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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Intermittent Fasting To Reduce Calories, Hmm?

Have you seen the latest blog post from Protein Power author Dr. Mike Eades on a subject known as "intermittent fasting" (IF)? It has generated the most comments that he has ever received on any subject he has previously written about at his blog. If you haven't seen it for yourself yet, then click here to go read it right now and come back. Go on, I'll wait for you...

Okay, so what did you think? I like it a lot better than the traditional fasting methods of one day on, one day off because you would go through a longer period of time between meals. But the IF plan that Dr. Eades suggests is more practical.

Here's the schedule:

Day 1 - Eat food anytime until 6:00PM and stop eating
Day 2 - Don't eat until 6:00PM
Day 3 - Eat food anytime until 6:00PM and stop eating
Day 4 - Don't eat until 6:00PM

So forth and so on. Of course, you aren't CONSTANTLY eating on the days you stop eating at 6:00PM, but rather you are eating as you normally would when you are hungry. And, for the sake of his experiment with IF, Dr. Eades even said feel free to eat WHATEVER you want. That's right, you can even eat chocolate cake if you wanted to. However, he did recommend people stick with low-carb foods and IF to maximize the impact of this way of eating, especially for weight loss.

I especially enjoyed this lesson from IF that Dr. Eades shared:

"One of the things MD (Mary Dan Eades) and I took away from our IF experience is the idea that we don't have to eat three meals per day. We now often skip lunch and don't seem any the worse for it. Sometimes we get up and get going with all our projects and don't eat breakfast. We try to skip a meal here and there because figure it's probably good for us. When you get used to it, you don't really even think about it. And it's good for you. Don't take my word for it--look at the medical literature."

Hmmm, interesting. I've been noticing lately on the weekends when my schedule is not as planned as it is during the week that I tend to eat fewer meals than on weekdays. Perhaps I should practice skipping meals, hunger notwithstanding, as well rather than eating simply because it is lunch or supper time.

For those of you who are people of faith and believe in God, fasting is actually something Christians are encouraged many times in the Bible to do from time to time. Aside from the obvious physical advantages to fasting, the spiritual implications of doing without food and other such necessities of life for a period to spend time praying on behalf of others in intercession is a sign of maturity in your walk with the Lord.

In fact, a few years back when I worked in a Christian bookstore, there were several books about fasting including one entitled "Fast Your Way To Health." This idea of fasting has been around for a while, but many are unwilling to give up food even for a day here and there. How sad.

What do you think about this? I for one think it is fantastic and am willing to do it myself once I get one question answered about it from Dr. Eades himself (who is responding to EVERY post about this, by the way!): What about my exercise routine? How can I get in my 30-45 minute workout on the days that I don't eat until 6:00PM? I can't exactly hop on the elliptical machine on an empty stomach now, can I? I'm awaiting his reply.

Has anyone tried this IF plan yet? If so, tell us about your experience. If the ultimate goal is to eat less calories, then perhaps implementing a fasting schedule like this one could enable you to reduce your caloric intake and you are still eating every single day. What a concept! Are you ready to start livin' la vida intermittent fasting? :D

9-18-06 UPDATE: Like I said in this post, Dr. Mike Eades is answering EVERY comment with a personal response and here's what he posted at his blog to me about my exercise concerns:

Hi Jimmy--

I would give it a try to see what happens. I doubt that you will run out of energy, but if you do, you might want to exercise only on eating days.

Keep me posted on your progress.

Best--

MRE


I had certainly thought about reserving exercise for the days I would be eating, but I may give it at least one or two times on the "off" days just to see how I feel. I workout pretty vigorously and burn upwards of 700-1000 calories during my cardio. Without a meal before doing exercise like this, I'm sure I would collapse. But we'll see.

What I did this morning was wake up very early in the morning and went to the YMCA to get a workout in before work and then I'll also do ANOTHER workout session this afternoon on my lunch break like I always do. Then when I am on day two of the IF tomorrow when I am not eating until 6:00PM, I don't have to push myself to get the exercise in since I'll have an extra session under my belt from the previous day.

So, yes, I am going to try IF for at least a week. I officially start my IF program today and will stop eating entirely at 6:00PM tonight. Then I will go without food until 6:00PM Tuesday night. We'll see what happens and I'll keep you and Dr. Mike posted. Anyone else gonna try this with me? :)

9-18-06 UPDATE: I had one more question for Dr. Eades regarding protein shakes.

Here's what I wrote to him:

Does a protein shake count as food or drink? In other words, can I drink an Atkins shake on the mornings I am supposed to be fasting or not?

Here was his speedy reply:

Hi Jimmy--

Since an Atkins shake contains calories, if you took it in you would not be fasting. Many people don't realize that caloric liquids--as far as the metabolic system is concerned--are no different that solid foods. One of the jobs of your teeth and your stomach acid is to convert solid foods into liquid foods.

