Maintenance after 2+ years–more of a challenge

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Maintenance after 2+ years–more of a challenge

This topic contains 116 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by  Livelighter 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • Really glad to read this thread. Naively I didn’t expect to have to work to maintain. I thought that when I had reached my target that surely 6:1 would be sufficient. If only. Fortunately fast days are easy.
    So interesting to read the new info on change in metabolism, leptin, and see some real insight into what’s really going on.
    Interesting too that so many of you are also cutting refined carbs and sugar. I really feel like our family is eating so much better. My new treats are so much more nutritious than the cookies that I used to make. Now do I really need a pat on the back from my scale?? 🙂

    Yes, this is an interesting thread. I’m just catching up again after being away for a bit and off the fasting. I was staying in hotels with my choir and eating out all the time, which is harder because there’s mostly a lot of carb. But breakfast is mostly ok with natural yogurt, eggs ( no toast but I did slip in the hash brown😟). My downfall was a rather indigestible naan one evening, along with a range of curries. Have returned to a FD and 1.5 lbs up, hey ho. Found the FD hard as I always do after starchy food the day before, so was over to 700 by bedtime. Next one will be better I expect, though now I’ve guests coming.

    I have read the BSD book. It has quite a bit of the newer research in it, particularly on insulin and the work of Dr Roy Taylor at Newcastle. He also refers to Dr David Ludwig’s work. It also mentions the Leptin/ grehlin issue we’ve been discussing on this thread. At 800 cal per day it is a very low cal diet, so will probably be particularly susceptible to later weight gain issues. It relies also on low carbs higher fat. But MM does suggest combining it with 5:2, or 4:3, using an 800 rather than a 500 cal model ( blood sugars are the target here, remember – he says weightloss will be slow). This has caused me not to despair and binge if I go over on a FD, as there will still be some fasting effect and my insulin curve will be flattened if I use the right foods ie little carb, some protein and higher fat, a combination that helps glucagon.

    Jason Fung also suggests some 24 hour patterns if people find 36 or more too hard. His book and Michael Eades’ blog also extol home made broth on a fast day because it does not raise insulin levels and can be low cal if fat skimmed when cold. It strikes me that both of these might help maintenance too, though I’m not there yet so can’t be sure. But a 24 hour 4:3 might be relatively easy, as effectively you would just skip breakfast and lunch on three week days, eating only dinner; or else go from lunch to next day’s lunch, whichever suits. Any maintainers tried it?

    Just watched this interview with Dr MM. Really excellent overview of issues, well worth 36 mins viewing. When you get onto the page scroll down for the interview link.

    Hello Apricot, I’m from Brazil and I write with Google Translate.
    You asked about fasting 24 hours, I’m doing every day of fasting with 1000 calories at dinner, I found much easier so free only on Saturday and Sunday, must eliminate enough weight, I adapted well to this form because I think more difficult eat in a normal day and then back to fast. last month were least 3 kg.
    Good fasting all!

    Oh yes Anaide, I just responded to you on another thread. I’ve sometimes just had the one meal in the evening on an FD but can’t always do it and definitely not on consecutive days, though I’ve followed a single meal day with a day when I’ve eaten twice only within an eight hour window.

    I think that the 5:2 begins to teach you how to go without food comfortably. Now instead of rushing for food if my tummy rumbles, I just think ” oh, I’ll eat in a while”, and the feeling passes off, maybe for another couple of hours. My personal theory is that my body now uses fat stores more easily, so the tummy rumble is the signal to do that rather than to eat. I no longer get dizziness with it either.

    Hi, again. Thanks, Apricot, for the link to MM’s interview. I have watched part of it and will watch the rest soon. It reminds me that this WOE is not just for weight loss but is good for one’s health in many ways and so, even if I’m up a bit and struggling to get back down, this is a good thing I’m doing.

    Katkins, You voiced some of the same thoughts that I had when I started this conversation. Yes, if only it were as easy as I’d expected when I first started this WOE.

    I am now working at being more careful but have also decided not to beat myself up over the small gain, to keep at it and stick with IF and assume that at least it’s making me healthier. I am truly tired of thinking about food and feeling guilty, etc. Maybe it would make sense to think about all of it less!!! But I do believe I’ve learned a bit and am eating in a more healthy way.

    Onhealthyhigh, I will definitely look at the link you posted. Thank you.

    Just dropping in after reading about a third of this thread, to give some further information which may have a bearing on this topic. I have been on 5:2 for 18months and been stable within a 1.5 kg window for the last 7 months, after losing 16kgs. I am looking to lose another 6-7kgs when I resume off a maintenance mode which has come about for non food/weight reasons.

