July 22, 2013

Intermittent Fasting: Shortcut to Longevity and Weight Loss?

 Photo: Martin Sharman

Years ago I wrote a post about intermittent fasting.  It sounded like an intriguing but no-way-in-hell-am-I-ever-gonna try it approach to tweaking one's calorie consumption, improving health, and perhaps even increasing longevity.

Sort of like the idea of trying to turn myself into a brown-fat packin', calorie-incinerating superhuman by bathing in ice water: The results sound fun, but: Ain't gonna happen!

I like to eat every day! And I complain about how cold the water is in freakin' Hawaii, of all places. No matter how miraculous some body-hacking shortcuts claim to be, they have little appeal to me if they involve more than a trivial amount of discomfort.

But then I kept reading more about the shorter, easier versions of Intermittent Fasting.  The notion that if one restricts daily eating to a shorter window, say of 8 hours, that it could lead to beneficial changes like weight loss, "fat-adaptation," and even lower the risk of Alzheimers.

The "16-8" program worked for Hugh Jackman apparently:

(Please don't sue me, 20th Century Fox!
CC search said "labelled for reuse" but I'm skeptical).

Could it also work for Crabby McSlacker?

Well, I did some experimenting for a number of weeks and thought it might be time to share the shocking results!

First some background:

Why Fast?


There is a lot of interesting research on intermittent fasting, and a boatload of possible health benefits.

Mark's Daily Apple has collected a lot of information, and there is a multi-part series beginning with this post on fasting and weightloss.  The series includes a handy breakdown of several fasting methods like alternate day fasting, the 20-4 Warrior approach and the kind I tried, the 16-8. And another post of his lists a whole bunch of IF health benefits including "increased longevity, neuroprotection, increased insulin sensitivity, stronger resistance to stress, some cool effects on endogenous hormone production, increased mental clarity, plus more." (Many more. A staggering list is in that post, actually, if his research is all valid).

Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment fasts for religious reasons, and has a good roundup of fasting benefits over at her place too.

For me personally, I was intrigued because while I generally eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise, since my hysterectomy I'd been starting to gain a bit of weight.  And I gain weight as visceral belly fat: this is not good.

My father and maternal grandparents all died in their early fifties of cardiovascular and other diseases (my age now), and my cholesterol and blood sugar levels have been starting to creep up into Watch Out zones despite all the f--cking kale and salmon I eat and the HIIT etc that I put myself through.  So there is a health component to my ongoing desire to banish that belly fat, not just vanity.

Though hell, I'm human: vanity figures in too.  Leave me alone, stupid belly fat!

So I'd been tempted to see if IF might the secret weapon I'd been looking for, as magic pills have not yet been invented.


However... a few caveats...

Fasting Length


I should to do more research on this, and if anyone has some handy references I'd love to edit this post to include them, but my half-assed take on it is that most of the research on the benefits of IF come from longer fasting periods, like a whole day at a time, not the wussier "eating window" approaches.

However, these "eating window" plans have a lot of support, and I was too lazy to scour the studies and see which if any were talking about 8 hour windows, which is pretty much the least intense variety proposed and the only one I'd be willing to put up with.


Gender


It also looks like women respond differently, and generally not as well to IF. Lots of info to read through if you are a woman contemplating this approach over at  Paleo for Women post on Intermittent Fasting.  For example, in one of the studies cited by Mark initially as touting the beneficial metabolic changes from IF, it turns out that was only for male fasters, not the gals. In fact according to the Paleo for Women post:
 a) women in studies covered by the review did not experience increased insulin sensitivity with IF regimes and b) women actually experienced a decrease in glucose tolerance. These two phenomena mean that women’s metabolisms suffered from IF.
Because of concerns like these, Mark tweaked a bit and has a follow up post on Women and IF.

But, this didn't mean there were no benefits for women, but there were hormonal complications and complexities about which women should be aware.

Another Complication to 8-16: Meal Timing?


Around the interwebs, many intermittent fasters were reporting great results with 8-16 sort of plans. And while some ate early and ended their eating windows in the afternoon, many more were starting to eat later in the day, say about noon or even 2pm.

This intrigued me. I look forward to dinner all day long, so there was no way I was gonna skip that.  Hearing that people were reporting weight loss and improved blood panels and energy etc even with these afternoon/evening eating windows sounded like excellent news. 

