Do I need to fast for 24 hours?

by Brad Pilon

Hi Brad,

Came across your blog from Zen Habits and I have been doign the fast 2x/ week for 3 weeks now. Will it have the same affect if I am able to fast for 20-22 hours instead of full 24 hrs? Also, can we drink tea? Thanks!

24 hours was chosen mostly for its simplicity (it’s really easy to know when to stop your fast).

Most likely you will get almost the exact same results fasting for 22 as you would for 24. However, make sure you keep your fasts goal oriented (aim to hit 24) and if you can’t hit 24 hours make sure you know exactly why.

And, ‘I got hungry’ doesnt cut it.

You need to know what cues made you want to eat, and this is very important as these cues are so powerful that they were able to make you break your fast with only 2 hours left.

Indentifying these cues would most likely have profound effects on improving your eating on the days you are not fasting.


PS – Yes, tea is excellent during your fasts.


Marcello June 30, 2009 at 4:16 am

Hi, Brad.
I read your book and started ESE, but I stopped after some weeks. I understood why: I started with 2 fasts, with no resistance training (two big mistakes). Now I’m going to start KB training, and I feel this will be the good time.
I just wanted you to know that your “not so high” protein approach is confirmed by a very serious person we should listen to, although he’s not a scientist: “Regarding your question [he’s talding with Dennis B. Weis] about the grams of protein per pound of muscle bodyweight, I have done studies on this, and I’ve read more on protein than you can shake a stick at. If you’re consuming 1/2 gram of protein per pound of muscle bodyweight regardless of how hard you train, that’s all you need for repair and muscle growth; that’s it. Any more than that will either be stored as fat or you can consume it as fuel”. Who said that? Well, a “decent” bodybuilder called Bill Pearl…
The post was lengthy, hope it was worth the read. Best wishes.

Travis July 1, 2009 at 11:42 am

Hi Brad,
In keeping with the theme of this post, in your research, have you noticed a certain amount of time without food that it takes for your body to burn fat. I like the ESE approach and I (think)I understand that your body is always burning and storing fat, but my plan is to use behavior modification to eliminate all snacking and only put food in my mouth 2, or at maximum three times a day. We are looking at 6-8 hours between meals 1 and 2 and another up to 16 hours until the next meal. I want this to become my lifelong eating habit. Would I be burning fat between each meal? What are your thoughts on the plan? Last but not least, thanks for the informative and entertaining site!

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