Author Topic: Intermittent Fasting  (Read 13272 times)

Offline tombb

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
  • Karma: +60/-34
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #40 on: December 26, 2008, 08:22:06 PM »
Muse, I would say in your case just try easing into and testing it gradually and with a clear plan in mind to avoid doing things off of some remnant of old bad patterns.

If you are healthy, and if you precede it with very good eating and fitness and are driven by a clear plan and not by compulsions, your body will normally be very capable of going through at least a day without food, and this without ever feeling lightheaded, tired, hypoglycemic etc. It's really not a big deal for a healthy person.

If you are not healthy however those types of symptoms are something you need to listen to carefully and get them checked before attempting it again, because they shouldn't really be happening.

One way to ease into it might be to have just something like herbal tea with a little sugar on the very first try (so basically no solid food but still having some glucose circulating in case your body doesn't switch gears too efficiently yet) and then just remove the sugar if everything else is going well.

I am not sure about any possible lingering problem from previous anorexia/bulimia so I would check with a doctor, not just about his opinion but also about what blood tests he would recommend to check things up, and I don't know if this could cause problems from a psychological point of view recovering from those conditions so again you might want to check on that stuff with experts on that (e.g., normally a glass of wine is not a big deal, but obviously not for a recovering alchoolic).  It's probably not the same here and it could be no problem at all, I'm just saying you might want to check on that to be on the safe side.

About food seeming icky when you are dizzy from low blood sugar, your body is full of generalized responses that are not always perfect. I would imagine evolutionarily that one is a nice response for being dizzy from accidental poison, in which case it's a good idea to stop eating, and the low sugar thing has been less of an issue in comparison.

And about the difference in fasting with females vs males, just take some testosterone, problem solved... - just kidding :P

Offline Alissa J. Bratz

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2300
  • Karma: +525/-42
  • middle-aged man in mom's basement eating Fritos
    • View Profile
    • wisconsinparkour.com
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #41 on: December 26, 2008, 09:41:31 PM »
I would think, evolutionarily, women would not be fasting as much.  Males would go out and hunt/fish and be active during the day and get the majority of meals while only being able to carry little or no food along with them for most of the day.  Women would eat and prepare food pretty regularly as a result while feeding and preparing food for the children and rest of the camp.  This would mean males would adapt more favorably to fasting whereas women would not...and there is data and experiences that support this :)

I figured as much. :)

Muse -- before you google look at these two sites:

The IF Life Resources section - Articles, Studies and Recommended Reading
http://www.theiflife.com/resources/

Performance Menu Fasting Forum - Steve posted this earlier
http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4

The forum would be a good place to ask questions on female fasting -- or do a search there.

Thanks. The links just made me more confused. Or rather, they weren't terribly informative at first glance. Basically what I got out of it was that eating natural foods, eating protein, avoiding stress, and getting adequate sleep are very healthy and good for weight loss/muscle gain. These are things I understand and do (or try to do) already.

It also talked about the fasting as being either for a stretch of time daily (a la Warrior Diet) or for a full day 1-2x/week, and that one should experiment with these kinds of fasts to see what works, listen to the body, make changes when things don't work, etc. All the usual stuff we hear when we are trying something new with our bodies. But it didn't really tell me anything that could help me go about starting an IF program, aside from just eating clean and then deciding one day to fast, and see how it works, and going from there. I also thought I read that on fast days one could eat as much healthy food as one wanted, which, if I'm already eating healthy, how is that a fast day? Maybe I misread.

If I interpreted the information correctly it sounds like IF is simply choosing to be a little on the hungry side in a regular, controlled, thoughtful way; basically divorcing oneself from the idea of "mealtimes," or from eating simply because it is "lunch time" (or dinner time or whatever).

I eat when I'm hungry and don't eat when I'm not, for the most part, even if it happens to be a "mealtime" if I am not hungry I won't eat. Sometimes I feel "hunger signals" but I also kind of feel "polluted" so I will opt for just some tea or a glass of milk or a piece of fruit and then be done with it. Whatever will take the edge off. So I don't know if that's fasting or not.

