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Fasting: I find it easier to "not eat" than to "eat less"

 
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I'm entering my third week of OMAD (one meal a day) and I'm feeling pretty optimistic.  That's a change!

Like most people, as I entered middle age I started to gain weight, slowly.  In the past year I've been struggling with plantar fasciosis (I'm calling it that because the problem is not inflammation) and the inhibition of activity made the weight gain accelerate.  2018 was the year of not doing anything, or at least it seemed like that.  I hardly gardened, I couldn't go on hikes, hell, I couldn't go on walks.  I tried to control my weight via "portion control" and pretty much failed.

Then I watched a presentation by Dr. Jason Fung:


He explained that fat deposition, and fat burning, are controlled by insulin levels.  You're not going to burn fat until your insulin levels are low.  You've got glycogen stored in your muscles and liver, and that's like your refrigerator - it's easy to get to.  You've got a lot more energy stored in fat, but that's like the deep freeze in your basement or garage - it's hard to access.  Basically you need to burn through ALL the glycogen before you break into the fat stores.  If you don't eat, this will happen at about 10-12 hours of fasting.

If you try to lose weight by eating less, but keep eating on a regular basis, the intake of food stimulates insulin release, and as long as there is insulin circulating you're not going to break into the fat stores.  Instead, the body will decrease the resting metabolic rate - you feel cold and crappy.  You can try to overcome this with vigorous exercise through amazing strength of will, but that will give you almost unstoppable hunger.  It's nearly impossible.

The easy version of this is 16:8 eating, which I would recommend to just about any adult (pregnant and nursing moms excluded).  You just fit all your eating into an 8 hour period, say, from 11AM to 7PM.  But I'm an overachiever, and so at the moment I'm doing more like 22:2 eating.  I eat between 6:30pm and 8:30pm most days.  (I do have a latte' in the morning, so it's not a real fast - there's whole milk in there.)  I move from the latte' to tea, water and other no or very low calorie drinks for the rest of the day, up until dinner which I eat with my family.

What I like about this is the simplicity.  I haven't changed my life much.  I already wasn't having a sit down breakfast, but I was eating nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts) that I have in my desk at work, and I was eating lunch.  Various treats show up at work and I've been pretty good about avoiding them.  Now it's simple.  I only drink at work, I don't eat.  When I get home, I eat dinner with my family like always.

Hunger comes in waves, it doesn't grow and grow endlessly.  If you can get through the wave of hunger, you can get on with your life.  For sure, this is easier on days I'm in the office.  Monday is my day off, and I've broken from the pattern on two Mondays: one because I was doing some elaborate cooking and it's hard to cook without tasting and more recently because for the MLK holiday my husband went to the French bakery and bought pastries.

I haven't tried going longer than 22,23 hours, but I hear that's not as hard as it sounds either.  I'd love to hear from other people who have tried this - what was your experience?
 
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I don't eat just one meal a day but like the long fast between meals.
I wake really early so my eating hours are ideally from 6am until 2pm....leaving a 16 hour fast.
It does keep my weight where I'm most comfortable.  

It is a traditional way of eating

This is a similar eating practice followed by Theravadin monastics—bhikkhus and bhikkhunis—who follow the dietary rules of the Vinaya, the monastic code believed to have been written by the Buddha himself. According to the Vinaya, monastics can eat food only between dawn and noon.



https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/tried-buddhist-monk-diet-worked/

The lowest B.M.I.s were recorded in the fraction of people—about 8 percent of the total sample—who finished lunch by early afternoon and did not eat again until the next morning, fasting for 18 to 19 hours.



I also like following the ayurvedic way of eating for body type although the holidays got me off track for awhile...just enough to notice how much better I feel eating less sugar, wheat and dairy..

 
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Julia, I have found the same.  If I eat small amounts, I get hungry again pretty quickly.  It's much easier for me to eat dinner only.  Any time my weight starts to creep up, I'll do that for 2 or 3 days a week until my weight is back where it belongs.  It's also a great way to keep off holiday weight without feeling guilty.  Just eat whatever you like at family get-togethers and then do intermittent fasting for a few days.  

When people first incorporate this, they will feel very hungry at lunch time.  I think it's more that you are used to eating at that time than actual hunger.  If you can keep busy for a while through the lunch time, the "hunger" goes away again.
 
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I tried Dr. Jung methods shortly after being diagnosed with diabetes. It didn't work at all for me. I felt so sick all the time. I think it's great that others find him useful, but I did not. I'm pretty skeptical of his claims from a scientific point, but more importantly to me, it just didn't fit my experiences in my body. I do really well with lots of small meals, 5-6 a day. It keeps my blood sugar under control and allows me to have continued energy. It isn't a hunger thing for me, it's an energy/sickness thing. By the time I feel hungry, it's too late, either I have to eat candy or something high carb to keep my blood sugar from crashing and/or I become nauseous, dizzy and get a headache. And my day is shot.

