Eating nothing at all on fast days?

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  • I’m just starting the 5:2 diet and have kicked it off by doing a “real” fast on my first fast-day. By that I mean eating nothing at all. I consumed zero calories yesterday, and drank only water and green tea, plus a multi-vitamin tablet in the morning.

    I found that very easy and would be quite happy to continue like that for two days in each week.

    My question is would there be any advantage in eating the suggested 500 calories on fast days rather than nothing at all?

    welcome Chris in Makati

    here r some past replies & more b

    Do I have to eat 500 calories?

    Viewing 5 posts – 1 through 5 (of 5 total)


    6:38 pm on 24 Jun 13

    Do I have eat 500 Calories on the Fast days? Or can I eat less if I want to?


    6:51 pm on 24 Jun 13


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    … And yes, I believe you can eat nothing at all if you have the stamina!!!


    6:51 pm on 24 Jun 13


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    The caloric numbers are upper limits, many of us just have water. You are allowed 500 calories to prevent you getting over hungry and bingeing.


    10:09 am on 26 Jun 13


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    Thanks all for answering this question as I was worried that my lump of a body would scream I was starving it and go into starvation mode, have 89 lbs to lose, lost 4lbs this first week.
    My estimate for feast days is 2069 cals! I have realised I struggle to eat halve of that, have been like this for years, so why this weight gain over 14 years? Oh how it crept on like a thief in the night.realising that I have lived on too many carbs and relishing all the lovely recipes which contain so many veg. The red pepper soup was delicious and this morning cooked up a batch of ratatouille , freeze portions so its a no brainier on fast day. Even though its a fast day today for me, not even feeling tempted to pick, I take a few moments to think on how I feel hunger wise and I drink a large glass of water and any thoughts of food vanish , its a wonderful feeling. I’ll stop now and busy myself with housework to the sound of Queen, especially ‘ fat bottom girls’!


    12:10 pm on 26 Jun 13


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    Sounds great, Chriscrock – and a lovely parting image! Enjoy yourself, the new you.

    A reply from Michael M in the ‘faq’ section (see link at top-right of the page, under the heading Welcome to 5:2 Intermittent Fasting’) – Will it put me into ‘starvation mode’?:

    ‘This is another very common myth. The initial response of your body to a reduction in calories is to increase your metabolic rate. This is because, in our hunter-gatherer past, survival in times of food shortage would have depended on our becoming more active, going out to hunt and look for food. Only under conditions of extreme calorie deprivation, when we have been for weeks without enough food and our body fat has fallen dramatically does the body go into “starvation mode”. IF is not the same as crash dieting. Starvation mode does not happen if you cut your calories for a day!!’

    if u search “eat nothing at all”

    Thanks for that wiltldnrUSA.

    I’m hoping that a continuous period of absolute fasting for what would effectively be around 36 hours would be more effective, since the whole concept behind the FastDiet is to force your body into “repair mode” by depriving it of food.

    I actually find it easier to eat nothing at all because then I don’t need to bother with counting calories on my fast day. Also, I find that eating a small amount of food can tempt me into having one more portion of whatever it is I ate, with the consequent risk of blowing my calorie “budget” for the fast-day.

    Having found it so easy to go for an entire day without food, I thought I’d see how long I can go on like that. Michael M did a 4-day fast with just 25 calories a day, so I’m going to see if I can achieve the same thing with no calories at all. As I write this I’m starting day-3 without food, and although it’s hard going, so far I’m holding up well.