But wait... in the Holy Book of Healthy Living, wasn't there a commandment handed down about this?

Right?

Isn't there plenty of research saying you should force feed yourself first thing in the morning even if you're not hungry because breakfast eating is highly correlated with lower body weight even if it seems odd that skipping a meal would result in more weight gain, not less?

Well, the smart scientists behind The Alzheimer's Diet, who are proponents of the health benefits of mild ketosis in the mornings, said they didn't think the evidence was all that convincing on that point.

And I saw some hopeful research about the fat-burning effects of a fasted morning workout. Though again, done on just men.

On the other hand it does seem like the meal timing and anti-breakfast skipping studies keep popping up too, like: early eaters lose more weight than late eaters; skipping breakfast may raise risk of diabetes, blah blah blah blah.

And, a post-publication update: another study, again just on MEN damnit, says:  skipping breakfast may increase coronary heart disease risk.
 

Cheaters Never Prosper?


Another thing that made the experiment it appealing was there was a slight "cheat" factor; many proponents of the 16-8 that I was contemplating say you can maintain the desired state of mild ketosis while still adding a splash of cream in your coffee or drinking meat broth.  Again, is there any extensive clinical research on this?  I was mostly in anecdotal territory, but if true, this seemed like it would make things a little easier.

Anyway, armed with a bunch of conflicting and confusing information and high hopes, I decided to give it a shot.

My Intermittent Fasting Experiment Protocol


Here's what I did:


1.  I did not fork over for a book or program like Leangains or the 8-hour Diet book or other official thing.  I just checked in with a few blogs, some I respect and some I'd never heard of. So my results do not reflect on anything other than my own experiment.

2. Official Feeding Time was a 6-8 hour window starting around 11am-noon; ending at 6-7. I generally get up at 5 or 5:30am and go to bed around 9ish, so for me, this is indeed a "late" window.

3.  For the last 2-4 hours of the fast, I took advantage the cheaty "cream splash/broth" loophole that some guidelines allowed for. For me, it was a few tablespoons of unsweetened coconut milk beverage (SoyDelicious at 45 calorie per cup) and some stevia in my coffee and tea; I also permitted myself a cup of no-carb low cal chicken broth.  Total "cheat" calories during the last few hours of fasting were no more than 10 per hour and no more than 30 total.

4.  I did my normal strength training and cardio and HIIT workouts in a fasted state.

5.  I tried not to be a total insane disgusting slobbering pig during the feeding period.

6.  I totally confounded the experimental variables by simultaneously further reducing carbs in my diet.  I was smitten with the notion of becoming "fat adapted" and thought the combo approach might be most effective.

7. I conducted the experiment for about 3 months.

8. I was too cheap to spring for blood tests, and decided if it became a way of life I'd check in at my next physical and hope for awesome numbers.

Results:

1.  Compliance Was Way Easier Than I Thought!

I actually loved this approach to reigning in my intake.  I suck at portion control.  The on/off nature of the plan felt very freeing.  I felt either Virtuous or Entitled, depending on the time of day, as these are two psychological states I'm very fond of.

Of course, I picked the easiest plan and allowed myself the cheat beverages, which made a huge difference in not feeling deprived.

I think it took a few workouts to feel "normal" but I adapted.  I had lots of energy throughout the day.

I did not find myself totally gorging during eating windows, but I really enjoyed the sense that I could be more liberal with food choices.

I found it much easier to curtail my overall calorie intake and in fact ended up most days well below the number of calories I usually target when I bother to count.

2.  But Something Screwy Happened to My Metabolism!

After I lost an initial three pounds, probably mostly water, there was virtually no more gradual weight loss--even though I had reduced calories to levels well below what should have resulted in further decline.

The apparent slowing of my metabolism, negating all my virtuous not-eating, grew more and more discouraging.  I grew impatient.  Why was my belly fat not getting the hint?

 Cranky Cat by Reb

And finally, I said F--k it.

Epilogue:

So yeah, a 16-8 plan didn't seem to work to help me lose my visceral fat, which was my prime motivator. I guess everyone is different. It is possible I didn't try it for long enough, or I needed to skip those morning beverages after all, or choose a smaller eating window, or shift to an alternate day eating plan.

