Intermittent Fasting


Well-Known Member
On another thread within the past few days the idea came up of alternate day fasting to lose weight. Lil mentioned that her sister in law was having great success with a regimen something like eating 600 calories one day, and 1500 or so the next. I do not recall the precise numbers.

I had never heard of this before.

Nomad, kindly researched the phenomena and cited the work of a Dr. Mosley of the UK and his 5:2 diet, which consists of 2 days of almost fasting (500kcals for women) and I believe consuming about 1600 kcals the other days. (I have been reading the past 6 hours so I am not sure about the numbers, here, either.)

Reading about Dr. Mosley let me to Dr. Jason Fung of Canada. Dr. Fung, a Nephrologist or kidney specialist has focused upon curing diabetes through a fasting regimen which he emphasizes along with a diet based upon real food (not processed), and endorses low carb, high fat.

Both physicians say that the fasting mimics the effects of Bariatric surgery without the risks. Dr. Mosley says the near fasting at 500kcals, appears to be as effective as complete fasting.

Both physicians talk about the history of fasting and the near virtual presence of fasting in world's religions. Dr. Fung has a marvelous survey of the scientific literature of nearly the last 2000 years on dieting.

His work is remarkable. He has a blog that explains the science behind weight loss, why dieting does not work, and what does. It is absolutely fascinating.

Some of what he says: while exercise is good for you, it does not help weight loss; diets never work; fasting is good for you; weight gain comes from insulin; one reason dieting does not work is insulin resistance. And he talks about how to reverse insulin resistance.

And I learned that I cannot have my Splenda. Because splenda causes an insulin spike.

I have been so discouraged. I gained weight before and after my mom died (60 pounds!!!). I have learned now that I gained the weight largely because of raised cortisol levels (stress), not because I ate more. I learned that weight gain promotes more weight gain. And I have learned why about 6 months ago, I stopped losing weight and nothing I do seems to make a difference.

Most of all I learned to forgive myself. That it is not my fault. Weight gain is not due to lack of control or poor choices.

I cannot recommend his survey of research more highly.

Oh. I remember. It was CB's thread that had the original posts that motivated me to find this work. I will go post there to say thank you.
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Well-Known Member
I'll re read what you wrote and I just got "The Fast Diet" book.
I've been thinking that I may have been very moderately doing intermittent fasting (inadvertently...certainly nothing formally or intentionally) because some days I barely eat my 900 carries. Other days, I just don't feel like doing it for one reason or another and I might eat 1400 calories. I do try to eat decently though. I think, for me, the quality of my food is helpful. I also sometimes skip breakfast and eat lunch a little early like at 11:30. In the past, I would go to WW every time I gained 15-20 pounds. I never let my weight get past a certain number. But, I always tweaked the program and greatly reduced my flour intake and restricted sugar. This works for me. Last time I went to WW, I had trouble getting into the program (enjoying it and sticking to it) but it has worked for me many many times in the past. I lost fifteen pounds not too long ago, gained some back and have been pretty much at a stand still lately. But, I'm definately lower than I was a year ago at this time. I always did exercise and this helped. My latest thought that it is simply important for me to move my body...I think light exercise and at least moderate activity is ok. So, walking the dog, 15 mins on the treadmill when I can. A walk around the block after dinner. This is a far cry from what I've done before, but it is all I can do. What I think I'm seeing is that some movement is important for me to lose weight and maintain the loss and I thank my lucky stars I can do this. Thank you for this info. Copa. I use to work in this field. A few things that have been touched on...don't be discouraged. You can do this. Like, I think Lil alluded to, it often is about finding what works for you and simply sticking to it. And forgive yourself immediately if and when you mess up. We are not robots. Just get back on the horse. Thank you again for this great and helpful info. I'm definately checking into it.:)
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I Am The Walrus
This is JMO, but weight is tied to many, many things. Genetics, body type, age, gender, medications, stress level, etc. I think, like many things, there is no "one size fits all" for weight loss. People jump on bandwagons because it is something they haven't tried. I did it more times than I could count and it never worked.

In my personal experience, the first step is being realistic about goals and time frames to meet them. We can't all look like a super model, nor should we. The next step is a commitment to not get impatient or give up out of frustration.

I quit trying diet shakes and pills and diet fads and went through a series of "trial and error" to learn what works for my body. I had to try several different things in different combinations to see what my particular body would respond to. Then it became a complete lifestyle change. I have maintained my goal weight for 7 years.