    Specifically, I’m mentioning info about compulsive eating.

    For about 60-65% of people with ADHD/ADD there is a component of this condition that involves food, chemicals, odours etc. they are prone to allergies and intolerances, the allergies being an immune system response and the intolerances a different response, often gut, but also other things. There are specialists on both sides of the allergy/intolerance science and debate.

    The susceptible child/adult with ADHD/ADD can have a type of intolerance (yes they exist), that includes a component of ‘addiction’ or compulsive eating of the food that is causing the intolerance. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s how it works. ADHD/ADD people have a deficiency of neurotransmitters between the brain cells in certain parts of the brain.

    When an intolerance food e.g. wheat itself, the gluten in the wheat, or chemicals added in processing e.g. In some breads, the person may crave bread. Here’s how it goes :

    1. Eat bread,
    2. Feel good for a period of time e.g. 2hrs
    3. Reaction to bread begins – may be physical, or may be brain based e.g. Irritable, depressed, foggy
    4. Reaction initiates a craving for the susceptible food, in this scenario bread
    5. Eats bread, symptoms abate for a while e.g. 2 hrs
    6. Symptoms return, craving returns
    Repeat, repeat, repeat.
    If asked they will tell you they love bread.

    These types of intolerances need to be worked through with a dietician using elimination testing.

    Best wishes,

    Hi, everyone, I case you’re interested there is another short piece in today’s NY Times that continues the earlier piece on weight loss. Today’s is titled “Hard Questions and Answers on Keeping Weight Off.” Much of what is talks about is consistent with what MM said in the interview that Apricot mentioned in her post and which I finished watching yesterday. It’s worth a look. I also read the Dr. Fung piece. All very interesting. Thanks for those references. Onward ho!!!

    Hi Maybelle
    Another thing is that men and women are different and I think even when women are post menopause their metabolisms slow down more when they lose weight. Has anyone read about any research based on gender differences? I haven’t found any that compare men and women.
    I started 5:2 to avoid diabetes 2 and joint issues related to being overweight plus strokes heart attacks etc. Everything I read said being in the healthy weight range is a good thing and the best way to be healthy was to eat nutritious fresh natural foods and moderate exercise.I am now doing all these things and am in the healthy weight range like you. Now I read I may be slowing down my metabolic rate and I will regain my weight plus more. Nice one. I hope the scientists keep on with their research.

    Hi, Qsue, I haven’t seen any studies addressing women specifically or post-menopausal women even more specifically. I do believe from anecdotal evidence (and friends agree) that men seem to be able to lose weight more easily when they decide to diet. I’ve assumed that that is because their metabolisms are higher because of more muscle mass and less fat. Maybe it means that I am in the worst position to lose and maintain a loss because of being a post-menopausal woman.

    I’m frustrated at the moment because I’ve watched carefully for a few weeks and weighed this morning and was down .2 pounds. Yup, a fifth of a pound!! Too little to mean anything because of natural variances in water weight, etc. I tried all day to remind myself that at least I hadn’t gained!! Big deal!

    I will now take a break for 10 days as I’m traveling and we’ll see what damage that does. I don’t want to feel this discouragement but it’s a bit daunting at the moment. How is everyone else doing???

    Hi Maybelle
    I shall keep reading and try to find out about boosting the metabolism and if I find anything I’ll pass it on. I hope you enjoy your travels.

    I am finding exactly the same thing! Bit disheartening really after finding it working so well before. Now it seems to be harder than ever and I seem to be eating less and less! Ho hum, will just have to persevere.

    Hi, again, from sunny Colorado! Nice to see the sun. And I walked a whole lot of steps in the airport yesterday.And instead of my usual cheese sandwiches for the long trip I had a hunk of cheese, some olives and some nuts. Not lo-cal but low carb.

    Qsue: Thanks and please let me know what you find out–especially if your find the secret, the magic key!!

    Reetpetite: I’m sorry that you are frustrated, too. But it does make me feel like I’m not struggling all alone. Ho-hum is right, because what else can we do but keep at it and hope that one of these days our bodies go into losing mode again. Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

    Happy Mother’s Day to the moms of the world.

    Hi Maybelle, enjoy your holiday.

    Two further studies worth considering: – an Australian study on genetically altered mice testing the hypothesis that a HCLF Diet would have a positive impact on weight and glucose tolerance. The mice gained weight.
    and – in particular individual responses to eating Almonds to control cholesterol.

