It’s no secret that America has an obesity problem. There are more overweight individuals in the country than there are healthy-weight, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse before it gets any better.
There’s no point in being rich if your body is in shambles. Money means very little if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it; if you suffer from chronic pain due to obesity, or die early from heart failure.
As I inch closer and closer to the ‘dirty 30’, health is always on my mind. Every day, I’m realizing how important it is to take care of this one body that I have!
That’s why I’ve recently committed myself to getting into the best shape of my life.
And although this blog is mainly dedicated to personal finance and early retirement, I do believe there is a strong correlation between physical health and financial health.
So needless to say, I’m super excited to share with you the results of my intermittent fasting experiment!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting has gained a ton of traction over the last few years; and claims of benefits vary wildly from: reducing body fat, improving insulin sensitivity, lowering inflammation, to even fighting off cancer.
As the science and popularity behind I.F. grows, more and more success stories will be created. I decided early on that I wanted to be one of those.
Results will obviously vary based on the individual. To put things into proper context, here’s my baseline:
- 28 yr old Korean-American Male
- 5 feet 10 inches
- General good health w/ no pre-existing health conditions (i.e.- diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)
- Moderate activity level (play full court 5v5 basketball 2-3 times a week)
My Experiment Parameters
- 18-20 hour fasting windows
- 4-6 hour feeding windows
- No calories consumed during fasting windows. Black coffee or unsweetened teas allowed during fasting.
- Eat “whatever I want” during feeding windows.
- No fat burners, shakes, or supplements.
- Completely disregarded counting calories or macros.
- No lifting weights or gym time allowed.
Essentially what this meant for me was: I’d eat my last meal around 8 pm every day, and then wouldn’t eat again till about 2-3pm the next day.
In order to have ‘cleaner’ results, I decided not to take any supplements or have any “extra” exercise sessions beyond the typical amount of basketball I play every week for leisure.
My Entire Food Log
Day 1: Two Bananas, Chicken Wings, Fries
2: Instant Ramen, Eggs, Banana, Poke Bowl, Chips, Candy
3: Bagel + Cream Cheese, Meatballs, Takeout Chinese
4: Chicken Fingers, Roast Pork, Korean BBQ
5: Banh Mi, Japanese BBQ, Soba Noodles
6: Lasagna, Chicken Dumplings, Tofu
7: Panda Express, McDonalds
8: Banana, Bagel, Shake Shack, Ramen
9: Banana, Bagel, Tacos, Pizza
10: Banana, Korean BBQ
11: KFC, Chinese Food
12: Chipotle, Pork Katsu
13: Korean Food, Colombian Burger
14: Snapper Escovitch, Five Guys
15: Jerk Chicken, Fish Tacos
16: Panda Express
17: Wings, Fries, Pot Roast
18: Firehouse Sub, Texas de Brazil
19: Bagel, Japanese Ramen
20: Thai Food, Kimchi Jjigae
21: Popeyes, Wingstop
22: Kimchi Pork Belly, Lomo Saltado
23: Hibachi Steak and Shrimp
24: Bulgogi, Kimchi Jjigae, Chinese Food
25: Pollo Tropical, Chinese Food
26: Pho, Boba, Kalbi
27: Kimchi Jjigae, Korean Food
28: Sushi, McDonalds
29: Checkers, Candy
30: Beef and Broccoli, Bonchon Chicken, Ice Cream, Chips
This log doesn’t even keep track of the shameful amount of soda I drank this past month. Can you tell I took the “eat whatever I want” part literally?
Note: I wasn’t keeping track of calories, I just ate until I felt full.
I’m pretty sure I was regularly exceeding 2,000 calories per day.
My Before & After Results
24.9% body fat
23.2% body fat
Lost ~8 lbs.
Dropped over 1% of body fat.
Dropped a full point on BMI.
Some Final Thoughts
Sustainability is the key to any weight loss program. Crash diets don’t work. They’re called that for a reason.
I chose intermittent fasting because out of all the diets I’ve tried (and I’ve tried ’em all), it’s the most sustainable for me. (I can literally see myself following I.F. for the rest of my life. I can’t say the same thing about low carb!)
I’m not a breakfast person. I was already used to skipping breakfast every day and having only coffee in the morning. Before I did I.F., my first meal would usually come around noon. That meant all I needed to do was push back lunch by ~2-3 hours every day. That’s it.
A part of me wished I had more drastic or “crazy” results, but these are my real no BS numbers.
I noticed the biggest jump in weight loss the first week, as my body was trying to adjust and probably lost a bit of water weight. The pounds lost then began to taper off a bit as my body got used to the on-off fasting cycle.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the results.
Through this experiment I was able to lose weight while:
- Not counting calories or restricting carbs
- Not intentionally increasing activity level
- And frankly, eating like total garbage
Not to mention there were a ton of other side-benefits to intermittent fasting that I wasn’t expecting. (Less money spent on meals, increased productivity from not eating lunches, etc.)
The big takeaway here is this: Whether you’re in the worst shape of your life, or just have a few extra pounds to lose – PLEASE START taking care of your body.
If the correlation between physical health & financial success is any guide, getting leaner could be as important to your wallet as finding out your net worth.
I hope this experiment encourages you to start your journey back to a “healthier you”.
We only get one life and one body to live in. Let’s make it a good one.
Mr. Smart Money
PS: I plan on doing more experiments like this in the near future. If you want to stay up to date on my results from those, subscribe to the email list!