2 complete 36 hour fasts per week?

This topic contains 53 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  michelemm1 6 years ago.

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  • I am reposting this as a separate topic because I got insufficient response when I added it as a reply to a related topic. I have been on the Fast diet for about three months during which time I lost 7kg in the first 10 weeks and then hit a plateau. I decided to try switching to a true fast last week. I ate an evening meal on Wednesday around 7.30pm. All of Thursday I ingested only water (apart from one mug of black coffee in the morning). I then ate breakfast at around 9.30 on Friday morning bringing my total fast to 38 hours. I found this very manageable and did not have any bad hunger pangs or other negative side effects. I even went for an hour long run about 22 hours into the fast. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I found it easier eating no calories than eating the 600 calories as eating anything on a fast day tends to trigger hunger for me rather than keep it at bay. I have decided to continue this way each week doing two complete fasts of at least 36 hours. (Sun evening – Tues morning and again Wed Evening – Fri Morning. My question is, is it safe for me to fast this way?

    Hi GreigC in my opinion unless you have any medical reasons i dont see it being a problem if your able to do it, and it works for you. the reason Michael suggests the cal intake is to make the plan manageable long term, i fast for the same amount of time as yourself but i do have my 500 cal limit during this time slot, i choose to do this 3 times a week, do what works for you and what you can manage, thats the best thing about this way of life, we tailor it to suit our needs, not the other way around, keep us posted on how your getting on. best of luck, FFL x

    Thank you.

    Hi GreigC
    I started in late january and for about 3 months did 2 total 40 hour fasts a week (from after dinner Sunday and Tuesday nights to lunch Tuesday and Thursday). I found it easier than eating small amounts and stimulating my taste buds.
    I now tend to do 1 40 hour fast and on 4 other days have only dinner, then eat normally at the weekends. I am still losing weight (but more slowly now) and have another 5kg to go, I either swim 4km or use the crosstrainer for 1 hour 6 mornings a week.
    I am a 63 year old female t. In January new GP made threatening noises about type 2 diabetes which scared the hell out of me. I thought I was โ€œfat but fitโ€!!
    I had read about 5:2 in the Weekend Australian, got the book from Amazon and started.
    When I started in January I was 90.8kg, BMI 34.8, cholesterol 7.2 and tryglicerieds 3.2.
    12 weeks later 80.7kg, BMI 30.1, chol 5.9, tryglicerides 0.8
    So the weight loss certainly contributed to the chol and trygliceride losses (I found that on eating days I now eat less and am not hungry), but still have wine and A piece of Lindt every (non-fast) day.
    Weight is now 73.3, BMI 27.59, will do the blood tests again next week after 40 weeks, hopefully my cholesterol has dropped further and tryglicerides have stabilised at the low reading of 0.8ish.
    Many people are obviously happy with the 500/600 calories on fast days, but quite a number also do total fasts, it really depends on how you feel and if it makes YOU feel good. I personally find that food stimulates my taste buds, so for me it is just easier not to eat at all 2 days a week (I still cook dinner for my husband and drink water while he has his dinner and wine)
    To me the really wonderful thing about this LIFESTYLE (not diet) is the lack of guilt, I have dieted for at least the last 40 years of my life and achieved absolutely nothing! Now, if I occasionally lapse, the next day I have a fast and repair it.
    If you feel good with water only keep at it. Good luck

    Hi, GreigC and vicki. Michael and Mimi’s scheme of offering 500/600 calories on ‘fast’ days is a compromise to aid acceptability and therefore sustainability. If instead you fast for a complete day, the effect is as you describe, where you eat Sunday night and again Tuesday morning, for example. That seems a perfectly reasonable thing to do, GreigC. Officially, the idea is that an unsupervised 24 hour fast is safe for almost anyone. Fasting for a complete day could be defined as a 24 hour fast, as it is normal (when not fasting) not to eat overnight.