    yes there r many times that my nonfastday turns in2 a 2nd fastday

    sometimes 0 like u

    if it is health the 4dayfast will b good

    however, if it is weight like me

    it will slow down ur metabolisme

    there is a very good post from michael on adf

    use ur search

    alternative day fasting he also reviews the book w/ an update

    that might b what u will like

    i think u have 2 do this in 10 day increments

    fastday nonfastday fastday nonfastday fastday etc


    5:41 pm on 23 Jun 13

    Hello, wiltldnrUSA – The two big issues with Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) seem to be sustainability, week after week, and the risk of gorging oneself on non-fast days, both issues arising because of the increased number of days in any one week when one is having to fast.
    The articles I have checked out refer to a recommended fast day intake of only one-fifth (20%) on the ADF system (i.e. 400cals for the average female – 500 cals for the average male).
    If you can keep to that regime, it sounds like it might give a boost to your weight-loss efforts, but, sad to say, any and every eating-to-lose scheme does require keeping to an overall, moderate calorie intake, so, to guarantee success you would still have to monitor your intake to some degree, to ensure it stayed within overall appropriate limits.
    Perhaps take a look at this article: Alternate Day Fasting Diet – By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

    again success

    I understand and agree with what you’re saying about several consecutive days of fasting putting your body into starvation mode and affecting your metabolism. When I complete this 4-day fast on Thursday evening it’s definitely not going to be something I’ll be in any rush to repeat. It’s really just a challenge to see if it’s something I could achieve.

    I intend to eat normally on Friday, and from then on it’s going to be 5:2 or possibly 4:3. I don’t intend to fast for more than a continuous period 36 hours again, but I think I’ve satisfied myself that I can easily make that an absolute zero-calorie fast.

    definitively more than 36hrs

    depending on plateaus
    because they will come

    i’ve done adf 4/3 5/2

    i’m experimenting w/ mediterranean nonfastdays & lowcarbnonfastdays

    the best kind of 0 day is when u did not intend it

    watch out in not drinking enough

    i tended 2 do that

    better now

    wish u success in this fasting lifestyle

    Chris, I have found the following works for me. Am only in 3rd week so early days:
    1 * 36hour water only fast. ie have evening meal, then no food until breakfast day after fast day.

    1 * 24 hour water only fast. Evening meal, then water only until dinner following evening.

    Exercise every day. Lost 3.6k’s in first 2 weeks and am not very over weight. Just want to lose 5 or 6 kilos of winter / long term accumulated flab.

    I like the water only as I feel it gives your body a complete break. Feels very refreshing. Once I get back to my ideal weight I think I’ll bring back the light evening meal as I find the evening the most challenging time to get through without food.

    My program consists of two 24 hour fast per week (evening dinner to evening dinner) + exercise two days a week. Plus, if I know that I will be going out for a social event with food/ alcohol in the evening, I will skip breakfast and lunch that day.

    More than 10% weight loss in 3 months, so it works for me.

    I’ve chosen 24 hours because that allows me to eat evening dinner with my family BUT I truly believe that 36 hours fast (that is without the 5/600 Kcal) will NOT be harmful for you if you are otherwise healthy.

    I have been fasting for 2 years. I also do two 24 hour fasts a week, usually with my last meal at 7pm and breaking the fast the same time the following day. I have had a lot of success losing over 40 pounds and gaining a muscular physique. If you do want to give this a go obviously you will need plenty of water and its good to break your fasts with a light dinner, I usually have poached eggs on wholemeal toast followed by a yoghurt until breakfast. I like to lift weights 3 times a week usually for around 20 minutes each time and I walk around 30-45 mins a day. The non fast days and controlling what you eat on those days are the key to success.

    Do you first fast a whole day, with the last meal at 7 pm and nothing to eat until 7 pm the next day, which is a normal day? That is almost like two fastdays in a row?

    Well, its now 10pm on Thursday evening here and I have consumed zero calories since last Sunday evening, so I’ve achieved my 4 days of continuous absolute fasting. I’m amazed at how good I feel. I could probably continue this for longer, but I think that would be rather foolish as I’m doing this without any medical supervision.

    So starting tomorrow morning I will eat normally, although I don’t think it would be a good idea to hit my body with too much food right away. I’ll probably have a light breakfast and see how it goes from there.

    My next fast day will be on Monday, and in view of how well I’ve coped with these last 4 days without food I feel confident I can handle a 4:3 FastDiet, with Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays being my zero-calorie fast days.

    You have amazing willpower. I’m in awe.

