A financial planner from Sydney has revealed how an "eating window" led to a 50kg weight loss in just six months.
Just six months ago, Josh Ellison was edging towards 200kg on the scales.
A life of fast food, soft drink, unhealthy snacking and almost no exercise — the 26-year-old says his life was spiralling out of control, and at his heaviest came in at 198kg.
It was a life the financial adviser said stemmed from a stressful work environment, which pushed him to reach for food in a bid to feel elation.
But after switching jobs, and being told he was the likely reason for his wife not falling pregnant, Mr Ellison made a drastic change.
Before heading back to work on January 8, 2018, Mr Ellison's first lifestyle change was narrowing his eating window to an eight hour period. This meant he would go at least 16 hours without food.
"I'd always been a bigger frame," he told news.com.au. "But working in the city made me pile on the weight.
"I'd buy every meal, and if I did cook at home it would be big bowls of pasta or rice.
"Pizza was my main weakness, I could have two at night if I wanted and then snacks after. All I drank was coke or juice, and then chocolate."
Eating takeaway almost every night, accompanied by bacon and egg rolls for breakfast, burgers for lunch and sugary snacks for afternoon tea, Mr Ellison was causing great strain on his body — and his relationship.
"My wife and I had been trying for four year for a baby," he said.
"We looked in to IVF, and did all the testing, and the problems were more on my side. I'd been looking after my brother's kids, and realised I didn't want to be an overweight dad.
In a desperate bid to lose weight before trying IVF, Mr Ellison said he started walking six kilometres each day, and narrowed his intake to just 1500-1700 calories between 12pm and 8pm.
"My diet was scary compared to today," he said. "I shocked myself my eating was that bad.
"I'd sit on the train and would take up so much of the seat. On a plane, I would get so anxious at the airport about someone sitting next to me and how squishy it would be.
"By not eating breakfast and counting calories, I lost 30kg before we started the IVF. It worked first go. I've now lost around 60kg in total."
The concept of fasting for between 16-18 has been praised by some doctors as being the key to losing — and keeping off — unwanted weight.
Dr Andrew Renaut, a Brisbane based specialist in laparoscopic, colorectal and general surgery, claims to lose weight, dieters should ditch breakfast — and use the morning to exercise on an empty stomach.
The program, called Nysteia, advocates a dieter stick to a six-hour 'eating window' regimen, and spend the remaining 18 hours without consuming food.
"We have a serious problem where we are slipping in to the worst health disaster of mankind," Dr Renaut told news.com.au.
"The thing with obesity is that you need to know what causes it, and most people don't understand how the human body works.
"What we have been doing isn't working, calorie restriction isn't working, and we are only getting fatter."
Today, Mr Ellison ensures he will have a large lunch that usually contains around 600 calories for a single serving.
"Usually it's chicken and brown rice, with piles of salad," he said.
"My afternoon treat is a skinny cappuccino or a Body Science protein bar to keep me full. "For dinner, I stick to meat and veggies and potatoes. Potatoes are what keeps me going!"
As motivation, Mr Ellison used Blackmores Sydney Running Festival as a goal to train towards during his weight loss journey.
"My main aim was to run the Blackmores Marathon, which is a 21km run," he explained. "Considering this time last year I couldn't jog 200m, it will be a really good achievement if I can get to the end and is one of the main things keeping me motivated."
While Mr Ellison is now used to his dietary change, he said the transition took a few weeks to adjust.
"I actually enjoy now," he said. "It's easy walking past bacon and egg rolls.
"I try drink 3 or 4 litres of water, which really suppresses my appetite as well. I was speaking to my wife about trying to lose weight, and wanting surgery. But she told me about the complications and convinced me not to, which is a decision I'm glad I made in the end and managed to do it myself.
"Because once the weight started falling off, I knew I could do it on my own."