    Both these articles, together with other studies mentioned on this thread, demonstrate how complex and complicated losing weight and maintaining losses are. What works for one may not work for others. My current thinking is we need to personalise our eating plans. I’m keeping a diary to track my response to different food groups. What foods make me hungry and likely to overeat? When and what I eat matters. If I eat carbohydrates in the evening I feel satisfied but if I eat carbs at breakfast I overeat during the day. What is my ideal TDEE to maintain? The TDEE calculator on this forum is way too low for me, I’m now using the Mayo clinic calculator to calculate TDEE. The higher TDEE helps enormously. Being vigilant and 5:2 or 6:1 are also crucial for me in the long term to maintain.

    Maybelle, thanks for the links in the NY times – very interesting read, and it’s good to read this information in a mainstream paper with a huge readership, not an esoteric blog somewhere.

    Merryme, the information about ADD and bread is very interesting. I know a couple of people who fit this pattern. Must discuss it with them.

    Onahealthyhigh, I SO agree. It’s not “one size fits all”!!!

    Hi, Everyone, Enjoying some warm weather and pretty views of snow-capped Rocky Mountains but, unfortunately on this trip I’m not able to forget entirely about weight/diet/IF issues. I am making a serious attempt to avoid simple carbs and I hope that will enable me to take this 12-day break from IF without too much back-tracking.

    It really has been so helpful to hear from all of you and to share your experiences with this WOE that we are all committed to. I think that any endeavor that is hard, like losing and maintaining weight, is greatly helped when shared with others going through the same thing. I have appreciated all of your posts and your interesting input. So, keep them coming, especially interesting articles that teach us more about this complicated issue.


    Hi, Everyone, We haven’t posted on this thread for a while. I am wondering how you are all doing? I am still working at it but am frustrated that it is still a struggle. After about 5 weeks of being “careful” on eat days (apparently not careful enough) I gained a pound. i have gotten to the point of dreading weighing myself as a gain can be so discouraging.

    The bottom line is that I’m still happy with IM and am fasting twice a week and then trying to eat like a normal person the other five days. But, apparently that’s not even maintaining and it’s certainly not allowing me to lose.

    I have added a stretching workout (though brief) from the Essentrics program that I got off of You Tube. It’s fun to do because it has fluid movements and is not demanding. But, I guess that means it’s not going to accomplish much in terms of burning calories even if it’s helpful for toning and joints, etc.

    I would like to hear how those of you who posted a few months ago are doing. Thanks.

    Hi Maybelle,
    Since posting my weight has stabilised at 56kg. I currently fast one day per week. Apart from that the only change I’ve made is to eat meals only if I’m feeling hungry. Last week I missed a couple of breakfasts, an occasional lunch and one dinner. I’ve stopped counting calories and daily weighing. I’ve taken a very casual approach and so far it’s working. I still eat whatever I fancy, but only when I feel hungry, cook from scratch and eat no processed foods. I became quite depressed reading information on hormones, nutrition etc and decided to follow my mother-in-laws advice ” a little bit of what you fancy does you good.” Having said that I’ve enrolled in another nutrition course offered by Open University!
    It’s hard and discouraging to gain weight. Hopefully this is an aberration and your weight willl resume a downward trajectory.

    Hi, On a High, You seem to have found what works for you, you’ve stabilized and you are, most importantly, happy with where you are. I’d say that’s pretty good!!! I’ve been impressed with how much you have read and tried to understand about weight loss/gain and nutrition. So, thanks for your post and I’m very glad to hear that things are going so well. Keep it up!

    I have been doing the 5:2 fast for over 5 years now, since the original Horizon program was broadcast.
    I haven’t changed what I have been doing / eating etc – I still limit myself to 600 cals (I am male) and I don’t eat that badly on my ‘normal’ days (I haven’t changed what I eat on my normal days either really, if anything I eat better now) –
    But I have found that I am now no longer losing weight. I am having to fast for 2 days just to keep my weight the same. It is as if my body knows that I am fasting and has compensated. Is there any evidence that this happens? It has also happened with my wife who has been doing it for about 3 1/2 years…
    This is also slightly scary as it means I either carry on and do 3 days and become more extreme, which I suspect given another year or 2 will also plateau out or I stop and balloon in weight!

    Hi, Jools, Oh, my, you have found this thread that hasn’t been active for quite some time. But, I am so glad you did. So, here is my update and a few thoughts on where I am. I am still a faster though I eat 7-800 calories on a fast day but now fast every third day rather than twice a week. I have stopped weighing myself because I have concluded that this is the best I can do and I just have to accept whatever the results are. I think my weight may have stabilized (I tell myself this!) at about 10 pounds lower than when I started 4 1/2 years ago. My highest weight loss, about a year in, was 23 pounds. I stopped losing after about a year, stayed at that weight, up and down a few pounds, for another year and then started a long, slow climb upward.

