I‘ve been experimenting with and enjoying a LCHF diet now for about 2 months. As a newbie, I am scouring the Amazon book section to find well-sourced and medical based information. Since I have decreased my carbohydrates, I just feel better every day and want to explore where my “carb comfort zone” is and hopefully shed a few more inches!
My most recent purchase is “No Fail Fat Burning For Women” by Skye St. John and Michelle Burleson. With a title like that, how could I not purchase it! The book has 118 reviews (as of today) with a 4.2 star average on Amazon.com. The 5 star reviews are quite positive (63%) regarding the weight loss success of her program. The 4 star reviews total 16% with the remaining 3, 2 and 1 stars comprising the remaining 21% of critical (didn’t work, not enough information, too hard, etc) reviews. Only 2% of the total reviews are 1 star.
One of the criticisms on Amazon is that her tone can be a bit too aggressive at points. I disagree and I enjoyed her direct style and basically telling women that if they don’t change their habits, nothing will change in their lives. One of my dislikes was the feminist banter about how “we (women) can take over the world” nonsense. It’s just one of my big pet peeves- I’ll believe women “can take over the world” when 50% of the power and electricity repair force is female and they go repair downed telephone lines in the middle of a snowstorm somewhere. But that’s simply my bias and has nothing to do with the program. Some reviews accuse her of “fat shaming”. Once again I disagree with this accusation. I think the author’s frustration is relatable and understandable- so many women experience this. My thoughts are that it’s simply her personal story and some people will be offended by anything.
“No Fail Fat Burning For Women” is a short and easy afternoon read. St. John lays out a ketogenic- type diet plan (30 grams or less of carbs/ day) with an intermittent fasting program, specifically for women. It is a great non-technical beginner’s guide to ketogenic and LCHF diets, so this is a very pleasant change! Her writing style is direct and she grabs a high level of commitment early on in the book. As a clinician, I really appreciate this and I found myself easily committing to intermittent fasting, even though I had serious hesitations. She does NOT cover macros or the specifics of ketosis and testing for ketones. Nowhere does she explain how to count macros, or why, but instead focuses on keeping carbs under 30 grams per day for the program. I suggest you download one of many great apps online to manage your macros- Carb Manager is my absolute favorite and use the keto setting (5 net-25-70) or customize. St. John does not distinguish between net or total carbs- so basically a book for beginners. It is difficult to actually manage carb intake successfully without a carb tracker and focusing on NET carbs, versus whole carbs. If you are looking for a more technical guide for ketogenic diets or LCHF, you will be disappointed.
Now, on to the heart of the book, her 10 Day Carb Depletion Program! Just to give a little background first…. prior to starting her program, I completed my own step down program taking me from my previous weight lifting macros at roughly 36% carbs per day to 12%. What a difference! I stabilized at 12% for around 1 month and I felt great. I decided to experiment and see if I could reduce my fat stores and some inches! Could I do intermittent fasting?
|Body Fat %|
|Chest (above breasts)||31.5||31.25|
|Hips (at widest)||36.5||35 7/8|
|Upper arms R/L||11.75/11.5||11.0/ 11.25|
|Mid Thigh R/L||20.75/ 21.0||22.0/21.0|
Although my weight did not change very much, my body composition definitely did! The greatest loss in size was around my waist and hips. My pants feel MUCH looser and my butt and inner thighs shrank noticeably. Vince Gironda, a golden era bodybuilder who used LCHF, was well known for saying that back squats make your ass fat. Whether its the lack of back squats for almost two weeks or the program, things are smaller! My upper body leaned out and my arms did as well. There are either accuracy errors in measurements or a redistribution of body fat when examining the thigh measurements. Although the measurements show an increase, my pants do fit looser. I am very pleased with the limited and small weight (mass) loss. Muscle is costly to build and this proved to me that LCHF and keto indeed DO preserve muscle mass even at lower protein intake levels (I was getting around 90 grams/ day) AND without exercise (at least for 10 days).
I stopped exercising during the 10-day program and instead walked daily for just 30-45 minutes every morning. St. John recommends exercise twice a week for 20 minutes. I completed one of her workouts on day 2 and felt terrible afterwards. For women who are just getting started in movement, it’s a fantastic start- the workouts are calisthenic type home routines you can do with very little material investment. For the more experienced, her routines leave a lot to be desired moving forward out of the 10 day program.
My conclusion is that “No Fail Fat Burning For Women” is a fantastic starter for the “keto curious”. You will lose fat, inches, and weight with this program. You will need more information though if you want to sustain this and figure out your carb comfort zone and matching fitness goals. If you are eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) or are a high carb athlete, I recommend a LCHF program at around 20% carbs prior to starting. Not everyone needs reduction in carbs this drastic and I cant imagine everyone will do fine intermittent fasting- many women can successfully lose weight and inches at higher levels of carbs. If you are looking for a program to support you as you transition, I recommend this program. I surprised myself with the Bulletproof intermittent fasting and will continue to use this technique, just not daily. I also have to remind myself that those fat calories DO add up!
I will continue reading and exploring stories of athletes and lifters who use keto and LCHF as their nutritional practice and see what I can learn from them. Not a lot of detailed clinical information, but not everyone is looking for that. Overall, a great book to learn about a LCHF and keto type diet!