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Alternate Day Diet (Up Day Down Day Diet)

(73 Posts)
Downdog Wed 03-Feb-10 14:38:17

I've been doing this since the beginning of January and have lost about 5 kilos (weighing myself again this weekend).

Basically you eat whatever you want without overeating, on one day (UP DAY) and eat a very low calorie diet on the DOWN DAYS - about 500 cals only on down days. The theory is your cals average out over 48 hours. It is claimed to have many other health benefits re athsma etc too.

I'm finding it so easy - not only are the down days really quiet easy now (the first week was hard), but I have lost all cravings for food & am eating in a much more balanced way on the UP days. I love it as I don't have to think about food, or cooking special ways, or anything else (essentially I am lazy & would prefer to put my efforts elsewhere) - I just do veggies, miso soup, protein shakes etc up to 500 cals on down day, and all is normal on up days. My overall deist on UP days has improved because I'm making better choices & I'm also developing more awareness about my body, when I am full etc.

The weekends can get a little tougher esp if it's an indoors rainy day, so I am now trying having 3 down days (Mon, Weds, Fri) and just being relaxed in the weekends. Not sure if that will work until I weigh on the weekend.

I would like to lose 30 kilos so have a way to go, but I can imagine doing this for sometime.

I can do anything for one day - funny thing is though, at the end of a DOWN DAY I'm pretty hungry, but all I can think about is the delight of eating my porridge (no sugar) for breakfast in the morning. YES PORRIDGE!!!

I don't think it will suit everyone - if your blood sugar fluctuates wildly it wouldn't be advised. But it certainly works for me and as someone who has always overeaten, I am learning it's OK to be hungry and to actually feel comfortable with it.

I have read critisim that it encourages eating disorder, but that certainly isn't my experience. There are some silly articles out there where journalists are saying you can scoff KFC & chocolate all day & overeat if you starve the next day - that is silly & irresponsible & not how the plan works at all.

Anyone else out there doing it? How are you getting on?

Furball Thu 04-Feb-10 09:04:43

right - I'm in!

have tried loads over the years - the trouble is sticking to the dam thing

I did lose 2 stone on slimming world 2 years ago but have managed to put that back on again

I'll start with down day tomorrow

Then do Mon, wed, fridays and see how that goes.

Any top tips for me? smile

Downdog Thu 04-Feb-10 09:49:30


I think you need to do the first 2 weeks quite stictly. check out the link I posted above - that covers about all you need to know. It is really very simple.

There is a book available on amazon too but I don't see that I need any more info than what I've been able to find via google. The reviews on the USA are interesting & useful to read.

You basically want to eat maintance calories on an UP day & 20% of those on a down day. So if 2000 cals is your maintance, eat that on UP day, then 400 cals on down days, though you can increase after first 2 weeks.

Top tips - well it's all about the down days so you need to sort out low cal foods. I've never been a fan of protein shakes/meal replacements but they actually work quite well on down days - I used one called FRUITEIN from health food shops. Acia flavour. 110 cals per shake.

I also eat cherry tomatoes, salad with low cal dressing, cucumber, radish, sugarsnaps, carrot etc.

So my down days usually look like this:
Large Latte (semi-skimmed milk)
Lunch - large salad
Dinner - protein shake & salad
Lots of water (as for any diet, herbal teas etc

MISO soup is great for something hot & I used this lots in first few weeks.

I might have another shake during the day - it depends. Just before my period it was harder - I was more hungry but you would expect that. Just count your cals and have a back up for those really hungry moments. You also need to get used to being OK with feeling hungry - as an overeater/emotional eater this has been the biggest thing for me, as I've learned not only is it ok to feel hunger, but it's temporary & actually I quite enjoy it - in that I'm not afraid of hunger - I'm learning to be OK with it. I can even allow myslef to feel hungry before eating on an UP day, which is something I've not really experiences before.

Weighed myself this morning & I've lost 6.5 kilos (just over a stone) since 4th January. No exercise! I do need to pick up the exercise.

I do have quite alot to lose though - about 35 kilos in all. But I'm so happy just to be losing without feeling like I'm on a diet at all.

Good luck & keep me posted ;)

Furball Thu 04-Feb-10 11:29:13

Congratulations on your loss - that is good.

well - most of a diet is in your head, if it's rewarded with results, it can only spur me on here's hoping.....

