Fast Egg Diet
I want to lose weight relatively quickly while staying healthy. However, I don’t want to change what I eat. Instead, I want to reduce my caloric intake by incorporating some fasting. This article lays out the model I will use and why. Note, I am not a health expert by any means.
The biology (as I understand it)
Humans gain weight when they take in more energy than they consume. Our bodies store excess energy as fat, from which it can recover energy at a later stage. However, the body’s preferred way to get energy is to burn carbohydrates (aka carbs). The body will burn off all carbs before it switches state and begins burning fat. The fat-burning state is called ketosis because the process releases something called ketone bodies. We lose weight when our bodies are in ketosis.
The most common measurement of how much excess fat our bodies have is called the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI formula is based on weight and height and there are tons of calculators for it on the internet. The optimal range for BMI is 18.5–25. My current BMI is 28.
There are two ways to put our bodies into ketosis: burn more energy through exercise or reduce carb intake. We can exclude carbs from the food we eat and consume exclusively proteins and fat; this is called the keto diet. This diet does not seem appealing to me since I would have to learn new recipes, and I like the food I am eating now. Instead, I would rather eat nothing for a short while, and otherwise normal, this is called intermittent fasting.
There are many ‘models’ of intermittent fasting. But it boils down to the ratio between fasting and eating determines how fast we lose weight. The fasting rules are simple: eat nothing and only drink liquids with zero carbs, such as water, coffee, or diet soda. The most popular ratios are:
- 8:16 — You eat normally for 8 hours, followed by 16 hours of fasting, including sleep. Usually, this amounts to skipping breakfast.
- 5:2 (aka the Fast Diet)— You eat normally five days per week, and the last two, you eat less than 600 calories. Technically this is not a fasting diet since you can eat on the two fasting days.
- 1:1 — You fast every second day.
The simplicity of the 1:1 ratio appeals to me, and since the ratio is high, it should result in quick weight loss. This ratio is also the fasting diet with the most research behind it and has been shown to have life-prolonging effects. However, this research is based on life-long diets, which I am not going for; I plan to get my BMI comfortably into the optimal range (my target is 22) and then find another diet to stay there.
An important consideration when doing a fasting diet is that we only deplete our carb stores, not our water stores. We can protect against dehydration by increasing water consumption during our fasting periods. A side effect of this is increased urination, during which we also lose some vital minerals like salt. We have to replenish these during our eating days.
After a fasting period, it is recommended to ease into eating and not bombard our bodies with carbs immediately. We can address both the easing into eating and prevent mineral or vitamin depletion by making the first meal after fasting egg-based. Eggs contain loads of minerals and vitamins, and they are high in protein and very low in carbs. In addition, we can add salt to the eggs or add a salty low-carb component like bacon.
Since scrambled eggs and bacon (without bread) constitute a keto-friendly meal, i.e., are so low in carbs, our bodies probably stay in ketosis, or at least return to it quickly, we continue to burn fat. Essentially this makes our eating days similar to the 8:16 model. Putting everything together, this model is 8:40, eight hours of eating normally followed by 40 hours in ketosis. This diet is characterized by fasting followed by an egg-based breakfast, therefore I have dubbed it the Fast Egg Diet.
I have been following this diet for five weeks, and the results speak for themselves. When I started, my BMI was 28. It is currently down to 24,5, which means I have lost almost 11,6 kg (25,5 lbs). I have decided to stop here, as I am within the ideal range, and since I have a semi-active lifestyle it would be unhealthy to lose too much.
It was not easy to get into, especially the first couple of fasting days; while I was burning my carb stores, I was craving food so badly. Once my body adjusted to this new diet, my cravings (mostly) stopped, and I started feeling more energized and clear-headed than before starting the diet. I also tried challenging myself on the fasting days, working 12 hours or playing 2 hours of squash, neither was a problem.
After about three weeks I noticed that I ate smaller portions, so even on my eating days, I lost a bit of weight. A bonus effect was that I saved time on the fasting days when I didn’t have to cook, eat, shop for groceries, or wash dishes.
Remember: I am not a health professional or researcher. This diet may be dangerous, especially if you are diabetic or prone to eating disorders. Listen to your body and physician.