What worked for me was strict calorie restriction. It doesn't matter what kind of calories I eat, just the number. And exercise. I no longer count calories because I did it so long, I have an idea each day what I have taken in. And no, I don't eat the same number each day. I also don't exercise the same days, same intensity, etc. It seems body confusion works for me - not allowing my body to get accustomed to the same number of calories or calorie burn. I do "mini fasts" like you are talking about, but not consciously. And I am not a stress eater. Stress makes me lose weight because I get so anxious that I get nauseous. I weigh at least once a week, and if I go up three lbs, I go back to calorie restriction. I don't let my weight "creep," which is how my weight comes. Not all at once, but a couple of lbs here and there until it adds up.

I don't think that works for everyone because everyone's bodies react differently to calorie restriction, food types, stress, exercise, etc.

Just my humble experience.


Well-Known Member
My mom was a size 7 her entire life. She weighed several times a week. If the scale went up, she ate very lightly the next few days. Not very complicated. I do wish I had done this from day one!!!!!!


Well-Known Member
Hi Nomad and Walrus: It does seem like each of you has intuitively put to work many of the ways that are touched upon in this work that I surveyed.

I found another person, Dr. James Johnson, who has a site. There is a handy calculator that give specific numbers for the down and up day targets, that allow input of age. My down day should be less than 390 calories and my up days less than 1500.

This site is more a diet. The Fung site is a summary of research, an actual history of thinking about diet through the millenia.

What I learned that you each touched on:
I do try to eat decently though.
I always tweaked the program and greatly reduced my flour intake and restricted sugar.
Quality of food. Processed food is poison, especially sugar. You know the drill: anything white.

Type of food: meat *oily fish, poultry, low-starch vegetables, plenty of them, fruit like berries, apples and pears, eggs are fine, olive oil, olives, butter. Limited dairy, even a little cheese is fine. Full fat yogurt is fine. It is a mediterean diet. Low carb, high fat is what the focus is.
It seems body confusion works for me
I also don't exercise the same days, same intensity, etc.
I also sometimes skip breakfast and eat lunch a little early like at 11:30.
There is the strong point that timing of eating is crucial. And the longer interval between resuming eating the better, up to 36 hours which includes sleep. They say that our bodies were not designed to graze, to eat constantly.
I do "mini fasts"
There are different ways to approach the fasting interval. Mosley centers on 5:2 based upon the work of a Dr. Taylor. Some people talk about a daily fast focusing on intervals of eating, eating windows.

For example, not eating breakfast (Fung says this is perfectly fine) and breaking fast at mid-day and eating dinner early, and that is it. So that would be a 5 hour or so window to eat.

One of the amazing things about reading this is the fact that our ancestors knew way more of this than we do. And this is on purpose. Some people believe that the government in collaboration with the food industry misled us for monetary gain. Corn, corn syrup, wheat--these are big money in the US.

My grandmother did the mini-fasts too. When she got up she would drink a pot of water with lemon juice. Her first meal was at noon. Her last meal was at 5 pm.

Mosley is also doing work on intermittent high intensity exercise, but I did not yet read up. Fung, I think it is, talks about the benefits of exercising before one has broken the fast. In that way the body is forced to tap fat storage instead of food glycogen for energy. I am still not clear of the chemistry of all of this, but I am motivated to understand.

This idea of movement is the central one, and I cannot remember why.
simply important for me to move my body

I had to try several different things in different combinations to see what my particular body would respond to.
Fung stresses a multi-varial model of weight reduction. It is not just one thing. It is everything. and different things for different people:
medications, stress level, etc
I am convinced now I gained weight because of stress: increased cortisol levels. And I have already read of ways to reduce cortisol including some foods, massage, music.
I have maintained my goal weight for 7 years.
This is fantastic Walrus.
I do wish I had done this from day one!!!!!!
Me too.
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I Am The Walrus
Another thing I adhere to pretty strictly is I eat dinner early and don't eat anything after 7. That way I go 12+ hours overnight without eating. I know that is a type of fasting in itself.


Well-Known Member
The best I do with my weight is when I am physically active. Walking, dancing, I mean 5 hours a day or more. It seems that my appetite begins to regulate itself too.

But then if I think about it there is an element of fasting involved then, too. Not eating after an early dinner. Not eating breakfast. Eating first at noon, and last at 5 pm many days. I had never before considered that.


Crazy Cat Lady
I'm diabetic. There is no way I could ever eat like this. I have woken up (luckily) a couple of times to go pee and realized my sugar was very low. Had to pee and then go make myself something to eat that would hold me until I got up.