But I wasn't willing to do any of those things. For me, it appears that a more old school eating plan that includes morning meals, and more attention to portion control throughout the day rather than the on/off approach gets me better results.

Damn.



What about you guys, have you or would you try intermittent fasting? Any other weird eating experiments you've tried?

65 comments:

  1. Back in grad school, when I didn't have classes before ten or eleven most of the time, I did something like that following my natural rhythms: eating breakfast about ten, not eating lunch, eating supper at six, sleeping from midnight to eight. Ahh, the good old days! Unfortunately for the theory, those were the days when I was slowly, inevitably, watching the pounds creep up.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Thanks Mary Anne, another interesting data point! And I guess given our need to save extra fat for survival back in cavewoman times, it isn't surprising that "natural" rhythms might not be optimal for modern weight loss.

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    2. wow, do you think it's possible that you weren't eating enough during those days? that coupled with grad school, I"m assuming sitting and studying a lot...

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    3. Sitting and studying to be sure, but also walking to campus and all over it meant I was getting more exercise than ever before. I lived about three-quarters of a mile from the nearest corner of campus, and most of my classes and my job were closer to the middle.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  2. IF does not appeal to me in any structured sort of way. However. Rare gluten means rare cravings and I don't have the grab-me-by-the lapels hunger. Also as this makes me moderate carb so I've increased my intake of proper dietary fat. Together this means after brekkie I may not eat for 7-8 hours and when I do, it isn't much more than a snack.
    Currently I am experimenting with MCT Oil in my coffee along with butter and goat milk. It seems to be wreaking havoc on my poor, unsuspecting belly fat.

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    1. MCT oil? Do tell! Not sure what that is but sounds intriguing! I'm all for miracle belly-fat busters. :)

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    2. Medium-Chain Triglycerides. Good dietary fat that goes right to the liver (I think) and encourages the body to use up its fat stores.
      Mark from Mark's Daily Apple can give you a proper explanation or go over to his site and read about it. Also, check out Bullet Proof Coffee for an explanation. The coffee I make is my take on the bullet proof version.

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    3. MCT is a new term for me too, that's always fun. I really believe in those good fats. I need to put some time in with Mark's Daily Apple, I think.

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    4. Thanks Leah and Tree! I'm not sure if I'm ready to fork over for MCT oil, but I've definitely been jumping on the coconut bandwagon. And butter in coffee instead of cream? Hmm...

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  3. The funny thing is that is my normal routine but not because I really try to fast. Most days I get up, workout (always on an empty stomach) and finally eat around lunch time. Then I eat dinner at 6ish and usually that is it for the day. Who knew that I was following a fasting plan?!
    Sorry it didn't work the way you wanted it to!!

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    1. Wow, you have a natural IF eating pattern Kim? Sure seems like it's working for ya!

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    2. Does it work for you? My sister went to a big "diet doctor" who was adamant that she not eat breakfast. It was particular to those with weight to lose I think, but it's been rattling around in my brain ever since.
      I do like to work out early and on an empty stomach.

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    3. Tree peters, I don't necessarily follow IF to lose weight. I do it because it works for me with my workouts and digestion. I always work out on an empty stomach and then rarely need food right away - I know that is against all of the conventional wisdom about fueling during and after but I guess I'm not very conventional!

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  4. I agree with Kim. This fast is my normal. I don't do well with meals before 9AM even though I get up before 5AM. MY 9AM breakfast is my biggest meal of the day and every one after that is usually a snack. I don't know if this has helped to keep me fat or not but it does keep me from going insane. When I mess with the feedings I get nasty and crazy.

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    1. Another natural IF'er, that's interesting Cindy! Though the 9am breakfast sounds like it would square with the pro-breakfast crowd research in that it seems to keep you going for ages. My breakfasts, even though high protein and low carb, seem to wear off pretty damn fast. I was surprised when I seemed no hungrier NOT eating than eating it!

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    2. Crabby, on the occasions when I do eat breakfast, I'm starving within an hour or two. Part of why I just stick with my system of not having breakfast!