    I have tried to read about weight loss and metabolism changes and caloric need, etc. My conclusion is that even this WOE, which was supposed to prevent the drop in metabolic rate that comes with most calorie reduction diets, causes one’s metabolism to slow. Of course, when one’s weight drops one’s caloric need drops, too. I am not talking about that. I am talking about the evidence we have from studies of weight loss that a person’s metabolic rate drops with weight loss because of the body’s attempt to fight perceived starvation and that the metabolism stays at that lower rate. Maybe for a long time. So, at first, I was so excited to find this WOE and thought it was the at-long-last answer to a life-long quest for some thing that would work for me and that I could stick to. But, unfortunately, it may be like any weight loss scheme and foster the same yo-yo effects. I feel that I have no choice but to keep doing this fasting every third day indefinitely and I may find that my weight creeps up very slowly or maybe it has, in fact, stabilized. The good side of this whole dilemma is that I may still have better blood readings for cholesterol, etc. Those had improved but haven’t been tested recently.

    Here’s something else I question: Are results from this WOE better for people who have a large amount to lose better than for those who want to lose 20 or 30 pounds, say I fall into the latter category.

    I hate to be a negative voice because this forum has made me think that this WOE is wonderful for many and that people may continue to lose over the very long run. Sadly that hasn’t been my experience. I would like to tell you something encouraging but I’m all out!!!! Are there any other stories out there like ours or some that are maybe more heartening? I wish you and your wife well, Jools. Thanks for your note.

    Hi May:

    Sorry you have fallen for the ‘starvation mode’ myth. If you read the Minnesota study, you will find that the ‘starvation mode’ only kicks in in the human body after it reaches 5% body fat or less. Until then, the body functions normally. Or, you can check out the many people that water fast for lengthy periods of time (up to over one year). Their metabolisms do not change except for the changes associated with weight loss.

    Don’t worry about starving when you are overweight. Just find the diet ‘that is right for you’ and lose whatever weight you want. Your problem will be to continue eating at your new, lower TDEE so you won’t gain the weight back. But the ‘starvation mode’ will have nothing to do with that.

    Good Luck!

    Interesting..I don’t think I will stop it as it is supposed to have other long term health benefits and that was mostly the reason for doing it in the first place. The weight loss was an added bonus. It’s just rather annoying! I guess I have also grown 5 years older and don’t burn as much off as many calories as I used to!

    Hi, again, Jools, Yes, I agree, it’s worth doing this as it’s good for one’s body and that is why I am still at it after 4 1/2 years. I just wish I had stayed at my lowest weight and not inched up a bit over time.

    But, Simcoeluv, I have read enough about weight loss to know that one’s metabolism does slow down and that a person who has lost weight ends up with a lower metabolism and then regains weight more easily and ends up with a bigger problem. This was demonstrated rather clearly when the people who lost weight on “The Biggest Loser’ were followed up later and most had regained the weight lost and were having an easier time gaining and a harder time maintaining. You might want to look at the study that was described in a long article in the NYTimes during this past year. Yes, one has a lower TDEE, but that does not explain all of this. That study demonstrated that people of the same weight, had different TDEE’s and those who had dieted and lost weight were the ones with the lower ones.

    And you misinterpret what I wrote if you think I am afraid of starving! That may have been been a poor choice of word for this phenomenon.

    Hi may:

    The NYT article was widely discussed on this forum when it came out. It has since been relegated to the trash pile (by research scientists) as a completely flawed ‘study’. It was totally unscientific, had no control group and the list goes on and on. But if you really believe it, don’t bother to diet at all because it is a fruitless endeavor. According to the study, you have to gain the weight back – you have no choice because your metabolism is so low you can’t possibly eat little enough not to gain.

    Everyone has a different TDEE, and studies show that different people react differently to exercise – some burn less than half the calories than others doing the exact same exercise for the exact same lengths of time. In other words, some people are more ‘efficient’ than others, and need less food to run their bodies than some others do. It is genetic, not a result of exercise or weight loss.

    There is so much more to it, and trying to simplify it is really a waste of time. And so is worrying about it.