    Wow, Chris! Your self control puts me to shame. I have been on the opposite end of the spectrum today – my fast day (when I normally eat nothing til the evening) lasted until 10:20 this morning when I caved in and had a bit of breakfast… And then a bit of lunch… And then a cold sausage I found in the fridge… Oh well, tomorrow’s another day!

    Hi Chris,
    How much weight did you loose in these 4 days?
    My husband used to fast for 14 days once or twice a year for what reason I do not know. After 14 days he said he could have continued since he felt so good.

    congrats 🙂

    wish u success in the 4/3 Chris

    is this 4 ur weight ?

    or are u doing this only for ur health?

    this wk i’ve been doing a 5/2 w/ lowcarb cycling

    from 20 40 60 80 20 etc

    going 2 c how this will break my plateau i’ve

    been on it 4
    3 wks now @ 194

    next wk pure mediterranean vegetarian & 4/3

    i’m not a veg so this is going 2 b super tuff

    tell us how u r doing w/ this?

    share what u ate 2 ease into it on those nonfastdays

    do u have some cool foods from the phillipines now that ur living there?

    My weigh-in this morning shows I’ve lost a total of 8.6lbs (3.9kgs) over the last 4 days.

    The breakdown is as follows:

    Day 1 – 3.3lbs
    Day 2 – 2.2lbs
    Day 3 – 1.8lbs
    Day 4 – 1.3lbs

    I realise not all of that will be body fat. I guess I’ve probably lost about 4 pounds of fat with the rest being water and the residual contents of my stomach and guts.

    Ninna:- Did your husband do that entire 14 days without any food, or did he eat a small amount of calories? How much weight did he lose?

    To be honest, I didn’t feel any more hungry at the end of the 4 days than I did at the end of the 1st day. That seems to confirm what I think I read in the book. The hunger isn’t cumulative but rather goes in pangs, which go away if you drink some water. I was actually contemplating going on for a further 3 days so as to make it a complete week of fasting, but I don’t think that would be a good idea. More than anything else it’s the sheer boredom of the absolute fast that makes me feel I’ve had quite enough of it now.

    wiltldnrUSA:- I’m mainly doing this to lose weight, but the health benefits are also a factor that motivate me. About the food here, we have a lot of locally grown fresh fruit which is quite cheap, especially pineapples, mangos, bananas etc. Of course the main staple for local people here is rice, but I don’t see much nutritional benefit in that. There is plenty of meat, but it’s not that great quality, except for the chicken, which is good. Unfortunately there’s a lot of western style fast food too. There must be 3 or 4 McDonald’s within a 15 minute walk of where I live, with several pizza restaurants, and Starbucks are everywhere. It doesn’t help at all to have to walk past them when you’re fasting. I found that my sense of smell for food seemed to be enhanced while I wasn’t eating, which makes it all the more difficult when you’re outside and notice the cooking smells.

    My breakfast this morning was a SlimFast shake. I chose that because it does have a good balance of nutritional content which my body must be severely lacking, and it’s light and easy on the stomach. One thing is for sure, I’m going to have a wonderful burger and fries sometime between now and when my first regular fast day begins on Monday!

    wow Chris nice loss

    never thought of slimfast 2 ease in2 nonfastday

    after a fast

    yes, the health factor is what attracted me

    however the side effects of losing weight, mental acuity 2much energy, enjoying ourselves by saying 2 ourselves we can eat that tomorrow while never really eating what u thought u wanted on nonfastday but going healthier w/out whips

    is miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind blowing

    finally something cool 4life

    no longer a prisoner yay 🙂

    Hi Chris,

    That’s fantastic! I will try that in a week or two to get rid of my last holiday kilos.

    My husband used to buy a fasting package from the health food store containing fruit- and vegetable juices (one glass each for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and different teas. So it wasn’t many calories he drank a day. He is slim so I do not think he weighed himself. He did it for other reasons. But he really liked the fast and when he heard of 5:2 he was immediately interested in order to take care of his very high blood pressure. He is stil very slim so I wonder if 6:1 would be better for him???

    Hi everybody.

