If you want to lose weight without giving up all your favorite foods, you might consider the Eat-Stop-Eat diet. A form of intermittent fasting that involves fasting up to two times per week, Eat Stop Eat has become a popular alternative to eliminating certain food groups entirely. Much like the 16:8 diet and the 5:2 diet, Eat Stop Eat can also help you achieve your weight-loss goals — as long as you do it correctly.
What is Eat Stop Eat?
Eat Stop Eat involves fasting for 24-hour time periods one or two times per week, according to founder Brad Pilon. During the other five or six days, Pilon recommends that you eat "responsibly," without needing to diet.
"On the days you are eating, you can have three meals per day or 20," Pilon writes on his website. "As long as you are eating responsibly and keeping your overall intake in check, I’m okay with any pattern of meals that works for you."
Pilon originally wrote a book on Eat Stop Eat, way back in 2007, but he released a new and expanded edition in 2017: Eat Stop Eat: Intermittent Fasting for Health and Weight Loss ($19.99, Amazon). Considering the immense popularity of intermittent fasting among dieters these days, it's no surprise Pilon's idea is causing such a stir in the health world now.
The good news is that science backs up intermittent fasting in general — including fasting plans that are similar to Eat Stop Eat — as an effective weight-loss tool. For example, one 2011 study published in Obesity Reviews found that up to 12 weeks of intermittent calorie restriction was as effective in weight loss and fat loss as daily calorie restriction. Another 2012 study published in Nutrition Journal found that obese women who "severely restricted" their food intake for one day per week through intermittent fasting were able to lose weight effectively; furthermore, it also helped them lower their coronary heart disease risk.
How to Do 'Eat Stop Eat' Correctly
We know what you're wondering right now: Do you really go a whole day without eating anything at all on this diet? Here's what the 24-hour fasting period really means in the context of Eat Stop Eat: You can eat anytime before your "start time" of fasting and anytime after your "stop time."
So let's say you start your fasting period at 9 a.m. That means you can eat a meal before the clock hits that time. Then, you can resume your normal eating schedule the following day after 9 a.m. strikes again. As Pilon puts it, some people do better with this type of fast once per week or twice per week, depending on their schedules and specific weight-loss goals.
In terms of what you can eat on the Eat-Stop-Eat diet, you'll be happy to know that Pilon says you can follow any eating style you wish, including the paleo diet or a vegan diet. On the days you aren't fasting (which is most of them), you have tons of freedom.
It's worth noting that these plans may not fit every lifestyle, especially if you go out to eat a lot with friends and family or if you have traditions of eating certain meals at specific times with loved ones. As always, talk to your doctor before you start any new eating plan, including intermittent fasting.
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