No food on fasting days

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  • Hi

    I find it easier when I don´t eat at all on fast days. Have been doing this for 10 weeks now. When I eat on fast days I tend to think more about food. Then I´m looking forward to my “meal” of the day and what to eat. It actually creats more hunger in my mind. So I know the 600 kalories is there to help manage the fast days, but maybe they actually make the fast days worse?

    Christian from Norway

    I totally salute you.  I will experiment with this further down the line.

    I completely agree with Christian.   I find it easier not to eat at all.   Drink plenty of water but I don’t feel too hungry at all.


    OMG no food!! well done.. that must be hard. I am starting the diet this weekend after my wise food shop but will be trying my first fasting day on Monday so that if i fail i still have more days to succeed

    I agree with you, ChristianT! I’m more likely to success if I go for a full-day fast instead of a 500-calorie fast.

    I suffer from emotional eating and sometimes I find it hard to stay away from food once I’ve gotten started… Actually, these past weeks I’ve spoiled many a fast day when it was time to eat what was supposed to be my 500-calorie meal, which ended up turning into a 700-calorie meal, then a 900-calorie meal, and so on until I went even over maintenance.

    But if I’m in the mindset that I’m in a full-fast day, I do not worry about food or fantasize about what I’m going to have for dinner. I just bear with it stoically and my inner binge eater doesn’t protest. Besides, if I eat, it’s to kill my hunger. And sometimes my 500-calorie dinner doesn’t leave me fully satisfied, and then I think: ‘What for? I was better off without dinner.’ I swear those days I have a 500-calorie dinner and afterwards I’m still craving for more I feel like the food in my stomach is mocking me!! XD

    I agree.
    No food = no thinking about it; put it out of your mind.
    No kitchen visits; I carry a bottle of water and am brought drinks of tea by OH.
    No food also means no alcohol so that must be good.

    Off topic: I wonder if smokers could do 2 days off a week to start cutting down? . . .

    And I, like Sylphadora, feel hungrier from eating a bit than from have nothing.
    ‘Bear with it stoically’ is exactly right.

    I agree Christian & leevee – no food on fast days, just lots of water. I swim 4km each morning, fasting or not. Lost 14k (30lb) in 20 weeks and chol from 7.2 to 5.9; tryglicerides from 3.2 to 0.08. Its easier not to eat at all and not stimulate the taste buds. I cook my husband’s dinner and sit with my water while he has his dinner and wine. BUT on non-fast days I don’t count calories, drink wine as usual but find I am actually consuming less both food and wine.. This is our new lifeplan (its not a diet). I’m 62 and live in Hobart, hopefully I will survive all this when winter finally strikes!

    I’m working my way up to a 24 hour fast (I’m at 18 hours now) and I’m not going to bother with calorie counting then either. I’ll just take a small dinner and if I don’t feel like I need that anymore, I may even fast 36 hours.
    For the time being, I love having a large salad with cottage cheese for dinner since it really fills me up.

    I now eat a protein-laden breakfast on fast days and then go 24 hours until my next meal. I may just skip the breakfast next time and have coffee instead.

    I would certainly appreciate a comment from Dr. Mosley on this question. I am just starting the diet and I have no trouble going a full 36 hours without eating, and I like the simplicity of it.

    What I would like to know is whether this is a healthy approach or not. Is thirty-six hours without food potentially damaging?

    I CAN think of one possible argument in favor of eating low calorie meals on fast days – it acquaints you with low calorie foods that are enjoyable to eat and could spill over into influencing better eating of non-fast days. Just a thought, though.


    Ooooo wow that’s some willpower! I would do the same but I’m just wondering, wouldn’t it slow your metabolism down a bit too much on fast days? So in other words your body wouldn’t be burning fat as fast as it would by kick-starting it with the 500kcal?

    Add another one here who agrees with Christian.

    I tend to drink water, tea and coffee and just get on with it. When I started, the 2 meals a day made me think about food. I decided I would just delay eating for an haf hour or so and kept extending it. Once I had delayed far enough I thought why not carry on and just get it over with?

