Fat Fasting, Calorie limits, insomnia and heart palpitations

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Fat Fasting, Calorie limits, insomnia and heart palpitations

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  birdie87 7 years, 4 months ago.

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  • Hi Guys

    6″3, generally very healthy lifestyle most of the time except when I’m not healthy and when I’m not healthy I’m really unhealthy!

    I have been doing a kind of intermittent fasting for a long time now without considering it IF. However, for me it was more about eating whatever I felt like eating within a 4-5 hour window each day without calorie control. I don’t tend to carb overload generally as feel better when I’m eating less carbs so I’m quite well keto-adapted and, although I’ve just started the 5-2 diet I’m finding not eating fairly easy on the whole. A few issues/questions though.

    Before I start, I generally find it easier just to not eat until evening time and have one meal a day. It’s harder for me to ration my eating than it is to just eat a proper meal once per day. I don’t find going without food in the daytime such a struggle really. So my fasts generally are just under 24 hours.

    1) I have these artificial ketone things. Barely any calories in them but they kick-start ketosis for me and make fast days even easier to get into. They were developed by a guy that wanted to replicate medically the benefits of fasting for athletes/cancer patients etc. Are these fast day friendly? They’re not essential but would certainly help, especially before exercise on fast days.

    2) Fat fasting. Similar to the above, when I did it previously whilst I didn’t tend to eat any food I would sometimes eat a bit of pure fat. Example a teaspoon of olive oil or, more often, coconut oil. Again I think it helps my body switch to ketones/fast mode more quickly. Again, not essential but they certainly help make it easier for me. It’ll literally be a teaspoon or two usually around 1-2pm. Does this cut out all the benefits of fasting in you guys opinion? I suspect as I’m consuming the energy source my body is utilising anyway it shouldn’t effect things like insulin levels. But it it genuinely breaks the fast then I won’t bother with it as I haven’t been. I actually completed a 3 day fast 6 weeks ago eating nothing besides a bit of the above on the first couple of days.

    3) I’m getting a few issues at night time. I’ve had weird heartbeats from time to time and insomnia thorughout my life. Luckily my insomnia has been better than its ever been this past year. However, I’m noticing that both come back when I’m fasting as well as dizziness etc. The heartbeats arejust unnerving but the sleep is really problematic. Together they make each other worse. This also wasn’t such a problem before 5-2 but i think the difference here is the amount of calories as per the main thing I want to ask which is below…

    4) I never had this before when I ate one meal per day. I wouldn’t hold back on calories but would just mindfully eat until I was satisfied – usually around 900 calories for my evening meal. I really think the difference with the heart palpitations etc comes from the limited calories in the evening. When I up them slightly (from 600 to, say, 800-900) the issue doesn’t exist for me anymore or is at least massively reduced. It just feels right for my body.

    Scientifically, is there a specific reason why a 6’3 quite well-built guy like me has to stick to 600 calories in order to get all the benefits. Is there any scientific research to explain why having more inhibits many of the health benefits such as weight loss and autophagy etc? Why did he say specifically 600? Just because that was the number of calories used in the original experiment?

    I don’t exactly mind if the weight loss happens slightly slower because of the slight increase in calories but is there anything to show that the benefits don’t exist and I’m not technically actually technically fasting when adding an extra 200-300?

    Would really appreciate anybody’s thoughts on this issue in particular. I know this lifestyle would be far easier for me if I could increase the calories slightly. I hate not sleeping at night and I really hate getting heart palpitations.

    5) BCAA’s. One final thing, just one small pill amount of branched chain amino acids really really helps me for some reason if I’m swimming fasted in the mornings or early afternoon. Would taking a small BCAA pill count as breaking the fast?

    Thanks guys – appreciate any of your thoughts,


    Welcome David – don’t overthink it, simplicity is the main reason it works 😉

    Listen to your body, sounds like you’re already tuned in pretty well, the only thing you described that sounds concerning are your heart palpitations… might be worth chatting to your GP about that rather than relying on general advice from forum dwellers like me and anyone else who replies to this thread who have no idea of what could be going on with you individually 🙂

    To generalise things a bit though, insomnia and even a little dizziness is fairly common on FD’s, a few carbs (glass of milk maybe) before you go to bed may help a little on the insomnia side… personally, I don’t have a lot of trouble getting to sleep, but if I wake up during the night it takes me a lot longer to get back to sleep when I have an empty stomach.

    With 5:2, the 600 calories is purely and simply to get a calorie deficit close to that 1 lb weight loss (3500 calories) per week (average male TDEE is 2400 calories, so 2×600 days = 3600 calorie deficit for the week if you consume 2400 on each of the remaining 5 days). That’s the only reason why it is 600… don’t overthink it.

    Thanks Vaderz, much appreciated

    If you’re right and that’s the case and it’s as simple as that then this is going to get a lot easier from now on.

    I could probably do three fast days per week quite easily now just not quite as strict. Before I get carried away though I’ll just try to make sure I nail a minimum of two every week first though!

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