In the 1960’s an obese man named Angus Barbieri had enough of his 456 pound frame and decided to do something about it. So under doctor supervision he undertook an endeavor I had no idea was physically possible. Angus didn’t eat food for 382 days. Nothing. He just stopped eating. And after some months, stopped pooping as well.
Angus just went about his life as normal, getting check ups regularly from his doctors and taking some vitamins. Over a year after his fast began, Angus had lost 276 pounds. Here are the before and after photos.
Is this Crazy?
Yes, a little. There have been reports of people who have gone on long fasting diets and have died. This is definitely something that needs to be done only under the supervision of a medical professional. But Angus isn’t the only one who has gone on very long fasts and seen amazing benefits. A reddit user claimed to have gone on a 77 day fast and lost 114 pounds. A quick search on YouTube brings up videos of people fasting for a month. Neither Angus nor the Reddit user gained the weight back either ( a common problem for dieters once they finish the diet). One can imagine that voluntarily completing a fast of some length will rid that person of any addiction they have towards food.
Fasting and Loose Skin
Many obese people who lose a lot of weight are left with an unattractive side effect. Loose skin. The fat is gone, but the skin has remained. Anecdotal reports of people who have fasted for a long time say that they have no problems with loose skin. Why does this happen? Dr. Jason Fung, who runs an obesity clinic, says that fasting catabolizes all that extra skin. Personally, I would love to see more data and a peer-reviewed study on this.
Should You Do It?
Obviously, a long-term fast is a serious undertaking and doctor supervision is absolutely necessary. It also requires great mental fortitude and willpower, although apparently it’s not as tough as you would imagine based on the reports of those who have done it. They say that after 3-4 days you become used to it and there is a bit of a “hunter’s high”. A sense of focus that one could imagine is a result of our biology saying “hey we need to be super aware and functional now so that we can find food.”
If you are obese it may be worthwhile to do intermittent fasting. That is, to not eat for periods of 24-36 hours quite regularly. Once you conquer that challenge, try for 3 days or more. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!