I was very concerned reading about how fasting can aggravate depression and similar issues. I have depression and try to be mindful of how diet/exercise affects that (mainly because I don't want to go on meds for it), so that made me even more wary. (Boy I am just airing all my baggage in this thread!) :P

With all of that, plus the information that fasting seems to be less effective for women, plus my history of anorexia/bulimia, I'm guessing that IF isn't the right thing for me, although I can see how it would work for other people.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

www.madisonparkour.com

Offline Chris Salvato

  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 3916
  • Karma: +327/-64
  • Eat. Move. Improve.
    • View Profile
    • Chris Salvato
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #42 on: December 26, 2008, 09:55:16 PM »
It may or may not be the right thing for you -- however, I would still suggest you try it at least 3 times, in a few different ways (that is, so long as you are not in fear of it causing an anorexia relapse, or something of that nature..)  Some women really benefit from fasts so i wouldn't dismiss it without trying.

The Fasting 101 article is a bit too vague for my liking -- the best resources that are there is a list of some studies and headlines related to IF which people may find useful.  Searching "fasting" on pubmed can give you some bad results since most studies fast their rodents...its results can be the equivalent of googling "sex traits"...a benign search that may put porn into every other line.


I would recommend trying a *mindful* 14 hour fast.  This is really easy to do.  If you stop eating at 9 PM, by lunchtime (11 AM) the next day, you have fasted for 14 hours.  See how you like it - this is the equivalent of missing breakfast.  If you don't notice adverse effects (aside form hunger pangs..) do another day with NO FAST then try a 15 hour fast.  See how that treats you.

The biggest problem I have seen are people "jumping into the frey".  Starting out with a fast every day for 19 hours will make you feel like garbage...but starting with a 14 hour fast 2-3x a week then increasing the durations of the fast from 14 p to 18 or 19 hours will actually feel great.  After my 24 hour fasts, I feel like a champion and usually perform AS GOOD or BETTER at the gym than being unfasted - but that is just my experience.

A 24 hour fast for me is hard though -- i need to plan them on a day when I am busy.  If I am busy it's not a problem -- if I am just sitting at my desk i find myself just thinking about food all the time.  15 hour fasts used to do this to me, as well...now I can fast for 15 hours without many hunger pangs.

In short, start slow and build your way up into it.  I don't recommend 24 hour fasts to those just starting.  Definitely try a small fast and see how it treats you.  I think you misinterpreted what was said because the idea of a fast is to eat as much food as you want...since you are fasted, the satiety signals are less muddled.  It is really a great way to get in touch with your body, if nothing else.

Offline Muhammad

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: +146/-57
  • London, UK
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #43 on: December 27, 2008, 11:56:56 AM »
I have some experience with this (maybe not for the same reasons as you guys) but I can share what I have discovered. I am required to fast at a minimum 30 consecutive days every year, with alternate day and/or intermittent fasting highly recommended for extra reward. The big 30 day fast every year is the one that is not optional, so I've been doing it every year for the last 8 years. It is not a total fast, but more like a restricted window type of fasting, where one does not eat or drink anything between the hours of pre-dawn and sunset.

During these times, I conducted my regular parkour training which was approximately 2 or three hours per day, several days per week (usually five). What I was surprised to find was that the thirst, hunger and fatigue normally associated with fasting would completely disappear while I was training. I never suffered any loss of energy or ability when training and fasting at the same time, in fact the otherwise seemed to be true. I didn't feel weighed down by food and digestion. My training sessions would end at sunset, which was the time I was allowed to break my fast. When I stopped training to go break my fast I would then become very hungry. Food would taste much better, and my stomach was shrunken after a few days of this so I got full very quickly.. usually after eating just a small amount I became full.

