This topic contains 23 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Adaline 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • Hi,

    I am a 24 year old guy, I currently weigh 14 st 11 and am 5 foot 9.

    In the past few years I have put on an enormous amount of weight. I used to be an 11 stone runner and completed in marathons and triathlons. I now get embarrassed even when people mention my former athletic prowess due to the complete lack of it now!

    I have tried several diets that I have been unable to stick to at all! I really need to do this now and really need to get fit.

    I will be going to the gym a lot to and really going hard at it!

    I am motivated to do this and I need to change! My diet has been so bad, I have begun to exercise again but my main problem is diet.

    I am looking for some general tips and support.

    What should I eat and what should I avoid, what days should I do it.

    Just some general tips from you all who seem to be doing great!

    I am at the very start of the journey and would greatly appreciate some guidance.

    Hi Ser,

    55 year old male. 202 lbs down to 156 pounds. So 46 pound loss over the course of one year. Back riding my bike after an absence of 30 years!! Loving it. Don’t think of it as a diet, its a new way of living that you will do from now on. OK what to avoid food wise. Whoever invented the food pyramid should be shot, it is so wrong its a joke.

    Avoid sugar like the plague. Avoid simple carbs like bread, pasta, pizza, and potatoes. In fact avoid any grain based foods!! Get your carbs from veggies. Have fruit in moderation, avoid bananas, too much sugar content. Go for your berry type fruits if you want fruit. Never dried fruit and NEVER fruit juice.

    Don’t be scared of fats. High fat low sugar yogurts, cheese, avocadoes. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, not cashews though. Pick your two days so they suit you and then STICK to them come hell of high water. Mine used to be Monday and Tuesday. Im now in maintenance and do Mondays. It will take you about a month to detox from sugar and simple carbs. After that it gets easier. I actually found it easier to do water fasts rather than limit my calories to 1/4 of TDEE. Try it, if its too hard go for 1/4 TDEE.

    Good luck it works!!

    ser00007, you have come to the right place. Intermittent fasting is very easy. The whole secret/key is that your weight will follow your insulin, not Calories In, Calories Out. CICO follows insulin. In fact, CO follows CI. So trying to calorie restrict has a 99% chance of failure. The background level of insulin determines what your weight is going to be. IF and a ketogenic diet will lower your background insulin level.

    When you wake up in the morning, just ask yourself, honestly, “Am I really hungry?”. I’ll bet pounds to donuts that you will find that you are not hungry. So, just skip breakfast. Keep doing that. By increasing the fasting time vs. the feeding time, you give your body a chance to feed off of your body fat. And try to stay away from the refined carbs. And keep studying and keep asking.

    Thanks guys really appreciate it.

    bigbooty that all seems reasonable and makes sense to me. My past failures have been bacause of simple carbs I think. When i was at my fittest i did not consume a lot of simple carb at all.

    bachcole should i look to increase fast time on all days?

    Im basically agreeing with bachcole. I think increasing fasting time will help but is not critical. The trick is to lower your basal blood glucose levels. Simple carbs send your insulin through the roof!! Lower simple carbs and your insulin levels will follow. Your weight set point will then lower. Google Jason Fung or buy the book the Obesity Code for a really good explanation.

    thanks bigbooty.

    Im a bit confused with the terms. To simplify it (just as I am getting started), what should I do? What did your plans look like when you started, like on a good day (non fasting) what would your diet look like?

    From what I have seen would it be ok for me to do the following:

    Fast Tuesday and Thursday (water only)

    Other days skip breakfast, eat only lunch and dinner? Low carb lunches and dinner high in veg, fats and animal proteins?

    Sir quadruple 0 seven (as in “Sir James Bond, 007”),

    Push as hard as is comfortable. I presume that you are cutting out the refined carbs. Sugar will enhance your hunger something fierce and smash your will power at the same time. Fasting is still beneficial even if you are eating Twinkies, but it is much harder. I have very little hunger.

    BUT, hunger won’t kill you. It develops will power. Just understand that the hunger is nothing more than a mental impression that you can side step, that will pass. Think how much good you do yourself by enduring the pain of push-ups, going for that very last push-up, “dang that felt good”. Fasting is the same thing; see the “pain” not as bad pain but as good pain, something that is doing you an immense amount good.

