Alternate-Day Fasting/Introducing myself

jasonvhFebruary 3, 2006

Hi. My name is Jason and I'm 32. I'm new to the forum. I made a resolution at the beginning of this year to lose weight and get in shape. After considering several diet methods and not liking any of them, I finally came up with my own idea, which I later found out is also being tried by others with some success.

I sit at a desk and answer telephones for a living. After a decade of this type of work

I've become quite out of shape. I realized I simply don't need all the extra calories I've been consuming for the amount of energy I exert at work. However, I do need enough energy to keep up with my kids and not go insane at home. So finding the balance has been tricky.

I started my diet on January 10th. I NOW ONLY EAT EVERY OTHER DAY. On the days in-between I consume nothing but gum and low-calorie beverages, such as tea, diet soda, and water.

Before you say to yourself, that sounds amazingly dangerous and unhealthy, which was one of my concerns starting out, you'll be surprised to find out that in fact the opposite is true.

Just by Googling "alternate-day fasting" you'll read how eating every other day not only cuts weight, but can also potentially extend your life, reduce the development of cancer, enhance insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of heart disease.

It has been going well so far. It's been almost a month. Because I will only weigh myself on the 10th of every month, I can't tell you exactly how much I've lost yet. But I can tell you I'm already having to pull my belt a couple notches tighter. So I expect I've lost a few pounds at least.

I'm keeping a web-log of my progress and I invite you all to check it out. Leave me feedback about what you think, if you've tried it, considered trying it, or if anybody's

had any success with this method. I look forward to your "feed"back. (Forgive the food pun.)


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The one study I read from the google said the hunger that occurs from the fast day in real life would probably not make this a successful way of dieting or weight loss for most people - but if it works for you, great

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 7:04PM
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It's true the first couple of fasting days were a shock to the system. But after that I did get used to it, for the most part. I do still get hungry for an hour or so around dinner time.
This isn't something I plan to do for the rest of my life. Just a jump-start to fitness. Eventually I will go back to eating healthy meals daily.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 12:43AM
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I think it's good to experience hunger... give your body a break and let your stomach shrink down to a normal size.. I believe in eating a healthy minimum, which is way less than what most people would think is normal. Shrug.. but i'm not ever starving, raging hungry.. I just eat a little when I DO get hungry... I think too many people eat so much that they go literally years without feeling true hunger.. and I don't think that's good at all.. We should always allow ourselves to feel hunger before we eat. (I think, anyway.) I've fasted for three days before, back when I was in college.. I worked up to it for over a month by eating almost ALL fresh fruits and veggies.. then when I did fast I didn't even feel hungry, faint, sick, or anything.. it felt really good!! I just drank water during the fast... and when I was done.. I slowly came off it by eating mild fresh (uncooked)food. Anyway... good luck to you!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:25PM
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It's now been one full month and I'm pleased to report I've lost 11 lbs in the first month. That's 6 lbs more than I was expecting to lose. So it's going great. If you can handle it, I highly recommend it. Detail freaks are welcome to read my full blog if you want to know more about what I've been eating and when I've been exercising, etc. It's all there. Good luck to the rest of you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Every Other Day Fasting Diet

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 11:30PM
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Hi Jason, You are certainly determined to lose weight and I applaud you for that! Congrats also on giving up smoking. Can you exercise while on your job? There are several things you can do when not busy, e.g., walk/run in place, arm and leg flexing, etc.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 12:11PM
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Eloise...where does Jason say he gave up smoking?

Jason...this sounds like a great (temporary) eating plan. It probably does a body good to get used to some bouts of hunger and not eating all the time.