I have never noticed any negative side effects from fasting, however after about 20 days consecutive of the type of fasting I have described, I do notice my energy levels gradually decreasing and I begin to sleep frequently if I don't have something to do to keep me busy. My training has never suffered due to this.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 12:02:50 PM by Muhammad Howell »

Offline tombb

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
  • Karma: +60/-34
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #44 on: December 27, 2008, 12:43:28 PM »
I have a friend who does that, although he wakes up early just to eat right before the forbidden window and then eat as soon as it's allowed again so it's really not all that different from having breakfast, skipping lunch and having a late dinner :P

But one big difference from doing it for health reasons is the forbidding of drinks (water), which from health reasons is not a good idea.

Offline Muhammad

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: +146/-57
  • London, UK
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2008, 01:55:33 PM »
it's really not all that different from having breakfast, skipping lunch and having a late dinner

That depends on what part of the world you are in, and what time of year it is. You have to consider that the length of time between first light and sunset can vary greatly depending on your location and season. By the end of 30 days, you will be feeling it, trust me. Try it some time and you will see what I'm talking about.

Yes, the small meal before fasting begins is highly recommended. As for doing without drinks, it has never posed a problem for me, not even during training. Your body somehow finds a way to manage. There are approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide who do this type of fasting every single year, in all types of weather conditions and climates, working under all types of occupations.. and they have been successfully doing it this way for the past 1429 years. So far so good :)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2008, 02:02:14 PM by Muhammad Howell »

Offline tombb

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
  • Karma: +60/-34
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #46 on: December 27, 2008, 02:09:33 PM »
Well yes, you won't die or anything from not drinking for 12 hours.

The point I was making is that in terms of fasting purely for health reasons, you would always be better not depriving yourself with water during a fast, as being properly hydrated would help you in every respect, including detoxing, metabolic changes etc.

It's like deciding stop doing any physical exercise and training for a year. You can definitely do it and still be ok, many people do it and have done it for thousands of years without even trying, but health-wise you would be better off with some sort of routine physical activity.

Offline Eric Kropp

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
  • Karma: +12/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #47 on: December 27, 2008, 06:48:36 PM »
Quick Question:

If I were to fast from the time I woke up to when I came home from school, would I still be able to see weight loss?

My biggest downfall diet wise is at school because there are virtually NO healthy options.  Could I still lose weight if my fasting window would be from when i got home to say 9?

Offline Chris Salvato

  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 3916
  • Karma: +327/-64
  • Eat. Move. Improve.
    • View Profile
    • Chris Salvato
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #48 on: December 27, 2008, 07:07:13 PM »
Give us hours of the day. Do you mean stop eating at 9 PM and then start eating again at 4 PM?  19 Hours sounds like an awfully long time to fast if you are just getting started.  If this is what you want to do to start I would suggest not doing this more than 2x a week to start while your body gets used to it.

Fasting is a great tool to use for weight loss, imho.

Offline Alissa J. Bratz

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2300
  • Karma: +525/-42
  • middle-aged man in mom's basement eating Fritos
    • View Profile
    • wisconsinparkour.com
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2008, 07:49:58 PM »
I disagree with your assessment that there are absolutely NO healthy options. There are always healthy options. If indeed it is true that your school only offers junk food, you do have the option of packing your own lunch and bringing your healthy options with you.

This, of course, is neither here nor there with regards to fasting, but I wanted to mention it because I find absolute statements of this sort worrisome. You *always* have healthy options. They may not always be convenient options, but they do exist all the same.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

www.madisonparkour.com

Offline Eric Kropp

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
  • Karma: +12/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2008, 08:55:33 PM »
Give us hours of the day. Do you mean stop eating at 9 PM and then start eating again at 4 PM?  19 Hours sounds like an awfully long time to fast if you are just getting started.  If this is what you want to do to start I would suggest not doing this more than 2x a week to start while your body gets used to it.

Fasting is a great tool to use for weight loss, imho.

I would be eating breakfast and then not eating from about 7 am to 3 pm from monday-friday.  Is this safe?

