)
    2) 75 kettle swings
    3) 2 legged glute activations
    4) flying dog

    Help would be highly appreciated.

    I’d like to add that your website is an EPIC supplement to the book and a good way to reinforce some experimentation into 4hb.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Nitin,

      Green tea is fine, coffee is fine, tea is fine. I would try to avoid any artificial sweeteners in general, and on a fast day it could spike your hunger levels and make things more difficult. Stick with lemon water rather than your lemonade.

      I’d suggest changing your 1 hour swimming to a much shorter, intense session. 1 minute intervals, for example, hard/easy, for 20-30 minutes.

      Thanks for the feedback! Really great to hear that you find my website so useful!

      Cheers,
      Luke

  • Pingback: Slow carb hack? Intermittent fasting « the overweight geek – a weight loss blog

  • Pingback: Slow carb hack? Intermittent fast « the overweight geek – a weight loss blog

  • Jamie says:

    My cheat day is Friday, but I can’t fast on Saturdays because of family commitments. How well does the “Day Before” fasting work compared to the Day after? I don’t typically feel bad after a cheat day because I cheat on pretty healthy carbs and fats, so that’s not a real issue. Seems like most folks are posting about their fasting day coming the day after.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Jamie, after makes a bit more sense, but for you I’d even suggest going with Sunday. I assume with family on Saturday you are back to eating slow carb? Try fasting on Sunday, until dinner time and then see how your results are. An intermittent fast can help at any time of the week.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Matt says:

    Thanks for the brilliant idea – I’m really excited to give it a go.

    Since starting this post, have you found generally that after is better than before? Is the difference mainly psychological, or is there a physiological benefit too?

    Cheers

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Matt,

      I think the benefit is both psychological and physiological. And in general, yes, better than before.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • Nicci says:

    Great read!! Thank you :) One query.. So I trained fasted on sat, then at around 3pm ate a mix of healthy protein and carbs (beans, chicken, tomatoes, cereal and oats) followed by more foods considered high fat, sugar, carbs etc (basically cookies, cake, lollies..). This was my ‘cheat day’. However, I went to begin my fast on the Sunday but found myself eating copious amounts of PB, chocolate, cereal, cookies, take aways etc at around 1pm! This lasted until around 20:30.. Was pretty gutted that I let this happen.. Simply had no control!! :( Today I trained fasted and plan on fasting until tomorrow lunch time.. Will 2 days of high calorie, ‘cheat foods’, affect my weight in the long run? Should I add another fasting day later in the week?? Thank you

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hi Nicci,

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Considering you had a few fasts, those 2 cheat days won’t have a massive impact on longterm weight loss, however its not something that would help fast fat loss if done each week. It’s all about your patterns – so if you have a once in 3 months event like this, the impact isn’t likely to be big, however if it was the routine.. then your results over a few months would be different. It’s about what you’re doing regularly that adds up.

      All the best,
      Luke

  • matt B says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate proper slow-carb (including protein shortly after rising, which Tim seems pretty insistent about) into my IF Routine (which, up to now, has been a 16/8 schedule with fasting until noon daily). The idea of fasting 1-2 full days per week had occurred to me, but I wasn’t sure if fasting right after the cheat day might nullify some of the beneficial effects of the refeed. Sounds like it shouldn’t be a problem, right?

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hey Matt,
      I wrote an article about intermittent fasting. There are some inconsistencies – but a 16/8 works well, with slow carb meals in the 8 hour window.
      Fasting after cheat day is an awesome idea :D .
      Cheers and all the best,
      Luke

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