But my oh my, what willpower that would take. I have tried to fast on an occasional day here and there and have never been able to do it. (Hey, if I could go w/o eating, I wouldn't have a weight problem in the first place!) But I DO think it cleanses the body and shrinks the stomache, as well as gets a person out of the habit of eating so much.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 5:57PM
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I'm curious to know why you only weigh yourself on the 10th of each month? I like to weigh myself daily or every other day to see how I'm doing. It's a great motivator (when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing). The fasting part is interesting though. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 12:07AM
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I've tried most types of diets. I have had good success with most. I think eating fewer calories than you need is pretty basic. lately atkins has worked well in that I am restricted from eating certain food groups. actually cutting out all carbs is extremely restrictive. I almost have to force myself to eat the allowed foods. and i get no satisfaction even when i do eat. supposedly your blood sugar is supposed to stabilze after awhile which leads me to question how your blood sugar reacts when you alternate eating days? what do you eat when you do? normal food? low fat? low carb? or normal food?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 5:01PM
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I've lost 10+ pounds a month on Weight Watchers, and I eat everyday!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 12:17AM
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Sorry for not posting for so long. I didn't think this thread was still active.
But I see that it is, so I'll keep checking back.

Eloise: In an office full of people, I'd feel a little silly getting up and jogging
in place or doing other aerobics. :) But I do manage to go for a brisk walk on one
or two of my breaks, depending whether it's an eating day or not. I've asked the boss
about putting an exercise bike or treadmill in the staff lounge area, but it's not
really practical due to lack of shower facilities, etc. Nobody wants a stinky co-worker.
(My walks are brisk but not so strenuous that I sweat heavily.)

bpollen: I mention giving up smoking on my blog, near the beginning of February, when
it was my one year anniversary of being smoke-free. The fasting diet, like quitting
smoking, does require a great deal of will-power. You have to really be sick of your
current condition and really want to make changes to yourself. My will-power isn't
always rock-solid as you'll read on my blog. I slip up from time to time but I always
get back up and try again, and that, I think, is the key.

lisb: For an explanation about why I like to only weigh myself once a month, see my FAQ
found in the Links section of my blog. Question #12.

joe_mn: I pretty much eat what I feel like on eating days. I try to avoid empty-calorie
junk food but I do allow myself occasional treats. I make substitutions and try to choose
healthier alternatives where available. (Diet soda, artificial sweetener, light sour cream,
side salad instead of fries, that kind of thing.) Blood sugar? I'm not too sure about.
There are some days when I still get head-rushes or feel dizzy (usually in the morning of
an eating day), but not very often. I think this may have more to do with sodium levels
from what I've read.

lonestarlady: Weight Watchers is a very good program. The people I know who do it properly
have great success with it. Good luck to you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Every Other Day Fasting Diet

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:58AM
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This is not a healthy way to eat. Every time that you fast, your body goes into starvation mode and you slow down your metabolism. Losing weight is the same as getting out of debt, there is no fast or easy way. You have to make permanent lifestle changes. Eat foods in their natural state. if they come out of the ground, the water, the air, etc., they are good, if they come out of a can, a bag or a box, they are not as good. Eat lots of foods with high water content, fruits and vegetables and smaller amounts of grains and very small amounts of meats. Snacks should be avoided, as well as fast foods.
Move your body, even if it means only walking. Keep this up and eat small, frequent meals and you will not be overweight.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 5:08PM
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Donna, your advice for healthy eating is good, but on what research are you basing your statements that alternate-day fasting is not healthy? Is that just personal assumption? If you actually take the time to read the data available, you'll find that there are a number of health benefits associated with this diet.
Your body does not go into starvation mode after only one day. People have been fasting for spiritual reasons for centuries and they are not unhealthy.
Many people have enjoyed a great deal of success from this diet and have never felt healthier. It's cleansing, it rests your digestive system, it's easy, it's cheap, and above all, it works.

