Intermittent Fasting, Alternate Day Fasting – whatever you call it, it worked for me.

Army

I’ve always struggled with weight. Even when I was young living the Marlene Fisher-tofu-whole wheat biscuit-boiled beans-all-the-time diet. Well, maybe not exactly then. But ever since I left home and made my own food choices, I got fat. I like fat, salt, and sugar. Alot.

It really got bad when I traveled in a college promotion singing group. Affectionately known as “Ensemble.” Every day we were fed the best folks had to offer and then just sat in a van heading to the next town to do it all over again. I would go weeks without seeing a green fibrous thing.

Coming into the Army forced me to think about it. In my first few years, I did some drastic diets and lost weight – I just had a really hard time keeping it off. To put it in perspective, I wore a size 46 suit coat in college. In the Army, it came down to a 44. Never under and I had to take some drastic measures to keep it that way. My work with weight has been frustrating at best and depressing at worst.

Today, I read an article about how a new fasting diet is hitting the UK. Funny thing is, I’ve been doing this for a year. I love it. Intermittent fasting for me looks like this: Every week, I do three 24-hour fasts. It’s great because I get to eat dinner with my family every day.

It’s generally called “Alternate Day Fasting” or ADF. Its essentially a calorie restricted lifestyle. From the name you can surmise the basic idea – fast every other day. Fasting is a fairly normal part of my life anyway so this was not a stretch for me. What made is interesting is the science behind it and what it has done for me.
What made this so doable is the scheduling. My fasts for spiritual reasons have always been sun-up to sun-up essentially which makes me start to really drag in the afternoon/evenings. Here’s how I do it right now:
Sunday: Stop Eating at 5pm
Mon: Fast until my afternoon workout, then I break my fast with a protein shake and dinner.
Tue: Eat Normally, stop at 5pm.
Wed: Repeat Monday Schedule
Thu: Tue Schedule
Fri: Mon Schedule, except that this is an off night for me so I’ll eat after 5pm.
Sat: Off
Sun: Stop eating at 5.
That’s it. Last February-March, I lost 30 pounds and now, a year later, they have not come back. It’s so refreshing. If I binge one day or I need to do a working lunch or whatever, I just adjust my schedule and I’m right back on track.
I know, the naysayers will tell me all about the problems – I’ve found that everything has problems. They said the same thing to me when I got out of and swore off all debt. it’s been six years, still no debt and I’ll never look back.
So, hey, do what you want but for me, ADF worked and worked great. It’s been a year since I started this lifestyle and I’m still wearing a 42 coat and 36 pants (I haven’t worn that since high school)!! For a life-long fatty, I’ll take this any day of the week!

2 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting, Alternate Day Fasting – whatever you call it, it worked for me.

  1. I’ve also used Intermittent fasting with some success. Although I would eat ever day 8 hours and then fast 16 and repeat that cycle. It’s the same idea though. This guys site really goes into the science and specifics of it – http://www.leangains.com/. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

  2. Great recommendation. I cursory look at his site – I like it. I thought this was great from a post about the 10 myths of fasting. And by the way, I dig your site… very… simple…

    http://www.leangains.com/2010/10/top-ten-fasting-myths-debunked.html

    “7. Myth: Skipping breakfast is bad and will make you fat.

    Truth

    Breakfast skipping is associated with higher body weights in the population. The explanation is similar to that of lower meal frequencies and higher body weights. Breakfast skippers have dysregulated eating habits and show a higher disregard for health. People who skip breakfast are also more likely to be dieting, thus by default they are also likely to be heavier than non-dieters. Keep in mind that most people who resort to breakfast skipping are not the type that sit around and read about nutrition. They are like most people dieting in a haphazard manner. The type to go on a 800 calorie-crash diet and then rebound, gaining all the weight (and then some) back.

    Sometimes, an argument is made for eating breakfast as we are more insulin sensitive in the morning. This is true; you are always more insulin sensitive after an overnight fast. Or rather, you are always the most insulin sensitive during the first meal of the day. Insulin sensitivity is increased after glycogen depletion. If you haven’t eaten in 8-10 hours, liver glycogen is modestly depleted. This is what increases insulin sensitivity – not some magical time period during the morning hours. Same thing with weight training. Insulin sensitivity is increased as long as muscle glycogen stores aren’t full. It doesn’t disappear if you omit carbs after your workout.

    Origin

    First of all, we have the large scale epidemiological studies showing an association with breakfast skipping and higher body weights in the population. One researcher from that study, commenting on the association with breakfast skipping or food choices for breakfast, said:

    “These groups appear to represent people ‘on the run,’ eating only candy or soda, or grabbing a glass of milk or a piece of cheese. Their higher BMI would appear to
    support the notion that ‘dysregulated’ eating patterns are associated with obesity, instead of or in addition to total energy intake per se.”

    Kellogg’s and clueless RDs love to cite them over and over again, so people are lead to believe that breakfast has unique metabolic and health-related benefits. In reality, these studies just show breakfast eaters maintain better dietary habits overall.

    Other studies frequently cited claiming that breakfast is beneficial for insulin sensitivity are all marred with methodological flaws and largely uncontrolled in design.

    In one widely cited study, subjects were entrusted to eat most meals in free-living conditions. The breakfast skipping group ate more and gained weight, which affected health parameters negatively.

    From the abstract: “Reported energy intake was significantly lower in the EB period (P=0.001), and resting energy expenditure did not differ significantly between the 2 periods.” EB = eating breakfast. In essence, people who ate breakfast could control their energy intake better for the rest of the day. They didn’t gain any weight but the breakfast skipping group did. Fat gain always affects insulin sensitivity and other health parameters negatively. Thus what people took this to mean is that breakfast is healthy and improves insulin sensitivity. Which isn’t at all what the study showed.”

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