6:1 as a start?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Joey-1 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • Hi, all!

    I am thinking of starting IF and I am not sure which regime to follow. Initially I was thinking of doing 1:1 ADF but it’s a bit too drastic, so I am now at the other extreme of wanting to ease into IF as smoothly as possible and starting with just one 0 cal fast day/week. The main reason is that I don’t want to lose weight too fast, I have a lot to shed (40-45 kg) and I need to be able to maintain this long term. ADF doesn’t seem like something I could do for a year, for example. So I was considering, after much reading and research, to do 2-3 months of 6:1 with a weekly caloric deficit of ~2000 kcal and losing 2kg/month, then switching to 5:2 until I reach my goal weight and maybe doing some ADF if I reach a plateau down the line (I want to have something to cut calories from!). My TDEE is ~1800, depending on which calculator I use. I plan to exercise as often as I can and generally be more active, walk longer, take the stairs instead of the elevator and also limit my calories on non-fast days by 100-200kcal. Do you think I could lose weight with 6:1? I know usually people turn to 6:1 for maintenance, could it also be used as a start to weight loss?

    It all depends on your mindset. If you think that’s the best way to go them go for it. A deficit is a deficit.

    I’ve done the opposite: I’m on adf until I’m happier after which I’m go on 5:2 to maintain.

    It’s up to you what you do but fasting once per week for a while might work well in giving you time to get used to eating within your TDEE on the other six days.

    Hi Ginger:

    I think you are way over analyzing.

    You will not lose a pound a week doing 6:1 – as you point out, it is usually used for weight maintenance, not weight loss. With a TDEE of 1800, you might expect to lose about 3/4 of a pound a week doing 5:2. This post explains how the ‘numbers’ work: https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/tdee-for-the-curious-or-why-dont-i-lose-weight-faster/

    I suggest you start with 5:2, focus on doing your two diet days each week correctly, and not worry about future ‘plateaus’. All you need to get through a ‘plateau’ is to do 5:2 correctly and wait. No ‘extra’ effort is required.

    Here are some tips that might help: https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/the-basics-for-newbies-your-questions-answered/

    Good Luck!

    Thank you for the answers!

    I’ve read your topics, it was one of the first things I did since joining the forum. Thank you for writing them, they helped a lot. Thank you for your suggestion! The main reason why I am thinking of following a 6:1 plan is that I am an emotional binger. I tried doing ADF 1:1 last week as a test and it resulted in a prolonged binge. I fasted on Friday and Sunday for trial and I was supposed to start my 12-Week IF challenge on Monday. I binged all week until today, mainly because of the contradictory information I’ve read about IF and the many available plans. It confused me and it made me feel insecure about following it, so I went back to my usual nutritional shenanigans. I took out the trash 2 minutes ago and threw away whole packages of hypercaloric junk I was going to stuff myself with. Not anymore.
    Still, it’s a lesson learned. I can’t shock my body too much, or it will shock me back and it has the upper hand here. This is why I was considering the 6:1.
    But you are right, with the plan I listed in my OP, I’d be losing 2 lbs/month or 1kg/month, which is not enough. I will need to reduce my intake on non-fasting days and come up with an additional 1800 kcal deficit/week, which means I will need to eat 1500 kcal/day on my non-fasting days. It’s more than doable.

    Hi Gingerella

    Sim is spot on as usual, his point about how much you are likely to lose is important to note.

    I’m looking to lose the same amount, after almost a year halfway there – would be nearer my goal of I hadn’t had SUCH a good Christmas!

    One problem is if the second fast day has to move, all too often it can fall into the next week. Not a problem occasionally, but it can become a little habit forming, so if you are moving just the one day, you might find you are treading water for weeks, which can be demoralising.

    By all means try 6:1 – it should help you to achieve the biggest thing in weight loss, but the thing we never seem to hear about – stopping the juganaut and turning it around. The first task has to be to stop the weight gain, then turn around and start the loss. 6:1 will help here – but if you have any loss at at, it will be minimal, and the last thing you need it to be disheartened right a the beginning of this very long journey. Incidentally a journey with no end.