    I did think in the beginning that I couldn’t ever do the mid-day to mid-day fast and today I’m giving it a go.
    I am not looking at this as tortuous, rather something I can do to improve my over all health that is flexible and gives me a greater sense of control or management.

    A quick thought Mike, on non fast days you could also acquaint yourself with lower calorie foods. Many of the foods are good and not necessarily designed with “rabbits” in mind 🙂

    What has helped me is following a food plan based on the lower side of the glycemic index. It has really made my non-fast days healthier and delicious.

    I believe that Dr Mosely addressed the metabolism question in the book. You aren’t going to go into starvation mode in a 24-36 hour period. You are still consuming fluids. I don’t have my book to hand, but I’m sure he adresses this.

    Best of luck to you all.

    Emstar have another read of the book Michael explains that

    ” During the first 24hrs of a fast there are quite some profound changes going on inside the body. Within a few hours, glucose circulating in the blood is consumed. If thats not being replaced by food then the body turns to glycogen … only when thats gone does it really switch on fat burning”

    ” Only after a few hours of fasting is your body able to turn off the “fat storing” and turn on the “fat burning” mechanisms.

    So no your metabolism is definitely not slowing down, if anything everything is speeding up as it doesn’t have to worry about dealing with incoming food.

    i too am going to try a ‘no food at all’ strategy. i have ‘stuck’ at 20 pounds lost in 17 weeks (nothing lost for last couple of weeks) and i am finding that although I manage OK all day at work with just a green salad at lunchtime, I find that in the evening at home it is difficult to restrain myself. i think I can cope by removing food altogether and hopefully this will give me the boost – I am still committed to the IF lifestyle and hope this hels the weight loss – thanks – hadn’t thought of that !

    Today is my last day of a 4 day complete fast. No food, just water, 1 cup of tea and/or 1 cup of coffee for 4 consecutive days to kick off my 5:2 program. So far I’ve dropped 5 pounds and think it would be easier to abstain completely on the 2 fast days or at least no food on the new moon and full moon like the monks do. 🙂 Time will tell. Wish me luck!

    Total fasting works for me – better than denying that a measly 500-600 calories was measured wrongly 🙂
    So many people declare that they could never do a total fast – without trying it first – but if the battle is already lost in the mind, chances are that success would not follow.
    Open your mind – you never know.

    I am just starting the 5:2, having done one day and being just “ok” with the effect. I concluded 3 mini meals just made me too food obsessed and kind of hungry all day long and grouchy, so thought I should try just going all day with no food, and saving the 500 cals for evening meal (24 hour fast) or just punting altogether (36 hour fast). This forum is helpful – sounds like other people have the same experience and like this approach. I think taking in food, even small amounts, probably does diminish the body entering the positive state that occurs with a real fast anyway, so why not just embrace the concept. I am eager to try this! Thanks, all.

    G’day Christian.

    I also find it easier to just Not Eat At All on fast days. I cheated a little last week because my daughter really wanted to buy me lunch on my birthday and I gave in to fast food, it was supposedly healthy fast food. Totally regretted that. put on half a kilo! Won’t cheat ever again…

    My fast is usually about 19-20h. So I eat still in the evening something small, and then go the fasting day without anything until about 5pm or later. I have gone full 24h as well, but that makes me hugely grumpy apparently.. 😉 So, it’s better for the marriage that I eat around 5pm. Haven’t thought of totally skipping food for 36h, may work as well. But the grumpiness may become a problem… 😉

    Like many here, I also find that, if I eat anything at all during the day, I get really hungry. If I don’t, it’s a lot better and I use drinking to get past the occasional hunger.

    Hi, all. I am like AmandaBB and am also working my way up to a complete 24-hour fast. I made it to 20 hours on Tuesday (but only 18 yesterday because I had eaten a late dinner the night before and had commitments with my children). Next Thursday I am going to try to go 24 hours without eating–nothing but water and black or green tea–and then eat a 500-calorie dinner.