Thanks for the tips

moodlum Thu 04-Feb-10 11:32:51

I really like the sound of this. I might start too grin. I have about 3 stone to lose, so anything that helps towards this has got to be good!

I'll look at the site later - thanks for this downdog.

lolpop Thu 04-Feb-10 14:00:33

I've been doing this for the last four weeks - I've lost 7lbs, which is great as I'm nearly at target and already a healthy weight.
Used to do Slimming World but got bored - what I love about Alternate Day Diet is being able to eat the things you really crave on an up day, like pizza and nice bread! Although I do try to eat healthily on up days...

It's definitely decreased my appetite so I'm eating less, and I'm feeling good.

I find down days easier if I leave it as long as possible before I eat anything, so I don't have breakfast, which is fine as I never want to eat in the mornings anyway, then I have a bowl of soup for lunch and something like stirfry in the evening and a low fat yogurt.

Definitely worth a try if you're bored with other diets.

Downdog Thu 04-Feb-10 14:33:15

LOLPOP congrats on your loss. It's encouraging to hear that it works well with someone close to target weight too.

I agree with your comments - I too each much less on UP days, don't have cravings and I feel good.

I find my latte sufficient for breakfast on down days - and I tend to eat more food later in the day too though I find it pays not to eat too late, as if I get too hungry I begin to feel like nothing will fill me up. If I spread it through afternoon & evening I feel better.

I have noticed now that I can be satisfied with calories - rather than bulk. As an overeater I always looked to have that 'full' feeling. but now I can feel satisfied after a much lighter meal that is calorie rich.

I'm taking multi-vit/min too.

My challenge for Feb is to try & squeeze a little exercise into my days!

Downdog Thu 04-Feb-10 14:36:13

Hey, looks like we might have a little group going! I know particularly in the beginning of this diet I looked all over the www for advice/support/success stories & there isn't a huge amount out there about it.

I think we are trend setters & in 2 years everyone will be doing this diet!

Newbies - the first 2 weeks can be a little rough, but stick with it as it does get easy rather quickly.

lolpop Fri 05-Feb-10 08:03:53

I take various supplements, including evening primrose oil, omega oils and sometimes Bvits and iron as I'm vegetarian and struggle to get enough of these things.

I'm on a down day today, planning on chilli bean soup for lunch and maybe just houmous and carrot sticks in front of tv this evening! Evenings can be difficult, but this diet is teaching me not to eat things without thinking about it.

I find drinking carbonated drinks (soda water and a little juice or flavoured water) or a cup of tea fills me up and gets me through my hungriest time - cooking everyone else's dinner! Although my husband is also on this diet which means I'm just cooking for my two boys every other day.

Furball Fri 05-Feb-10 08:18:35

I too am on a down day - my first! [yikes]

had 1oz of porridge made with water and a teeny sprinkling of horrible sweetner - 100 cals - bargain

pint of water, vitamin, cod liver oil tab.

now got to get through til 'lunch'

Furball Fri 05-Feb-10 08:20:26

was going to have curry for tea!

portion of a jar of low fat curry sauce and a 'few bits' of chicken breast and a poppadom which are very low cals.

no rice though.......

Downdog Fri 05-Feb-10 09:10:53

I'm on down day today too. Enjoying my semi-skimmed latte, which is a meal in itself.

I'll have crudites for lunch (celery, radish, cherry tom etc) and probably a protein shake mid-afternoon.

Don't forget to drink lots of water & have a good day.

FURBALL - if it get's tough remember you can do anything for a day and it does get easier. In the evening you can think about your lovely breakfast in the morning! wink

Furball Fri 05-Feb-10 21:15:19

well, today hasn't been as bad as it could of been.

had 1 oz of porridge made with water for breakfast and the same for lunch both washed down with 1 pt of water.

For lunch I did go the extra mile and have a cuppa soup grin

tea was 1/3 of jar of low fat curry sauce with a few bits of chicken and 2 poppodoms again with another 1pt of water

all came to spot on 500 cals

went out for a drink and had 1pt of soda water.

Job done.

lolpop Sat 06-Feb-10 08:48:26

Well done Furball!

I didn't end up eating the houmous, it was so cold I needed more soup! But had a good down day, ended up at about 550 cals which is fine as I allow up to 600 cals at the moment - I am looking forward to putting it up more when I reach target!

