The great NBR fasting challenge: the results

Before: Waddling toward the initial weigh-in (see the video in the story for after)

A month ago, AUT Public Health Professor Grant Schofield visited NBR Towers for an interview about his new book, What the Fast? — which advocates skipping every meal but dinner on Monday and Tuesday, and going low-carb/healthy fat for the rest of the week (with some wriggle room for treats on Friday and Saturday).

It's partly about weight loss, and it's partly about the heightened mental alertness that comes with periodic fasting — which brings us closer to the fed/unfed cycle that people were geared for before modern times. 

NBR Publisher Todd Scott — looking to trim-down after a lifestyle change saw him give up jogging and add a few kilos, was keen to walk the talk, and not just interview Prof Schofield but take on a fasting challenge as well.

Yours truly was army-volunteered to join in.

So how did we do?

Todd was 80.9kg on May 7. June 7, he weighed in at 76.7kg for a weight loss of 4.2kg.

I was 120kg on May 7 (who knew Doc Martins were so heavy?). On June 7, I was 112kg after shedding 8kg.

Todd says he's pleased with his weight loss, especially given his exercise regime was walking the dogs rather than running.

He also feels sharper.

But the biggest difference was to his pharmacological regime.

Before May 7, the NBR publisher was on a daily does of 50-60mg of the anti-anxiety drug Escitalopram.

Now he's down to just 20mg. The cut-back was necessitated because the drug has to be taken with food, but the rise in ketones in his blood has compensated (a rise in ketones is the key element behind fasting and low-carb diets).

His doctor is really pleased. So is Prof Schofield, who says nutrition changes have front-line role to play in dealing with many issues which are usually addressed with drugs only.

RELATED VIDEO: Todd Scott's original interview with Prof Grant Schofield.

So what next?

Todd is going to keep on with his fasting regime. He's loving the mental benefits.

Me, I'm loving being able to tie my own shoes again.

I'll keep going, too. Mainly because while I'm off to a pretty good start, I'm still in no danger of fading away. 

But also because while the first day lived up to Prof Scholfield's prophecy of being hard (and it was made worse by drinking four coffees on an empty stomach; protip: that's a one-way ticket to nausea).

Yet the next day was better. As the for weeks wore on, it was hard, but not that hard. As Prof Schofield also predicted, my metabolism didn't fall, and I didn't feel dull or fatigued during the day. My main thought was: why didn't I do this earlier?

It helped that I didn't have to live like a monk. I clung to Prof Schofield's food diary in What the Fast, in which he chugs two beers on a Friday and three on Saturday, and wolfs down a couple of hash browns, too. The AUT academic's tolerance for the odd treat makes things liveable.

So cheers to a lighter, healthier NBR publisher and journo, and we'll check in again in another month.

And in case you're wondering, we're still both amateurs compared to Prof Schofield, who when he re-visited NBR this week was on day three of an extended, experimental fast, skipping every meal.

Prof Grant Schofield recommends, with any diet, that you consult your doctor before embarking on a low-carb/healthy fat/fasting regime.


14 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.


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14 Comments & Questions

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I have been doing a Tuesday/Friday regime for 4 years now. My weight was never really an issue, but I am leaner, off the cholesterol medicine, no longer in the danger region for glaucoma through high eye pressure and feel a heap better. I follow the original 5/2 idea where you can eat whatever you want for the 5, so I find that much easier. Keep up the good work, guys!

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It's interesting that you just eat normally on the other five days. I have to say I miss carbs. A loaf of warm ciabatta speaks to me. Most means just don't feel balanced without rice, bread or pasta. I really look forward to a few treat carbs on Friday and Saturday. 

It's also notable how much more you appreciate what you are allowed to eat, however. Todd has really got into his veggies -- and I agree with his comment that the steak or pork belly or whatever protein you eat to end your fast always tastes like the best meal of your life. 

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You have no bread (nor pasta, nor rice)?
Then eat brioche , ya peasant!
With plenty of eggs , cream and butter in it.
What the fat?

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No flour either, alas.

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I miss none of them. I sure don' t miss that hungry feeling any more . . . . .the one you get two hours after eating carbs.
But what you are not talking about is the good fats that you now eat , so you never hunger for carbs. That is the part that I like.

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Try the keto rolls from Farro, they are a fantastic bread substitute made from almond, coconut and seeds (all approved stuff).

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Seeing yourself on NBR View is a great way to learn you've porked up more than you thought over the past couple of years.

But there was also the incident where I needed a new passport photo taken.

I asked on Twitter (which always has the answers to everything): "How do I lose 20kg in half an hour?"

A PR professional shot back: "Hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth. It will make your face look more gaunt."

Thirty minutes later, I was at a chemist lining up to get my mugshot.

Chemist: "Just stand over there against the wall."

Me: "Okay"

Chemist: "Why are you making that weird expression?"

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I voted Labour in to lose money and equity from my hard earned family home !
A good way to lose weight by walking instead of using the car (petrol Tax) and living in a tent instead of paying capital gains tax on a house and reading hate speech every day ?

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Enjoyed Todd & Grants discussion

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Well done guys. A good start.

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The thing I notice these days is that people in general are such big eaters. The volume going into their mouths is enormous. I get a bit sick of people moaning about how big they are, and then shoveling in a mountain. If you're worried about your weight, try putting less in. I suppose it's easy for me to say having spent most of my life doing manual type work. But I have got into the habit of only having lunch and dinner, and that's it, nothing in-between, and really have next to no extra weight on me at all.
Like I said before, put less in, it works.

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I was a big eater. But the good thing about this diet is that when you restrict carbs, the ketosis you induce not only puts your body into fat-burning mode but suppresses appetite (or reduces is probably a better word. I could murder a sandwich right now)

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Yes! Portion control is so vital, especially for the carb and sugar laden diets that are now the norm in NZ. Look back to the 50's when dinner plates were the size of our 'side' plates now, even fruit and vegetables have increased in size.
The good thing with LCHF/Keto is the fat keeps you feeling full so you don't really have a huge appetite much of the time at all.

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Buying the What the Fat book totally changed my way of thinking around food and What the Fast is the next step..I love intermittent fasting, yes the first day can be tough, especially after a workout (I get a few hunger pangs) but they pass and by the end of day 2 I feel fantastic!
I've also done an extended fast of 43 hours and felt incredible, no hunger, massive amounts of energy and brain on fast forward...
Totally convinced this way of eating and fasting is right - for me at least - and see it as permanent.

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