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Old 01-06-2011, 12:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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This is a fascinating topic. I've never been attracted to fasting, mostly because I assumed that it would have a negative effect on metabolism, putting you into some kind of starvation mode. This discussion makes me want to research it more.

I don't really view it as a weight-loss strategy for me, but the side benefits sound interesting. I also think it sounds liberating and likely to produce a different mindset.

Can anyone with experience talk a bit more about exercising while fasting? I would be concerned about muscle loss, and wouldn't want to disrupt my routine too much, or make it harder to get back to "normal."

Also, can anyone comment if there are any effects that would interfere with daily activities, especially work?

Thanks all!
I'm surprised this thread hasn't got more interest--fasting generally brings out the naysayers and extremeists both pro and con.

All my personal experiance is with "0 calorie" water fasts, so those who "fast" while taking in some calories may want to chime in.

Will you go into "starvation mode"--yeah, I'm sure--but "starving" people, well, "starve" and lose weight. You'll go through ketosis and I'm sure some our more biologically knowledgeable folks can add details but you'll start using fat for fuel. From what I understand, eventually you'll start to lose some muscle as well, if your not using it.

I did modest exercise through my fasts--really, the energy level isn't that bad. As I mentioned, you can get light headed if you stand up quick, especially, so keep that in mind. You will need to drink LOTS and LOTS of water.

If you do a longer fast, you need to ease back into eating--I usually started back with some OJ mixed with water for a day, then perhaps some yogurt and juice the next day--basically take a few days to get back to solid food.

As to daily function, well, you will be urinating a LOT, so if that's a problem at work fasting is probably not for you. You'll have some bad breath as the toxins work their way out of you.

You will find that your senses are greatly enhanced--tastes and smells become much stronger. I tried to take supplements when I fasted but the taste was just unbearable after a couple of days. The first time I fasted for a long time (the first 30 day fast) I did drink some black coffee but after a few days couldn't stomach it any more so went to just water.

I assume the eventual muscle cramps are due to electrolyte imbalances and probably muscle loss. I'm sure these would be avoided if one could stomach nutritional supplements.

Will you gain some back when you start eating again? Sure. You'll be taking in a certain weight in food and you'll start retaining some fluid again.

I'll say that if you undertake this, you will learn a lot about yourself and about how habit-driven most of our eating is. And, how darned much time we spend thinking about eating, preparing to eat, eating and cleaning up after eating.

I hope this helps, but remember, this is just my own personal experience and I have failed all previous attempts to keep off the massive amounts of weight I have lost. So do your research and take my experiences for what they're worth.

Regards,
Michael
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May 4, 2010...... 440? lbs. (Start FitDay Size 60 Jeans)
June 19, 2010.... 393 lbs. (First Weigh-in)
June 19, 2011.... 229 lbs. (164 lbs. gone in one year :-)
Current Weight... 185 lbs. (Size 36 Jeans)

Next Goal 169 lbs. (07/04/12)
Ultimate Goal 165 lbs. (12/31/12)

The best exercises for weight loss are Fork Putdowns and Table Pushaways.

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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"I'll say that if you undertake this, you will learn a lot about yourself and about how habit-driven most of our eating is. And, how darned much time we spend thinking about eating, preparing to eat, eating and cleaning up after eating."

I totally agree with this. I am a pretty introspective person in general, but fasting really brought food and eating habits into focus.

As far as exercising. I do tend to slow down a bit. As you might have guessed by my screen name, I am pretty active especially with outdoor sports. So fasting a hard training for a half marathon are not really compatable for me. But I usually continue with the running, and have never turned down an opportunity to hike, ski, bike... whatever, with friends just because I am on a fast.

I have found it a little difficult to go about my normal workday ruitine, however. Just too many cues and triggers to surrounding food. For example, for most working folks lunch time is an important part of the day. It can be, almost, a ritual. So I usually do my fasts when I am out of my normal ruitine, vacation, long weekends, or when I am working at home for a while, etc. I am very fortunate that my work allows me such flexibilty.

Sometimes I treat the fast like a week at the spa (not that I have ever had the chance to go to an actually spa). Lots of moderate exercise, reading, thinking, and writing. (I am a research scientist so "publish or perish" is a reality.) Again, my work enables we to do this and I know not everyone can, but most folks can find a little time and work around their normal schedule to work in periodic fasts.

I am really glad this thread was started. I have thought about beginning one for a while now, but as mecompco noted, there is so much controversy associated with fasting I didn't want to stir the pot too much.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I am really glad this thread was started. I have thought about beginning one for a while now, but as mecompco noted, there is so much controversy associated with fasting I didn't want to stir the pot too much.
Yes, me too. And even though I've ceased fasting for weight loss purposes, it really is something that should be experienced at least once (medical aspects permitting). If you do, you will foreverafter chuckle to yourself when someone claims to be "starving" in they've had to skip a meal for whatever reason.