I do find down days quite easy now, but I haven't had any real challenges yet. Although I think you can be quite flexible and have two up days in a row if you need to and not feel badly about it!

Enjoy your up day today!

Furball Sat 06-Feb-10 11:10:26

Thats good to hear lolpop - I'm hoping to have down days only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Downdog Mon 08-Feb-10 11:18:27

DOWN DAY today (Monday).

Weekend went well - 2 UP days but my appetite has def decreased so my intake of food is much less than what it was previously.

Black jeans starting to feel a little baggy which is a lovely feeling.

Good luck for the week ahead everyone.

Todays plan:

Raw salad with low cal dressing.
Miso soup
And probably another shake for dinner.
Lots of water.

whyme2 Mon 08-Feb-10 12:46:37

oooh help. I have started today, it is lunchtime and I am hungry.

How do you get through the day?
I even looked longingly at the cat biscuits . . .

I know once I get going ie in a few days I will be fine but I am struggling now.

lolpop Mon 08-Feb-10 13:35:56

Lots of warm drinks help! And eating salad - carrots, cucumber, peppers etc 'cos you get a lot for a few calories.

Carrot and coriander soup is good - very low cal and nice if you want something warm.

Sugar free jelly - you can get pots ready made up which are only 10 cals each, or buy some to make.

Once you've managed the first two weeks, it really does get easier. I find that it takes very little to fill me up now, so a cup of tea and a small bowl of soup keep me going for quite a while.

Good luck!

Furball Mon 08-Feb-10 14:10:04

I too am on a down day after 2 up days

I'm more hungry today than I was on Friday. so I dry roasted some courgette and aubergine to satisfy which worked.

have homemade ratatouille (yes more aubergine and courgette!) for tea

After all tommorrow is another (up) day......grin

Furball Mon 08-Feb-10 19:44:48

Put 1/2 a dessert spoon of pataks balti paste in me ratatouille - gosh it was gorgous!

Also had 2 poppodoms

Top tip for low tasty dinner that one

am hungry still .......but will wait until tomorrow

Downdog Tue 09-Feb-10 10:22:23

So I did just fine yesterday foodwise - but was unexpectedly in a foul mood. I think my emotions can be a little harder to deal with on down days - and I've always been emotional/comfort eater so my main outlet has been stripped away - which is great. I'm on a learning curve.

So instead of being drawn into bad old habits of comfort eating and nail biting I stayed away from the food (& the nail biting), and simply took myself off for an early night with a good book.

And viola! Here we are on an up day & I'm looking forward to lunch ;o)

FURBALL - loving the sound of your veggie curry!

WHYME - how did you get on yesterday? Enjoy your UP day today & just know that after 2 weeks it gets much much easier. One day at a time.

whyme2 Tue 09-Feb-10 23:09:11

HAd a good day - once I got past the 'it's lunchtime, must eat' habit, the rest of the day went well. HAd a small evening meal and I had some peppermint tea which got me through the evening.
I have eaten well today grin and I am starting to realise that a day is not very long really.

Thanks for all the tips about low cal meals and drinks. I am more prepared for tomorrow now (down day).

Furball Wed 10-Feb-10 00:07:01

I've had a good (up) day!

Not looking forward to down day tomorrow as am supposed to be meeting friends for light lunch. Might have me watery porridge before i go then just say I've eaten and have cup of tea.

I've gotta learn to live with this, so no point cheating.

Downdog Wed 10-Feb-10 11:00:34

Good morning - welcome to another down day!

One of the things I am loving about this regeime (other than how easy it is), is I really am learning about myself. As a comfort eater, who has dealt with emotional stuff with food for so many years, leaning what hunger is, and that in my life hunger is actually OK to experience, has been a revelation.

I'm having a stressful week with my OH. But yesterday (UP day) instead of the 'old' ways of wanting to comfort eat I actually lost my appetite - had to force myself to eat an omelette as I knew I'd suffer through todays down day if I didn't eat last night. But this change is interesting and fascinating for me.

Good luck today - it's just 24 hours ;o)

whyme2 Wed 10-Feb-10 20:34:17

It is interesting how often I find myself reaching for something just because I am in the kitchen or just fancy it. I've just taken two grapes from the box now and again which has helped then left the kitchen.

I often eat because of emotional problems so I am hoping to get to grips with that.

Looking forward to breakfast now. smile

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