    Mike Maddux–please don’t worry about doing your body harm if you don’t eat for 24 hours. You are not harming yourself in any way.

    I am starting day one of my first fast and I agree 36 hours no food at all just water. I am having an early night to help avoid unhelpful thoughts, besides I had a big day and rest is great! I too would welcome Michaels reply to ascertain if this is completely safe and beneficial.

    I am starting day one of my first fast and I agree 36 hours no food at all just water. I am having an early night to help avoid unhelpful thoughts, besides I had a big day and rest is great! I too would welcome Michaels reply to ascertain if this is completely safe and beneficial.

    I find it interesting that so many people agree about a small meal just making you hungrier. I initially used to have scrambled egg white on rye bread in the morning, then an OXO cube at lunch and a 250-300 calorie dinner, but found I was starving. Now I have lots of water and black coffee during the day, and make a 500 calorie dinner. I may work up to a 24 – 36 hour fast, but I certainly am managing about 20 hours at the moment

    Lilygirl…this is a wonderful idea for Fast Days 🙂 May try it myself!

    I also find that it’s easier to not start eating than it is to stop. After a couple of abortive attempts at fasting where I would intend to eat 2-3 mini meals and then wind up just bingeing, I settled on completely skipping breakfast and lunch. I do eat dinner but it’s easier for me to stick to 500 calories and to then stop eating after as I’ve usually got lots of fun/interesting personal stuff to work on in the evenings (in contrast, while I like my job fine I’m much more prone to eat as a distraction there. So best to place eating completely off limits!).

    But, bencarl4321, why would you fast on your birthday? That’s setting yourself up for a fall – as you did. And then you feel guilty. This is not a diet about guilt.

    benecarl4321, next time you want to “cheat” have a large green salad with lots of mushrooms that have been seasoned, steamed and cooled with some pickled vegetables with Miso dressing? It will fill you up and it’s a hecka lot healthier than fast food. Now about your guilt, do 50 extra squats. That’ll take care of that!

    I cannot go on fasting for only twelve hours but in excess of that I cannot. It makes me feel so dizzy and weak. I imagine all the foods I want to eat, lol. I can do cleansing diet only from eating raw vegetables and fruits for a week to ten days and I really lose weight so fast in doing so.

    I started by trying to limit myself to 600 calories (male) of high protein and low gl food spaced out through the day which is supposed to be a good way to stop you from feeling hungry but now find that drinking a big mug of tea with milk every time I get hungry works better and is less messing around. That works out at about 6 a day = about 200 calories.

    I’m impressed. I’m going to try this, maybe just coffee and tea with milk on fast days. Will I fall asleep though?

    I get the idea that not eating at all is easier than eating small meals. I don’t do it, but I do wait as long as I can before I eat anything. At work that usually means just skipping breakfast, as I usually eat together with my co-workers in the cafetaria and I find it really antisocial to just sit there sipping my water, and also I don’t feel like explaining why I’m not eating to them. I’m not really overweight, so they’d probably just think I have an eating disorder or whatever and start asking really annoying questions.

    When I do a fast day on the weekends, I’ll wait until about 3 or 4 p.m., then have a small yoghurt and an apple, and then have dinner around 8 p.m. so I don’t go to bed hungry. I usually don’t get hungry until I start eating anyway, so if I just keep busy it all works out pretty well.

    I am on week 4. No food is an option that I will eventually try.

    I’ll start tomorrow, wish me luck.

    After two months of 500 cal/day, I found the “willpower” to go all day without eating. I drink a lot of iced and hot tea and water. I certainly do not feel any hungrier than with the small meals and find it is so much easier to not worry about food at all one day a week. This week I will try a total fast on the second fast day and see how it goes. Either way, this diet is so much easier than anything else I’ve tried (and I’ve tried ’em all)!