So it doesn't matter whether it's a protein shake or a rib-eye steak when it goes in your mouth, by the time it reaches your small intestine where it is absorbed and kicks off all the metabolic processes it is a liquid.

Hope this helps.

MRE


Well, then, I ALMOST fasted the whole day sans my Atkins shake at 5:15 this morning. I was still plenty hungry by the time the fasting ended at 6:00PM. I took care of that problem in short order. :)

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25 Comments:

Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

One of my regular readers named Tess had trouble posting, so she sent me the following comment (please e-mail me your remarks if you are having trouble posting comments, too):

I have been following the IF since Thur. I still exercise the same. 2 mile morning and 2 miles every evening walking and Curves Mon Wed and Fri.

The fast hasn't interfered with my workouts at all It isn't a hard workout obviously but I have found no lack of energy at all. Fact is I tried to eat only when hungry and found even on the fast days I am not even usually hungry at the 6 pm meal.

I am going to stick with this for a week then I am going to try eating only when I am hungry. I can't even remember the last time my tummy actually told me to eat.

9/18/2006 6:56 AM  
Blogger Viking Dan said...

Jimmy,

For a less rigorous form of IF, you might consider Ramadan style fasting. Also check out The Warrior Diet. The basic idea is that you eat everything inside a 4 hour window so your body is only fasting approx. 20 hrs.

Easily adaptable to low carb. Quite easy, in fact, since lc blunts hunger so well.

9/18/2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS, Viking Dan! I'll give Dr. Eades' plan a go for a week and see how I feel.

9/18/2006 10:41 AM  
Blogger detox said...

I started IF yesterday and I am waiting for my first meal after the 24hour break (30 minutes to go). I will probably post on my blog about this after a few days worth of experience.

9/18/2006 11:34 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey detox,

I decided to make today my fast day as well, so I'm waiting for 6:00pm to eat tonight. All I had was an Atkins shake at 5:15AM before my workout at the gym. We'll see how this flies... :)

Jimmy

9/18/2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger Hike2Health said...

I started it the day I read his post and have gone through 2 fasting days. It isn't that hard really! My fbs finally hit 85, down from 98. I lost 3 pounds. I plan to stick with it for a while.

At 8pm, I either start eating or stop eating. I did a weight training workout at the end of my first fast and did not pass out. :) I felt fine. I do not eat much more on the eating days, which was one thing I feared I might do. I'm kissing my fat goodbye!

9/18/2006 12:58 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

I'm on my 3rd 48 hr cycle and things seem to be going okay. I'm trying to keep it very lc -- not changing what foods I was eating before the IF. I haven't noticed any major changes in certain symptoms, but for some people, like me, I know it will take a couple of weeks to show improvements.
I only exercise for twenty minutes at a time since I want to keep inflammation at a minimum, so there hasn't been a difference in energy yet. I did notice Sunday afternoon, while I was waiting to eat after 6 pm, that I was really restless, and started puttering around my place organizing things--more energy than usual for a Sunday afternoon.
I want to keep this up until my doctor's appt next month and see how it affects my blood work up.

9/18/2006 1:59 PM  
Blogger The Happy Low Carb Taco said...

I'm trying the 24 hours on, 24 hours off fast. So far so good. :-P

9/18/2006 2:33 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Never underestimate the power of the bandwagon when people think it will help them lose weight. ;P

My suspicion is that people eating perhaps as little as 20g of carbs per day will have a hard time doing the fast because their blood sugars will still fluctuate.

As I noted on the Eades thread
There's only one reason to be hungry and that's because of carbs in the diet and it's fluctuations in your blood sugar, even minimal ones. No carbs=steady blood sugar levels=no hunger.

Hi Rob--

I think you're right on the money. People who have never been on such a regimen don't believe how unhungry they really are when they don't eat carbs.

Thanks for commenting.

MRE

The Zero Carb Daily

9/18/2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger The Happy Low Carb Taco said...

Rob,

My IFing has a lot to do with saving money. ;)

Not too much to do with bandwagon- after all, I am a zero-carber.

Love your blog, by the way!

9/18/2006 4:35 PM  
Blogger Bowulf said...

My question to those that are doing this is: are you temporarily trying to get yourself over a hump or stimulate slow weight loss? Or are you planning to fast like this until goal or afterwards?

9/18/2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey bowulf,

I can't speak for others about why they are doing the IF, but I'm just curious to see what will happen doing it for a week. Today was my first "fast" day and it was quite the challenge. I get to break my fast in a few minutes, so we'll see how I feel. I did get quite hungry, though. :)

9/18/2006 5:46 PM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

I CAN'T work out on an empty stomach. I actually tried to in the past and got queasy, shaky, and dizzy. Don't nkow how this fast thing would work if I work out 5 days/week in the morning?

9/18/2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I thought the same thing, too, diamondwife, but actually I did my workout TWICE on my fast day on Monday. I did have an Atkins shake before the morning workout which technically was not permitted, but then I did not eat a single thing for the rest of the day until 6:00PM.