As far as the plantar fasciitis, I've had the best luck with nightly foot massages with an herbal salve, stretching and transitioning to barefoot or barefoot shoe living.
 
Julia Winter
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I'm told that a good way to ease into fasting is to work towards a very low carb diet prior to fasting.  If you go low enough with carb intake, you can achieve ketosis without fasting.  Then, if you move over to fasting, your body is already burning fat and it's easy to switch from burning the fat in your diet to the fat in your body.

Bulletproof coffee is a strategy for avoiding feeling bad while you avoid eating food in the morning.  There can be a lot of calories in that.  I am using half my normal amount of whole milk in my latte, adding water to that plus a couple teaspoons of butter.  I'm calling it bulletproof latte'
 
Stacy Witscher
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I was Keto first, but was gaining weight, so I added the fasting. On Keto, I was eating 5-10% carbs, 20% protein and 70-75% fat. I wasn't very happy with my food options and I was gaining weight, but it did control my blood sugar. So I added the intermittent fasting, but it just made me so ill. Now, I eat 5-6 small meals, 20% carbs, 20% protein and 60% fat. I'm much happier with my food choices, losing weight, and maintaining better blood sugar control.

But it's good to try things, I wouldn't have found something that worked for me if I hadn't experimented.
 
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KETO combined with IF (intermittent fasting), at an 8:16 eating: fasting timing seems to work best for me. Unfortunately, since closing on our new place, beginning the process of moving, going on a cruise, and the holidays, the working habit feel by the wayside, and both my stress levels and weight have been going up. Holidays & vacationing are behind us, but the stress from moving interstate, the travel between the two states (thus, frequently eating on the road) to get the new place ready, and prioritizing/packing/moving things down, that we'd rather not trust to the movers have all ganged up on me. Stresses are up, restful sleep & immune system are down, and, since early October, my weight is up 11lbs. The movers are coming 2/20, & will deliver sometime between the 22nd & 25th, during which time we will be relocating our critters and doing final preps. After delivery, we have to get back to the old place, take care of last minute inspections & whatever comes of that, say a few goodbyes, and nightfall it back there, to unpack & finally set up our home, just in time to be late, starting seeds indoors & testing soil & our pond water.

Between the stress and insane schedules, I'm *constantly* hungry, all our friends want to get together for goodbye dinners &/or parties, and I'm about to just throw in the towel, and start again, after the back & forth nonsense is all finished. All this is probably tmi, and sounds very pity-party-esque, though that's not my intent. I'm most definitely frustrated - no doubts, there. But, my reason for over-sharing is as a reminder: Sometimes, life really does just get in the way of our best intentions, and you just have to roll with it, don't beat yourself up, and get back on the f*%#@ng horse, asap. I'd lost 63.5lbs, before all this. As of this morning, I'm up 11lbs, from that - so, I'm still down 52lbs, from where I started. That's where my hope lives. Ok,  that, and the fact that there is an end in sight, to all this scheduling nightmare.
 
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You might be onto something.

I like 1 day of fasting per week.
I have found that skipping a meal does help with weight control.

I understand the concept that it isn't what type of calorie you eat carbs/protein/fat. What really matters is total calories absorbed and total calories used per day/week. But I do find that having less prepared food/snacks around the house/etc makes me eat less. The extra time I have to use to prepare the food and cleanup give me extra time to think about it. Also by having a set schedule my brain can go on auto-pilot and easily say no to food vs if I have to consciously decide what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, what to say no to numerous times per day, my brain gets overloaded with decision fatigue and so I end up just eating everything. Also if people know that you don't eat at xyz time, they don't peer pressure you as much.  
 
Julia Winter
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Anybody out there who has gone longer than a day?

I'm continuing with my current pattern, which isn't a true fast since I have at least 8oz of whole milk in my morning latte.  I put my latte' off until 9:30am this morning so I know I went over 12 hours, but I still had one.

I made a beef stew - it is hard to cook without tasting!!  I kept it to a minimum, just to taste for seasoning.

I'm curious about a longer fast, but I think it would be disruptive for my family to miss multiple meals with them.  I'm not losing much weight, but I'm doing a fair amount of exercise and I *think* my waist may be smaller (pants are looser).  I should have measured my waist....  Anyway, I'm definitely not wasting away.
 
Carla Burke
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Julia Winter wrote:Anybody out there who has gone longer than a day?

I'm continuing with my current pattern, which isn't a true fast since I have at least 8oz of whole milk in my morning latte.  I put my latte' off until 9:30am this morning so I know I went over 12 hours, but I still had one.

I made a beef stew - it is hard to cook without tasting!!  I kept it to a minimum, just to taste for seasoning.

I'm curious about a longer fast, but I think it would be disruptive for my family to miss multiple meals with them.  I'm not losing much weight, but I'm doing a fair amount of exercise and I *think* my waist may be smaller (pants are looser).  I should have measured my waist....  Anyway, I'm definitely not wasting away.