    Hi wildflower.
    I have met several other people (including my sister) who decided to fiddle with this diet and wind up falling off the cliff. The plan is 5 days of normal eating and two days of fasting where we limit ourselves to 500 cals for the fasting day.
    What has been proven is that this combination works and is relatively easy to maintain.
    I’m no expert but why do you want to change from something that has been proven scientifically to something that is not.
    If I were you I would consult with others on this forum before trying to modify.
    Just friendly advice and not wanting others to follow what may be a false trail.
    and good luck

    I’m into my second week and find it easier not to eat breakfast and then just have a meal at night. I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it or not but I was finding if I ate anything for breakfast I was hungry for the rest of the day.

    Easier for me to not eat anything during the fast period.

    Ie. Sunday evening to Wednesday morning. But since I don’t eat breakfast anyway go to noon. Have a hot cup of green tea with mint and hang on to supper. It’s close to 48 hours. It’s easy for me though,

    I’ve experienced 24 dry fast for religious reasons and done 3 day dry fasts for spiritualistic tests and ideals.

    The there’s the whole thing of just being underfed and malnourished as a child money didn’t grown in our garden or fall from trees. 2 and 3 days with out food was not unusual. and I can remember fried pan bread in bacon grease or lard with a 1/3 of an orange after not eating for 3 days. Lord thee orange made a veritable;e kaleidoscope in my brain. Pan bread in bacon grease as to die for.

    Hunger passes in a day or day in half. The real hunger at any rate. I don’t think I could do 600 cal a day on fast days. It would just be torture or how hunger works. Not eating is easy just push the hunger to the side. I can easily deal with it tomorrow. I don’t get hungry unless I have something small to eat. Eat a little is truly painful.

    I usually go close to 48 hours fasting ie. Sunday night after supper to supper Tuesday night. it’s not difficult. The only mental thing has been having to cook for others during that period. Lord I’d kill for those hash browns and eggs I made for brunch for the son.

    It’s just easier to make up my mind no food on fast days and stick to that. I don’t have to start wiggin on should I have 200 now and 400 later or 600 all in the evening or luch or mayb midafternoon tea. Persoanl I’d rather have 1800 every 3rd dayday …. if anything I’ve said makes sense.

    I did my first fast day yesterday. Having never seriously looked at the calories in anything before it was a big wake up call.

    I got into quite a panic that I would eat a few calories and then want more. So I held off and off. Finally spending the 500 on an evening meal at 6.30 pm. Apart from hunger pangs at my usual meal times it wasn’t too bad. My meal felt satisfying at the time but not long after it felt like I hadn’t had much.

    I’m wondering if it might be easier just to forgo everything rather than be this obsessive each fast day?

    Hi astumbler. I started 5:2 in October and stuck religiously to the 600 calorie (for men) total up until last week when I tried eating nothing for 36 hours. I managed it and today am on my third 0 calorie 36 hour fast.
    Everyone is different but personally I would have struggled in the first two months I think if I had not had something for an evening meal.
    Just as a suggestion maybe hold off eating your evening meal until 7:30-8:00 pm, thereby giving the hunger pangs less time to kick in before you go to bed.

    If you do decide to go immediately for the 0 calorie option, good luck, but if it’s too difficult please go back to 500 cals Fast Days with perhaps a higher fat / protein meal to satisfy you at the end of the day.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of money growing anywhere, because if it did, I’d be offering you my services as your personal gardener. Note: some of your trees and shrubs may appear barer during the course of the day.

    I joke, but seriously, I’m so sorry you had to endure that part of your life. Isn’t it funny how some things that happen to us can be turned into a plus? You have an advantage over most people. You have the gift of endurance in your fasting and I have the gift of “money gardening”.

    I started off my 5:2 4 weeks ago and I also decided it would be better not to even go near food on my fast days. I eat on Sunday night and then have nothing but water and occasional coffee until Tuesday morning (36 hours). I repeat this on Wednesday night to Friday morning. So far I have lost 6 kilos (nearly a stone in UK). I thought it would be much harder than it actually is. I find that I sometimes do get a slight headache and that I have vivid dreams! My goal is to lose 4 stones in total. When my weight goes below 15 stone I shall also add light jogging (something I can’t do right now due to being overweight and having a slightly dodgy knee)

    I am with you, NorthValley. No calories fasting is easier for me. Some weeks are easier, and I am able to complete 3 fasts per week (Mon, Wed, Fri), some weeks are harder, and I only complete 1 fast (usually Mon). I started it in January and lost about the same as you. I am going much slower, still going forward, losing this stubborn fat. 🙂
    Congrats on your success! Keep it up!