    Hi ser and welcome:

    None of this is rocket science. The way 5:2 works is to reduce the calories you are eating. The key is to do your diet days correctly – make sure you eat 600 cal. or less twice a week. The rest will fall into place.

    Starting 5:2 is hard enough in itself. If you want to start the Atkins diet, too, feel free but it is unnecessary to be successful. Many migrate to Atkins after doing 5:2 for a couple of months, but many don’t and still lose weight successfully.

    Here are most of the tips you need to be successful with 5:2:

    Good Luck!

    simcoluv, It is not about calories. It is about insulin. The fasting periods drive down the background level of insulin. Even if one ate exactly the same calories with the 5:2 fast one would still lose weight.

    The big thing that you are missing is that if one lowers their Calories In, their Calories Out goes down. Calories In and Calories out are NOT independent variables.

    We have done the Calories In, Calories Out bit for the past 50 years, and the success rate is about 1% because it does not drive down one’s insulin (or cortisol) level. Completely shutting off Calories In forces one into survival mode where insulin drops low, HGH rises, adrenaline rises slightly, and one becomes prepared to bring down mammoths.

    Calorie reduction does not drive down insulin. It drives down Calories out. And when one is finished with the diet, the weight just returns, 99% of the time.

    Hi bach and welcome:

    You quote Dr. Fung, I assume. I am more than aware of how insulin works in the body and am pretty sure I am not missing anything. Are you aware that the latest research (along with research that took place decades ago) shows that the body’s BMR does not decline after even two years of calorie restriction? And if you ever watched Dr. M’s Eat, Fast and Live Longer program, you undoubtedly noticed the first section was on a man that had been eating a calorie restricted diet for years – and was so healthy (and not overweight) he was called a ‘new species’. Historically, what you are talking about is the ‘starvation mode’, a popular but never proven (to this day) theory, repeated so often that it is taken as fact without question (just like the eat fat get fat mantra). Dr. M has addressed this mode twice on this site – in the FAQs and in a separate post. There is no research I am aware of that overturns this research and result. The starvation mode does not exist for fat people.

    Although not scientifically accurate as a theory, all the starvation mode people are saying is that the body becomes more efficient after eating fewer calories (calorie restriction), so eating fewer calories than you were eating before causes weight gain. To some people, that seems awful because they can’t eat as much as they used to without gaining weight! But they wouldn’t need a diet if eating as much as they used to eat did not cause weight gain in the first place.

    Dr. Fung also seems to believe in the body ‘set point’ theory. This theory says that the body has a weight set point that it wants to get to. So if you lose weight, the body will do everything it can to force you to eat enough to get back to your former high weight (usually plus some). This theory takes over if you do not lower your metabolism rate by dieting.

    The result of combining the theories is that no one can lose weight and keep it off. While Dr. Fung is a proponent of intermittent fasting, it does not seem to overcome these two theories because many, many people have lost weight with 5:2 and other IF patterns and subsequently regained their lost weight. If you think about it, the two theories pretty much insure that no weight loss can be permanent.

    It is all so confusing.

    Oh, well, I did lose 40 pounds on 5:2 and kept it off for almost two years. But I had to eat less than I used to eat to keep it off. Now I am back on 5:2 losing weight again. It seems to be working just like it did initially. And I still eat potato chips, drink beer and enjoy pasta and ice cream (just not a lot of each).

    Seems calories in, calories out still works. At least for me. And it is much less confusing to understand!

    The less you eat, the more you lose. If you don’t believe it, stop eating altogether and see what happens!

    Hi /simcoeluv yeah I didn’t think it seemed hard but all the stuff about insulin and then looking at doctor fungs stuff really began to confuse me. Calories in v calories out seems a lot more simple for me and probably better to start with I think. As all the stuff about insulin and theories is a bit deep to start with.

    What you say makes sense to me. I don’t know a great deal about insulin and things like that to be honest.

    There are studies with the same caloric intake, but different weight loss rates, depending on insulin release.

    2 studies here:

    Quote: “So what this study did was to randomly assign two groups of overweight women to eating a large breakfast (BF group) or a large dinner (D group). Both ate 1400 calories/day, and the macronutrient composition of each diet was matched – only the timing of the largest meal was changed. While both groups lost weight, the BF group was clearly superior for both weight loss and waist size (important measure of visceral fat) by almost 2.5 times (-8.7 kg vs -3.6 kg).”