Here is a link that might be useful: Every Other Day Fasting Diet

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 10:22PM
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I am a follower of Dr. Andrew Weil. I have been going to a traditional chinese medicine doctor for many years. I have studied natural and alternitive health and nutrition for about ten years. I plan on getting a more "formal" degree in the next few years and becoming a nutritional consultant.
Some people in the field believe in short term fasting. There are several kinds of fasting that I have read about. You can fast once a week, but that is a fruit fast. You can fast as the seasons change about four times a year. There are seven day fasts, but you slowly introduce different foods as the week goes on. Some believe that fasting is good, but most believe that it is not necessary.
It depends on what you eat on a day to day basis. You mentioned drinking diet soda, that is one of the worst things to drink. If you follow a heathy eating plan your body will rid itself of waste on it's own.
I'm sure we can get into a back and forth debate on this topic. If you want to eat this way that is your choice, but I would not suggest it to other people.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 8:55AM
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I'm not sure I'd recommend it as an on-going lifestyle, but as a weight-loss method, it's great.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 7:59PM
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Diets don't work long term. When you return to to your normal eating habits the weight will also return.
Our bodies have not evolved from the cave man days. The cave man went for long periods of time without eating. They used a lot of energy to hunt and kill their food. That energy burned calories. They would have a feast after catching their prey. Then their body would slow down to conserve calories until the next meal. That is what I meant by starvation mode. Your body is built to conserve and hold on to calories at times of famine by slowing down your metabolism. Anytime you go for any period of time without food your body will go into starvation mode. That is why nutritionist tell you to eat many small meals throughout the day. We are tricking our bodies. Fasting will screw up your metabolism.
Also, muscle weighs a lot more than fat. I practiced Kung Fu for many years and had about 18% body fat, which is low for a woman. I burned calories like crazy. Now that I've stopped Martial arts, my body has changed for the worse.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, go to the grocery store and don't buy food with labels. Buy FRESH fruit, vegatables, brown rice, wheat pasta, fish and small amounts of meat. Drink water only, don't put chemicals in your body.
Exersise daily, especially with free weights. If you are disiplined enough to fast, healthy eating should be a breeze.
Good Luck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:39AM
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Fraid I agree with Donna here...This just proves yet again that you don't have to diet to lose weight...Cut your intake and you lose weight...simple as take up some of these silly off the wall ideas for diet plans like eating every other day...(sorry but I do think it is silly) but if it works for you and you can live that way the rest of your life...Go for it...I am a diet that I enjoy reading about them and studying their content but would never consider using them....If I had to pick a plan it would be weight watchers but even then, I have "my" plan tailored to my own self and my life style and couldn't necessarily be called any for anyone who wants to go everyother day with out eating for it...but I can assure you that you can lose just as much in a much healthier manner...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 11:55AM
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I don't think I could ever fast. I think I would become to shaky and faint!!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 1:18PM
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ps...wanted to tell you that I checked out your webpages and your blog...You seem like a really nice guy with a nice wife and kids...I enjoyed meeting all of you through your blog...still don't approve of your way of eating but do like you and your family...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 1:30PM
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Here's a message from a relatively long-time user. Just joined the blog to permit me to add my comments.

I've followed this regimen for well over a year. It is not, so far as I can determine, going to solve all weight issues. Here's my experience: In the first 2 months I lost 15 pounds. In the next year (plus) I've lost 3-4 pounds. I'm currrently about 20 pounds above my "ideal" weight. At 5'6" I'm 165 pounds; I'd like to be 145 pounds. However, it's still a WINNER in my book.

As regards health issues, check out the link at the prestigious American Journal of Nursing; you'll find the health benefits are significant.

So far as weight maintenance control is concerned, my experience has been wonderful. On the days I don't eat food is not an issue. I'm a busy guy, and I don't worry about missing meals. My problem is that whenever I sit down I never get up satisfied without eating more than what would maintain my weight. So, my last 60+ years have been spent either unhappy because I'm dieting, or unhappy because I'm fat. No more! On the alternate days, I simply eat whatever I want; no restrictions, and I'm satisfied after every meal.

Those of us who are (as I once was, quite some years ago) compulsive eaters and binge uncontrollably (as I once regularly did) will not find a complete solution here; for them I recommend a visit to Overeaters Anonymous (worked for me). OA helped me with the binging ... but the OA program did nothing to stabilize my weight. I've tried most diets; it's always the same for me; yo-yo syndrome is what it's called. This regimen solves the yo-yo syndrome for me.

Anyway: DON'T JUST RESPOND THAT IT'S UNHEALTHY!!! Read the article at the link and then you'll at least be well informed on that issue.

Tony in Rindge, NH

Here is a link that might be useful: American Journal of Nursing abstract on this topic

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 4:30PM
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