I once went 17days. It was not pleasant. I was not pleasant. It was not helpful to my weightloss, even in the first few days, beyond day 1. The only weight I lost was water, in the beginning, then some muscle. I was tired, grumpy, stinky, and looked and felt sickly. As soon as I quit, I regained it all - and then some. I can't recommend it.
 
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I used to do a once yearly fast of between 5 and 10 days. It always made me feel really good and clear and felt like it would sort of reset my whole system. I have done the master cleanse where you drink salt water in the morning, then this lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne drink all day, and a glass of senna tea at night. I have also done just herbal tea and water during the fast. There is a certain clarity mentally that comes around 5 days into the fast that I haven't experienced any other way and is accompanied by really high energy. 10 days is the longest I've ever gone and by then I could feel my body starting to really struggle to maintain even basic daily activity levels and the mental clarity was lapsing into an easy distraction

Since having our child it's been hard for me to fit a big fast into my life yearly. I started doing the intermittent fasting last year and really enjoy it. This year my plan is to stick with the intermittent fasting as well as adding a week of caffeine/alcohol/grain abstention around each new moon and a day (or maybe 3?) of full fasting on/around each new moon. I'm hoping it will have a similar impact as the one big fast while also helping me with my goal of becoming more attuned to natural rythms. I am a heavier built person and have a hard time maintaining healthy wait if I'm not extremely active and my observations are that this kind of diet/eating pattern works best for people like me. More lean/slender people don't seem to benefit from it as much, but I think like all dietary things it's something that each person needs to tinker with and find the pattern that works for their body.

As to the butter coffee thing, I've done that for years including some serious dives where around 24 ounces of that was all I would consumer betwee about 7 am and 2 or 3 pm. Now I only use it as a tool for my seasonal periods of heavy work load and when I know I am going to be pushing myself on less than enough sleep. The most satisfying recipe I found was to add a light tablespoon each of the best butter you can get (cultured and pastured if possible) and coconut oil to every 8 oz of coffee. Then run it all together through a blender until you get an even consistency and lots of froth. It's amazing and the fats dont seperate out for hours, especially if you keep it in something insulated. A friend from mexico would add a little honey and cayenne to that and it was also nice if that's your thing. Ginger and cardamom are other spices that some people really like to add to it.
 
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I love, love, love fasting, and ketosis. I like having a limited eating window during a day: for example from 2 PM till dark. I typically fast for a week once a year between Christmas and New Year. For longer fasts, I make sure to add electrolytes to my water. And I continue to use caffeine. No sense getting a caffeine headache, and blaming it on fasting. Getting sick when switching from a high carbohydrate diet to a low carb diet is so common, that it is often called "low carb flu". I think of it as a detoxification reaction.
 
Julia Winter
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stephen lowe wrote:I used to do a once yearly fast of between 5 and 10 days. It always made me feel really good and clear and felt like it would sort of reset my whole system. I have done the master cleanse where you drink salt water in the morning, then this lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne drink all day, and a glass of senna tea at night. I have also done just herbal tea and water during the fast. There is a certain clarity mentally that comes around 5 days into the fast that I haven't experienced any other way and is accompanied by really high energy.



I'm very curious about the high energy thing.  I've read this is because you get higher background levels of norepinephrine.  Plato was in favor of fasting because of its effects on the mind.  People say that if you go on an extended fast, the hunger drops off by day 3, was that your experience?

There's a cancer researcher who suggests that a yearly week long "water fast" can help in controlling cancer.  If you subscribe to the idea that little cancers are arising all the time in our bodies and are usually found out and eliminated by our immune system, this could make sense.  First, cancers tend to require glucose for fuel, so going ketotic may literally starve the tumor and second, after a few days the body begins a process of autophagy, where it is scrounging around for protein/amino acids.  Dr. Fung says that none of his extreme weight loss patients have had to have plastic surgery to reduce excessive skin, like you see sometimes from other weight loss methods.  The excess skin is consumed by the body as the fast continues.  
 
Julia Winter
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Judith Browning wrote:I don't eat just one meal a day but like the long fast between meals.
I wake really early so my eating hours are ideally from 6am until 2pm....leaving a 16 hour fast.
It does keep my weight where I'm most comfortable.



Oh!  You just reminded me of a pattern I developed during my pediatric residency that helped me maintain my weight.  For my second and third year of residency, I shared a big house with 5 other young adults.  They were terrible about stealing food.  My solution was to have no food in the house.  I got up very early and went to the hospital, had breakfast and lunch there, then just didn't eat dinner most days.  I would go out to eat with friends a couple times a week, so the extended fast wasn't every day.  This was over twenty years ago when I had a faster metabolism, but it worked well to stay thin.


^^It wasn't all my roommates who stole food.  It was this guy. ^^
Seriously, I did my residency in Hollywood and Nick Lea was a super annoying roommate.  He was playing Alex Krycek at the time.
 