    It just comes down to whether or not you want to lose weight. If you do, you can. And there are many, many people in the world that have kept the weight off after losing it. Even the man that water fasted for over a year gained only five pounds of the over 280 he lost back after a five year period. But, according to your theory, his metabolism should have been almost nil and he should have ballooned as soon as he started eating again. Ask any of the maintainers on this site about how they keep the weight off, and you will hear that they eat very little compared to what they used to eat, closely watch what they eat, weigh often (even to the extent of carrying scales when they travel) and fast as soon as they get above their acceptable upper weight limit. And, usually, along the way they have also changed their diets radically. If you don’t do those things, you are bound to regain your lost weight. It does not take an injured metabolism to do it for you. But if you do those things, you can keep the weight off. Blaming a slow ‘metabolism’ (by the way, have you ever looked at the definition of metabolism? ) is simply an excuse for not putting in the very hard work necessary to successfully lose and maintain your weight loss.

    Don’t worry about your metabolism – it is what it is and you can’t do much of anything about it. You can raise your TDEE by exercising and gaining weight, and lower it by losing weight and not exercising, but that is about it.

    Good Luck!

    Interesting thread. I’ve maintained for just over a year on an amended, lower than planned, target weight. I give myself a 3lb wriggle room and weigh every day to keep within that.

    I definitely do not want to under it, let alone gain. I do 16:8 every day for two reasons- firstly my appetite has changed completely and, secondly, I found that I can allow myself the odd treat like a small bar of chocolate.

    My husband is stuck with a stone to lose, but he insists on only weighing once a week and still has a sandwich for ‘breakfast’ at 1ish. We’re travelling to Cardiff later for the rugby. He wanted to buy a meal deal – sandwiches and crisps! Old habits die hard! I pointed out that we can eat before we leave.

    It will be a challenging weekend calorie-wise as we will have eat out and alcohol will flow!

    Pol. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

    Oops what have I started! This is all very interesting.
    Simcoeluv – I understand that people react differently to excercise and it is genetic as to whether I benefit from excersise or not, some people are non responders (as was proven in another Horizon program with Michael Mosley).But if it isn’t my metabolism that has changed what has? Because something has changed within me. (my response to excersise hasn’t). When I first started fasting I would easily lose 2 lbs a week, now I lose nothing or 1/2 lb if I have a really good/strict week. I am convinced that if I hadn’t done this at all before and was just starting now – I would be able to lose 2 lbs a week. So something must have changed?

    Hi jools,

    Unless you are a very large male with a lot to lose, 2lbs/week is a very high rate of loss. Way above average. 1/2lb per week is more normal.

    You say you are doing the same things on FDs and non FDs, as is your wife. That might be the problem. Your FD calories need to be 1/4 of your TDEE, and nonFDs no more than TDEE. You need to adjust your TDEE as your weight goes down. You then slowly adjust yourself to smaller portions, changes in foods, drinks, as you go. Unfortunately what we consider “normal” when we start rectifying and normalising our weight, isn’t actually normal. It’s just what we’re in the habit of considering nas normal. You have to find the new normal, and you do that gradually. As a check, I suggest you count the calories in your FD and nonFD foods for 2 weeks. It’s enlightening. It’s amazing how that extra biscuit here, a few extra nuts, an extra glass of something there, will add up to.

    Don’t give up. Keep on working it out.


    I am doing the same things as I used to do – 600 cals on fast days and not worrying that much about what I eat on non fast days (as that is the beauty of the 5:2) but it is approx the same as I always have. It’s possible that the no of cals I now eat on non fast days has crept up very slightly but if anything I used to eat a lot worse on my non fast days when I started than I do now! And that is when I lost the most weight.So something has definitely changed. It would be interesting to know what that is if not metabolic rate.

    Hi jools:

    I’m afraid we are just chatting without facts. You don’t know how many calories you were eating at the start, and you don’t know how many calories you are eating now. As weight loss is a function of how many fewer calories you are eating compared to your TDEE (despite what some believe to the contrary), you are just stating your opinion or belief that you are eating just like you used to eat.

    I agree with Merry. Figure out your estimated TDEE and log everything you put into your mouth for the next couple of weeks. That will give us more information to discuss.

    Good Luck!

    Hi, everyone, It’s great that this old thread now has new life and has all of you participating. I think this is an important topic. What we are talking about is in the realm, yes, of anecdotal evidence. I know that most “studies” have to be challenged and the results verified and supported by several other studies before the results are accepted. So, let’s not argue about studies that may or may not be scientifically supportable. But, I think what several of you had said that supports my thinking is worth talking about: The WOE worked well and then it didn’t work as well, even with an adjustment in TDEE as weight goes down, and then, for me, it stopped working all together. This was over a very long time–for me more than four years. The first year was wonderful and the next years not as good.