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  5. A few years ago when I was in active weight loss mode, I did a 5 hour window IF that was trendy in the low carb dieting circles I was also running in. [insert eye roll here--I am nothing if not easily swayed by other people's enthusiasms] My window was 5-10pm. I had no problem ingesting coffee with cream during my fasting window and sometimes MCT oil (also trendy at the time) however. It "worked" in that it kept my calories down and made me psychologically happy because I like to eat in the evenings. However, it was a lot easier on the days I got up at 8 and didn't have to be in work until 11 than on the days I got up at 5:30 and had to be in work by 7:30. And it was impossible once I started working out seriously. My fasted workouts suck. I don't know how people do that.

    Right now I'm in a weird food situation where I've just started working 3-4 late afternoon/evenings a week. I eat breakfast and lunch (or a combo of both) and then have literally no time to eat until I get home around 10. At which point I'll realize I've only had 900 or 1000 calories all day and have to stuff in a huge amount of food right before bed just for the calories. <--(I don't know what that has to do with anything. Well, I guess my point is the less hours of the day I can stuff food into my mouth, the fewer calories I ingest, intentional IF or not.)

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    1. Well I'm just like you Malevolent Andrea in being easily swayed by other's enthusiasms, unless they involve too much sacrifice. This was sustainable for quite awhile otherwise I would have quickly bailed. And like you, it was easier to eat fewer calories with a smaller window. But, since it didn't help with my goals, I'm going back old school.

      And bummer about your schedule, doesn't sound like you get much chance to savor your well-earned chow.

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    2. I just commented on your blog, but had to say here as well that your name just cracked me up.

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  6. Your results are really interesting. And I think 3 months of that is downright heroic, especially with no real results. I won't be trying that anytime soon.
    I do believe in doing maybe monthly day long fasts... just to rest the whole system. Now if only I had the kind of life where I could meditate and be peaceful for an entire day!
    Back to moderation, nutritional wisdom and exercise, I guess.

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    1. Actually, Tree, the reason I went with the "window" approach is that I don't think I have the motivation/willpower to fast for an entire day unless I'm prepping for surgery or a colonoscopy, neither of which I have any interest in doing frequently. I think your plan is actually HEALTHIER!

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  7. Could never do this. I eat as a crutch for anxiety and, since the medical world has not yet come up with a cure for anxiety that isn't highly addictive, I need some kind of crutch. And boy, nothing ratchets up the anxiety like trying to switch crutches. It's a no win.

    So the only kind of dieting that will ever work for me is changing the type of food I eat, rather than the frequency. I keep lots of apples, bananas, peppers and gum at the office. I hope to develop an ability to stand plain carrot and celery sticks someday, and cut back on the fruit.

    That is so cool that you can just decide to do something like that and do it! Shame it wasn't more effective, but at least you got those virtuous and entitled points!

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    1. Hey, I'm an "eating for anxiety" buddy! Whenever I try to take that away from myself, I get so angry. I'm also trying to change the types of foods. And for me, definitely have to keep it low sugar and breads. Good luck to you. you're definitely not alone.

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    2. Interesting, Trabb's Boy and Tree, that you guys have both had success with healthy substitutions. 'Cause yeah, why tempt the stress monsters by taking away a great coping mechanism?

      The best non-food cure for anxiety, for me, was middle age. I used to be WAY much more of a stress-bucket. My overeating is recreational; when I'm truly stressed my appetite decreases. Also, a few years ago I made a conscious campaign around changing my thinking style and brainwashing myself into more adaptive cognitive and emotional coping mechanisms. Took a lot of work but made, for me, a HUGE difference. As a therapist, I knew a lot of stuff in theory but it was like going to the gym to actually apply it and see success.

      Good luck to both of you on the anxiety; I know from my own experience it ain't fun to deal with!

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  8. Ah, this post is timely! I was over at Mark's Daily Apple yesterday looking into paleo recipes and saw mentions of IF. Thanks to you I now know what that means (along with HIIT).

    It's an intriguing concept and I'd probably do well with sticking to it, being such a routine-driven creature. I'm also diabetic, though, so the thought of fasting at all gives me the willies. Low-blood-sugar shake-fests are the suck. I'll have to do some searching and see if it's recommended for my type. :-)

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    1. Hi Heather! Yeah, I think with diabetes you are REALLY smart to do a lot of investigation before doing this. Because I think part of the point is to deplete glycogen to burn fat and low blood sugar shakes might be part of the process. Proceed with caution!