Offline Chris Salvato

  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 3916
  • Karma: +327/-64
  • Eat. Move. Improve.
    • View Profile
    • Chris Salvato
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #51 on: December 28, 2008, 07:33:34 AM »
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

Offline Muhammad

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: +146/-57
  • London, UK
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #52 on: December 28, 2008, 08:43:32 AM »
Here's some very ancient quotations I came across regarding food and fasting that might be of interest:

"No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath." [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhee, An-Nasaa'ee, Ibn Maajah - hadeeth saheeh.]

Ibn Masaweh, a doctor, said after reading this narration:
"If the people only used these words, they would avoid many diseases and maladies and the clinics and pharmacies would be idle."

Another doctor, Al-Harith ibn Kalada said:

"That which has killed mankind is the introduction of food on top of food before it has been digested."
As for spiritual benefits: humbleness of heart, strength of understanding, lessening of the lower desires, lessening of personal opinions and anger, while overeating induces the opposites of all of those.

Al-Hasan Al-Basree said:

"O, son of Adam, eat with one third of your stomach and drink with one third and leave one third of your stomach to breathe so that you may think."

Ibn Umar: A man said to Ibn Umar:

"Shouldn't I bring you some jawarish?" Ibn Umar said: "What is that?" He said: "Something which aids in digesting your food after you eat." Ibn Umar said: "I have not eaten to being full for four months. That is not because I am not able to do so, but I was with a group of people who were hungry more than they were full."

Not reaching your goals: Muhammad ibn Wasi said:

"Whoever eats little will understand and make others understand and will be clear and humble. Overeating weighs a person down and keeps him from much of what he wants [to accomplish]."

Al-Hasan Al-Basree:

"The test of Adam, peace be upon him, was food and it is your test until the Day of Judgment."

And, it used to be said:

"Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds."

And:

"Wisdom does not reside in a full stomach."

Ash-Shaafi'ee said:

"I have not filled myself in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship."

Also:

"Food for one is enough for two and food for two is enough for three and food for three is enough for four."

« Last Edit: December 28, 2008, 08:45:20 AM by Muhammad Howell »

Offline Eric Kropp

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
  • Karma: +12/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #53 on: December 28, 2008, 10:05:09 AM »
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

So basically I want to squeeze my meals in the 9 hour eating window, and then fast the rest of the time?  Will I still be able to see weight loss?

Offline tombb

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 476
  • Karma: +60/-34
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #54 on: December 28, 2008, 10:58:50 AM »
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

So basically I want to squeeze my meals in the 9 hour eating window, and then fast the rest of the time?  Will I still be able to see weight loss?
Eric, are you trying hard to lose weight? Is that your primary goal and are you willing to sacrifice some muscle growth for that? Have you tried eating well and exercising and nothing worked?

If you are not in such a hurry to lose weight at all costs, it sounds like in your case you would be better off just making sure you reduce your calories a bit and exercise/train to burn a bit more, while still maintaining a decent spread of meals, which will let you lose weight gradually but steadily and in a healthy way.

You -could- also do occasional fasting, or even as people mentioned here just take some part of each day without food, but depending on your goals you really want to look at what you currently feel more comfortable with and what makes it easier.

If you just skip lunch as you suggest, but you end up feeling like eating more afterwards, then you would be better off actually carrying some healthy food (say some yogurt etc) with you instead and not try to do the skip a meal thing, because in your setting it seems more like a bad habit and being less organized with meal-planning than a well-thought-out diet strategy.

If instead you were taking 6 meals a day and were getting sick of food and found that skipping lunch was actually easier on you (and say you don't really get hungry skipping meals), then go for it, but again that's still different than the occasional longer fast I was describing and a bit more about a strategy that works for you in helping you eat less, a bit like say making sure you don't go to the food store hungry.