    I won’t just dismiss what is going on glibly and say if I care I could lose the weight I want to lose. I do care. I care a lot. And I am not unknowledgeable. I have a life time of experience with eating, diets, etc. I am not uninformed. The reason I started this thread was that I was baffled by what had happened to me and I wanted to hear what others have experienced. And some of what you’ve written has supported my suspicion that something changes after a long period of time with this WOE.

    So, thank you all for your input and keep writing and sharing. I am mildly discouraged as this WOE hasn’t turned out quite as I’d hoped it would. But your input, knowing others are feeling somewhat the way I do, is helpful. And hopefully we are all healthier for having started this WOE. Maybelle

    One thing to consider if some of you are, like me, older people (50+) is that muscle becomes harder to retain and muscle and lean tissue is one of the main faster metabolism drivers, so if you are losing muscle due to this natural aging process your metabolism will automatically slow down again and you will have to either start eating less or use more resistance exercise to build more muscle again to maintain the same intake. It is not related to a particular diet or fasting, in fact the intermittent fasting may actually protect you from it to some extent as it seems to help some factors known to slow ageing.

    Well its good to see I am not the only one who lost a lot of weight on 5:2 and after 3 years I am now struggling to maintain my weight and I have put weight on too.
    Like everyone else, I didn’t stick to my 5:2 regime when I was away on holidays, but was trying to be sensible. I found that in the first two years of 5:2 I could literally eat what I wanted on non fast days and still the weight came off. I am 62 this year and have gone up a dress size, I really thought I was over the dieting phase of my life after doing 5:2 for three years.
    I guess I will have to really cut down on calories on my non fast days, as it is I have been omitting lunch, but I tend to snack on fruit and almonds if I get hungry between breakfast and dinner. The other option is to make sure I eat protein for breakfast and not carbs.
    I guess we don’t need as many calories a day as we get older, but it is so annoying that I cannot now enjoy a small 140ml glass of wine if I go out to dinner, which is not very often. Perhaps more exercise is another thing to look at. I am VERY DETERMINED to get back on track and its great to see other long term 5:2 people going through the same issues. Perhaps we can all support each other to get back on track?

    I don’t think we need three meals a day as we get older. That breakfast is the most important meal is a delusion. We eat around 1pm, just having two or three coffees in the morning. It is 16:8 every day. And I do have wine almost every day. I certainly don’t see myself as dieting, it’s just a way of life, with a considerably reduced appetite. In fact, OH and I shared a started at Prezzo yesterday, then I had a ‘light’ pizza with salad, a coffee and mini dessert – a spoon-size panna cotta. Our friends had three full course each, with the woman bursting out of her trousers.

    Victoria, you could try calorie counting to endure you stay under your TDEE to get yourself back into gird habits. God luck.

    Pol 🙋🏼

    Im at 1 year after losing 20kg on 5:2 1.5 year since starting. Noticed I have to switch between 6:1 and 5:2 depending how much I eat. Im still determined to continue fasting and eating whatever I like. Hoping to keep my new weight 5+ years.

    This week I overeat one day 4000kcal and above TDEE on other days so I had to use 2 fasting days to recover.

    Current weight 65kg around 10%bf

    This is such an interesting topic. I’m into my 5th year. Each year has been quite different. I lost a lot of weight. Struggled in earlier years with maintaining, then settled into a happy maintainance program. In my 5th year of maintenance I have gained a little weight. But I haven’t gone above the middle of my BMI healthy range. I’m nearly 66 years of age. My recent weight gain is due to too much wine and associated overeating. Bad habits are creeping back and I’ll reassess and cut back to address the issue. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my progress. The longer I maintained the easier it became to keep my weight down. I don’t have an answer but the things that have worked for me is no sugar, following a Mediterranean diet, focusing on gut health and varying my weekly routine. Some times I miss meals or fast one day or two. I try not to follow a routine but shake things up. I’m convinced that’s the main reason I’ve overcome the earlier, constant hunger and desire to eat everything in sight.

    Onahealthyhigh has a good point. Metabolism is very complex and things are always changing. I find I have to adjustments to the foods I eat all the time. I’m slowly moving towards a more healthy vegetarian diet. (Which I really didn’t do yesterday and my body has clearly shown its displeasure, big weight spike.)

    I’m prone to seeing my weight loss get stuck or even reverse course. However I mostly don’t count calories and I eat some very calorie dense foods, so I expect that. Still I’ve lost weight where the numbers indicate I should be gaining weight. Primary that is probably a benefit of hard works outs, my TDEE doesn’t match the estimates. Someday that will fail me, things change.