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    2. The research is interesting. Some studies are showing marked improvement in diabetes and cardiovascular health, but they say you shouldn't fast until you get your blood glucose and insulin levels normalized. Mine are not there yet, so I'm going to pass on this method for now.

      Kind of a bummer, too. I lost 40 pounds in the past two years after diagnosis, mostly due to cutting out soda, so I've now hit an annoying plateau. Going to the gym this past month for tons of cardio has made a lot stronger, but has not yet resulted in less me. It just seems to be moving me around. :-P Kinda frustrating, but I am determined!

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  9. Death Ride GrandmaJuly 22, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Well, my idea of fasting is not getting up in the middle of the night to eat. I could not work out on an empty stomach, either. It's not quite so bad now, but back in college days I sometimes had to lie down to recover from the dizziness I felt as I walked all the way from my room to the breakfast counter (which was right in my dorm in those days - not sure what I'd do now that the campus food supply is about 1/4 mile away). I've always liked the idea that smaller, more frequent meals & snacks were a good idea. Only when I am active, I tend to ignore the "smaller" part of that a bit.

    Actually, I am in awe of all of you who can try out these different systems. My self control is very, very weak - at least on the food front.

    My sister, though, tried the 8 hour IF for a while, and it didn't seem to work for her, either. Just one more anecdotal bit for your data bank.

    By the way, Crabby, I am writing this from Maui, and the water is warmer than usual. We felt quite comfortable on our first snorkel-swim yesterday. Yes, we were in wetsuits (shorty types), but we didn't have to get out because we were chilly. A first for me!

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    1. Given all the exercise you do DRG, I'm not surprised you need to eat often!!! And you have about 1,000 times the self-control I do; if the fasting triggered ravenous hunger I would have dumped it in a second. I'd just get occasional waves of appetite that would subside quickly once I found something else to do.

      Hope you are having a WONDERFUL time in Maui!!!!

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  10. It's interesting you've found your high protein/low carb breakfast didn't affect fasting hunger much. I've had a similar experience with bacon or fired rice breakfasts but found pure porridge killed hunger and mood fluctuations for a good chunk of the day following.

    I can fast late, but skipping breakfast makes me crankier than this blog!

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    1. Interesting Patrick! I found skipping breakfast was pretty easy, but if I had to stop eating lunch or dinner, I'd be grouchy. And grains, even healthy whole grains, seem to trigger hunger more than quench it for me. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I consider the time I spend between after dinner and around 11:00 am intermittent fasting...what, it isn't? LOL. I prefer to run on an empty stomach, and if I'm not going too far, I don't have to eat anything during the run either. Some days I'll come home, have a cup of coffee and a lot of water, and not be ready to eat breakfast until closer to lunchtime. But my belly fat is still here, so obviously it does nothing for that (dammit).

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    1. Your natural pattern sounds like it would qualify as IF Shelley, but like me, it sounds like it doesn't supply any magic ability to melt fat. On the other hand, seems like you've done an incredible job of losing weight and maintaining, so perhaps it's a pretty good fit. If I had your success I think I'd still be on the IF plan!

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  12. I too had to end my IF experiment a few months ago after I finally opened my eyes and realized I had gained about 5 lbs. I had been going at it for about 3-4 months following a pattern of eating breakfast, snacks and lunch and not eating from 4pm til I go to bed around 11. It was so easy that deep down I knew it was too good to be true. I never counted calories but I'm pretty sure I was eating a good deal fewer calories than I was before so screw that old "calories in calories out" theory as well! I'm 3 months pregnant and despite my best efforts to really pack in the nutrients, I find myself about 10 lbs lighter than when I stopped IF. So I guess that means IF screws up women's metabolism worse than pregnancy. haha who knew?

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    1. Hi Anon!

      Wow, you were easily able to stop eating after 4? That would be way hard for me. Seems unfair it didn't work! But like so many things one reads about as miracle solutions, seems like these things work for some and not for others.

      And congrats on your pregnancy, glad to hear you're packing in nutritious meals for both of you!

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  13. You've covered most of what I know about IF, Crabby. Better for men, not so good for post menopausal women.

