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to think this 'diet' is an eating disorder

(301 Posts)
BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 10:52:08

I'm dieting the old fashioned way - exercise and reducing calories to about 1800.

My friend recently told me about a diet she's thinking about doing called "The Alternative Day Diet". In this diet, you eat 400 cals one day, then you're allowed to eat whatever you like the next day, then back to 400 cals the next day, then eat whatever you like for a day, etc.

I've done some research on this seemingly popular diet. Apparently it switches on a 'skinny gene' which keeps your metabolism in top condition, burning calories. It also has other claimed health benefits such as - making you live longer (there was a Horizon documentary on the BBC backing this up). The internet is full of gleeming reviews.

But surely this pattern of eating is unsustainable and encourages disordered thinking? I feel a bit concerned for my friend. When she latches onto an idea she tends to go hardcore.

Viviennemary Fri 25-Jan-13 11:27:02

It's a method of losing weight that certainly seems to be working for quite a lot of people. I am always starving on WW and don't lose much because I find it very hard to stick to the diet over a longer period of time. I've sent of for a couple of books on this method and am going to try it.

BlackMaryJanes Fri 25-Jan-13 11:29:36

So here's the book I'm thinking about buying.

As you can see, the cover features a burger, cupcake and other unhealthy foods to symbolise 'feast' days. Looks like binging to me.

here's the most popular book, which also features a burger to symbolise feast days.

FreePeaceSweet Fri 25-Jan-13 11:29:56

I'm going to give it a go too. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on and found the web chat on here very informative.

KobayashiMaru Fri 25-Jan-13 11:31:32

you'd be surprised how much you can eat for 500 calories if its mostly vegetables. Don't waste it on drinks, and you'll be fine.

FreePeaceSweet Fri 25-Jan-13 11:33:23

Are you doing it Koba? I plan to be carb-free on fasting days. I can easily do without breakfast so if I push through to dinner time I'm sure I'll be fine.

nefertarii Fri 25-Jan-13 11:35:06

Its recommended with a paelo diet. Which is cutting out and eating only fresh food. Basically what we did when we were hunter gathers.

Its very healthy. People don't need the same calories everyday. Eating low calorie one day will not make you knackered. Your body has reserves and unless its a sugar crash because you ate to much sugar earlier. You don't become knackered because you ate less that day.

nefertarii Fri 25-Jan-13 11:36:13

Also ensuring you eat 1800 calories a day. Everyday could be considered an eating disorder by your explanation.

MarshaBrady Fri 25-Jan-13 11:38:53

They should get rid of the burger, fudge images for the non-fast days.

VinegarTits Fri 25-Jan-13 11:40:28

eating a burger or a cupcake isnt binging (unless you eat 20) any sensible fool will know that

SpicyPear Fri 25-Jan-13 11:41:26

YABU. If you have a healthy relationship with food it sounds like a great way to eat. For me unfortunately it would probably trigger my ED, but that's because my recovery is recent and ongoing. The authors specifically state that it is not suitable for people with EDs.

It does sound like your friend has misunderstood a feast day and possibly isn't approacching it in the correct spirit though.

MarshaBrady Fri 25-Jan-13 11:41:57

And the eat-anything-you-like days if it's meant to be with a paleo diet.

Better just to say do this with the other days in moderation.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 25-Jan-13 11:43:19

Yabvu. It's great, and I'm finding it really easy to do.

500 calories for two days out of a week is plenty. You can have soup, loads of veggies, yesterday, one of my fasting days, I had tinned plum tomatoes on toast for my main meal. Yum.

DamnBamboo Fri 25-Jan-13 11:43:19

Can not believe the number of people who think they would have to be in bed/not be able to take care of their kids etc after ONE day with 500kcal.

You know what that would work out to?

2 medium eggs and a slice of ham for breakfast.

Salad with a bit of chicken for lunch

Couple of bowls of veg soup for dinner.