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A year ago, I started following the 5:2 fasting protocol (see Dr. Michael Mosley in the UK) in solidarity with my wife.  In that year, my wife has lost 30 lbs of baby weight and kept it off, and I've lost 15 nuisance pounds that had snuck up on me in the 20 years since I graduated high school.  
We both feel better - more energetic and alert.  Fewer colds.  More endurance and strength.  My wife had to buy new clothes, and mine are looking baggy.

Now I'm simply doing OMAD once a week. Every Monday, I skip breakfast and lunch, and only eat a 500 calorie dinner a couple hours before bedtime.  The fasting was tough at the beginning, but now it's quite easy.  Our bodies are genetically adapted to feast and famine cycles.  Otherwise we would have gone extinct thousands of years ago.  

Two analogies I like to use: one is that of a hybrid vehicle - our bodies can run either on stored fat or on blood glucose.  You need to train it to toggle back and forth.  I think this is similar to ketogenic diet, but I haven't tried that.
The other analogy is that of a bank account - when you have an expense (energy demand) you can draw from your checking account, or your savings account.  Our bodies are adapted to survive with the expectation of future famine, so it's constantly trying to build up the savings account (stored fat).  In order to force it to draw down savings, you must operate with an empty checking account (empty stomach) periodically.
 
Julia Winter
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I'm still working at this OMAD thing.  This week, I got tough about the morning latte.  My Klean Kanteen insulated coffee "mug" holds 20oz, and two months ago I was loading that thing up with probably 16oz of whole milk. In January I cut that back by maybe half, so probably 8oz of milk. Still a fair amount of carbs to have in the morning.  (There's 12g of carbs in 8oz of milk and almost 8g of fat.)

I bought some half and half on Sunday (I was planning to get heavy cream, but this fancy new A2/A2 grassfed half and half was on sale) and tried 4oz of that with 12oz of water.  That was too much water.  Then on Monday I did 4oz of the half and half with 4oz of water.  That was . . . OK.  I also delayed having the latte both those days.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I made strong black tea with less than an oz of h&h, for caffeine in the morning, and drank that at home.  Then I put off drinking my latte until 1pm, to extend the "real" fast to about 17 hours (maybe longer).  My latte had 4oz of half and half and at least today (Wednesday) I did the other 4oz as whole milk.  I'm working hard to drink lots of water or dandelion tea.

So, half'n'half has 28g of fat per 8oz, and 10g of carbs.  That means my latte today had 18g of fat and 11g of carbs--not a whole lot.  Most folks say you need to stay under 50g of carbs daily for a ketogenic diet, some say under 30g.  Of course, I eat many grams of carbohydrates at dinner - I'm not going super low carb overall, I'm eating along with my family.  I try to take less of the pasta or bread, but I do have some.

Without the milk in the morning, I'm feeling hungrier at work.  I'm not suffering, I'm just noticing a difference.  We'll see if it leads to a resumption of weight loss.

At the same time as decreasing my food intake, I'm trying to increase activity.  I'm doing my PT daily (squats lifting a 35lb kettle bell with a particular positioning and pattern of movement to work on my hips and knees and arches, plus crab walking with an elastic band around my ankles to quite directly work my hips) and most days I'm walking on the treadmill.  Yesterday I walked a mile with Birkenstocks, then 1.5 miles barefoot, all at 12% grade.  I don't think my diet has impacted my ability to exercise.  I ride my trike to yoga and to PT, and sometimes to the grocery store (this is when it's nice to be in Portland - apologies to all of you stuck in the polar vortex!).  And then there are evenings like tonight, where all I managed was a few reps with the kettle bell.

Good night!
 
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The more often you fast the easier it becomes.  I think it has to do with the body cleaning house.

I too, find it easier to not eat, than to eat less.  I would prefer to eat within a short time window instead of eating less.  Eating within a small time frame, IF/OMAD/time restricted eating/etc, will have a greater health improvement than just eating less.  Dr. Rhonda Patrick has a few good talks with Joe Rogan on youtube where they discuss this topic.  I think there's a shorter 15 minute video where they discuss this only.

I find that fasting for extended periods of time is easier if you own a juicer.  Juice fasting accomplishes so much and I often prefer it to water fasting for extended periods of over a few days.  Most people could ease into juice fasting, whereas an extended water fast may be a bit of a struggle.

Dry fasting is at the top of the totem pole as far as I've discovered.  I like to throw in a day or two of dry fasting while juice fasting, it accomplishes a lot.

A 72 hour water fast will replace 30% of the immune cells.  All the defunct cells are replaced with healthy ambitious cells essentially.
 
stephen lowe
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Julia Winter wrote:
I'm very curious about the high energy thing.  I've read this is because you get higher background levels of norepinephrine.  Plato was in favor of fasting because of its effects on the mind.  People say that if you go on an extended fast, the hunger drops off by day 3, was that your experience?

There's a cancer researcher who suggests that a yearly week long "water fast" can help in controlling cancer.  If you subscribe to the idea that little cancers are arising all the time in our bodies and are usually found out and eliminated by our immune system, this could make sense.  First, cancers tend to require glucose for fuel, so going ketotic may literally starve the tumor and second, after a few days the body begins a process of autophagy, where it is scrounging around for protein/amino acids.  Dr. Fung says that none of his extreme weight loss patients have had to have plastic surgery to reduce excessive skin, like you see sometimes from other weight loss methods.  The excess skin is consumed by the body as the fast continues.  