    I've done warrior style IF for longer than it's had a name. I evolved it on my own. It works for me. It eliminates many of the problems that people have with food. That said, I never recommend it as most people can't handle the social problems it causes with the way other people eat.

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    1. Dr. J, I know you have the fortitude for the "tougher" plan and it's amazing to me you've kept it up longterm! No wonder you are so slim and healthy! I could never manage it even if it DID work as well for women.

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  14. PS: The real key to doing IF well is doing consistent daily exercise along with it. The theory is based on the autonomic nervous system. Over active during the day, under active at night.
    Under eating during the day, over eating at night. Cave man gather food during dangerous day where must be careful not to be food, bring back to cave to eat at night where safe.

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  15. I love Leangains (16/8) when I did it consistently (which I've seriously fallen off my regimine right now) I lost 2-3 lbs every week. It was awesome and it's ideal for someone who likes to eat big meals and not 15 miniscule meals a day. I typically stopped eating around 6 pm or 8 at night and didn't eat until 10 or noon depending on when I stopped eating. It was amazing, I'm trying to get my fat ass back in gear.

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    1. So glad it worked for you SB! I was hoping for similar results from my 16-8. But like I said, I didn't do btb leangains, perhaps the devil was in the details.

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  16. Everyone is different, so as you said, try it. If it works, great. If not, move on.

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  17. Super interesting, Crabby. Thank you for putting this together!

    I've always been skeptical, but this might have convinced me to at least try:

    "I felt either Virtuous or Entitled, depending on the time of day, as these are two psychological states I'm very fond of." :-)

    Seriously, I already do not eat that much between 11 am and 530 pm, so I wouldn't be very far. I think I'll give it a try!

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    1. Good luck HSH! I wish the physiology part had worked for me, because psychologically, it was the perfect plan. I seem to do better with on/off and LOVED the sense of permission I had during my window of eating. Beverages were enough to buy me a distraction until it was time to eat, and it really did seem much easier to cut calories. Too bad that didn't translaten to fat-burning, but it was worth a try. I'll be curious if you try it how it works for you!

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  18. I am late but I knew this was going to be a thinker post so.. Here I am & WOW!!! As I read it, I was saying to myself that there is NO WAY I would do this even though I already work out on an empty stomach even as hard as my workout are - and I am damn hungry when I finish! :) As I read about how this is not the best for women, I thought YES, I will not try & then you said you tried.... I still would not do it but love your conclusion cause that is what I do & I wrote about portion control for my post tomorrow - Wednesday! :)

    Thank you as always for researching for us!!!!

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    1. I'm really impressed you do your kickass workouts on an empty stomach Jody! Mine aren't nearly as intense as yours. Thanks for stopping by and I'll check out your portion control post!

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  19. Ive always found IF so so so interesting but know since Im a JEW who cant make it through YOM KIPPUR fasting it wouldnt work for me.

    the angry trainer swears by it though, so...

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    1. OMG, I'm EXACTLY the same way! I think the last time I successfully fasted for Yom Kipur was in college, lol!

      Crabby, in my awful, selfish, dead soul I'm kinda glad the fasting didn't work. If it had, I'd be forced to try it myself.
      Have I mentioned that I'm selfish?

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    2. I have a feeling if the fasting was not self-imposed I couldn't have stuck to it... stubborn that way!

      But I totally know what you mean azusmom about NOT wanting things that don't sound like much fun to be effective. The good news: I'm having much better luck eating breakfast than I was skipping it. Go figure!

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  20. I love fasting, sounds like Hugh was following Martin Berkhans protocol too. I've been doing it for about 3 years now and find it the easiest way to live and be healthy. Depending on my goals it can help me lose weight, maintain and even add a little muscle.

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    1. That's great Nadine that it works so well for you!

