Author Topic: Intermittent fasting  (Read 10355 times)

Offline HungryGuy

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Intermittent fasting
« on: February 28, 2010, 10:12:44 PM »
I've tried IF with some success.  I haven't lost that much weight yet, maybe about 5 pounds.  I usually skip breakfast, and maybe skip lunch on certain days.  Still, I find that I always am getting hungry around dinner time.  But I never thought of it in terms of "conditioning" before.  So maybe I should mix it up a little, just to see if that works.

Offline HungryGuy

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2010, 10:42:53 AM »
I've tried IF with some success.  I haven't lost that much weight yet, maybe about 5 pounds.  I usually skip breakfast, and maybe skip lunch on certain days.  Still, I find that I always am getting hungry around dinner time.  But I never thought of it in terms of "conditioning" before.  So maybe I should mix it up a little, just to see if that works.
I've been doing IF for about a month now. Also using some of the tips from the deconditioning diet page.  And I am down 10 pounds from where I started, to 187 pounds, plus I am wearing a smaller pants size, so I've lost a lot of fat around the middle.  Unlike previous diets, I am never hungry, and I have more energy. I am skipping breakfast and lunch on most days but about once or twice a week I have lunch instead of dinner. I think this helped me to avoid getting hungry around dinner time.

Offline Jbird

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 03:46:43 AM »
Congratulations on your weight loss progress, HungryGuy! I'm glad IF is working for you.

Offline HungryGuy

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2010, 06:30:21 AM »
Thanks, Jaye.

Another week, and down another 5 pounds, to 172!  I'm just eating dinners most days, but on Tuesday and yesterday I ate lunch instead of dinner just to keep my body confused.  Although it really wasn't that confusing.  I would never have believed that I could get by on so little, I've probably cut my intake from 2500 calories to maybe 1200-1500 calories a day, but I don't feel deprived.  It really makes me wonder how much of our eating is just habit.  Why do we think we need to eat 3 meals a day?  So many of our wants are just conditioned.  Well, I better not get too cocky about this, let's see how it goes.  I will probably reach a plateau soon because I can't just keep losing at this rate, right?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 01:32:26 PM by HungryGuy »

Offline Jbird

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2010, 06:53:12 AM »
Hi Hungry Guy: You may need to change your screen name! I'm glad you are continuing to experience great weight loss, and I think the awareness you are gaining is really noteworthy too! I don't think you said what your goal was, but as you get closer, things are likely to slow down. I hope you don't get discouraged if you hit a plateau. I have found that staying involved with an online community (here and at sethroberts.net) has helped me persevere through the dribs and drabs of weight loss I'm experiencing as I zero in on my goal. I'm about 4 lbs. away from a BMI of 21%, and when I get there, I'll re-evaluate whether I need to lose more or just try and maintain. I feel good about the process even when I don't see progress on the scale. I think that's a first for me! As for what you said about our wants being conditioned, I totally agree. Besides the notion that we should eat three times a day, I'm also struck by how we are encouraged to think we need to have infinite variety. Ever since I got a dog, I've been struck by how he is happy eating exactly the same thing every day. He eats when he's hungry, usually twice a day. Eating isn't a big production, and he maintains a perfect weight. He's happy, healthy and full of energy. I really try to think about that when I'm preparing meals, and while I don't plan to be eating kibble anytime soon, I try not to overthink things and keep it simple. Congratulations and continued success! Jaye

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2010, 02:22:07 PM »
I just skimmed Eat Stop Eat.  I'm going to try Pilon's recommendation of a 24 hour fasting period 1-2 times a week. What i like about that is that I can plan ahead for which days I'm going to do it.

I'm going to start next Tuesday night and try to repeat every three days.

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2010, 08:47:51 PM »
Sugardude,

My first experience with intermittent fasting was following Eat Stop Eat just as you are planning. And for exactly the same reason -- that I could plan ahead and fit it into my schedule.  I eventually went to fasts of up to 48 hours just to see what I could do, and it was no problem.  Actually the anticipation and fear that I would not be able to complete the fast were worse than the reality.  I then heard about fast-5 from Kirk over on the SLD (sethroberts.net) forum and tried that, and found it also works quite well, but I use it less rigidly, eating 1 meal most days, but sometimes 2 or 3 smaller meals, and occasionally going to a full 24 fast.  But I always try to "plan ahead" and pick my "schedule" in advance", because I think that part of what makes this work is "giving yourself directions" rather than than responding to spur of the moment whims. And I like the freedom and flexibility of being able to constantly vary my routine to fit my needs.