    So I’m thinking if this experiment would be done with more calories (maybe around 2.000) eating half of them at breakfast would lead to some weigh loss, but eating half of them at dinner would lead to weight gain. So this proves in my opinion that insulin response is more important than total caloric intake.

    Quote: “The BF group had more insulin in the morning while the D group had more at night, as expected. However, by totalling the Area Under the Curve (AUC – graph to the far right) you can see that overall, the dinner group had a much larger rise in insulin. This is fascinating. The same total calories led to more insulin secretion simply based on meal timing.

    An earlier, smaller 1992 study had shown much the same thing. In response to the same meal given either early or late in the day, the insulin response was 25-50% greater in the evening.”

    Another 2 studies here:

    Here is Dr. Fung’s article about this “CICO vs insulin”:

    So I guess if a person has no problems with insulin resistance, CICO may work really well. But for the rest 80% of us (statistics for insulin resistance in overweight / obese people), CICO does not work long term, and the solution is IF or LCHF or both.

    So, you think that 500 calories of brownies equals 500 calories of broccoli?

    And burning stored fat when one’s insulin is high is just as easy as burning stored fat when one’s insulin is low.

    Sounds like a rationalization for having the freedom to eat the brownies. I can’t allow myself that freedom since I can FEEL tremendous hunger that is the result of eating the brownies ravaging my will power.

    Hi bach:

    Actually, if you eat your brownie for breakfast, you can lose a lot of weight faster:

    You can start by trying to eat less than your TDEE, like simcoeluv suggested. And if after 2-3 months, you still are always tired, hungry, not losing weight, you can try to lower your insulin, like bigbooty and bachcole suggested. You also can start slowly by cutting first the sugar, then the grains, etc. You do not have to go low carb overnight. Start from your current way of eating, try to limit your daily eating window to max 8 hours during daytime, and follow the standard 5:2 eating plan and see how it goes.

    Very interesting the second study. Thanks for posting.

    Quote: “In a 2012 study published in the journal Steroids, Jakubowicz and her team found that people trying to lose weight were better off not only eating a big breakfast, but also indulging in some “forbidden foods” they were probably trying to avoid, like sweets. Over the course of a 32-week study, participants who added dessert to their breakfast — cookies, cake, or chocolate — lost an average of 40 pounds more than a group that avoided such foods. They also kept off the pounds longer.

    In that study, 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults were randomly assigned to one of two diet groups with identical caloric intake — with the men consuming 1,600 calories per day and the women 1,400. The first group was given a low carbohydrate diet including a small 300-calorie breakfast, and the second was given a 600-calorie breakfast high in protein and carbohydrates, always including a dessert item (e.g., chocolate).

    Halfway through the study, participants in both groups had lost an average of 33 pounds per person, again consistent with the far lower calorie intake the diet provided. But in the second half of the study, results differed drastically. The participants in the low-carbohydrate group, unable to withstand temptation any longer, began cheating on their diet and regained an average of 22 pounds. Participants in the group with a larger breakfast, however, lost another 15 pounds apiece. At the end of the 32 weeks, those who had consumed a 600-calorie breakfast had lost an average of 40 pounds more per person than their peers.

    Thirty-two weeks is a long time to go without goodies, it seems, and according to Jakubowicz, the results of the the 2012 study show that denying oneself won’t work in the long run.

    “The participants in the low carbohydrate diet group had less satisfaction, and felt that they were not full,” she said, noting that their cravings for sugars and carbohydrates were more intense and eventually caused them to cheat on the diet plan. “But the group that consumed a bigger breakfast, including dessert, experienced few if any cravings for these foods later in the day.””


    Keep it simple and do what is comfortable and doable. Do 5:2. For me I cut out the sugar and grain based foods (every day not just on my fast days). Everyone will find a different way of doing it. A typical day for me is.

    Bowl of low sugar high fat yogurt with berries

    100g Tuna with salad

    Big bowl of veggie salad + tofu + cheese. Sometimes with 100g chicken

    or veggie + bean curry

    I forgot: Ser, you also need to think really clearly and find the reason WHY you “put on an enormous amount of weight”. Maybe it is a medical problem, or you are a stress / emotional eater, or maybe just bad habits, etc. You need to find the real cause of your weight gain and address that too.

    Good luck!

    Hi Adaline:

    If I remember, you are not doing 5:2, but are doing your version of an every day reduced calorie diet. You suggest to ser that he will not lose weight on 5:2, or feel good, or have energy.

