Tips and links for those practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF). 5:2 or Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)(267 Posts)
This is where those posters who have been IFing for a while can pass on any tips they may have on how to get the best out of this new WOE (way of eating).
It's also where you should post any new links on the subject that you come across - and would just get buried in a very long thread.
I just wanted to get this thread underway, so that GreenEggs can link to it in the new 5:2 thread (the 5th in just 2 months!) that's she is currently planning.
Just started this calorie restriction 5:2 again. First time didn't work: on for one month and no weight shed. Am finding that calorie restriction day is ok but it's the 5 days food intake I'm interested in. What are people eating those days? I think that my body needs to always calorie restrict. Am doing 500 on 2 days and 1200-1400 on 5 days. I don't find Mosley very clear about eating what you like- for me, that's a license to pig out and thereby defeat the hard work on cal. Restrict on days 2. What are you doing/eating on your "off" days? Thx.
well in my case TDEE averages over the five days because I leave spare calories for wine at the weekends, but average of TDEE.
Otherwise its not sustainable.
Thx. Assuming TDEE is on another thread?
Tip for non-fasting day (posted on thread 11 too):
One thing I've realised today: I must keep up the drinking fluids habit - especially water - on a non-fast day because at least 50% of the hunger I experience on a non-fast day is thirst. I always drink loads on a fast day so don't know why I forget on the non-fast day. But remembering to continue to drink loads on fast days means I'm less likely to eat for the sake of it.
Also, I don't need to snack all day just because I can. Even on non-fast days it's good to give my digestion a break for a few hours.
On the question of maintenance and the benefits thereof, I just came across an interesting study from ten years ago here (Mattson is one of the authors):
The summary says (emphasis added . . . but, alas, it doesn't seem to appear properly):
"Dietary restriction has been shown to have several health benefits
including increased insulin sensitivity, stress resistance, reduced
morbidity, and increased life span. The mechanism remains unknown,
but the need for a long-term reduction in caloric intake to
achieve these benefits has been assumed. We report that when
C57BL6 *mice are maintained on an intermittent fasting (alternateday
fasting) dietary-restriction regimen their overall food intake is
not decreased and their body weight is maintained*. Nevertheless,
*intermittent fasting resulted in beneficial effects that met or
exceeded those of caloric restriction* including reduced serum
glucose and insulin levels and increased resistance of neurons in
the brain to excitotoxic stress. *Intermittent fasting therefore has
beneficial effects* on glucose regulation and neuronal resistance to
injury in these mice that are independent of caloric intake."
The report includes this intriguing bit:
". . . rats with a moderate reduction in
IGF-1 levels live longer, whereas those with a greater decrease
in IGF-1 levels have a reduced life span (20). The latter results
suggest that there is an optimal level of the GHIGF-1 axis to
maximize survival in mammals."
Baskina, if you haven't already found it, the current discussion of the regimen is here:
As you can see from the link, this is the 11th thread. It's worth reading through as many of the threads as you can - and the OP - for information and tips.
Thanks NatashaMousse for the link. Just finding the whole maintenance ofvthe days I'm not supposed to be thinking about a bit frustrating. I don't think I'll ever be free of counting calories. Sigh.
As requested, the summary for newcomers to help them hold steady
Think of your food on a weekly basis.
You are not 'depriving' yourself. You are saving your health and balancing.
2 days a week of fasting
2 days a week of trying to stay under your TDEE
2 days a week of trying to stay within 10% of your TDEE
1 day splurge
The topic of fertility and Intermitent fasting has come up several times on the 5:2 threads so thought this link might be useful.
This article was linked to in the nerd section of the 5:2 fast diet forum
Can anyone tell me whether they've heard of anyone 5:2 fasting whilst BF? I'm exclusively BF my 15 week old, but I'm desperate to try, and I can't find any info so was wondering if anyone here had tried it?
FastFeeder posted this on the main thread - good, positive review:
From literary geek thread 10
I am BF an almost 6 month old, who is very bonny and fat and happy. I have enough milk to feed the whole street. I have to express on order to sleep comfortably/ exercise comfortably.