    Over time:
    > We get older
    > Our health changes
    > Our bodies change
    > Likely our environment changes
    > …

    I’ve been successfully improving every year for the past six years, so I know it can be done. However there was a two year period the improvements were much smaller and one year I probably wouldn’t have know without bloodwork being done.

    I’m in the 2nd year of fasting 2 days a week most weeks. I don’t expect this is something I will or can continue forever.

    Just a follow-up. There are always problems, but different people will have different problems at different times. For example my main goal has been to get my body fat down. I’m making good progress but I have an issue I didn’t expect. While I’ve lost most the fat on my arms, legs and upper body; a lot of fat seems to have moved to my mid-section. So it is going away, just not the way I wanted.

    If you start gaining weight, take stock and try to figure out what it is. It could be water, muscle, fat or maybe something else. In my case I guess my belly fat is first on and last off, so I just have to keep reducing it for a while. Likewise when one gains weight maybe a different action is needed.

    Hello, I was surprised to see that you had picked up this thread which had not been active for months.

    Here’s my update: I am still fasting because I don’t think I will ever be able to stop without dire consequences. Twice a week I limit my calories to 7-800 and that’s really the best I can do if I have to keep this going indefinitely. The extra calories come from a handful of nuts in the late afternoon. I find that I NEED that treat. But, I have given up weighing and I don’t have any idea where my weight now stands. I judge my weight more by the clothes that I wear and as long as I can still fit into the same pants I’m OK. I just do not want to have to be careful all the time. I try to be smart and not overdo but I will no longer measure what I eat or how much I weigh. It has now been five years since I started this WOE and I”m not sure how I feel about it. I was so hopeful in the beginning when I could easily fast two days a week and lose weight. It was very discouraging when that ended and I had to work harder to hold my weight and then when I started to regain. I tell myself this is a healthier WOE and the fast days are now so routine that they don’t cause me much trouble. My not very encouraging conclusion is that once you have gained weight you will never be able to take it off and NOT set up a permanent problem of having reduced your TDEE because of a lower weight AND a slower metabolism. It would have been better not to have ever gained the weight. NOW YOU TELL ME!!! Too late, so this is the best I can do. Good luck and may this still be a good WOE for many of us.

    I just find 16:8 an easy way to live. I could never eat three meals a day again, as my appetite has reduced so much. If I want a treat I have it, but in a considerably smaller portion than before. We often share a starter or a dessert, although the latter is rare.

    Hi there, I started 5:2 3 years ago and soon lost 16 kg from 68 kg to 52, with a little flucatuationin weight 1-2. I also exercise moderately since I started this diet theee years ago but now I’m a little worried as u said as in the last 6 months I am seeing a steady gain in weight.. around 5 kgs!!!!
    Yes I must admit I have slackened a little bit and maybe eat out a little more but I’m wondering if long term this diet will not work.. am I going back to 68??? This is scary and I need to know if anyone else has been able to keep their weight down and are long term intermittent fast people like me.. need some encouragement at this time.
    I’m trying to now become more disciplined like before.. but I am wondering if it’s just my slackening or this diet has a shelf life..please advise.

    Hi, again, I was surprised to see your message today as this thread has not been active for awhile. I’m sorry to hear a bit of discouragement in your post but I do understand where you are. I just re-read my post from April and think that not much has changed. I wish I could give you real encouragement but my own experience tells me that this WOE is healthful and a good practice but it isn’t the magic bullet. I continue to fast twice a week and will NOT weight myself so I have no idea how things are going. My pants still fit! And that is the best I can do.

    I am much older than you are–73–and I think I’ve concluded that I don’t want to worry about everything I eat and whether I’ve gained or not. It’s just not the way I want to live. I think that people with a lot of discipline and a real drive to lose weight can tinker with this WOE and make it work. I hope it will work for you again without too much effort.

    As an aside here, I have recently reconnected with a best friend from h.s. after many years of not hearing from her. She mentioned a new diet she was going to try to lose about 10 pounds. So, I thought, here we are, 50 years later and still trying to lose weight. It’s been a life-long struggle and we’ve never quite figured it out. This IF may be the closest I’ve come to finding the answer and the fact that I’ve stuck to it for FIVE years is startling to me even if it hasn’t worked as well as I’d hoped.

    I wonder, too, if people who’ve experienced what I have, losing, then holding and then regaining some weight even when sticking strictly to the fast guidelines are no longer using this website and contributing. I would love to hear from others who’ve been doing this a long time with similar experiences to mine.