    Of course, you are wrong. This site is filled with people happily losing weight on 5:2. They seem to feel OK, too. If you look to the right of your page, you will see that people filling in their trackers are losing on average about a pound a week. Most of them are losing without meal timing or eating any special foods.

    If you want to do something different than 5:2, feel free. But please do not suggest, on a 5:2 site, no less, that it will make people tired, hungry and that they will not lose weight following it.

    Good Luck!

    You misunderstood my message. I’ve said: “You can start by trying to eat less than your TDEE, like simcoeluv suggested. And if after 2-3 months, you still are always tired, hungry, not losing weight, you can try to lower your insulin, like bigbooty and bachcole suggested.”

    In other words: there is a transition period to any form of intermittent fasting (5:2 included), and until the body adapts, he may feel “tired, hungry” in the fast days. And if he has also a insulin resistance problem (like some other members of 5:2 community), he may also feel “tired, hungry and not lose weight”, if he eats 5:2 style, with a lot of junk and having high insulin.

    This is my informed opinion (which I’m allowed to say it, even if you do not like / agree with it) and you can not say “I’m wrong”, simply because you are not Ser’s personal doctor to say here and now “He is not insulin resistant.”.

    I’ve only mentioned 2 possibilities, to help Ser: first: 5:2 to work without insulin control (like in your case); if not, try 5:2 with insulin control, like many members here are doing. So please do not put in my mouth words like “suggest, on a 5:2 site, no less, that it will make people tired, hungry and that they will not lose weight following it”. Insulin resistance makes people tired, hungry and gain weight. The context, please. Thanks.

    What you are saying is unscientific, counter to my experience, garbage. I bet that I make more and better progress than you do. You can win the argument only because I am irritated with you and I don’t like being irritated, but I will still win with increased vim during my increased years. I won’t be reading your posts any more.

    Bit much Bachcole?

    Sorry, I really do not want to add fuel to the fire, but I do not think that the second study in the article is “garbage”, because I’ve resonated very much with it. For many years I am insulin resistant, but I also have a binge eating disorder. So when I try to cut the junk to zero, to reverse my insulin resistance, after a few weeks I start to binge like crazy on all the foods that were forbidden. And that makes my insulin resistance worse than before my attempt to limit the junk. For me, for years, it was a vicious circle, and for the moment my solution is to allow what junk I crave, but not in the evening, because then is the insulin spike even larger. I believe that in my case (non-diabetic), “the dose makes the poison”.

    Yes, the study is on “clinically obese, non-diabetic adults”, and the reason for failing in low carb group was: “The participants in the low-carbohydrate group, unable to withstand temptation any longer, began cheating on their diet and regained an average of 22 pounds.” I think in the case of diabetic adults, the weight loss with the junk at breakfast would not be the same. And also a low carb diabetic has much more motivation to resist temptation and not to cheat, because he has much more to lose. It’s not just “I’m fat”, but “I’m sick.”. So yes, statistically, for people with diabetes, could be like you said, a devoted low-carber makes more progress than someone who eats also junk.

    So, bottom line, if the weight loss would be so simple like “just eat low carb” or “just eat less”, we would not have this obesity epidemic right now. Everyone has to fight his own battle, to find the multi-factorial solution that will work for him.

    I think this article says it all: The MultiFactorial Nature of Obesity

    Quote: “Too often, our current model of obesity assumes that there is only one single true cause, and that all others are pretenders to the throne. There are endless debates about the true king. Too many calories cause obesity. No, too many carbohydrates. No, too much saturated fat. No, too much red meat. No, too much processed foods. No, too much high fat dairy. No, too much wheat. No, too much sugar. No, too much highly palatable foods. No, eating out. It goes on and on. They are all partially correct.”

    And I will add to the all the above: binge eating disorders, stress / emotional eating and all other psychological factors that trigger overeating.
    Or another Dr. Fung’s example: if the weight gain is caused by sleep deprivation, trying to go low carb or to count calories is futile. You always have to seek the primordial cause for the weight gain. Otherwise is just lost time and energy.

    So.. yeah.. it’s complicated.

    Again, sorry, this is just my opinion, based on my experience. I do not want to irritate no one. I just want to share my point of view, maybe it helps someone with the same insulin resistance + binge eating problems, like I have.

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