There's also been a lot of research on women who have fasted for religious reasons - Ramadan and Yom Kippur- and there were no ill effects to either bubbas or mamas. And near in mind- those fasts involve no food or water so a much more restrictive scenario. I have posted the links to that research on the most recent 5:2 thread - yesterday I think. If you are interested, I will dig it out.
If you want to give this a go, eat proper food where you can. If you like ready meals, go for it, but do try and include as much veg as possible- it will fill you up. Try innocent veg pots or glorious soups for not many calories/ lots of goodness.
Don't do your 2 days in a row.
Fluids are your friend- particularly water and try herbal teas ( the pukka brand is good). Diet drinks are not your friend and kill your brain cells.
1 quick question before my new WOE life begins.
If I start my fast for example on a monday evening at 7pm and i don't eat again until Tuesday lunchtime 12pm(150kls) - that is a a 17 hr fast. I then have my remaining 350kls dinner at 6/7pm. Do I then fast again until wednesday breakfast or can I start eating normally after 7 pm??
Many thanks in advance!
Quick answer - Wednesday breakfast.
For discussion see the main thread.
Couple here testing their IGF-1 at regular intervals. Interesting and positive results:
An important point that came up several times on the 5:2 forums where I've been staying lately ....
Avoid "diet" and branded "healthy" foods
as once you actually look at what is in them, half a portion of the real thing will actually be much better for you.
Look at the ingredients list of a "zero fat" yoghurt .....
then remember that "full fat" yoghurt is the grand sum total of 6%
The thing to remember is that you will be doing 5:2 for ever, but you will not be a 'dieter' for ever.
So once you genuinely stop looking at calories on non fast days, and are lean enough to be much more active, the 'real' foods will always be a better bet than the targeted ....
What always helps me on a fast day is to have had a decentish meal the night before with more protein than carbs.
If hungry on a fast day a boiled egg is great at tiding you over.
Drink plenty of water. It's no calories & it costs nowt.
This is a great post from EZZA on thread 13.. I'm putting it on here as its a fantastic overview of just how SIMPLE this WOE is .. So take her advice and dont complicate it
So over to Ezza with Thanks
--- - ---------
Reading through some of the posts from the new starters, I think many people are finding it hard to believe how staggeringly simple the rules for this WoE are. Simply put, the rules are:
On fast days eat no more than 500 kcal (600 for men). On non-fast days eat normally.
That really is it as far as rules go, and if your main objective for doing this is weight loss then whatever you eat, whenever you eat, if youre following those two simple rules then youre doing it correctly. Everything else that we discuss on these threads are tips which help us and research which has been done for the health benefits that also come with this WoE. If you find it too difficult to go down to 500 kcal on fast days straight away, there is no harm in starting out with a slightly higher allowance on fast days and easing your way down to the 500 kcal.
One of the things some people struggle with is what it means to eat normally on non-fast days. Simply put, this is roughly the amount of food your body needs to stay the same weight, so not a diet portion and not a binge either.
When I started this WoE I wasnt actually planning on using it to lose weight (I was highly sceptical and didnt think itd work but Im always willing to give things a fair shot). I was just intending to use it to keep my weight under control while I was away studying in China for six months because I knew I loved the food out here and I wanted to be able to fit into the seat on the aeroplane when I flew home. grin So I didnt restrict my eating on non-fast days at all because for me the whole point was to be able to eat all the yummy Chinese food I wanted and stay the same weight. But after 4 weeks I noticed my clothes were much looser so I went out and bought a cheap set of scales. I did start out on ADF though (because I hadnt heard about 5:2 then) so it would have been pretty hard for me to eat so much on normal days that it would undo the fast days. After a week or so I also noticed my appetite got reset and I simply didnt want to stuff myself silly anymore.