    I began the 5:2 diet at New Years 2016. I have never eaten on fast days, but do have one or sometimes 2 cups of coffee with milk. Other than that, just clear tea, and infusions of grated ginger and lemon juice with stevia sweetener. I fasted 3 days a week during the 40 days of lent, for religious reasons, Interestingly, it did not increase my weight loss. I began in January at 132 lbs, and now I am 120 lbs before my fast, 115-116 lbs after a two day fast.

    I began doing two consecutive days of fasting so that I could get it over with and have 5 days of normal eating. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. Actually, now I enjoy it. I am more productive because I don’t have to grocery shop, cook, eat, or clean the kitchen. I use my time to get things done uninterrupted. I rarely feel hungry, and when I do I have a hot drink, and feel very satisfied. I am only 5 feet, zero inches. I still have a bit of fat around my waist and thighs and on the inside of my knees. I feel that once my body switches over to Fat Burning mode, I am better off staying there for the whole two days and 3 nights, and keep burning fat continually for the whole time. If I do the two days separately, the body has to go through many more hours before the Fat Burning switch is turned back on again. This way- it is a continuous burn, and only one “Lead Up Time” to get into the mode.

    I now fast on weekends so that during the work week I have full energy. My job is physically demanding. I can work and paddle with no food, and have done it with seemingly no ill effects, but would prefer not to. Mind you, I have a tremendous apatite on my feed days, and enjoy food very much. I have noticed though that I now can stop part way through a meal and say “I’m not hungry any more, I think I will stop here and put this food away until later.” I also find I am more selective about what I eat. Without trying to- I began to choose quality over quantity, and when I break my fast,I chew slowly, savour every bite and give thanks to the countless, nameless people who participated in the growing,harvesting, and distribution of the food in every bite.

    The 5:2 diet has changed my attitude toward eating. It is no longer something I do because I’m bored, or because the clock says it’s meal time. I eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m not hungry- rather than when I’m full. I still enjoy a full varied diet, and even occasional indulgences of fries, ice cream, muffins, cake, etc- all without guilt. I now have a dislike of foods that have lots of bread or pastry around them, and I dislike drinks and foods that now seem too sweet- things I used to enjoy before, like iced cappuccino- now they seem sickly sweet, and I avoid them completely- same for soda pop or any fruit juice. These are changes that I did not anticipate, but I am very grateful for. I feel my relationship with food is much more healthy than before- especially that I never feel guilty about eating anything now, because I have paid my dues with my previous fasting period, and I can never feel like a glutton when I am going totally without food for two consecutive days a week. Today I complete my 67th day without food since January 2016- 7 months, 1 week. I go from Friday night to Monday morning- about 60 hours each time. My weight fluctuates about 4 lbs during the week, but has not reduced in 13 weeks. maybe this is my body’s “Happy Place”, or maybe I need to reduce my calories on the feed days to finish getting rid of the visible fat and complete the weight loss. Then I will move to maintenance, and fast one day a week.

    Good Luck to everyone. I truly believe in this lifestyle choice. Thank You Michael Mosley for bringing this to the public- a much needed tool for the global obesity problem, and a great lifestyle change for anyone. I began this for my weight, but I stay at it to try to preserve my brain and reduce my cancer risk as I age, as I have a family history of early death with cancer, and a fear of senility in advancing years.

    SixtyPlusPacificPaddler- I found your post very helpful. I am 5’1…barely…lol, I like to give myself the inch, but I am rounding up. I have a small frame and have not been in the 110-120 range since 20 years ago. I have. A long journey and hope I can get there sooner than later. But it did take me 20 years to get to my heaviest weight! Let’s hope it doesn’t take me 20 years to lose it! 🙃
    You sound like you are at a good weight and are more in maintence mode. Maybe your body is fighting for those last few pounds 😑. I would be interested to here an update from you in the future.