    I have made no attempt to have 600 calorie meals, knowing that eating a little makes me want to eat more, stoking up my big appetite. I had a normal (generous) meal this evening, Monday, having last eaten on Saturday evening, an interval that happened to be forty-nine and a half hours with water and my medication only. I do my own take on IF, with limited success – I think that is because I have an excessive appetite. Hope your plateau turns into a gentle downward slope.

    vicki, your diet and especially your exercise regime sound very impressive indeed. Congratulations on your determination. I also happen to be 63. R

    GreigC, I just happened upon an item by Michael, headed “Different ways of managing your fasting days”
    in the In Depth/Q&A section of this site. It mentions that ’24 hour’ fasts may in reality stretch out to cover a 36 hour period, and suggests that the best timings within the overall framework are what suits the individual. R

    Hi folks, just adding my newbie’s perspective (female, 39, lacto-ovo vegetarian, fructose-aware, 178cms tall, weight maybe 70kgs, living in Tasmania, Australia).

    Inspired by a colleague who took to IF due to TOFI concerns, I started about 2 months ago with the 500 calories-spread-across-the-fast-day approach and found it a bit of a struggle – not impossible of course, but certainly it was difficult to feel like I was fasting if I was still munching through a small breakfast and occasional vegie stick snack through the day. I was also much hungrier through the day!

    Having read other posts about no food on fast days I thought I’d give it a go and for the last two weeks I’ve been “fasting” for 2X24 hours per week. Like some others have reported, I have found it much easier to just not have any food* throughout a fast day, and I will continue with this approach. (*My only calorie intake through the day is a small cappucino around mid-morning which admittedly has probably more calories than a typical fast day breakfast. I love my coffee but not enough to drink it black or give it up on a fast day, so whatever works!)

    Dinner on a fast day is 24 hours after the previous “meal” (if you don’t count the coffee) and is usually a big salad with maybe some steamed veg thrown in and a couple of spoons of quinoa or a boiled egg (free range of course!). I find the main hunger time is mid afternoon (this is when I turn to this forum for inspriation and solidarity!) and then by 7-8pm I’m just pleasantly hungry. I do tend to go to bed earlier on a fast day but don’t think this is a bad thing!

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth. Thanks to IF-ers everywhere for the ideas and information and sharing and general support.

    PS IF-ers might like to learn more about the impact of fructose on feeling hungry (and a lot of other body systems) – check out Prof. Lustig from the US or David Gillespie from Australia (sorry can’t remember the names of the various fructose awareness-raisers in the UK, but know they exist)…

    IFtas, I agree it can be easier to cut out food on fast days, rather than finish up hungrier through having mini meals. I’m an all or nothing person. I eat big meals, and tend to snack, but I am astonished how easy it is to achieve days where it’s nothing but water till lunchtime, or till evening, or even till the next day. Going to sleep without having eaten can be a bit difficult, but otherwise it’s amazing that the hunger spells are so transient and so mild. Keeping busy can make it easier still.

    On fructose, I came across a fascinating comment item on a UK newspaper website by Robert Lustig last week, under the headline “Fructose: the poison index.” about the EU failing to understand scientific realities. The danger of fructose is still being hidden here, especially when (as Robert Lustig points out) the EU’s Food Standards Agency’s thinking only reaches Homer Simpson levels. Doh! People may understandably ‘switch off’ when there is such a stream of contradictory messages about nutrition.

    I have started doing two 36-hour full zero-calorie fasts per week. Like others I find the 500 calorie lean-days actually are harder as they trigger my hunger and also emphasize to me how little I am actually eating.

    Like others I have been surprised how easy it is to do without food. I don’t feel weak and really after the first fast find it extremely easy to go for a day without food.

    That is exactly how I feel!!! If I started counting the 500 cals I would feel so miserable realising how little I am actually supposed to eat! I go without any food at all, food is not on the menu on a fast day. I usually go to bed at around 9, it’s easier that way:)) ( I am doing an almost 36 hours fast, that is from end of dinner on , lets say, Monday till breakfast time on Wednesday ).But beware: do drink a lot of water and tea cause we are not taking water from food either on our total fast days so we need more. I recently had some pain on my kidneys to remind me of that…

    A lot of people experiment and find their own variations of this diet that work for them.

    I fast three times a week for 24-hours. On M/W/F I eat a 500-600 calorie lunch and then I don’t eat again until lunch the following day.

    That seems to work best for me. I’ve had steady weight loss, much improved blood values and feel great. On T/TH/SAT/SUN, I eat whatever I want, but I don’t start eating until noon.

    It’s simple and easy to follow. When I hit my goal weight, I’ll cut back to two 24-hour fasts and possibly increase the calories in my lunch that begins the fast.

    I have been doing two 33-hour water/coffee-only fasts twice a week (Tuesday & Friday) for three months now.