Others have a different experience to me. Some come from years of calorie restriction diets, so the eating normally on non-fast days seems a lot of food to be eating while trying to lose weight. Others have spent years overeating by quite a lot and find it a challenge to only eat a normal amount for their bodies. For both these groups of people it can be really helpful to work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE theres a link to a calculator in the OP) and then use MyFitnessPal (MFP) or some other method to track your calorie intake on normal eating days. You dont have to do this for the rest of your life, just a few weeks of doing this can help you get a good idea how much food is the right amount and then you can stop calorie counting on your normal eating days and just relax into it. Its also perfectly ok to average out your calories over your normal eating days, so if youve got an event coming up one day and you know youll be eating loads theres nothing wrong with having a little less on your other normal eating days just so long as your normal eating days average out at roughly your TDEE. Im told MFPs weekly tab is great for this. Another option for those doing 5:2 if you have a calorie laden few days coming up is to throw in an extra fast day if you can and if youre feeling up to it.
Another thing people are curious about is the 16 hour and 24 hour fasting periods that get mentioned a lot on these threads. These are done for two reasons: 1) because many of us find that the later we start eating on a fast day the easier it is to get through the day successfully and 2) because one of the principles behind the health benefits that go along with this WoE is that giving your digestive system a complete break from digesting food helps the body go from grow mode to repair mode. Repair mode is where the health benefits come in. How long is optimum to fast? The short answer is we dont quite know but studies seem to suggest a 16 hour fasting window will bring health benefits and that possibly more benefits come from longer periods of fasting such as 24 hours. Some on this thread achieve this by not eating from after dinner the day before a fast until either lunch time (for 16 hours) or dinner time (for 24 hours) on a fast day. This is not compulsory though. I had breakfast lunch and dinner for the first 4 months on this WoE, and I now usually have lunch and dinner, just occasionally doing the 24 hour proper fasting period.
A wise man once wrote: He who walks with the wise grows wise. This is certainly true with these threads. There is a wealth of information and research as well as personal experiences on these threads. If you dont have time to read through all 13 of these main threads (who does?) I really recommend the links and tips thread (linked to in the OP). Youll also see some other tips about what kind of foods to avoid on fast days etc. such as avoiding processed foods and really carby stuff like pasta or avoiding diet fizzy drinks. These tips are here to help us stick to the fast days and to benefit our health but they are not rules, so if you really like your fizzy pop then you can still have it. There are no banned foods on this WoE. When I started this WoE I had a two litre per day diet coke habit. Reading these threads and the links to health risks associated with aspartame (particularly the association with depression, which is a risk factor for me) Ive now cut back to around a litre or two per week. All of us on here are experimenting with this and finding what works best for us and then sharing our experiences.
Noodles made out of veg. Use a Julienne cutter or potato peeler to make courgette, squashes, potatoes, etc into noodle shapes, blanch or steam until soft and use instead of pasta on fast days, a much lower calorie alternative, but still gives the sensation of eating pasta/noodles.
Also cauliflower rice - blitz a cauliflower in the food processor using the grater attachment then fry or microwave for 8 minutes until tender. 100g = 25 cals as opposed to 130 cals for 100g white rice.
BordieCollieLover came across this info regarding 'Nutritarianism' - maximising the amount of nutrients in our food.
I'm sure Dr Fuhrman has been linked to before on this thread - and, while he's got books to sell, he makes a lot of sense!
Here's the guy from the Feed, Fast, Feast blog switching his 24 hour fast from evening to evening, to 2pm to 2pm.
From the Fast Diet forum (well worth keeping an eye on!), is this interview with Dr Mosley on ABC radio Sydney:
That's one of the best presentations I've encountered. Articulate, clear, focused on the science and health benefits, and forthcoming about what is and isn't known at this point.
And I completely agree!
Hi everyone! I have been doing this for about a month and a half now, and I really like it. Although I usually seem to go over a bit, by about 20-50 calories. Do you count the cals of things like coffee and tea? on fatsecret it says every 8 oz of either is 4 calories, and so is sweet and low.
Here's a discussion, also on The Fast Diet forum, on the subject of insulin sensitivity. I haven't read the link, but the consensus seems to be that, for anyone whose weight loss has stalled, it might be worth while checking it out:
ZeldaForever - you really need to get over to the main thread:
No-one will see your request on here!
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