    My advice would be just do it! Simple 5:2, TDEE on no fast days, keep to your set two days whatever is going around you, good food, low sugar, keep busy, drink lots of water.

    Don’t dare tweak until 10 kilos down.

    And I am about to follow my own advice, starting Monday! You’re welcome to keep me company.

    Hi Ginger:

    “I binged all week until today, mainly because of the contradictory information I’ve read about IF and the many available plans.”


    It sounds as if you have no control over your eating. Could it be you are addicted to certain foods and can’t go without them for any length of time? The cure for an addiction is tough – cold turkey. If addiction is not the problem you will have to figure out another way to control your eating. I doubt 5:2 will help much, and may hurt.

    Good Luck!

    @milena – you do make a good point about being disappointed in the beginning of a program. I know that seeing no progress would make me lose heart, however I was counting on reducing calories on the other days as well, to make up for the extra fast day. I will think about it until Monday, but I can keep you company even while following the 6:1. 😉

    I do have an addiction to sweets. Carbs in general but sweets are my poison. I think I put too much pressure on myself with the ADF 1:1 at the beginning of the week and I’m going through some hard times in my career (just started a new job), romantic life (recent break-up), family life (yesterday was the 6 month mark since my Mother’s sudden passing). Not to mention I got my period AND the friggin’ flu. I guess I shouldn’t have started IF under these conditions and especially not something as drastic as 1:1, but I wanted to take advantage of the New Year’s momentum. I started the week with a 36h shift at work which lead to some mild binging, I tried to get back in the saddle and fast, but failed because I was reading some negative reviews on IF that said that fasts may not actually have benefits and the only thing that actually does the trick is calorie restriction. I didn’t feel very motivated to fast after reading that, especially since I know it’s true – about weight loss, I mean (I used to eat one meal per day, dinner, and it was enough to gain weight, so no, fasting alone does not shed pounds). Yesterday was a very low point emotionally and resulted in some sweets binge today. I only ate ~20-25% of what I bought (about 2000 kcal) and threw the rest to the garbage.

    I feel, on the contrary, that IF *can* actually help me, because I can go without food for long periods of time. I felt it from the beginning, but I guess I was deluded in thinking I can eat whatever I want on the non-fast days, because clearly that is not true. This is why I am unsure if I can do 5:2. It might give me more structure and more mental discipline which is what I need right now, but it might also add to the pressure, and I’m already under a great deal of pressure (seriously, I’ve been through some nasty life-altering sh^t in 2015, my Mom’s passing was just the first of many shocks that followed).

    I need to turn this around. And I need to make peace with my body.

    I’ll give it some more thought until Monday and decide on a regime, whether it’s 5:2 (since it works for so many people!!!) or the 6:1. I usually lose weight easily, that’s what gave me confidence I can pull the 6:1. But, who knows if it’s not the overconfidence talking?!

    I’ll give it some more thought.

    Thank you everyone for your advice and encouragement! <3

    You need to give yourself a fighting chance. Get rid of sugar drinks (coke, pepsi, OJ etc). In fact get rid of anything with high sugar content. DO NOT substitute sugar drinks with diet drinks!! When you drink diet drinks your brain interprets the sweetness and anticipates the sugar hit. When it doesn’t get the sugar hit it panics and you will usually reach for something that does have sugar in it. DRINK WATER. When you feel the need to binge (for whatever reason it is) you need a distraction action plan. Chew gum, go for a gentle walk (this works a treat!!). Like the ad says, Just do it!

    I don’t want to put a dampener on things but you seem to be making an awful lot of excuses for failure before you’ve even started. We all suffer emotional downers, bad luck, heartbreaking losses and the general kicks in the teeth that life likes to dish out on occasion. None of these things has any effect on weight.
    If you want to lose weight, do it. If you don’t, don’t.