My lunchtime workout was as scheduled at 2:00PM and the only thing I had to do was back off on the intensity a bit. I didn't burn as many calories, but I got in an additional 40 minutes.

Give it a try and just don't overexert yourself. You should be fine. GOOD LUCK!

9/19/2006 6:53 AM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

Um...I HAVE worked out on an empty stomach and it just doesn't work for me. The whole, dizzy, shaky, feel like puking thing, and it was not short lived, it lasted over 30 minutes. Going withgout food during the day is not the issue, I've done it before, but when I switched to working out in the morning, when my stomach was empty, instead of the afternoon, I had to start taking in some calories pre-workout . It was so bad I really thought there was no way I would be able to work out in the morning. I am a big believer in listening to what my body is telling me, and if my body gets sick when I work out on empty I have a very difficult time believing it is all that good for you. Any way, how long are you supposed to do the IF thing?

9/19/2006 7:53 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Dr. Mike suggested NOT exercising on fasting days if you can't do it. We're all different, so if it makes you sick don't do it. :)

As for how long, the Eades did it for two weeks. I'm committing to at least ONE week just to see what happens. I may stretch it longer if I like how it makes me feel.

So far, I don't. :-O

9/19/2006 8:09 AM  
Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...

I'm honestly just going to focus on low carb and upping my exercise.

This seems kinda faddish to me.

I don't think I could eat this way, the rest of my life.

9/20/2006 5:23 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Dave,

This IF plan is certainly not for anyone who is susceptible to being hungry and eating ravenously. My brief experience on it has been quite negative, but I committed to it for a week. If it doesn't get better than I will stop after the seven days is over.

As for long-term on this, I don't see how anyone could stay on it for longer than a couple of weeks without going insane. That's just my impression at the moment and I agree the low-carb lifestyle is just fine for people wanting to lose weight and get healthy.

But, it's nice to try something new every once in a while to remind you why you are livin' la vida low-carb. THIS FASTING WILL MAKE YOU APPRECIATE IT SO MUCH MORE! LOL!

9/20/2006 6:36 AM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

Tried IF today and my tummy is grumbly, but not as bad as I thought it would be. I did technically cheat a bit, but I don't think the 2 sugar free mints are going to hurt me that bad. My mouth just felt so gross, and drinks were doing nothing. I alternated between pretty short periods where I really thought I might kill someone and longer periods where I was pretty comfortable. I won't be able to continue this pattern as I am leaving for vacation Friday, but I will likely try it again when I get back from vacation. I'm pretty darn hungry right now but I can eat in about 40 minutes. I just hope I don't go face first into everything in the fridge. I'm planning on having a big salad and a bowl of hamburger vegetable soup.

9/20/2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger TESS said...

I just finished my week on IF. I did just fine, except for that jar of peanut butter I fell prey to. I lost 2 3/4 lbs. For most this isn't a great weight loss but for me it is terrific. I do have a problem with hunger tho- The problem is I don't get hungry. If I waited for my tummy to speak up I have no idea how long it might be before I ate. I
continued my excercise per normal. 2 miles twice a day at 3 mph and Curves 3 times a week. I always work out on an empty stomach.Read somewhere that way you burn the fat you already have for energy rather than the food so recently injested.All in all I feel good, saved a bunch of money in food costs and could sleep in 20 min longer in the morning since I didn't have to pack a lunch. I am going to give it another week. Will update you next Thur. Cheers!

9/21/2006 7:08 AM  
Blogger LindaLCforLife said...

My first post didn't go in, so here it is again:

Dr. Atkins said "Let me make it clear that the Fat Fast is actually dangerous for anyone who is not metabolically resistant." Chapter 20, Metabolic Resistance: Causes and Solutions, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.

The fat fast is for those with extreme metabolic resistance who after trying the Atkins diet, recommended supplements, etc., have been unable to lose weight/reach their goal safely. It's not for the majority of low-carbers.

9/23/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger diamondwife said...

What does the "fat fast" have to do with IF? They are completely different things.

9/25/2006 12:46 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Jimmy,

I am on Day 3 (sort of) with IF. I didn't know on Day 1 that is was Day 1 so I ate at 8pm. Then yesterday, Day 2, I fasted until 5pm. It was easy. Walked 3.5 miles and worked hard the rest of the day. Then today, Day 3, I had 2.5 meals and quit at 5pm. I hope it knocks me out of this horrible stall/gain! How are you doing? Isn't it close to Day 8 for you?

Kristi

9/29/2007 12:01 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

HOLY CRAP!!! I just re-read the date and saw that it said 2006 and not 2007!!!!!!!!!! So this is old news, huh? Well, I'm trying it anyway...


Kristi :)

9/29/2007 12:07 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Vaught said...

And now it's 2011 (almost 2012), still a good post though. :)

10/30/2011 9:48 AM  

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