    I am lucky to be a patient of Dc. Arcady Economo who organized Anti-Aging Warter fasting programmes in Budapest. I stayed here for three weeks and lost 10 kg. First two weeks I drunk only water and the third week was juice fasting.
    Now I am telling you my story in more details.
    I am 56 years old. My main diagnosis: Diabetes II type, advanced stage.
    I arrived to Budapest on March 30th. Anna, stuff member met me at the Budapest airport and brought to Medical Spa Hotel, located on the beautiful green park- island “Margit”. I stayed in a comfortable room with a wonderful view on the Danube. I have come to my program with a very strong motivation: to lose 10 kg in 3 weeks and to detoxify her body. I insisted on 21 days of water fasting. Usually they do not allow water fasting for more than 4-5 days if someone have no experience in fasting before. However, I told them I had experience in fasting: 2 weeks in countryside in Finland, 2 weeks juice fasting in Thailand. But my last fasting experience was 7 years ago. Therefore, I decided to try to go 2 weeks on water fasting (0 Cal. per day) and last week juice fasting (actually 200-300 Cal.a day).

    On the next day of my arrival, I checked my cardiovascular system with an experienced and certified local medical doctor, as the main contraindication for fasting is arrhythmic heartbeats. Luckily, my heart was functioning normally. Meanwhile I had many health problems: I suffer typical symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. I suffer arthritis, thyroid gland disease, hypotyreos type 2, fibromyalgia, atherosclerosis and hypertension. However, my most dangerous age related disease was diabetes, II type. I was diagnosed diabetes 10 years ago and since that time, my diabetes progressed sufficiently, so my family doctor advised me to start insulin injections. My journey was my last chance to try fasting as a last remedy to defeat my diabetes progression.

    After making all necessary discussion with my medical staff, I decided to approve a preliminary plan described above. On my first day my last meal was special fruit salads with carrot, apple and orange. Before going to bed I took laxative, double dosage pills to clean her gastro intestinal tract. Her blood sugar level next morning, my 2nd day was 9.5 (obvious diabetes). Normal range is between 3.5 and 6.2. So, from 2nd day I started drinking only water (0 calories per day). On the day one my blood pressure was 150/100, but gradually it lowered down in several days and becomes normal 135/80. My blood sugar level also gradually went down and on the 7th day of fasting it to 7.0. During this first week, I was very active, walking in the morning in the park 5-7 km every day. I had a massage every second day. Budapest is famous for its thermal spas, which benefit to treat many health problems. Hence, I visited thermal spa pools, located in the Hotel.
    The first fasting week was very successful to me, my general condition improved substantially. I dropped 3.5 kg and experienced only minor side effects such as headache, and sleepiness, which often occur in the beginning of fasting. My pain reduced sufficiently. So I wes glad to see how my fasting was going and decided to prolong my water fasting for a second week as planned before.

    Being experienced fasting practitioners, I knew that diabetes is a very serious disease and can bring us unpleasant surprises. Something happened on my 12th day of fasting. I felt very irritated, had dizziness, vision problems, weakness: typical syndromes of diabetic pre coma conditions. I immediately measured my blood sugar level and it was 3.2. It is interesting, that on this crisis 12th day my blood pressure jumped to 170/110. But blood sugar level was more important for me. Usually for those, who have no diabetes, it is normal that blood sugar drops to 3.0, even 2.0. Non-diabetic people usually tolerate well such low sugar, as at that time after long fasting period, the main fuel in the body becomes not glucose, but ketone bodies from fat. Even the brain, whose usual energy source is glucose, starts to use ketone bodies as up to 70 percent of source fuel after several days of fasting. So at that stage in the brain, only 30% of energy is from glucose. After about a week of fasting, the whole body metabolism changed dramatically, but in a good direction: the body uses fat as a main source of energy – and most important – use as a fuel all “wrong” tissue materials, like damaged proteins, week old cells and many other old and damaged tissues. All small tumors are shrinking and use as a fuel firstly.
    Patients with advanced diabetes metabolism have no such plasticity as people free from diabetes. So, I have to be very cautious as for a person with diabetes more time is needed, that means more fasting days in order metabolism starts changing in a right direction. That is why we changed tactic for me. I had to go something like “one step back and two steps ahead”. So I decided to break a fast and switch my immediately to juice fasting, but in fact my fasting was still continuing, as she got with juices only 200-300 calories a day, and I used mostly vegetable and fruit juices with low content of glucose and sucrose. So, the next morning after I started taking juices my blood sugar was 7.6. On the 14th day it was 6.4, on the 16th day 5.5, on 18th day 4.8 and on the 21th day actually the day of my departure my blood sugar level stabilized at 5.0 that was an ideal value for healthy person. So, did I cure diabetes? Obviously, it was a tactical victory over diabetes, but not a strategic victory. The main battle with this disease will be homework for me that I will do after coming back home. From now on I must change my nutrition style completely according to the recommendations they gave to me. And what about my weight? In 21 days I dropped 9 kg. And blood pressure during my last week dropped again to normal values.