    Heron, ALL these things have an effect on our weight!!! Well they do if you are a woman!

    Ginger, I think it is very very brave to let us know what things are going on in your life, and very brave to be even thinking of tackling weight at this time!

    There are straws, and camels – and we never know which straw breaks the camel’s back – though periods would come close to the top of my list, especially if you are perimenopausal. Grief after loss is a long journey too. And to that the other events and some of us would be hitting the bottle, never mind sweets!

    So please be kind to yourself, this is not you against the world, take baby steps and take your time. You are procrastinating, for sure, but a little procrastination is no bad thing.

    Try the first fast – get that one out of the way. They try the second, when you choose to – the second one is the harder one!!! Get that on out of the way – if you do two in a week – great, if you do two in a fortnight – great!

    There are NO rules to 5:2 – nothing is forbidden – the secret is to eat less than you need. Read the book – older versions say eat normally on your ‘feast’ days. That is for people who are not overweight, the rest of us need to stick to TDEE.

    And remember that men are from Mars and women are from Venus – the men can just ‘do it’! And they often have great success on 5:2 – for women its often a case of ‘carry on carrying on.

    I found a quote for you, from Winston Churchill

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”


    Thank you for the suggestions! I don’t drink sugar drinks, only water. Chewing gum for me is a bad idea as I binge on it lol (it’s sweet) with bad side effects lol. I’ll stick to water and tea. They do the work nicely.

    @Pot-bellied Heron

    I wasn’t making excuses, I was explaining the context. But you’re right, in a way, that I shouldn’t let whatever is happening in my life deter me from a healthy life. That is perhaps the hardest test, it’s easy to diet when you’re balanced and relaxed and not so much when under a lot of stress. I’ve failed that test every time until now, so hopefully this time will be different.


    I know all about men’s tough love, I work in a men’s world (so they think!), where you’re not allowed to complain. It’s toughen me up and it comes in handy because, frankly, the world doesn’t care or wait for me to wipe out my tears. I have to get back in the game. I fasted yesterday and removed almost all the binges’ effect (I’m 1.3kg lighter, though I suspect a lot of that was water retention due to my period, which is gone too – yay!), I feel great now and highly motivated to give this a go. I am considering fasting again tomorrow (Sunday) and not let this week pass by. I will commit to the 5:2, even though the math says it will take me 2.5 years to get to my goal weight. A bit discouraging, but I know it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want to lose weight too fast anyway. 6:1 would’ve been much slower, so I’ve decided to do 5:2 for as long as I can (I don’t see why I couldn’t do it for long periods of time, I’m used to fasting – now I need to add calorie restriction to the mix).

    Thank you everyone for your help!

    I have been following a 6:1 diet for over one and a half years. Fasting for one day a week is definitely an acquired skill and best to build up to it starting with a 12 hour fast and getting used to that before moving to a 24 hour fast and then to a 30 to 36 hour fast, where the real benefit is gained. I chose one day a week where I only work half a day which, as it happens is a Thursday, I have my last meal on a Wednesday evening and then nothing until breakfast on Friday. You can drink as much as you like, I like to drink black tea, particularly in the winter, as fasting makes me feel the cold! My BMI is now around 18 or 19 and although I try and eat healthily the 6 eating days I don’t particularly worry about what or how much I eat as I have found that since fasting one day a week I have found it impossible to gain any weight! I have also noticed that my immune system seems to have improved and I rarely suffer from colds and flu, at most I get a sore throat for a day, also my blood-pressure, which was on the high side of normal, is now in the normal range. Although during the fast day you can feel tired the rest of the time I feel full of energy. One other point that could be useful to anyone trying a 6:1 diet, break your fast with a small meal first, I eat a handful of dates and then an hour later have a more substantial meal. Fasting for one day is not for everyone and can be difficult at first but the benefits are enormous and that’s what keeps me doing it

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