Offline Eric Kropp

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
  • Karma: +12/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #55 on: December 28, 2008, 12:30:19 PM »
Thats not even a 12 hour fast -- i doubt you would see any real benefit from it hormonally -- it might be easier on you if you can only eat crap but instead of being hungry all day why don't you just pack your lunch in the morning instead of making breakfast...then skip breakfast and eat at lunch.

9 PM to 12 Noon is a 15 hour fast.

So basically I want to squeeze my meals in the 9 hour eating window, and then fast the rest of the time?  Will I still be able to see weight loss?
Eric, are you trying hard to lose weight? Is that your primary goal and are you willing to sacrifice some muscle growth for that? Have you tried eating well and exercising and nothing worked?

If you are not in such a hurry to lose weight at all costs, it sounds like in your case you would be better off just making sure you reduce your calories a bit and exercise/train to burn a bit more, while still maintaining a decent spread of meals, which will let you lose weight gradually but steadily and in a healthy way.

You -could- also do occasional fasting, or even as people mentioned here just take some part of each day without food, but depending on your goals you really want to look at what you currently feel more comfortable with and what makes it easier.

If you just skip lunch as you suggest, but you end up feeling like eating more afterwards, then you would be better off actually carrying some healthy food (say some yogurt etc) with you instead and not try to do the skip a meal thing, because in your setting it seems more like a bad habit and being less organized with meal-planning than a well-thought-out diet strategy.

If instead you were taking 6 meals a day and were getting sick of food and found that skipping lunch was actually easier on you (and say you don't really get hungry skipping meals), then go for it, but again that's still different than the occasional longer fast I was describing and a bit more about a strategy that works for you in helping you eat less, a bit like say making sure you don't go to the food store hungry.


I think I'll try the 15 hour fasts for 2 weeks, and if I don't notice any changes then I'll just go back to a normal eating schedule.

Offline Chris Salvato

  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 3916
  • Karma: +327/-64
  • Eat. Move. Improve.
    • View Profile
    • Chris Salvato
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #56 on: December 28, 2008, 06:16:31 PM »
Fasting makes cutting calories easier, imho, because you are only hungry half of the day instead of ALL day, if you plan things right...but thats just in my experience and opinion.

The only way to make sure you lose fat is to cut your calories and eat high quality foods.  Staying away from spiking insulin helps too.  Fasting is just another tool to make sure that you achieve these micro-goals (cutting calories) to reach your macro-goal (weight loss)

Offline Eric Kropp

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
  • Karma: +12/-1
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2008, 12:19:02 PM »
Yeah I think that with the extra time without food, it would help me to plan better choices food wise when I'm able to eat.

Offline Spencer B

  • the Romantic
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1021
  • Karma: +47/-25
  • ...*BANG*...
    • View Profile
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #58 on: December 30, 2008, 05:38:52 PM »
Is this healthy for adolescents? I have already been experimenting with this, and I have found to be a good exercise in willpower, and I did feel full after eating less. I felt fine, but I stopped for a the last couple days because I was worried about my health.
www.cracked.com
www.tvtropes.org

There are times when you want to break down and rage at the heavens. Don't. Stay calm, and let the emotions flood in, accept them and then rise above them. Never dwell. Don't fear or worry. Anything worth thinking about is worth talking about. And... Good luck.

Offline Chris Salvato

  • Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 3916
  • Karma: +327/-64
  • Eat. Move. Improve.
    • View Profile
    • Chris Salvato
Re: Intermittent Fasting
« Reply #59 on: December 30, 2008, 07:35:47 PM »
Preface: I am not a medical professional.

I would not foresee any problems with adolescents fasting at all so long as their overall caloric intake is satisfactory for their growth.  That is, whether or not you fast, you may need between 3000-6000 calories in a day (or more, depending on genetics) to grow/develop optimally.  So long as you get these calories in your eating window, it shouldn't be a problem.

A 24 hour fast once a month should be good for people of all ages, save for infants and the very young, I would think.

Then again, this whole post is speculation since I know almost nothing on the importance of adolescent eating habits.  This is more of a "my 2ยข" post than a post of the facts...