For me, I wouldn't say that the hunger drops off so much as that the habit of getting food to eat recedes. You just sort of get used to not eating and think about it less. Of course I am a total fat kid who thinks about food way more than many people so for others there might be a more noticeable decline in hunger. I've also noticed it's easier to do a fast if you are living alone or the people you live with are doing it or are at least on board with you doing it. This is why i had such a hard time since having a kid, I found long term fasting impossible while still preparing multiple meals a day for someone else.

I don't know the source of the extra energy but I sort of perceived it as your body becoming fully geared up in the fat burning department. There is a noticeable spike in mental energy and clarity that for me borders on a mania
 
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stephen lowe wrote:
I don't know the source of the extra energy but I sort of perceived it as your body becoming fully geared up in the fat burning department. There is a noticeable spike in mental energy and clarity that for me borders on a mania



I suspect there's a strong evolutionary component here - a hunter-gatherer experiencing a day or two of unsuccessful forays would need to become more alert, focused, and energetic in order to get back out there and kill something.  Many people people who have never tried fasting assume that you will become lethargic as a result...in that were the case, we will have gone extinct long ago.
 
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Ok, some free advice and worth every penny.

webpage     Seriously, this is science based nutrition based on an MD presenting the latest and best science.

as far as partial fasting, I do like extending my "break fast" time to later in the day on a regular basis, What works best for me if I have a craving is simply water.  

 
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I'm actually hypoglycemic so I've been known to faint if I don't eat. I like the idea though. My husband has a bullet proof coffee in the morning and then has nothing else until dinner. Fascinates me. I'd die, maybe even literally. ;)
 
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Davis Tyler wrote:I suspect there's a strong evolutionary component here - a hunter-gatherer experiencing a day or two of unsuccessful forays would need to become more alert, focused, and energetic in order to get back out there and kill something.  Many people people who have never tried fasting assume that you will become lethargic as a result...in that were the case, we would have gone extinct long ago.



That's just what Dr. Fung says, about energy and also about the worry that if you fast, you'll lose all your muscle mass.  The fat is there to provide energy for when there's no food - that's what it's for!  Our bodies evolved in pre-agricultural times, when there was little to no ability to store food for future use.  You found a tree/bush in fruit, or you caught a fish or animal, and you feasted!  Then you waited for the next successful foraging expedition.  You couldn't afford to lose energy or muscle mass in between finds.

I'm not sure if my weight loss has resumed, I haven't taken the time to weigh myself, but I'm wearing a pair of khakis today that I couldn't wear a month ago, so that's a good thing.
 
Julia Winter
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I'm still fasting daily, and putting off my coffee (with cream) until 1-2pm, to extend the true fast.  I found an interesting discussion of fasting with Dave Asprey (the "Bulletproof" guy), Jimmy Moore (of Livin' la vida Low-Carb fame) and Jason Fung MD (the doctor I mentioned above).  It's long, but it's mainly audio, so you can listen while you do something else.



They talk about how fasting can be an anti-aging strategy.  Anti-cancer, anti-Alzheimers, anti-diabetes. . . . it almost makes me want to try an extended fast.
 
Joshua Parke
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Julia Winter wrote:They talk about how fasting can be an anti-aging strategy.  Anti-cancer, anti-Alzheimers, anti-diabetes. . . . it almost makes me want to try an extended fast.



Yes, yes, yes, yes......yes.   :-)

Fasting regenerates stem cells....... ;-)

HAH....I just started listening to the video above......first thing he mentions.....stem cells.  LOL
 
Carla Burke
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I'll happily do intermittent fasting. I could even see me fasting 1 day a week. But, not more than that, for me. It rarely ends well, for me, when I attempt more than that.
 
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I am a big fan of this link below

bob day wrote:Ok, some free advice and worth every penny.

webpage     Seriously, this is science based nutrition based on an MD presenting the latest and best science.



I used to fast weekly back in the day (I lived in Japan and I was walking huge distances doing volunteer work, it didn't impede my activity at all) and it was a great experience. My kid is going off to college soon and I will have a day where it is just me, alone all day, and I think that will become my fast day again. It's nice to have one day where the food and prep are just off the table, and you focus on other things.

That said, I just got diagnosed with ulcers and until they heal up I'm stuck eating little tiny portions of mild things every few hours (spent a lot of time feeling faint over the past month, which was basically a huge fast because of pain). And learning what I can eat and what I can't. Unsurprisingly, the things I know I shouldn't eat are the ones that are causing me pain, while the good stuff is fine (I ate sweet potatoes with hot pepper paste and beans with lemon juice, no problems.).
 