I think it is interesting to see the variety of approaches that work to deconditioning eating from becoming a rigid habit. Skipping random meals may work for HungryGuy, whereas Eat Stop Eat may work better for you.  I also agree with Jaye's advice not to get discouraged if you don't see steady weight loss, but to hang in there. Many people, myself included, see weight loss as only one benefit, perhaps not the biggest one, of IF.  I think that gaining insight and control over your eating patterns may be a bigger benefit than weight loss itself.

Good luck with your experiment!

Todd
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 08:55:51 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 02:00:55 PM »
I didn't get very far with doing a 24 hour fast. I think I'm going to go back to deconditioning. It worked very well for me last time except I tried to fast too much...too soon.

Offline HungryGuy

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2010, 01:38:12 PM »
Well, here it is about 2 1/2 months after I started intermittent fasting.  I weighed in at 162 lbs. this morning.  That's 25 pounds down from my starting at 187 at the end of February.  I think I'm where I want to be.  Lost a lot of belly fat and have had to buy new clothes.

I'm pretty much stabilized at eating 2 meals most days (lunch and dinner) and on 2 days a week I eat only dinner.  I tried the random eating time thing but that didn't seem to be necessary, plus I like having a bit more of a schedule.  I didn't really have strong cravings to decondition.  What took conditioning was just being able to build up to going most of the day without eating.  But now it is very comfortable.

It really is amazing how you can adapt.  I started out thinking that 3 meals a day is necessary, but it really isn't.  Your body adjusts and finds a way to feed itself off of stored fat.

Offline Moonbeam

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 06:59:22 PM »
That's great HG, and I'm glad to hear that it isn't that hard to maintain.  I started on eating only six hours/day this week.  I thought it would be harder than it is too.  I think you're right that it's partially psychological--for so long we've read that we should eat little meals more often, and eat after we exercise to build muscle.  A few counter-arguments and a success story makes a big difference. 

Anyway, congrats on a huge success.  I guess you'll stabilize at some point or you will have to add back some meals.

Offline Jbird

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 05:15:54 PM »
I've been posting on IF under Challenges, but I'm copying what I wrote in that section and will continue posting about my experience with IF here, since I no longer regard it as a one-time experiment but as a way of life:

After repeated attempts to get to 24 hours without any calories, I kept hitting a wall around the 18 hour mark, so I decided
to just go to the Fast-5 approach, which I had decided I'd like to try. I used to eat this way but when my hypoglycemia was diagnosed,
I was told I should be eating every few hours. Yesterday was my first day of formally embarking on Fast-5, and I'm really
happy with the results. I noticed in my fasting attempts how much I enjoyed the light, focused, energetic
feeling I had during the day, and I like eating at night, so this really seems perfect for me and is adaptable if I need to have a business
lunch. I can just change my eating window for that day.  I'm several pounds lighter than when I started my fasting experiment last week and somehow feel more comfortable in my skin. I find my mood is the opposite of what I would have expected. I'm less irritable and reactive to situations that would normally set me off. I feel more laid back. Some of this, I'm sure, is due to giving up caffeine, but when I first gave up caffeine, I still wanted it. Now I don't even think about it, just as I don't think about food during the day. It's already not a mental option, which is amazing. Yesterday I did some cooking during the day and wasn't even tempted to taste what I was making, just packaged it up for evening meals over the next several days. It's really changed the rhythm of my day, and I actually feel like cleaning and doing other chores that I would procrastinate about to fill the extra time. Now the only thing I'm procrastinating about is eating! Definitely eager to continue with this and will check in with my experiences. I know some of the people on the Shangri-la blog had done this but were using oil or other flavorless calories during the day. I'm attempting to be calorie-free during the fasting period.

Day 3: I think this new way of (not) eating is readjusting my sleep cycle. I had a kind of delayed sleep phase problem and would sleep best from 1 a.m. till 9, even though I would prefer to go to bed and wake up much earlier. The only way this ever happened was on the West coast (I'm on the East coast). I've noticed the past couple of nights I feel tired at 10 and am actually in bed by about 10:30. The past two mornings I've been waking up really early, full of energy and eager to start the day. I also don't need as much sleep. I was up around 5, went over to feed some dogs I'm taking care of and am going on a long bike ride soon with a neighbor. I really think Fast-5 is the answer for me. I guess my hormones needed readjusting. I actually don't know the science behind this and need to read up on it to understand what's happening, but I know intuitively that this is right for me. I sensed all kinds of bothersome things regarding mood, food, sleep, focus, etc. were related, but I never discovered the underlying mechanism that would help everything fall into place. This seems to be it.