    Conclusion. To treat or prevent serious chronic illness, like Diabetes II type, someone have to follow fasting regimes not once, but do it periodically, minimum 2 times a year, or better 3 or even 4 times per year. Dr. Arccady Economo name such anti-aging diet regime “Anti-Aging Cyclic Nutrition”.


    this was inspiring i’m a type2diab?

    what foods help u maintain a normal blood sug?

    what r u doing now 5/2 4/3 adf 2wks or reversal of type2diab

    Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

    wish u a strategic victory 🙂

    Not sure how this forum thing works but I will post this anyway…..
    Yesterday I was feeling quite positive it was my 3rd day and I had done two nearly full days fasting and felt fine, however today I decided to not fast and so far today I have had on waking a quarter of a small glass of orange and a coffee with semi skimmed milk no sugar…which I don’t take anyway… then meditated for 20 minutes as always, then had another coffee and a Belvita biscuit with yogurt in there are two in a pack and I had both….for lunch I had a watercress sandwich and tonight I am having jacket potato not sure what I am having on it yet though could be cheese and baked beans or just baked beans…see what I feel like
    This is not a fast day so I am eating as normal
    I just don-t see how this can work if you are only doing two days fasting I have chosen to do Tuesday and Thursday,….surly any weight that you have taken off with the two days fasting will go straight back on again when eating as normal….
    I don’t see how that can be…surly the first thing you will loose will be fluid not fat….on my fast days i was doing quite well till about 3.30..4pm then it got the better of me and I had a few pretzels and a drink of cranberry which is what I drink most of the time
    Am I doing it all wrong ….on my fast days I drank coffee with milk… Cranberry juice, earl grey tea….carrot and orange tea and had a chunk of water melon at lunch time

    Suggest you read the FAQs and read the book if you want more info… all is explained. But if you eat say, approx 2000 cals a day normally and then eat only 500 cals twice a week, that means you are eating 3000 cals less per week than normal, so you will lose weight.

    As long as you eat normally on the non fast days you will lose weight. You are cutting your intake of calories to just 25% on two days. If you overcompensate by eating too much on non fast days then it’s not going to work.

    I think Humphrey’s suggestion is probably best and get more info on this diet to understand it better.

    I just checked with my husband abt his 14 days fasts. He’s been away so I could not do it until now.
    He is a very slim person. Still yet he lost 6 kilos the first time but after that he only lost 4 kilos each time. He gained a couple of them once he started to eat. He used to do it once or twice a year for abt 12 years.

    Thanks Ninna. I’m still astounded at your husband’s willpower to complete a 14 day fast.

    Since completing my 4-day fast I’ve had 1 more fast day and 5 normal days. Today is another fast day. I’ve put back on 4 of the original 8.6 pounds I lost.

    The best thing I ever did to reduce and eliminate hunger is simply to not eat anything at all. Coffee, tea are OK but if I eat anything, my hunger pangs are difficult. Plus if I fast for only 2 days out of the week, I want to maximize as much autophagy as possible.

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