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Eating less would help most people. But occasional fasting (12-36 hours without food isnt hard to do, I find) has some proven benefits. One benefit of fasting that people don’t often mention is the benefit of getting comfortable with the idea of being hungry. I’ve found out that being hungry isn’t the end of the world and that I survive even when I’m hungry. In a survival situation I know I won’t be letting hunger cause me to make a decision that is not in my best interest. I find the Blue Zones concept a great concept to keep in mind when it comes to nutrition.
 
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Over the past several years, my wife and I have “cleaned up” our eating for the most part. Started with 2 weeks of juice/broth fasting, then a couple weeks of organ cleansing, then about a month of leaky gut diet. Both of our health and digestion has improved greatly and we lost about 20 pounds in the first 3 weeks. The majority of it has stayed off and we are a few years later now. I now found what eating patterns works best for me, what makes me look, feel and function best. Typically, I eat a large breakfast that consists of mostly fats and proteins, small amount of carbs. Then snack on fruit and nuts until I eat a salad for lunch. Then I eat dinner preferably before 6 and try not to eat again for about 12 hours. Even with this intermittent fasting of 12 hours most nights, I still find that in these winter months my body really enjoys skipping breakfast on Saturday and eating very light throughout the whole day. I believe our metabolism and bacterial activity in our digestive tract changes with the seasons and moon phases.
 
Julia Winter
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So I've discovered the scavenger hunt (to see where you are at, you need to go to your public profile; you click on "My Profile" and then a link up on the right side for your public profile, then the scavenger hunt box is on the left side of the screen.  I don't know how this works in mobile view, sorry) and once I made a bookmark I popped up to "pioneer" status and got a piece of PIE!  

In order to finish the next level I need to post 3 more videos.  Easy!  There's a button for that when you do a normal Reply to a thread.  (There's also buttons for Wikipedia links and Vimeo links.)  

In the interest of leveling up I will share with you an educational and entertaining documentary by the BBC on strategies for living longer and staying healthy.  It's an hour long.  They move through calorie restriction, to moderate length fasting, to intermittent fasting (5:2).  

I found the stuff about IGF-1 to be really interesting.  (IGF-1 is insulin like growth factor.  It's not insulin, it tracks to protein intake instead of carbohydrate intake.)  People on the usual modern diet have high levels of IGF-1, and this is associated with a much higher risk of cancer.  When the guy fasted for 4 nights/3 days, his IGF-1 was cut in half.  This might explain the advice to do a 7 day water fast once a year to decrease cancer risk that I mentioned above.



 
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Julia Winter wrote:Eat, Fast & Live Longer



That is a great documentary, as is "The Truth About Exercise", also hosted by Michael Mosley. They really go hand in hand.

I've been consistently practicing intermittent fasting (using a lot of the principles in the above video) on and off for about 5 years and have had pretty good results. In the last 2-3 years or so, I've lost about 30 lbs. and have kept it off. I also noticed a huge boost in energy, performance and endurance when exercising. But the benefits don't just stop there. There is also a definite detox effect, a mood lift and a major improvement in mental functions. I no longer get brain fog, my cholesterol levels are down, my blood pressure and heart rate are way down, as are my stress levels, my immune system is operating at peak levels and I generally feel great most day.

To share some anecdotal evidence with you, recently my family was struck with a common cold and a nasty flu, both in quick succession. I was able to avoid catching the cold entirely and my sick time with the flu was half that of the rest of my family. Take it with a grain of salt but I'm convinced that it was due, at least in part, to a heavy restriction in caloric intake and an improvement in metabolism.

As a starting point, I suggest anyone new to fasting or intermittent fasting to start with just one day a week and go from there. Get used to how it feels to function normally without the need for 3 heavy meals a day plus snacks. Know that our bodies evolved to eat in spurts - feast or famine. When the eating is good, we eat. When the food is not there, we still have to function, or hunt/forage as our ancestors did. You will not die by skipping breakfast, or even all food for a day! Another common concern is hunger pain/discomfort. You have to learn to tolerate this. It will get easier. I'm not saying that you learn to like it over time but it really doesn't bother you after a while. It's just a sensation and it goes away. Think of it as your body's way of saying: "Well, we've gone through our stomach contents and glucose stores. Now it's time to burn our fat reserves for energy." And you can actually train your body to use fat as a primary source of energy. Isn't the human body amazing?