Day 4: Yesterday I ended my eating window after 4.5 hrs instead of 5. The Fast-5 approach encourages shrinking the eating window/expanding the fasting period from time to time, so I will continue to play around with the 5-hr. eating window. Tomorrow is challenging because I have a business lunch so will make my 5-hr. window from around noon till 5. That means a longer fasting time till I get to the regular eating window the next day. I feel so motivated that I think I'll be able to manage these occasional shifts in my schedule. I'd been avoiding checking my blood glucose levels because I didn't want to feel alarmed by low numbers, but I took a reading at 20 hrs. of fasting with nothing but herbal tea and water and it was 91 (and this was after an hour of swimming and another hour of brisk walking), so I'm really convinced this is the right approach for me.

Day 5: Yesterday and today did 4-hour windows. I had to start the window much earlier today because of a business lunch, so the challenge will be to see how long I can go tomorrow before starting the eating window. I expect it will be somewhere between 3 and 5.

This is day 9 on Fast-5 and I never even question whether I want to continue with this as a way of life. I feel I've discovered what works for me, and the results are so positive that I don't see why I would ever want to do things differently. I'm going to be visiting my family over Labor Day weekend so there will be three days when I won't be able to eat the way I do when I'm on my own, but my plan is to eat low carb during that time, which also keeps my blood sugar on an even keel.


Offline JC

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2010, 06:23:46 PM »
Hi Jaye,

I'm just tuning back into the forum pages, nice to see your recent posts.  I haven't really tuned into the diet pages here, because I don't need to lose weight, but I'm interested in your experiments with fasting. Are you doing this primarily as a way to lose weight or control blood sugar, or do you see other benefits?   Also, do you recommend fast-5 as the best program, or are there other ways to do this?

Take care,

JC

Offline Jbird

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2010, 06:50:43 PM »
Hi JC: Thanks for your questions. Re: my motivation, I wasn't officially overweight, but I wanted to lose some weight. With Fast-5 I lost weight more easily and painlessly than ever before. I started on Aug. 19 at around 128, and I weighed 122 this morning. I'm 5'4-1/2", so that's a good weight for me, and I'm wondering whether I should just try to maintain or see if I continue to drop. It's unusual for me to feel comfortable with my appearance, but I admit I do now. That alone enhances my mood, but I feel like fasting during the day has improved my mood more generally as a result of evening out my blood sugar and maybe other biochemical changes that enhance my energy and focus as well. I also feel calmer. I have all kinds of emergency work projects flying at me from all directions, and I feel like the quiet center of the storm. I even feel I'm having a therapeutic effect on my frazzled clients by calmly assuring them I'll get them what they need on time and they don't have to worry. I feel like I have all the time I need to do everything I need to do and nothing distracts me. Eating used to be a distraction or a way to take a break. I find it very liberating that I don't think about food, count calories, etc. My mind was always obsessing about what I should have and in what amounts and what diet to follow, etc., and I basically don't think about food or eating at all. Food is way in the background of my consciousness now. I love that! I also made other changes before I started Fast-5 that I think are contributing to my positive experience, chiefly having quit caffeine. I also started adding chia to food every day. I used to have it at breakfast and now I usually have it with something when I start eating during the eating window. Today I had a heaping large spoonful mixed into Greek yogurt, for example. Fast-5 is just one of many ways to try intermittent fasting. There is also the Eat-Stop-Eat method, the Warrior Diet, and others. There are links to some of these on the Getting Stronger homepage. This method fits me like a glove, and I have no interest in trying anything else. I hope that answered your questions, but feel free to ask more.

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2010, 06:13:12 PM »
Jbird,

These are great results! Your post points out what many people don't realize about IF -- it's not just about weight loss, it's about overall health, including mood and outlook. The sense of calm you describe is exactly what I feel. And you've also pinpointed another benefit: the liberation from thinking about food.  Moving food "to the back of your consciousness", as you say, frees up your energy to focus on the rest of life. You still have the freedom to enjoy good food every day, with great variety and flavor, and no particular restrictions, but eating becomes a much smaller part of the day.

Todd

Offline Jbird

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Re: Intermittent fasting
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 07:41:07 PM »
Today I hit my ideal weight (120) on the nose, and it didn't even seem all that exciting because I had quiet confidence that Fast-5 would take me where I wanted to go. It's like I got on the Fast-5 express train and it dropped me off at my destination. All aboard! Seriously, it's really become second nature, not something I have to consciously commit to each day. I've never been able to stick to diets, but I don't think of this as a diet. I think of it more like sleeping. I go to bed at a certain time, give or take an hour or two. Now I start eating at a certain time, give or take an hour or two. Just as I don't nap during the day, I don't eat during the day. Every day it seems I discover some additional fringe benefit. Today's observation: Less garbage and fewer trips to the dumpster!