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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Eat Sh*T & Die(T): Book Review


I have another weight-loss book review for you today, but first a warning: if you are easily offended/ don't like swearing, you might just want to skip this one.

Eat Sh*t & Die(T) is self published by Max Cunningham. I have no idea who he is.  There is no bio in the book and a Google search got me nowhere except to the book website. Twitter account, and Facebook page. Is he a personal trainer? A life coach? A dog walker? I am not sure. But he does say in the book that he is not a doctor nor a nutritionist.  It seems like he's just a guy for whom this diet approach worked well for so he wants to share his secret. 

What diet approach, you ask? Intermittent Fasting (IF). Nothing new, actually, but also an approach that is gaining credibility among some experts. 

You may recall I reviewed the 5:2 Diet a while back and actually had no major issues with it. Like all diets, its really effective if you follow it consistently, the question is can you (and be happy)?

When I started the book, all the swearing seemed gratuitous, but as I got further into it, I realized its written like the author - much like many of my clients and most yoyo dieters - is fed up with various experts and faddish diet plans telling him what he can and can't eat.

Despite what the many militant diet gurus out there spew out, there is little evidence that in order to lose weight and maintain the loss, you need to: eat low/no carb, high fat, Paleo, gluten-free, etc.  You need to cut caloric intake (and preferably improve diet quality/nutrition) so whatever way you are able to do it, is what is going to be effective for you, so long as it provides you with a lifestyle you enjoy enough to maintain long-term.  Get it?

Intermittent fasting is just one method of eating that allows some people to cut calories and sustain themselves on a lower calorie intake without feeling hungry or deprived. 

Some will claim that getting your body into an actual fasting state helps burn fat, but I think like all the other stuff, there isn't yet enough evidence about that to consider it fact.

Anyways...

Cunningham's preferred method of IF is to fast 16 hours from after his evening meal to midday the next day.  Then he eats 2 daily meals, one around noon and one in the evening.  No snacks.  He also discusses something similar to the 5:2 where you are eating normally 5 days a week and just cutting calories fairly significantly (like to 500 cals) on the other 2 days a week. 

I honestly don't have a problem with anything he says in this book, though I don't like that the focus is mostly on fat loss rather than health.  But I suppose he's trying to appeal to those (and I have clients like this), absolutely adamant they will never give up (fast food/ice cream, chips, etc.).  The point is that if you time your meals appropriately and eat an appropriate amount when you do, they you will lose fat no matter what you are eating.  He does recommend trying to stick with healthier foods, and points out what I have repeatedly lectured you all on, that healthier foods are often lower in calories so you can eat more of them, which means you will feel more full (i.e. 100 calories baked potato versus 5 French fries for 100 cals).  He also recommends staying away from refined carbs because they have so little satiating power.  Again, I agree.  Protein and fibre and some good fat go a long way making you feel more full!  Protein is also essential when dieting to prevent muscle loss.

So my only problem with IF is that I just don't think it can work for many highly active people.  He says he works out hard and still manages to do it no problem, but for me, I just don't see how I could make it work. But that's because of when I do my workouts. 

Since I do my workouts right upon waking at 5am on an empty stomach, there is no way I could wait until noon to eat.  I would be all kinds of hangry.  Actually, I could probably do it if I could divide my food into 3 meals.  Because even if I could wait until late morning to eat, I couldn't go without anything else until evening (which is what Cunningham recommends if you tend to be hungry in the evening, which I am). But maybe if I ate an early dinner it would work? But then I think I'd be so hungry after my workout in the morning that I wouldn't be able to delay my meal.  So yeah, maybe if I ate 3 meals within the eating window hours.

Again, I will warn you that this book is not for the faint at heart.  On one page he reminds readers that you have to avoid ingesting sperm during your fasting hours because it contains calories.  That kind of blew my mind (pun intended!).

Cunningham gives general calorie recommendations but aside from suggesting readers avoid refined carbs, he leaves what you eat up to you.  I am sure this will be welcome news to most folks who want to be able to continue eating their favorite foods. 

He claims the diet will work even if you exercise, but says exercise will boost your weight loss and even provides quite a few workout tips and a weight lifting sample program at the end.

So do I recommend this book? F*ck yes! But only if this whole IF idea appeals to you and you can handle all the swearing, etc.

Just make sure you consult your doctor before trying IF because it is not appropriate for all individuals (pregnant/breastfeeding women, diabetics, etc.) and can be dangerous.

Disclosure: The author sent me the book to review but all opinions on this blog are my own.