- David Harbour told GQ he used intermittent fasting to lose weight for “Stranger Things” season four.
- He said the diet was more challenging over time as he lost 75 pounds total in seven months.
- Research suggests fasting can help cut calories, but may not always lead to more weight loss.
“Stranger Things”actor David Harbour lost 75 pounds to play a leaner version of Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper, and said rigorous intermittent fasting helped with weight loss, but was “intense” and left him often hungry.
Initially, he said he didn’t stop eating foods like burgers and pancakes, and lost weight since he was eating fewer calories overall because of the limited time period.
“It really did work for me. I don’t know if it’s just code for starvation but it’s basically like… I was hungry a lot of the time,” he said.
Harbour said the weight loss became more challenging over time, and he had to cut out sugar and calorie-dense foods, eat more vegetables, and make his diet “cleaner.” To break through weight loss plateaus, he had to balance making his diet more restrictive with avoiding an unhealthy attitude toward food.
“There’s a fine line between an eating disorder and how far you can push,” Harbour said. “By the end, like right before we shot that scene, I was eating basically, like, cardboard.”
In total, it took him about seven months to lose the weight, and he had to maintain it for a year for filming interrupted by the pandemic, Harbour told GQ.
The actor said he’s since tried to continue intermittent fasting, usually skipping breakfast, and eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but is less strict.
“I also have my days where I just have to grab the Nutella from the cupboard and go in with the spoon,” Harbour said.
Evidence is mixed on the benefits of intermittent fasting, according to research
Despite being popular among Hollywood stars trying to lose weight, including “Thor” actor Chris Hemsworth, intermittent fasting may not lead to better results than other diets, research suggests.
Studies that show weight loss with intermittent fasting suggest that it may work by helping people reduce their calorie intake.
But a 2020 study found intermittent fasting it may not boost weight loss in every instance, and may be more likely to cause muscle loss.
Intermittent fasting also may not be safe for everyone, and people with current or previous disordered eating habits should avoid it.