    I started off because my blood sugar levels were just over the border into pre-diabetic territory, but I wasn’t hugely fat – my BMI was 25 – I weighed 80 Kgs. My aim was to get down to about 68-70 Kgs, which was my weight when I was in my mid-20s, twenty-five years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I chose to not eat during the fast to ensure that my insulin levels remained low throughout the fast – so it made no sense to eat 600 calories per day during ‘fast’ times.

    On fast days I have a coffee in the morning as normal, and then one in the late afternoon/evening when I am feeling tired. The rest of the day I drink water. The first few fasts were difficult, but nowdays I find them really quite easy. Perhaps not a state of mind I would normally chose, but not difficult and really no hunger cravings. If I feel at all hungry I just drink a glass of water and usually feel completely fine. While I do feel a little tired on fast days I certainly have sufficient energy to go for long walks (10km), and do whatever else I need to do, and I am sure if I was into it I would have no trouble jogging etc.

    For the first six weeks I consistently lost a bit more than a 1 Kg per week (8 Kgs in six weeks), and then hit a plateau and then only lost 1 Kg in a month. I am now hovering around 70-72 Kgs. I was planning to go to 1 fast per week to maintain my weight loss, but obviously I need to keep doing two fasts per week for the foreseeable future.

    On fast days I have consistently lost 1.0-1.5 Kgs of weight each time. I then regain most of the weight lost over the next 2-3 days. The initial 1 Kg per week was due to the difference between weight loss and gained.

    What I find interesting is that my weight loss per fast has if anything increased with over time (perhaps 1.5 kg vs 1.0 Kg) but my weight regain on non-fast days is also much faster, so in the end I am now not gaining/losing much weight. Hopefully the efficiency of my regain won’t get much better or I’ll start regaining weight even on two fasts per week. ๐Ÿ™

    My scales are not very high tech, but as far as I can tell most of the weight loss per fast is fat. My simple (and probably wrong) model of what is going on is that on fast days my fat cells are releasing Free Fatty Acids into my body for energy (which can only happen when insulin levels are low) and on non-fast days my fat cells are sucking back most of that fat/sugar. Over time my fat cells have become more efficient at both releasing and regaining weight – hence the greater fluctuations.

    I am very happy with the result after three months. The real test will be whether I can keep this weight off for the next nine months.

    Hi Radiant:

    I would guess you are watching water weight fluctuations. Losing 3 pounds of fat in one day and regaining 3 pounds of fat the next is pretty much impossible.

    I am interested in how your blood sugars are doing. Have they fallen into a normal range?

    Why is it impossible to lose 3 pounds of fat in a day-and-a-half? I agree it’s impossible to burn 3 pounds, but I haven’t seen any evidence that you can’t release it into the blood stream. I am assuming fat cells aren’t necessarily super efficient (i.e., they may well release more than they need). It’s not like I am killing fat cells, all I am doing is making my fat cells grow smaller/bigger on fast/non-fast days.

    Why I don’t really buy the idea that I am mostly losing water three months into my diet because: (1) the scales show very clearly fat, not non-fat fluctuations; (2) when I was sick with diarrhea one week the scales showed big non-fat fluctuations – so these measurements can’t be completely useless; (3) the amount I loose is cumulative and tied directly to when I start the next fast (it would be very coincidental that I only start my fasts when the weight loss I am seeing is only fat loss).

    I know I won’t convince anyone here, but I do think this idea that big fluctuations of weight can only be water loss/gain is a mantra without a lot of evidence to back it up. I am happy to believe this occurs early on in the diet, but don’t buy that this continues to happen every fast and if anything increases as you fast more.

    If my scales are anything to go by: after a few weeks the fat fluctuations have increased, and the non-fat fluctuations have decreased dramatically, which is consistent with the idea that my body has become more efficient at dealing with fast days.

    I am going to have my blood sugar measured next month. I was only borderline pre-diabetic so the doctors weren’t in a rush to remeasure me, and I wanted to get further into the diet before testing myself again.


    I am interested in where the released fat weight might go? If three pounds of fat is dumped from fat cells into the blood, it is still in the body and does not become ‘weightless’. There would be three pounds less of fat, but three pounds more of blood. To make the three pounds go away (lose weight) the fat would either have to be used or excreted. If neither happened, then weight would remain unchanged.

