Eating Patterns

The Warrior Diet entails spending the majority of your day fasting or under eating and then indulging in a large meal at night. Exercise is also integrated into the plan, and workouts usually are scheduled during the times you are not eating. “It is essentially modeled after a ‘warrior’ lifestyle, the idea being that ancient warriors would eat very little during the day because they would spend their days hunting, gathering, fighting, etc., and would subsequently prepare and eat one big meal at night,” says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, MS. Those on the Warrior Diet are instructed to eat minimally during the day, usually for a period of about 20 hours. Fluids are okay, and very small snacks are allowed. Then at night, one large meal is consumed. There are certain food combos and pairings that are recommended as part of the diet plan and some that are to be avoided, but protein and vegetables are always allowed to be consumed together.

The 5:2 diet involves restricting your calorie consumption to 25% of your energy (calorie) needs, two days a week, and eating normally the rest of the time. This means you’re consuming less calories – so you will lose weight. Plus there’s a health bonus – intermittent fasting – the general term for these kinds of diets – is thought to help your body repair its cells, which may help prevent diseases including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Many people also report improved results in health tests like blood pressure and cholesterol testing, alongside significant, and sustainable, weight loss. For many of us, the fasting days also make us much more aware of what we eat all the time, so we make healthier choices and savour every meal. Increased energy and a feeling of freedom from cravings and anxiety around food is also really common.

The 16:8 Leangains Protocol is easy to implement. But it does take a lot of adjustment at first. One area of adjustment involves having to skip breakfast and push back mealtimes. The other has to do with your behavior and relationship towards food. Most of us are conditioned to eat breakfast within minutes of waking up. With the Leangains Protocol, you are recommended to skip this meal altogether as part of your 16-hour fast. This can put you off-kilter if you’re a regular breakfast-eater. You’re expected to experience hunger pangs, headaches, cravings, and general weakness of the body upon starting this protocol. You may be irritable, prone to anger, and unable to focus as well. However, the body usually adapts to the new eating pattern within two weeks. Additionally, you’re recommended to do one-hour workouts of varying intensity five days a week. If you’re mostly sedentary, your body may resist this change in your routine. But these workouts are necessary to deplete your liver glycogen more quickly and trigger the body’s fat-burning ability. You are given the freedom to choose when to do your workout, but it’s strongly suggested that you do so an hour before your first big meal of the day. And don’t worry – as long as you don’t overdo it and you are in control of your food intake, you don’t need to worry about losing muscle while doing fasted workouts.

Weight-loss guru Brad Pilon based his plan “Eat Stop Eat” on the theory of intermittent fasting, which focuses on when you eat rather than the types of foods you include or restrict. According to Pilon, who has a background in the sports supplement industry and nutrition, scientific evidence indicates that brief, regular fasts promote weight loss and retention of muscle better than diets that eliminate certain foods or cut your number of daily calories. As a bonus, intermittent fasting may also lower your risk of chronic diseases. Pilon’s plan involves fasting up to two times a week, and it does not require you to give up any specific food group. This type of regimen does have drawbacks, however, and may not be for everyone.