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Intermittent Fasting - Mixing in Normal Caloric Intake with Extreme Lows


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I wanted to start a thread to see if anyone else looking after their waistline has tried "Intermittent Fasting." There are several variants (Warrior Diet, 6/18, 5/2, LeanGains, etc.), but the basic premise is simple: rather than limit calorie intake here and there, go for the extreme and average a caloric deficit over a longer timeframe.

My routine is: five days a week, I eat normally. Two days a week, I limit myself to 600 calories. Here's how it works:

Let's say that, to maintain weight, I had to eat 2300 calories a day, or about 16k a week. If I wanted to lose weight, say about 3-4 lbs a month, I would need to drop that to around 12k-13k calories a week. A traditional diet might do it this way:

M 1800

T 1800

W 1800

T 1800

F 1800

S 1800

S 1800

So every single day you have to watch what you eat and count the calories. With my routine, however:

M 600

T 2300

W 600

T 2300

F 2300

S 2300

S 2300

With both routines, I would lose the same amount of weight. However, with my routine, I only need to exert myself two days a week instead of seven days a week. Better to suffer some days than all days, right?

As you can see, I've lost a little over 5 lbs in 2 months following this routine. That's an average deficit of about 300 calories a day (I'm not made of stone!).

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Is anyone else trying this? Does anyone else want to try this?

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I'm trying 2 days a week of whey protein shakes and typical eating the other 5 days.  Just started so I don't know how the results will turn out.  Will report back in a month (or earlier if I run screaming from the room at the idea of yet another smoothie day)

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I'm trying 2 days a week of whey protein shakes and typical eating the other 5 days.  Just started so I don't know how the results will turn out.  Will report back in a month (or earlier if I run screaming from the room at the idea of yet another smoothie day)

So just shakes??? How many and what kind?

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Whey protein, almond milk and some kind of berry -- I've got a big sack of frozen strawberries, so that helps make it thicker and more decadent seeming -- milkshakes all day!.  1 cup almond milk + 2 scoops powder and the berries = about 300 calories per shake, 3x/day, but the volume once blended fills a 16 ounce glass almost twice so it is satisfying visually and the amount of liquid and protein keeps me feeling full enough.

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Is anyone else trying this? Does anyone else want to try this?

I had some success with 5/2 last year.  One acquaintance lost a *lot* of weight on the routine.  Mr. P has had moderate success.  For women, the target intake on "fasting" days is 500 calories.  I find that no matter how well hydrated I stay, by evening I have a raging headache and feel weak and shaky in a low blood sugar kind of way.  It's most unpleasant, and as a result I haven't been able to stay with the routine.  But there is at least some evidence that it really works.

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I had some success with 5/2 last year.  One acquaintance lost a *lot* of weight on the routine.  Mr. P has had moderate success.  For women, the target intake on "fasting" days is 500 calories.  I find that no matter how well hydrated I stay, by evening I have a raging headache and feel weak and shaky in a low blood sugar kind of way.  It's most unpleasant, and as a result I haven't been able to stay with the routine.  But there is at least some evidence that it really works.

I find that coffee, tea, meditation, and chewing gum are all big helps. Of course, if you're just not wired for low blood sugar then... you're just not wired. You could try a 16/8, but I question how effective that would be.

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I was on a shake fasting diet and lost a lot of weight, but gained it back as soon as I stopped.  It was great for a friends wedding though.  I replaced one meal with a shake then fasted one day a week (little to no calories).  I did find I wasn't meant for that sort of extreme fasting- I got REALLY bad headaches.  I could probably do the shake thing for two meals a day.  

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Through a series of unplanned events at work, I ended up having to go out and grab lunch today instead of sucking back the smoothie I brought with me.  Went to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe and picked the one that seemed most aligned with my eating plan -- protein powder, berries, oatmeal, splenda.   It tasted good going down but now I've got a rotten headache.  Makes me wonder what kind of additives are in their slurry base.  

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Through a series of unplanned events at work, I ended up having to go out and grab lunch today instead of sucking back the smoothie I brought with me.  Went to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe and picked the one that seemed most aligned with my eating plan -- protein powder, berries, oatmeal, splenda.   It tasted good going down but now I've got a rotten headache.  Makes me wonder what kind of additives are in their slurry base.  

Could be the Splenda.

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If you are getting headaches, are you eliminating caffeine on your fasting days?  I ask because there is a drastic difference between the Yom Kippur experience (total fast, no liquids either) if you are caffeine free and if you are not. Virtually everyone who routinely has caffeine in the morning has a nasty headache by 11 am.  We caffeine-free folks have a much easier time of it. 

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If you are getting headaches, are you eliminating caffeine on your fasting days?  I ask because there is a drastic difference between the Yom Kippur experience (total fast, no liquids either) if you are caffeine free and if you are not. Virtually everyone who routinely has caffeine in the morning has a nasty headache by 11 am.  We caffeine-free folks have a much easier time of it. 

Nope, not giving up the coffee. I've cut that down on my own but that's been well in place for several months.   It was something in the Tropical Smoothie mixture or just a coincidence, because I've done a couple of fasting days since and used my own stuff and haven't had a headache from it.

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If you are getting headaches, are you eliminating caffeine on your fasting days?  I ask because there is a drastic difference between the Yom Kippur experience (total fast, no liquids either) if you are caffeine free and if you are not. Virtually everyone who routinely has caffeine in the morning has a nasty headache by 11 am.  We caffeine-free folks have a much easier time of it. 