    If it was used or excreted, it would have to be replaced the next day. It is sort of a fact that there are around 3500 calories in a pound, so a person would have to take in over 10000 calories of food (over and above TDEE calories) to replace the used/excreted energy from the prior day’s three pound release. Even athletes in training for the Olympics rarely eat that much food in a day.

    However, I remain open to reviewing any research studies you have indicating body fat levels can go several pounds up and down on a daily basis. If we could let the pounds of fat disappear by three for no known reason except they do, and then develop a pill that somehow prevented them from coming back the next day, we might have a very valuable pill indeed.

    I hope your blood sugar levels improve. It is good you are taking quick measures to improve them.


    You are doing 4:3. I’m glad it is working so well for you.

    simcoeluv: Why would I have to eat 10000 calories the next day to replace what I had excreted? I am eating normally or if anything a bit more than normally the next day after a fast. I am then burning the sugars on the eaten on the non-fast wouldn’t I, plus storing anything extra as fat. The regain of weight takes several days – it doesn’t happen in a single day.

    But you are right: I am regaining too fast to be down to simple fat gain, so some of this must be water or perhaps as simple as excretion going as normal without any replenishment, leading to a nett deficit.


    You say you are losing 3 pounds of fat in one day, so 3 pounds of fat must have left your body, not just transferred from your fat to your blood.

    You then say you regain 3 pounds of fat the next day. To do that, 3 pounds of calories must reenter your body. That is why you have to eat so many calories – to regain the 3 pounds of fat you lost the day before.

    If you are regaining 3 pounds, but not eating 3 pounds of calories, the weight gain (and loss) must be something other than fat. Like water.

    I think you are right Radiant about excretion without replenishment. Following a long fast, not only will your stomach be empty but also the rest of your digestive system. Obviously there is a lot of water in food, but the food passing through you also has a dry matter weight (and a fat content?!). When you start to eat again, it’s going to take a couple of days to replace that lost digestive system bulk/ weight.

    So to suggest initial weight loss with fasting is water loss only is perhaps a bit simplistic, as it’s also likely to reflect the reduced food intake?

    simcoeluv: I said I was mostly regaining it on non-fast days (note: plural). I fast 2 out of 7 days, so I am regaining most of it in the remaining 5.

    My impression is that I am not gouging myself on non-fast days, although I am not counting calories, I think you must be right in part that I can’t be eating so much more so some of this is probably fluid.

    Here are some graphs to make it a little clearer.

    My overall weight loss:

    My fat vs non-fat loss for my first fasts:

    My fat vs non-fat loss for my last fasts:

    These measurements are from my household scales, and I agree with you that I am probably not eating enough to put all these calories back (though I must be eating enough to put the weight back). So probably the scales are inaccurate in some way. It is confusing though that they consistently show that on fast days only fat is being lost, and this becomes more pronounced as the number of fasts continues.


    I have to believe we are having a scale issue, not anything else. I would stop worrying about the scale numbers, except for your bottom line weight.

    Acknowledging that everyone is different and generalizations are by definition not precise, the way the ‘numbers’ work is like this –

    Assume your TDEE is 2000 just as an example. That means your body needs 2000 calories to operate that day. If you eat 2000 calories you will neither gain nor lose weight. That is the definition of TDEE.

    Assume now you eat nothing that day. The body has stores of sugar it will draw on, but lets assume it is all out of sugar and can draw only on fat stores to get its 2000 calories.

    Therefore the most fat that will be burned that day when you eat zero calories is 2000 calories worth – enough to keep the body functioning and operating at its normal pace. That comes out to about 9 ounces of fat burned that day.

    While, again, it depends on starting weight, TDEE and a lot of other things, people that do long term zero calorie fasts tend to lose around 4 – 5 pounds of fat a week. Note the 9 ounce example above will lead to around a 3.9 pound fat loss for the week.

    So it is hard for someone that is eating food seven days a week to lose a lot of fat weight fast.

    They can, however, on a short term basis, lose much more weight than that. It happens all the time. Some athletes can lose 10 or 15 pounds in a few hours, but they need IVs afterward to get rehydrated. People on this site regularly report losing more than three pounds in a day, or five or six pounds a week, while eating regularly (doing 5:2 or 4:3 or whatever). While some of that weight loss is fat, a lot of it is water, or ‘food in transit’ loss. Extremely rapid fat loss (measured in pounds a day) is simply hard to accomplish.