Personally, after the first few days, I really could not have cared less about food. I went to restaurants with family and friends and sat there and drank my ice water while they ate.

I will say that into, oh, the middle of week three beginning of week four I started to think about food again. Really not hungry, per se, but thinking I "should" be eating. I really could have gone beyond the 30 days had it not been for the muscle cramps. I decided at that point that I should probably listen to my body and slowly break the fast. That first sip of watered down OJ is probably one of the best things I have ever tasted!

Regards,
Michael
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47 M 5'8"

May 4, 2010...... 440? lbs. (Start FitDay Size 60 Jeans)
June 19, 2010.... 393 lbs. (First Weigh-in)
June 19, 2011.... 229 lbs. (164 lbs. gone in one year :-)
Current Weight... 185 lbs. (Size 36 Jeans)

Next Goal 169 lbs. (07/04/12)
Ultimate Goal 165 lbs. (12/31/12)

The best exercises for weight loss are Fork Putdowns and Table Pushaways.

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Midwest you have me sold mate!!!

So that I have your fast correct, you'll eat say at 6pm for a dinner then fast from 6pm to 6pm the next day and then have dinner again?!?
Yep this is the exact structure. I usually do it Thursday and Sunday or just Sunday.

When I fast I just mentally accept that I am not eating because I am fasting, if I do get any hunger pains which is very rare, they go away in less than a few minutes.

I still try to eat all healthy and whole foods when I am not fasting, but I use the listen to my body approach. The bonuses are eating larger meals, eating breakfast lunch and dinner, feeling real satisfaction from larger meals, being able to eat dessert, being able to go out to eat and order anything.

One great thing about this fasting is that you can use it to lose weight and you can also use it to maintain health. Fasting has a lot of health benefits. It also works fantastic for maintaining lean physiques or healthy weights.

If you are sincerely interested in fasting for weight loss and possibly as a lifestyle for good health check out the book Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.
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It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself. ~Muhammad Ali

You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures. ~Charles C. Noble
July 6th 2010: 225 lbs, 24% body fat
Nov 30th 2010: 181 lbs, 12% body fat
Dec 28th 2010: 177 lbs, 11% bf
Total weight loss 48 lbs.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ah, Jason, I see what you're doing--the "one meal a day" thing. I guess I misunderstood. I've done that in the past, and it works well. When I lost weight as a teen I did "one meal a week" for a while and eventually moved to "one meal a day". It is great--you can tank right up for supper and still lose/maintain weight!

I don't think that's right for me now, but it does have merit. Thanks for sharing!

Regards,
Michael
__________________
47 M 5'8"

May 4, 2010...... 440? lbs. (Start FitDay Size 60 Jeans)
June 19, 2010.... 393 lbs. (First Weigh-in)
June 19, 2011.... 229 lbs. (164 lbs. gone in one year :-)
Current Weight... 185 lbs. (Size 36 Jeans)

Next Goal 169 lbs. (07/04/12)
Ultimate Goal 165 lbs. (12/31/12)

The best exercises for weight loss are Fork Putdowns and Table Pushaways.

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Old 01-06-2011, 06:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DetroitBreakdown View Post
This is a fascinating topic. I've never been attracted to fasting, mostly because I assumed that it would have a negative effect on metabolism, putting you into some kind of starvation mode. This discussion makes me want to research it more.

I don't really view it as a weight-loss strategy for me, but the side benefits sound interesting. I also think it sounds liberating and likely to produce a different mindset.

Can anyone with experience talk a bit more about exercising while fasting? I would be concerned about muscle loss, and wouldn't want to disrupt my routine too much, or make it harder to get back to "normal."

Also, can anyone comment if there are any effects that would interfere with daily activities, especially work?

Thanks all!
I have exercised and lifted weights while fasting, it really is no different. Sometimes it is better because 100% of your energy is going into the workout, instead of into food and digestion.

Without going into too much detail. When you are fed you are in an insulin dominant metabolism. When you are fasted you are in a growth hormone dominant metabolism. Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone, it protects muscle mass and causes fat stores to be released.

Even on long fasts people do not lose muscle or have decreased metabolism. The muscle VOLUME may go down because of losing water and glycogen, but the muscle cells are still there and can regain their volume. Metabolism is the calorie cost of keeping all your cells alive, just because you don't eat doesn't mean it has been decreased.

I keep seeing people say that it is not a weight loss strategy for them, I maybe thought that in the past too. But when you realize counting calories and having 4-6 meals a day is incredibly invasive in your life while throwing in a couple fasts a week while just consciously making attempts to improve your food choices is a great way to lose weight with low overhead.

After trying both calorie counting and fasting, I don't believe one is better than the other. I do believe that fasting is easier. I don't have to worry about protein and nutrient macros every time I eat, I don't have to say no to grandmas cookies etc...