I would not survive fasting days without caffeine.

Well, I might survive them, but the people around me might not...

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Like I told Kibbee yesterday, don't forget about our two Fitness Challenge forums - I'll be happy to start a Fitness Challenge 2015 forum if we can get 10 members to participate.

Autumn is here, and folks have nearly four months to get a jump on their New Year's Resolutions - a lot can happen in four months, and it can be quite a head start. Imagine starting your Jan 1, 2016 diet 10-20 pounds lighter than where you are right now. Imagine how much smaller the mountain to climb will seem

I even have a Forum Host in mind - what do you say, lekkerwijn?

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Might seem lame to some, but here's an immense challenge I will sign up for -- not to put back on the 50+ lbs. I lost. That might actually be harder than losing it in the first place.

I think you're right.  How many weight-loss stories have "gained and lost over 1000 pounds through the years" as part of them?  It takes quick reaction and dedication to new eating habits to keep the weight off.   I wish you all the success in the world in accomplishing that goal.

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My goal is to lose 8 pounds, doesn't sound like a huge goal, but it is.

You're petite and near your goal weight.  The last 5-10 pounds are the hardest because the changes you make have to be so focused and a little deviation or miscalculation can wipe out 1-2 weeks hard work

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Friend of mine Adam is a huge believer in Intermittent fasting and it has worked very well for him, and is a good option to mix with exercise.

At the risk of derailing for me the Ideal Protein protocol worked really well I lost almost 50 pounds Jan-Mar and my other half lost 40.

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I do normally drink caffeine so I think that is one reason I get the headaches, but even when I did Whole 30 and stopped drinking caffeine for periods of time, I still got the headaches while fasting.  I also get headaches sometimes if I am in court and the judge doesn't recess for lunch.  The maximum caffeine I normally drink is one full can of diet coke on weekdays and maybe one weekend.  I have tried to delete it completely, but it is kind of a crutch for stressful work days.

When people who drink caffeine fast, do you normally still drink caffeine, do you switch types?

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I still drink coffee at home, 2-3 cups black every morning.  I used to drink more at the office (half-caf there) but then the boss got one of those K-cup machines and awful coffee and so I gave up the office coffee and have a ginger lemon herbal tea now instead.

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Ok, well I am going to try fasting again.  This time, I am not sure if I will do complete shake days or fast with the fasting juice and snacks I have.  I am also really editing my diet- I have two big events one in May and one in June and then a vacation that I wouldn't mind looking good for in between.  I go to the gym three days a week, so I likely won't fast on those days, as I need the energy.  The other days, I am going to try to replace one meal with a shake for 3 of the days and try to do a whole fast day the other day.  I think my body needs just a small jolt out of my routine (I really haven't lost any weight, but I have lost a good amount of inches and am down one size, and would like to get down one more which would put me at my previous goal above, Orange Theory has done a great job of helping me lose fat and gain muscle).

Lunch is easier for me to control because it either has to be here or I bring it (I can eat out, but don't often unless I want to) I have dried fruit, applesauce, cocoa covered almonds, miso soup, 100 cal yogurt, popcorn for breakfast/snacks. And we always have fruit, cheese sticks and lunch meat at my office.   I have really cut down my diet coke intake, it is more for emergency purposes, but I do drink coffee now and then.  Dinner, I am cooking for Hubby two and don't want to make completely different meals, but I can change some things for me.  But of course it would be better to eat more calories at lunch than dinner, but that just never works for me.  Hoping that I can make some small changes that will have an impact.  Any good tips from people, on changes they make to their meal from their spouses to make them a bit more healthy besides just different portions?  

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23 hours ago, ktmoomau said:

But of course it would be better to eat more calories at lunch than dinner, but that just never works for me.  Hoping that I can make some small changes that will have an impact.  Any good tips from people, on changes they make to their meal from their spouses to make them a bit more healthy besides just different portions?  

I make more, and more delicious food. I'm on a low-carb diet at the moment that my family doesn't need to share. Typically, I'll add a veg-heavy side or two that I know I'll like that my guys may or may not like (last night's meal: steak, mushrooms, and potatoes for all of us; spinach and cabbage mostly for me, though the guys ate a little. Also, the cabbage turned out surprisingly tasty so it was easier to eat more!).  I cook in large batches so the food lasts for a few days and I'll have lots of options in rotation in the fridge for odd snacks or to take for lunch.  But the food has to be good enough that I want to eat it (this is especially key for getting good lunches in), otherwise the system all falls apart and I waste time, $, and food :( So I'd say now is a splurge time for you in terms of ingredients you love/crave and go to town. It is definitely a bit more effort but I find it worthwhile.

Oh, and while it is still cool, keeping a big pot (or frozen portions) of a low(er)-cal soup around (veg and/or bean-heavy) makes it really easy to add a course, just for you if need be, to every meal that will help you sneak in more fiber/nutrients and fill up.

Finally, whatever it is, put an egg (or 2, or...) on it :P Adds a delicious (well, as long as you like eggs) healthy protein, is cheap, and takes very little time to cook.

To stay on the original topic, I have a few friends who have had a lot of success with intermittent fasting and are able to maintain the diet and their losses, though the fasting intervals go way down in maintenance mode unless they need a reboot. Finding delicious low or no-cal beverages (really complex and/or fruity teas, it seems) seems to be key.  

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