That said, fasting is not for everyone and it's not without risks. Some things to consider:

  • Hydration is so very important. This is especially true while fasting.
  • If going 24 hours without food is too difficult for you at first, start slow. Try skipping breakfast first, then once you're comfortable with that after a few weeks, try skipping lunch too.
  • Consider that if you sleep for 8 hours, you've already got an 8 hour head start on your fasting! And coincidentally, it takes roughly 8 hours for your body to use up all the glucose in your blood, muscles and organs. That means that if you skip breakfast and eat your first meal at noon, that's 12 hours of fasting and 4 hours of that was effortless fat burning. Don't forget that we burn tons of calories every day by simply being alive. All the systems of our body (breathing, heart beat, digestive process, etc.) use calories to accomplish this. If you haven't eaten anything, that energy has to come from somewhere and usually it comes from your fat stores.
  • Alternatively, you can try eating a low cal diet for half the week and whatever you normally eat for the other half. Alternate every other day. Like the BBC documentary indicated, in one study they saw people get 70% of the benefits of hardcore fasting with intermittent fasting. For many people, this approach makes a lot more sense and is obviously much easier.
  • Maintaining a proper electrolyte balance is important. Consider that when your food intake is reduced and you are eliminating as normal (assuming you are drinking just as many fluids), your electrolytes will eventually be depleted. It's important to take a multivitamin and monitor your levels if you plan to fast heavily and/or regularly.
  • Consult with a doctor or health care professional before embarking on a fasting journey.
  • Listen to your body! If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. But there's a difference between that and food addiction which is nothing more than a compulsion to eat. You have to learn to tell the difference and a lot of it, believe it or not, is directly related to what your gut flora is craving.

  • There is a lot to discuss and think about when it comes to fasting but it's not nearly as complicated or dangerous as it may seem. It's a natural process and one that the human body is well familiar with so don't be afraid to try it out and experiment with it. The benefits are endless! Good luck!!
     
    Brody Ekberg
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    Matt Leger, I totally agree with you. The bacteria in our digestive system dictate what we desire to eat. If you’re constantly craving sweets and carbs, you’re probably lacking diversity and have an abundance of “bad guys” like candida. They want to thrive and signal your brain to make you continue feeding them. If you’re happy eating fats, vegetables and fermented foods, you probably have a good diverse system. And in my own experience, if it isn’t sugar cravings, it’s mindless, habitual, and emotional eating that kicks me off course. Controlling stress levels and staying present throughout the day is how I usually manage to combat that.
     
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    EVERY night just before stepping into the shower, I step on the scales. If the reading is 160# or less, a snack before bed is allowed. Otherwise, no snack and the next day I adjust intake and exercise. Simple.
     
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    I fast sporadically nowadays (once a month or two for 24 hours), but I have gone for several days in the past (just vitamins and water).  I found that my hunger pains went away after a day or two even with keeping up with a pretty intense training regime.  I wasn't tracking weight or anything like that, just felt like the best way to cleanse any junk from my body would be to just not put any in for a while.

    The greatest benefit I feel I got from the experience was to break the cycle of habitual eating.  I only felt the desire to eat when I was truly hungry instead the 3 meals a day or more that many of are trained on from an early age.  The effect has carried over for years now, and I still only feel like eating once or twice a day.
     
    garden master
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    For me, I find one meal a day (intermittent fasting) coupled with a once per week full day fast to work well for maintaining body weight and composition. I find that eating a sufficient amount of saturated fats helps to keep me full this entire time, and drinking enough water, too.
     
    gardener
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    I find that fasting for 16 hours at a time and then being able to eat for 8 hours works well for me.

    I like that during those 8 hours I don't have to follow any particular diet plan. Not that I stuff myself silly but it just makes it easier.

    Also, I have never liked eating breakfast even as a kid so this fast schedule works well for me. I like to stop eating between 6:30 and 7:30pm which means I fast till 10:30 or 11:30am. That tends to work well for me.

    Though after doing it for a month I did fall off the schedule for a couple weeks due to "reasons". Going to start back up tomorrow - Today it was about 6:45pm when I had my last meal.
     
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    Are their any benefits of longer fasts that you don't get by eating once a day? I don't have any trouble losing weight, are there other advantages to fasting 2+ days?

    Slightly off topic, but one other thing I have often wondered about is if it ideal to eat meals that contain a mixture of different food types eg. meat and vege at the same time. Wouldn't we digest food better eating meat and veges (even different types of plants) as separate meals, as I assume we have an evolutionary history of doing? For example have a vegan meal, carnivore meal, vegan meal, carnivore, carnivore, leafy food, carnivore, tubers, carnivore, carnivore, fruit... etc. While something like a chimp is a fair way off a human they don't appear to gather fruit to save for when they catch a monkey to snack on.
     
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    I have gone on water-only fasts of at least a week's (and up to 21 days') duration for most of the past 30 years (and sporadically for some years prior to that). Initially, I did it because it's biblical and I was a fundamentalist christian, but I discovered that the effects were at least as (and possibly more) positive on the physical rather than spiritual plane, so have continued the practice. For awhile I was kind of obsessive about it, and did four a year, combined with a weekly 24 hour fast (which was boring as hell). My experience is that during a fast, I feel shitty for a couple days while I'm going through food withdrawal, but after that, I get a tremendous mental clarity and feel highly energized (although physically weak). It also seems to reset my taste buds, and eating food is almost orgasmic in intensity and pleasure following one. There is also some evidence that fasting-induce autophagy rids the body of defective cells. I did wind up in the ER with kidney stones once after breaking a fast, and subsequently learned that during lipogenesis, uric acid accumulates (I had a blood panel done after 14 days of fasting, and everything was rock solid except for uric acid, which was off the chart -- see http://www.jbc.org/content/66/2/521.full.pdf ). So now I'm very careful breaking a fast, avoiding all foods gout sufferers are warned against and going easy on quantity until my kidneys catch up with the backlog. I have also learned to add electrolytes to the water to avoid cramping that can get severe. Often I'll combine these fasts with colonic irrigation.