DamnBamboo Fri 25-Jan-13 11:44:54


VinegarTits Fri 25-Jan-13 11:45:19

does sound like your friend has the wrong idea, why not buy her the book as a nice jesture? and wish her luck on her new diet

fgs dont tell her its an eating disorder

Viviennemary Fri 25-Jan-13 11:45:22

There's no doubt in my mind that processed food and ready meals are responsible for weight gain. I also think that all these special low fat and low sugar foods don't do anybody any good. They make things worse.

DamnBamboo Fri 25-Jan-13 11:47:12

The idea being that if you follow a 5:2 diet, you will have 'saved' circa 3000kcal for the week. So if you did decide to have a burger of a big piece of fudge cake as a one off whilst following this plan, you will in theory still drop weight over time.

It's just a picture on a book? Presumably the content of the book will actually be read?

MadBusLady Fri 25-Jan-13 11:48:37

She's doing Alternate Day Fasting. Most people here are doing (and defending) 5:2, which is a great deal less extreme - only two days a week fasting, and on those two days you get 500 calories a day (600 for men).

The Mosley book discusses ADF and concludes it has great health benefits, like all managed fasting, but is much less sustainable than 5:2.

Roseformeplease Fri 25-Jan-13 11:48:56

Read "The Fast Diet" where it is all explained, and backed up with evidence. MM does not advocate Alternative Day as it is too extreme and difficult to maintain. I am doing 5:2 and it is working. I skip breakfast, eat a very light lunch and supper and then eat normally on 5 days. I can have the odd cake or treat on the 5 days where other diets leave me planning every mouthful. You get through the 2 days by looking forward to the next. It also teaches you not to be scared of hunger pangs and to deal with them. I too have low carved, successfully, but found it unsustainable as a way of life.

Read the book, do the research, then decide.

C0smos Fri 25-Jan-13 11:49:29

YABU I list weight the calorie counting way a few years ago it was hard work, constantly counting calories never getting a day off for meal out etc. I tried the 5.2 diet and it is so much easier, just fasting for 2 days a week and very easy to do. I used to skip breakfast, have Bircher muesli for lunch some veg to snack on and soup for dinner. Really easy and you can juggle the days if you have a night out planned. You don't binge on the non fast days just eat normally but you tend to eat more sensible as your fast days teach you what it is like to feel hungry.

Research has proven it reduces risk of Alzheimer's and other nasties.

I've just found out I'm pregnant so have stopped, but I quite miss it and will be straight back on it to lose the baby weight if I make it that far.

BIWI Fri 25-Jan-13 11:50:05

I'm just wondering what you think is wrong with a burger, and why that would be a 'binge'? Although, personally, I wouldn't eat the bun (as I'm a low carber and don't eat bread), a meat patty with some cheese and lettuce/tomato on it is a perfectly acceptable thing to eat.

And your friend has got it wrong. It is 500/600 cals per day - the book you linked to says that too.

RightsaidFreud Fri 25-Jan-13 11:51:23

Binge is a very unhelpful word with a lot of negative connotations.

MarshaBrady Fri 25-Jan-13 11:52:06

A fresh burger is fine as is a bit of fudge. Shame if the media sell it as eat all you want on days off, loads of processed food etc

MarshaBrady Fri 25-Jan-13 11:53:26

Sometimes it's just spin isn't it to get people talking, but in reality the diet will be far more sensible.

GetOrf Fri 25-Jan-13 11:53:35

The alternate day thing really is good. I got into it after reading into paleo eating.

I tended to do 4-3 and not 5-2 as that works for me.

So 4 days at about 600 cals, and the other three (fri, sat, sun) at 2000. Ish.

It was great as the calorie deficit was the same as every day on 1200. But it didn't feel as if I was on a diet.

Keeping to 600 is a piece of piss, I am busy at work so don't 'miss' meals, never eat breakfast anyway, so would have a soup or salad for lunch, then chicken or fish with a load of veg for dinner, or more soup. Certainly didn't feel exhausted!

I got out of that habit after christmas madness but back to this eating pattern again, and it is an easy way of eating which doesn't feel at all restrictive.

The normal 3 days are certainly not binge days - just regular eating days with some extras added in, and treats. cocktails

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