    Studies show the body routinely keeps or expels two or more pounds of water on a daily basis. We don’t know why, and cannot predict when it will happen, or how long any plus or minus water weight state will last. This really explains most plateaus that are measured in a few weeks (not months). I note a recent post by a person that went for two weeks without losing any weight, changed her eating habits, and then lost 2 1/2 pounds in a week. An alternative reason for her sudden 2 1/2 pound loss might simply be she was retaining water for a couple of weeks. She stayed on the diet and was also losing fat weight at a ‘normal’ pace. When the water was released by the body, her water weight returned to ‘normal’ levels and the fat weight loss showed up too.

    That is why it is so important on any diet not to get discouraged when the scales don’t move for a few weeks – just keep on doing 5:2 correctly and weight loss will show up eventually. It is also why it is so important not to get overenthusiastic when they see a quick, large weight loss (often at the start). If they think that rate of loss will continue, they can become unhappy and quit. Most find that within a few weeks they hit a plateau. And, after it is over, their weight loss average for the whole time is more within the range of loss that the ‘numbers’ might predict.

    I am aware that many people don’t like, or even believe in, ‘the numbers’. Many believe they apply, but just not to them, because of their metabolisms, the foods they eat, etc. But for a large majority of people over time they actually work quite predictably, and explain many common things that happen on a diet.

    Good Luck!

    If we completely fast for up to 36 hours will that slow our metabolism down and we then lose muscle? I thought the mini meal on fast day was designed to keep our metabolism up and prevent muscle loss. Please help me understand this. thanks

    dmdw, I have never heard that fasting for 36 hours would slow down anyone’s metabolism. I have never heard/read that the calories we eat on a fast day are designed to ‘keep up the metabolism’ or to prevent muscle loss. If anything, the longer we go without eating, the more likely we are to have low enough insulin levels to start burning stored body fat for fuel. It is well known that daily calorie restriction type dieting does lead to some muscle loss. In the research on alternate-day fasting, they found very little muscle lost. I am not sure, but my impression is that long-term, medically supervised total fasts also have less muscle loss than daily calorie restriction (unless the person has to be on bedrest for some reason — bedrest causes negative nitrogen balance all by itself, even if a high protein diet is consumed). If you can point to something that says that the purpose of eating on a fast day is to ‘keep up the metabolism’ or prevent loss of muscle I would be interested in reading it.

    I haven’t read all the messages on this thread, but I gather that someone is advocating no eating for 36 hours twice a week.

    I decided to read The Every Other Day Diet book — the diet that Dr. Mosley tried and decided was too hard. Dr. Krista Varady discovered through studies that the best way to lose the weight was to eat about 500/600 calories a day on the fast day. She found that eating 0 calories did not contribute to weight loss as well as 1/4 of the total calories.

    Along the same lines, I would recommend that everyone educate themselves about her studies.

    Thanks Franfit and Amy. I had read Krista Varady’s book–The Every-Other-Day diet. Dr. Varady says that the studies on people have confirmed that 25% is the perfect percentage for every other day dieting. See her chapter titled Why 500 Calories? Wonder if twice a week fasting is different? She also states that “at 25%, mice had the maximal amount of weight loss with the minimal level of muscle loss. ”
    Just wondering what is the optimal approach. I like the 5:2 fast diet approach for maintenance better than what Dr. Varady advocates. But her recommendations are backed up by studies also.
    Advice please. thanks.

    The 5:2 diet works, but the Fast Every Other Day Diet works as well.

    There is no perfect eating plan for everyone – do what works for you. I lost on the 5:2 plan for 11 weeks. Then I did 3 days of fasting and got over a plateau. I never did try every other day fasting, as I have now lost all the weight I planned to lose.

    I think the trick (if you can do it), is to eat only one meal on your fasting day. I found the 24 hour fast, followed by the 400-500 calorie dinner worked for me.

    Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately!), the 5:2 fast diet is not prescriptive. There are lots of options if one method doesn’t work.

    I also have the e book Eat, Stop, Eat and in there he says that it is a myth that you go into “starvation mode” in a few hours of fasting. He also says that after 24 hours of fasting (real fasting not a few hundred calories fasting) you have gained the maximum benefit and if you fast for longer the benefits do not accrue.