    For the past few years, I've noticed an increase in brain fog, which completely disappears a few days into a fast, and returns within minutes of breaking it. Lately I have also suffered from eczema or atopic dermatitis, and now I'm getting vision deterioration, joint pain, stiffness, vertigo, tinnitus, and some IBD or Crohn's type symptom--haven't passed anything but liquid for a month. Just a few days ago I stumbled across some fascinating and possibly crucially important information which may explain these phenomena. There's a guy named Grant Genereux ( https://ggenereux.blog/ ). He's a Canadian about my age who suffered from severe eczema and has come up with a theory that it (or any "autoimmune" condition) is really chronic and systemic vitamin a poisoning. That sounds pretty far out, and he's aware of just how unorthodox it is, but he makes a remarkably compelling case. He's not a doctor or clinician of any kind; he's a geologist and IT engineer, so his analysis has proceeded along lines free from any potential biases present in the medical establishment. On his blog he offers free e-books explaining his reasoning, and while they can sound hyperbolic (the title of the first is Extinguishing the Fires of Hell), if what he's saying turns out to be true, he's not overreacting. Anyway, he was able to completely reverse his condition simply by avoiding all foods containing vitamin a or carotene (which isn't that simple, actually; they're in most foods). He believes that the liver absorbs and stores these compounds until its capacity is exhausted, at which time the toxins "overflow" into our blood and begin to affect other tissues (skin, intestines, eyes, nerves--pretty much anything). Vitamin a may not even be a vitamin--he already debunked the very experiments which determined that it is (which he describes in his second e-book, Poisoning for Profit). Interestingly, the symptoms for vitamin a poisoning encompass those of various autoimmune diseases. I got about 30 pages into Extinguishing... before I resolved to try it myself, so I embarked on a fast a couple days ago, and once the brain fog clears and I decide to start eating again, I'm going to abstain from any trace of vitamin a or carotene. I'll know pretty quick if that's where the brain fog comes from, because it has always returned immediately, so if I eat some vitamin a free food, my head will stay clear if that's the cause, and of course I'm also hoping for resolution of the other symptoms plaguing me. Mr. Genereux isn't selling anything, not even the books--the two I've read are around 400 pages each and represent a considerable effort on his part to collect and relate all the information they contain (He's got another on breast cancer, which I haven't read yet). His main goal is for other people to validate his experience, because if his revolutionary thesis is correct, dissemination is imperative. So far, as expected, most medical professionals are uninterested and/or contemptuous. I highly recommend reading his material, and introducing it to anyone with autoimmune difficulties; what he proposes isn't going to hurt people, but may just save them.
     
    garden master
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    I've been considering a 12 to 18 hour daily fast for a variety of reasons. For additional reasons I must consume a significant amount of herbs in capsule form... spread out thought the day. Would it be correct that the herbs would not be counted as breaking this fast?
     
    Victor Johanson
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    Joylynn Hardesty wrote:I've been considering a 12 to 18 hour daily fast for a variety of reasons. For additional reasons I must consume a significant amount of herbs in capsule form... spread out thought the day. Would it be correct that the herbs would not be counted as breaking this fast?



    My opinion is that only caloric intake breaks a fast, and I think herb capsules would be trivial, unless "significant amount" is expressed in hundreds.
     
    Brody Ekberg
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    Chris Wang wrote:Are their any benefits of longer fasts that you don't get by eating once a day? I don't have any trouble losing weight, are there other advantages to fasting 2+ days?

    Slightly off topic, but one other thing I have often wondered about is if it ideal to eat meals that contain a mixture of different food types eg. meat and vege at the same time. Wouldn't we digest food better eating meat and veges (even different types of plants) as separate meals, as I assume we have an evolutionary history of doing? For example have a vegan meal, carnivore meal, vegan meal, carnivore, carnivore, leafy food, carnivore, tubers, carnivore, carnivore, fruit... etc. While something like a chimp is a fair way off a human they don't appear to gather fruit to save for when they catch a monkey to snack on.



    I think I read farther up in this thread that thebbody will start burning it’s fat reserves around the 12 hour mark. There probably are specific advantages to fasts lasting longer than 2 days, but the risks/disadvantages also grow with longer fasts. I think it’s best to listen to your body and not force anything.

    As far as eating different food groups separately, I think that makes sense logically, but life doesn’t run on logic. You could look into “food combining”, which is the theory that certain groups should be eaten together and others separately. I also know that there are benefits to mixing some things for increased digestion. I believe mixing fats with vegetables helps get us more minerals and nutrients from the vegetables, and mixing something acidic with harder to digest things like meats can help us break them down more completely.
     
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