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How to lose 300 lbs in just 392 days – An amazing story of fasting weight loss!

Written By Katherine O

The tale of Angus Barbieri who fasted for more than a year – and lost 21 stone

Author(s): Jon Brady

Publish Date: November 12, 2016

Difficulty Level: Fun light read. Amazing true story!

Sound like science fiction? Angus Barbieri was a real Scot who began what was meant to be a short fast in the summer of July 1965 and due to his desire to lose weight, he just didn’t stop fasting. He ended up losing almost 300 lbs and maintained a healthy weight for the remainder of his life.

Our thoughts:

  • If you’re looking for a little motivation to make it to the end of your 16 hour fast, this story is for you. We dare you to read this article and not finish your current fast strong. If Angus Barbieri could make it 392 consecutive days on a fast, what is another 45 min on yours? 😉
  • This fun read is complete with lovely old newsprint photos of Mr. Barbieri makes it is hard not to be in awe of his world record setting fast. And, let’s just say — his before and after photos are not to be believed!
  • Our favorite line in the piece is what he is quoted as having said to reporters on finishing his first and very modest meal after over a year of consuming only liquid (primarily water/coffee/tea): “I feel a bit full, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.” A “bit full” is surely a shocking statement to non-fasters, who often view hunger as a snow ball rolling down a mountain picking up steam.
  • In 50 years no one has beaten his record though including an attempt by David Blaine. However, Barbieri probably had a slight advantage given that he had a starting weight of 456 lbs.
  • To be clear, we don’t encourage you to race out and start your own 392 day fast (as tempting as I’m sure it is) — we’re sharing this more as a fasting novelty and evidence that much of what we were all told about fasting doesn’t hold true when you look at the evidence.
  • For those who can’t get enough of this extreme transformation:
    • Read the scientific paper documenting Barbieri’s experience and see how his glucose, electrolytes and how his results compared to similar studies.
    • See the full article from The Evening Telegraph here.
    • If you’re looking for a less extreme way to begin fasting, we’d suggest starting with Life in the Fasting Lane.

The Chicago Tribune also did a piece on this fasting world record.

Transcript of the article:

The tale of Angus Barbieri who fasted for more than a year – and lost 21 stone

by Jon Brady

November 12, 2016, 6:00 am

For most of us, dieting and trying to lose weight involves cutting out sugary snacks and signing up to a gym.

However, one Tayport man’s rather unconventional method of dieting still stands as a record today — 50 years on.

Angus Barbieri went to Maryfield Hospital in Dundee in 1965 where he remained for just over a year and shed an incredible 21 stone after going without solid food for almost 400 days.

He dropped from 33st 10lb to 12st 10lb after subsisting on a diet of tea, coffee, water and soda water, along with vitamins given to him by doctors. He ate nothing at all — not even a piece of fruit.

Angus, unrecognisable from older pictures, finally broke his fast with a breakfast of one boiled egg and some bread with butter.

Angus sits down to enjoy his first meal in 392 days in 1966

Angus sits down to enjoy his first meal in 392 days in 1966

After eating it all, Angus told the Tele at the time: “It went down OK. I feel a bit full, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

He had lost so much weight that he could fit another two people alongside him in his old clothes.

One estimate suggested that he shed as much as three-quarters of a pound a day, and five years after beginning to eat again he remained a healthy 14 stone.

During his fast, he was free to come and go from the hospital as he pleased, going in for two or three days at a time, and resisted eating when at home.

He even gave up working at his father Joe’s fish and chip shop on Nelson Street, which closed down in 1965 while he was fasting.

Angus’ story went around the world, with newspapers as far away as the US reporting on his feat.

He even became the subject of a study at the University of Dundee, where academics were keen to examine the effects that long-term fasting had on his body.

The study, which took place both while Angus fasted and in the years after, concluded: “Extended starvation therapy must be used cautiously.”

Angus was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records in 1971, with his extended fast noted as the longest a person had gone without solid food.

A spokeswoman from Guinness World Records told the Tele: “Hunger strike doctors estimate that a well-nourished individual can survive without medical consequences on a diet of sugar and water for 30 days or more.

“The longest period for which anyone has gone without solid food is 392 days in the case of Angus Barbieri of Tayport, Fife, who lived on tea, coffee, water, soda water and vitamins in Maryfield Hospital, Dundee, Angus, from June 1965 to July 1966. His weight declined from 214kg (33st 10lb) to 80.74kg (12st 10lb).”

The spokeswoman added that new attempts on the record are generally no longer accepted by the record-taking body.

She said: “Due to its specialist nature, the record title is not generally open for applications from members of the public.

“As a result, Guinness World Records may defer the verification of any attempts to beat this record to a third party or choose to reject the submission and keep the details on file for future reference.”

After recovering from his incredible fast, Angus continued to live a fulfilling life, raising two sons, later moving away to Warwick. He died in September 1990.

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