    Maybelle, I have been Fasting for 5 years. My age = 69 and my BMI is now 18.3. We Fast 2 days/week at 600-700 calories for those 2 days. I do not find this way of life to be difficult at all. My TDEE =1450 which is certainly sufficient for me. My husband and I have maintained our weight loss and find that this works very well. And we eat all sorts of things: this morning there were almond croissants for breakfast and tonight will be home-made pizza with wine. We eat, we Fast, we maintain our weight. You can too.

    Yes, it does come down to the math: calories in and calories out. We know that one needs fewer calories as one loses weight, that the TDEE drops. But the question that weight loss scientists are looking at is whether the TDEE drops more precipitously than expected after a weight loss. Does the body’s metabolism slow when caloric intake drops and then not entirely recover for what may be a long time–if ever.

    We had hoped that this WOE would not have that effect on the metabolism. That has not been my experience and that is my disappointment. I COULD lower my food intake on non-fasting days and that might make all the difference. But, do I want to live that way–i.e. on a constant diet–or did I start this WOE thinking I could eat normally on a non-fast day. I am not obese; I could be content with this weight indefinitely. I just don’t want to be heavier a year from now.

    May belle, did you not find that your appetite reduced on 5:2, anyway, do you simply don’t want loads of food? It’s not a case of ‘being on a diet’ at all.

    I eat whatever I like, including an ice cream every day in this unusually hot summer. I have a glass of wine every day. In fact, I’m deliberately trying not to lose anymore weight, as I’ve gone below by bottom wriggle room fir most of the summer. At 71, with high cheekbones, I can look gaunt.

    I have been fasting for 6 years now. I am 52. It still works, but as I said earlier in the thread I have to do 2 days at 600 cals just to stay at the same weight! So when I stop fasting for a week or so when on holiday or Birthday or Christmas etc it goes up, I can get it down again eventually, but it takes longer now. So I still do it but have found it doesn’t work as well as it once did. And I am now stuck doing it to a certain extent because if I stopped i would pile on the pounds!..

    It’s a shame this forum doesn’t let graphs or images be posted as I have 5.5 years of 5:2 data which would explain my personal 5:2 history far better than any words. Looking at my graphs I have a cycle of weight gain and weight loss ever since the initial 6 months of straight line loss at a rate of about 1.4 lbs/0.65kg per week. I thought I’d lost a bit too much so was OK with 6:1 allowing a small weight gain over the next 6 months. Since then I’ve stuck to 5:2 (same fast day meals each week as I’ve always done) and have inconsistent cycles of gaining, holding, losing, gaining, losing etc. etc. for no obvious reasons. During this time I’ve had 2 redundancies, both in-laws dying, 4 operations and varying degrees of general good/bad health – the latter much better since having regular kefirs and doing “fast exercise” on a static bike. With the heat this summer and lots of salads being eaten I’m back down to the weight I want to be to maintain a BMI of 22.5, having recently had quite a weight plummet since 8th April. I originally started with a BMI of 27.0 and dropped to a lowest of 21.6. I’ve never gone back higher than 23.9 but have mostly been higher than 22.5. My waist has varied from 92cm to 82.6cm over the same time, so various different ranges of trousers have had to be used. My original weight loss was about 38lbs/17kgs and to maintain a BMI of 22.5 I need to keep the overall weight loss at 34.5lbs/15.7kg.

    I cannot offer any genuine insights as to why I’ve gained and lost, I just stick to keeping doing 5:2 (for all the other health reasons than just the weight loss of course) and now simply accept there will be fluctuations like this over time. I suspect at times I must have had a few too many treats on non-fast days. As with most people I don’t 5:2 on holidays. I’ve never counted calories on non-fast days, but I do know my appetite is much smaller than it was when I started. If it’s relevant I’m male and was 49 when I started on 5:2 and am now 54.

    I’m not sure this adds much to the discussion other than to confirm that, after a while, weight gain on 5:2 certainly happened to me too, but, so far anyway, it can also be lost again with perseverance.

    Hi, Jools, I so appreciated your note as you seem to be exactly where I am (though I’m at the five year mark and you are at six) and it’s the kind of message that makes me feel better. This WOE is both good and bad: It’s healthier, we did lose weight at first, now we are (mostly) maintaining, and fasting has become second-nature and I don’t mind fast days at all. The bad side is that our bodies have compensated and we are not longer losing and if we didn’t fast the weight would come right back on–and then some. I guess I am fairly sanguine but I will admit to a bit of disappointment that I didn’t keep losing.

    And Pollypenny, you asked if my appetite has been reduced. NO! I wish! I keep hoping as I get older that that will happen naturally but it hasn’t hit yet! So, we keep on doing what we’re doing, I guess! Thanks for the input.

    Yes indeed! I’ll keep going though for the other health benefits…

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