    He has studied fasts between 12 and 72 hours but total fasting i.e water or black tea/coffee only.

    Hi Greg. I’ve recently learned about the miracle of Autophagy and so decided to go hard core 30 minutes of intense AM cardio followed by (coffee,tea,wheat bran, probiotocs,psyllium seed,water) for 36 hours. All of those things are said to enhance the autophagy by studies, which I do once a week. I’m going to continue 2 other alternate days of fast probably with 500 calories in the evening. I lift weights 3 times a week so I’m trying to dovetail the Autophagy with building muscle and losing weight. I tried 3 500 calorie fasts per week but was advised to take BCAA once before and once after weight lifting. It worked well but I wanted at least one total body cleaning autopaghy which I’m convinced the BCAA interrupts. If I don’t take them, my autophagy would continue but I believe at the expense of my muscles. The solution for me is 2 500 calorie fasts and 1 total autophagic fast for 36 hours. If you can do 2 36 hour fasts that’s fine but I’m convinced there is a muscle deficit consequence even though I’ve read there isn’t. My lifts increase but at a snails pace which I think I can do better with the new setup.

    Nicely formulated. I’d also like to read any informed response to your question.

    I enjoyed reading your post.

    I chose to do the two 36-hour fasts per week on nonconsecutive days because I heard Michael say that it is at the 36-hour mark that the body really responds in amazing ways to the fast. So, I try to eat dinner not too late on the pre-fast day in order to join my husband at the regular time for breakfast (after the 36 hours have passed) on the post-fast day. I am looking forward to seeing my blood test results, cholesterol, not weight loss, being my concern.

    Hi Newburk,

    Some nice posts here, albeit they stopped about a year ago. Pity. I used to do two consecutive day fasts so about 60 hours. I now do one day 36 hours per week. Coupled with what you eat on NFDs you should see improvements in all those things you mentioned by fasting. Im assuming by fasting you mean a water fast? When people say they are fasting really what they are saying is that they have had a reduced number of calories for the day, strictly speaking its not the same thing.

    The liver is a two way street with respect to storing energy and retrieving energy. Trouble is our modern way of live/eating never sees the liver needing to retrieve stored fats for energy usage. Just like any other part of the body if youre not using it regularly it becomes lazy and inefficient. No great revelation there. Regular small time scale true fasts (you can do longer fasts if you want to but I don’t really think its necessary) of 1-2 days is long enough for you to flip into a ketotic state. When I first started fasting this was initially taking close to 60 hours to accomplish. I now flip into ketosis after 24 hours (I measure this with a keto meter). This trains you liver to access stored fats and produce glucose and ketones. The liver is now doing what it was designed to do. Store energy and retrieve energy!

    Going into a ketotic state has several benefits. It allows you to detox and get rid of all of the by-products of metabolism. You may actually feel lower back pain/soreness. This is your kidney working real hard processing all the toxins. Your insulin levels will plummet, giving your pancreas a well earned rest. Autophagy is the controlled killing off of poorly performing cells. This is happening all the time. By fasting regularly cells that are only able to do well in a glucose rich environment are killed off first and are replaced with cells that operate well using both glucose AND ketones. You become keto adapted. I am now able to fast with ease, don’t get headaches (the keto flu). In fact of late Ive had to force myself to eat a little more than Ive wanted to, as the weight is creeping downwards slightly and I really don’t want to lose any more. A nice problem to have.

    Good luck.

    WoW now that clears up alot of the doubts i had. thanks bigbooty

    No problems. Good luck with it.

    RadiantFlux, Nina6,

    very inspirational. I am jus starting but will try 36 hours starting next week and if I need
    a small breakfast on fast days.


    I also find two 36-hour-no-calories fast the best and easier to perform than 500 cal fasts. I do it separately. Visits to gym also good on fast day evenings – keep you away from kitchen.

    I’ve been doing two 36 hour fasts a week. The hunger is mild an if I eat I’m sure I feel a lot more hungry. I don’t know how long I’ll continue this pattern but this is my 3rd or 4th week of it.

    36 hour fasts are great expecially when you keep your body in that fat burning state when you break the fast by eating foods with just protien and fats e.g eggs and meat etc and also cos of the high insulin sensitivity during the early hours. You can take your full meal ie with carbs, protien the whole ‘shabang’! just before you begin your next fast preferably by 4 or 5pm depending on your bed time.
    Always workout fasted just before you break your fast cos you will feel stronger and have a more efficient workout without fatigue due to the high levels of epinephrine as a result of the fast.