There are a lot of health benefits to fasting as well. Like purging damaged cells, detoxification, increasing insulin sensitivity, balancing your hormones. Its a long list, check out the book Eat Stop Eat!
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It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself. ~Muhammad Ali

You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures. ~Charles C. Noble
July 6th 2010: 225 lbs, 24% body fat
Nov 30th 2010: 181 lbs, 12% body fat
Dec 28th 2010: 177 lbs, 11% bf
Total weight loss 48 lbs.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:10 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Ah, Jason, I see what you're doing--the "one meal a day" thing. I guess I misunderstood. I've done that in the past, and it works well. When I lost weight as a teen I did "one meal a week" for a while and eventually moved to "one meal a day". It is great--you can tank right up for supper and still lose/maintain weight!

I don't think that's right for me now, but it does have merit. Thanks for sharing!

Regards,
Michael
Its not a one meal a day approach. I eat normally every day. 3 meals + snacks. Sometimes more.

I fast once or twice a week for 24 hours. I never go a complete day without eating. Today I am going to eat a meal at 2pm and begin a fast, I won't be eating again until tomorrow at 2 pm at which time I will resume eating. My next fast will likely be Sunday.
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Jason

It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself. ~Muhammad Ali

You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures. ~Charles C. Noble
July 6th 2010: 225 lbs, 24% body fat
Nov 30th 2010: 181 lbs, 12% body fat
Dec 28th 2010: 177 lbs, 11% bf
Total weight loss 48 lbs.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:59 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I've never done a long-term fast but I can tell you that ever since I abandoned consciously eating breakfast, lunch and dinner I have tremendously boosted my energy and mood levels. My style of eating I suppose mirrors Martin Berkhan's Leangains protocol, where every day consists of a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour window of feeding, although I was doing it long before I heard about Leangains.

The way this works for me is I eat lunch around noon, then graze / snack intermittently until dinner around 7 or 8. Then I'll just have water until bedtime. When I wake up in the morning I'll have tea with a dollop of cream or coffee with a spoonful of sugar but that's all until lunch again. Since I strength train and I'm in a size phase now, I have to get in all my calories in that window, but I'm still planning on a 36-hour fast later this month.
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My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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This is all very interesting. I'm big on new experiences, so definitely want to give maybe a 2-4 day water-only fast. I think I'll double check with my doc first just to make sure he doesn't think I have anything to worry about due to my own medical state.

Michael, you mentioned supplements. I normally use a multi-vitamin and a vitamin D supplement. Would it interfere with the process if I continue to take these, assuming I can choke them down?

Also, Michael, you mentioned drinking LOTS of water. I've been slacking a bit on water lately, closer to 120oz than the 160oz I'd like to get. Are you talking about more than that? Would green tea interfere with the process as far as you know?

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This is all very interesting. I'm big on new experiences, so definitely want to give maybe a 2-4 day water-only fast. I think I'll double check with my doc first just to make sure he doesn't think I have anything to worry about due to my own medical state.

Michael, you mentioned supplements. I normally use a multi-vitamin and a vitamin D supplement. Would it interfere with the process if I continue to take these, assuming I can choke them down?

Also, Michael, you mentioned drinking LOTS of water. I've been slacking a bit on water lately, closer to 120oz than the 160oz I'd like to get. Are you talking about more than that? Would green tea interfere with the process as far as you know?

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.
Well, as I mentioned before, I only draw on some Internet research (hey, if it's on the Internet, it has to be accurate, no?) and my own experiences, so here goes:

I don't think green tea w/no additives would be a problem--you may, though, find that you can't stomach it after a few days.

You will WANT to drink water. There were days I went through a couple gallons (or more). Just constantly had a mug of ice water going to sip. Of course, guzzling a gallon would probably be bad, but sipped more-or-less constantly over 16 hours--not bad. With a short fast, you might not be inclined to drink so much, but consider that we get quite a lot of moisture from our food as well, and you won't be getting any of that.

The supplements were not "too bad" for the first few days. Once you get cleaned out, though, your senses really become more acute. You might not get this on a short fast. All you can do is try it and see. If those vitamins don't set well, don't do it again.

Good idea to talk to your doctor first. Hopefully he/she is open minded and will give you the go-ahead assuming any medical conditions won't prevent it.

If you decided to do it, let us know how you feel. And don't give up on day one--it is by far the toughest!

Regards,
Michael
__________________
47 M 5'8"

May 4, 2010...... 440? lbs. (Start FitDay Size 60 Jeans)
June 19, 2010.... 393 lbs. (First Weigh-in)
June 19, 2011.... 229 lbs. (164 lbs. gone in one year :-)
Current Weight... 185 lbs. (Size 36 Jeans)

Next Goal 169 lbs. (07/04/12)
Ultimate Goal 165 lbs. (12/31/12)

The best exercises for weight loss are Fork Putdowns and Table Pushaways.

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