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  21. Until my mid to late 30s I ate once a day, in the evening. I pretty much ate anything I wanted, until I was full. As a child, in Europe, I ate that way due to my schedule. Practicing my sport in the morning, home, homework, school, back to practice in the evening, home, dinner around 9:00PM, bed. I was never hungry and maintained my wt. of 130-140 pounds at 5'7.5'' with relative ease, even as an adult.
    In the early 90s, however, I found out that I was doing "it" all wrong. I decided to do it right, you know, for my health (with which there was absolutely NO PROBLEM) . Gradually gained a boatload of weight, was so ravenous all the time that I actually thought I had an ulcer, became depressed, gained some more weight, and was eating carbs like they were going out of style,(wish they never became THE STYLE, thank you "stop the Insanity") eliminating most fat from my menu.
    I don't know if I actually reached the 230s because I stopped weighing myself. I struggled for years to lose the weight. Several times I lost back into the 130s, by starving myself. What happened each time should be no surprise to anyone...150-500 calories per day and walking 6 hrs a day is not sustainable long term.
    In Sept. of 2011 I decided to go back to what I had done up until my 30s. I used Fast-5 (can be downloaded sans fee) and lost 60 pounds relatively quickly, back into mid 140s, where I maintain fairly easily on about 2400 cals/day. I do not work out, per se, but I walk quite a bit (for my head, though I am sure it does me no harm physically).
    I say, everyone should do what works for her/him. Forcing ourselves to do something that is diametrically opposed to what we know we need, what has worked in the past EASILY and what is maintainable, is a recipe for failure. This is not to say that changes toward a healthier lifestyle or a better selection of nutritional food should not be attempted. Sometimes though, when we make radical changes that go against everything that is rational, when we change things that are NOT unhealthy in the first place, because we want to join the newest craze, often turns out to be a regrettable decision. In my opinion, one size does not fit all.
    Your attempt to test a theory is a great way to see if something that works for others is applicable to you. You tested, you assessed the results, you made your decision. I wish I had done that and not tortured myself for almost 20 years!

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    1. yikes! I apologize for the exceedingly long comment and unsolicited history.

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    2. Will be back later for further comment responses, but just a quick note dlamb: I LOVED your comment! There is no such thing as "exceedingly long" at Cranky Fitness especially when there are such great observations and insights!

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    3. So sorry you had that experience dlamb! I recall counting fat grams and shunning salmon and avocados and nuts for a while back in the 80's or 90's because the "experts" all said a super low fat diet was the key to health. I think we're all susceptible to what we read even if it turns out to be dead wrong for us.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story... glad you have a program that works well for you now!

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    4. Oh, thank you so much!How kind and gracious of you. I was a bit embarrassed, as it was not exactly a comment but more my life hx!
      I will enjoy participating now :) I've been lurking mostly. Also, thank you for leading me (by linking) to Andrea's blog. I've been downright obnoxious with the comments, on hers! Two wonderful additions to my very short list of blogs.

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  22. a long ago a uses intermittent fasting to get six pack its relyy worked for me but the bad news i dont have them anymore:( , your post bring such a good momries,im going to try it agine

    Thanks

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  23. It seems like there's a lot of evidence in support of intermittent fasting but the benefits are more in the area of overall health rather than long term weight reduction.

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  24. I have read numerous reports showing the benefits of IF for general health - as for weight loss it would not be my first choice of diet. It also wouldn't sit well with my fitness training regime, where I need those extra calories to fuel my workouts.

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  25. In my 20's I would fast for a day or 2 & it was HARD. It was more for spiritual reasons than fitness. Now, in my 50's I sometimes use the window approach, & find it very difficult. For me, it seems most important to not make rules. As soon as I tell myself I'm not going to eat for such & such a period, the battle begins!

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  26. When I was younger, I usually have apples and a non-fat biscuit as a meal for whole day along with lots of water. It does worked for me then, but right now that I have kids and have been so busy lately with all the work, this diet doesn't work for me anymore.

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  27. I tried IF for a while and ultimately it did not work for me. I lost only little, was cranky, and I think my metabolism tanked.

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  28. I tried IF for a while and ultimately it did not work for me. I lost only little, was cranky, and I think my metabolism tanked.

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  29. A few years ago I water fasted for 33 straight days. My eyes became super clear, vision improved, I felt like a million bucks & looked great. It was not eatingSounds like the simplest thing - not eating - but on the ninth day everything changed. The fourth day was most challenging (I cried a LOT!) but only from time to time would I feel actual 'hunger.' Then on day 33 it hit me: MUST. EAT. NOW. I just started a new water fast yesterday. This time I will not eat a banana split my first day off the fast but go to juice. BTW I drink only distilled water when fasting and do a salt cleanse every fourth day. Surprising what is released even over two weeks in! Gopd Health!

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