    Hi I just started fasting again. A few years ago I did the 5:2 for a period of about 6 months but found it difficult to keep track of food and found I kept thinking of food and my next bite from the 500 cal stockpile.

    I recently checked out forums here and found info on how insulin affects metabolism and how we store energy in the body.

    I watched some YouTube videos from Jason Fung; one called the Calorie Deception and the other called Theraputic Fasting.

    Not sure if it is true but it is a very nice idea. So after my initial foray into 5:2 my weight has gone up and down ever since and my BMI ranges from 26 to 30.

    Wednesday gone, I started fasting again; this time 36hrs with water or coffee only. It was easy (hopefully not beginners luck!). It is so much easier to leave out the 550 calls of food.

    Do you think that doing this twice a week is good enough to repair insulin resistance”?

    A link

    @roryoc. Short answer is yes. If you eliminate sugar and processed grain based foods (bread, pasta, pizza, biscuits, breakfast cereals etc) your well on your way.

    My friends and colleagues think I am foolish not eating at all for the 36 hour period.

    Does anyone know what the medical drawbacks are with this approach? Ie no food for my 36 hour fast, twice a week.

    Thanks a mil

    Roryoc we all have friends who think fasting is wrong. My 600 cal a day (male) was considered unwise. When I admitted that twice a month I was going from 6pm Sunday to noon Wednesday on fluids only they told me I was mad. This may not be scientific, but I have been on 5:2 since it started, I have lost almost all the weight I want to, I feel better than ever and my Dr says my last blood test was my best ever. The only restriction on fasting the medics have ever suggested was about 18 months go when I was recovering from surgery.

    There is good evidence that intermittent very serious fasting not only has no drawbacks but is actually good for you, amongst other things triggering stem cell regeneration.

    Hi Penguin, have you had any issues with muscle loss, or worries about potential vitamin / nutrition deficiency with those long fasts?

    I am still doing 2, 36 hour water fasts a week and feel great. Just wondering if water only is a good thing to do every week or should I be looking to add some nutritional supplements?

    Roryoc. I am now at my weight target, so I am only fasting for 36 hours once a week. When I was fasting longer I didn’t have trouble with either of them. It sounds like a long time but it isn’t long enough to have a problem if you are getting a balanced diet on your non fasting days. I don’t do supplements, but I am trying to care for my gut biome with a very varied diet. You might find the forum “Related science articles….” of interest.

    Thanks Penguin, I’ll check the forum out.

    Hi Roryoc, I mostly do 2 36-hours zero-calorie fasts a week. The only thing about muscles is I’m building them now! 18 months ago when I was trying to lose with the standard eat less move more approach I was gaining fat and losing lean body mass. I had been doing it for almost 3 years, it did get my weight down about 10kg. Cutting added sugars down to less than 20g/day got me another 7kg and 5:2 has taken me another 5kg or so.

    If I wasn’t building some muscle, my weight would probably be a good bit lower. I also eat well above my TDEE on non-fast days, so that slows down the weight loss but I think it helps with building the muscle. Reducing fat while building muscle is a bit of a dance.

    GreigC, this is the only way I can fast too – consume nothing but liquids – if I have food, I break my fast.

    I’d recommend reading The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung if you need a bit more reassurance on the science and why this is perfectly safe. Usually as long as you have no pre-exisiting health conditions, you should be fine. If in doubt, go talk to your GP.

    @roryoc 2 x 36 hour fasting is not a long time. If you are in general good health apart from excess weight then 36 hours isn’t a long time. I used to do 60 hour fasts (2 days). Im in maintenance now, so I do one day 36 hours. As long as you drink regularly its not a problem.

    Great to hear all the positive views on 36 hour water fasts.

    For me eating nothing during the 36 hour fasting window is the easiest. I am losing weight and tie it in with circuit classes on the morning of my fast.

    Highly satisfied with this approach to date.

    Hi GreigC, it’s my assumption, that when you follow a regime, like in gym or even in eating, you stop challenging your body. Just my view.
    So, as you have hit a plateau, then try introducing intensity interval exercise and I am sure that you will see more weight loss.

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