Well-Known Member
Come to think of it, my mother rarely ate after 7. If she felt like a snack during the day, it was something small like an apple. AND she didn't do snacks after dinner. And she was not a sweet eater. Did not keep cookies or sweets in the house. Only ate a small portion of a sugary item for a special treat/occasion...if I had to guess I would say one small portion once or twice a month.

I do see where we are all individuals and intuition combined with close observation of ourselves and meeting our needs it all can come together and bring about success.


Well-Known Member
I'm diabetic.
Going, the nephrologist, Jason Fung, Toronto, I think, claims to "cure" diabetes, and patients are weaned off insulin. There is a very interesting video lecture where he presents cases.

Even if you do not buy in to his views he presents a fascinating picture of how current diabetes treatments treat the symptom not the disease. I will look for the link for the lecture.


Crazy Cat Lady
I'm type II and not insulin dependent. I became diabetic when I put on 60lbs when put on Zyprexa many years ago. Combined with menopause and a fried thyroid, I've had a horrible time getting rid of the weight. I was overweight when I went on the Zyprexa, but have managed to lose about 30lbs in the past year or so.

I take Metformin to control sugar and watch my diet. So far I have no symptoms of diabetic damage (that I know of).

My A1C was only 6.5 when I was diagnosed, so barely diabetic. The last time it was tested, it was 5.7, which is "pre-diabetic".


Crazy Cat Lady
Just went to something an old fashioned nutritionist told me: "Take a regular dinner plate. Divide it in half. Divide one half in half.

Fill the one half with veggies A(low starch). Fill one quarter with protein and one quarter with carbs/starches.

I also cut way back on carbs, quit eating chips and cookies and that sort of thing, knocked off the candy and ice cream, yadayada.

I've done this while being forced into a sedentary lifestyle by my back, knees, neck, and shoulders, so I'm not at all toned and I hurt all the time.

Oh, for the plate, remember that a serving of fish is 4-5 oz, and a serving of lean poultry is 4 oz and lean red meat is 3 oz.

I eat a lot of soups and stews, so I sort of do the above in my head while throwing ingredients in the pressure cooker.


Crazy Cat Lady
I very rarely eat beef, and that in stews and soups. I eat pork loin or tenderloin. Chicken, breast most often, though I prefer dark meat and do get that sometimes.

And, am such a fish fanatic that it's a miracle I haven't grown fins and scales. I like most types of fish other than shark and farmed North American catfish. (I do like swai).

I'm allergic to crustacean shellfish and think molluscs are disgusting.


Interesting post... I do a bit of intermittant fasting in addition to eating very low carb, high fat. It's a strict version of that old Adkins thing. I lost 40 pounds and have kept it off for over a year, reduced my joint pain tremendously (I have arthritis), improved my mental clarity, and feel better than I have in years. Contrary to the beliefs of many nutritionists and some medical folks (I am a medical person) this way of eating is very sound and will produce great health benefits. I'm happy to finally see a number of doctors learning more about this and teaching their patients about the benefits. This way of eating will reverse type II diabetes too. I know it's not for every person, but it's been great for me (and about 100 of my medical friends as well). Ketogenic eating will even help to control seizures in children when medications do not work. Anyway, just thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone else here uses this in addition to IF to control weight and improve health. I wish I could say I exercised, but nope, nothing more than just being a busy body and working long hours.


Well-Known Member
Lil mentioned that her sister in law was having great success with a regimen something like eating 600 calories one day, and 1500 or so the next.

It was 500/ 2200.

while exercise is good for you, it does not help weight loss;

I'm calling BS on this I'm afraid. Of course exercise helps you lose weight. Everyone knows that if you exercise you burn more calories. If you eat fewer calories than you burn you lose weight. So therefore exercise helps lose weight.

Most of all I learned to forgive myself. That it is not my fault. Weight gain is not due to lack of control or poor choices.

This may be true for you. But I lost 100 lbs and gained most of it back. Gaining it back WAS due to my poor choices. If I had continued to eat the way the I had when losing weight, I would not have gained. If I hadn't gone back to eating ice cream like it was it's own food group and not paying attention, I wouldn't have gained.

Trust me when I say I know HOW to lose weight. What I don't know how to do is keep it off. I get tired of eating right. I get tired of just thinking about it. I don't want to plan every damn meal and count calories. The only thing that works is burning more calories than you take in...that means keeping track and paying attention to what goes in your mouth.