    And to add to the original post, I too started out with the 500 calories and found it more difficult than just not eating, but I should mention that before starting 5:2 I had practiced intermittent fasting. So going from 18 to 24 hours fasting (eventually 36 hours) was already something I had practiced when I started 5:2.
    For those that think it impossible, all you have to try is pushing your fasting window longer and longer.
    Start with 12 hours no eating and just keep at it! Eventually you will get to 36 hours. Recently I have started pushing it to 40. My longest has been 42 hours. We can do this! I recommend starting slow or you will get headaches and light headed feelings.

    PinkQueen–Don’t ever doubt that you will get down to your desired weight. Once your mind is made up- and you are on the 5:2 as a permanent lifestyle choice, it will happen….gradually…perhaps slowly….but it will happen. This is way better than losing is much faster then ending the diet and regaining it all and ending up with Metabolic Syndrome. Slowly and gradually is the best way for lasting change.
    I am a great admirer of St Francis of Assisi, and for anyone who thinks that a difficult goal is impossible- I think his words are as true now as they were over 800 years ago when he said…”First do what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and soon you are doing the impossible.”
    A more modern adage with the same message is…”How do you eat an elephant? Answer…one bite at a time.” You will lose the weight one pound at a time, but you will lose it, as long as you don’t give up. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination. I’ll update when I have changes to report. I wish you happy fasting, PinkQueen!

    SixtyPlusPacificPaddler- Funny that you mention the adage, reminded me of something because I took inspiration from ButtonBoot’s journey and think, hey, just lost another stick of butter (she like to mention that on weigh-ins)! Every fast day I work through I think about those sticks of butter falling off of me 😃

    I was initially turned off by the idea of eating 600 kc through out my fast day. I actually started my own version of 5:2 with 36 hour water fasts. I might have done a 4:3 but I could only work in two days were doing so doesn’t make me horribly anti-social. Anyway I’m only a little overweight.

    Reading these forums I soon realized that the diet is flexible and I just bought the kindle version of the book. It is nice to see a group that is more open minded about diet.

    I’ve probably done more than a dozen short fasts and find that I’m not seriously hungry until after I eat something. Sometimes there is some minor hunger but it is less than I used to experience when I was trying to make the eat less and move more method work, then I really suffered.

    In May I cut most of the refined sugar out of my diet and found that I was eating less and less hungry. I doubt everyone is like that, but there seems to be quite a few people like that. I now try to keep my added sugars under 5 teaspoons a day. After cutting back on sugar I lost 8kg very quickly even though I was adding back “healthy” calories. However at around 86 kg, the easy weight loss stopped and while researching about sugar I learned about IF. I started by skipping supper sometimes and it just evolved. This morning I was at 82.9 kg but that was at the end of 36 hour fast. However that was only my 3rd 36 hour fast and before that my weight was stuck at 86 kg for weeks. So I’m hopeful.

    Okay if I was still calorie restricting I would probably be eating around 13000 to 14000 kc / week. This last week I ate ~ 15500 kc. So it really doesn’t feel like I’m restricting myself. However it is possible I’m overeating, time will tell. I’m mostly doing the fasting to improve my health, weight loss isn’t the only concern.

    absolutely agree 100% with this! I have found the only way I stay on track on fast days is to not eat food at all. This stops me thinking about it so I don’t crave it, and also stops my fail fast days, when I end up binging. As soon as one bite goes in my mouth, that’s it – i’m a ravenous beast thinking about what I can eat next.
    I have tea and coffee with green milk in throughout the day, which probably adds up to just under 500 calories. But I don’t think about these too much as a hot drink that I like takes my mind off food. Black tea or coffee are gross in my opinion so would only make me feel deprived and wanting something to eat even more.

    I believe I may try this as well. On fasting days I am constantly thinking about my next meal. This may help me not to fall off the wagon! Thanks for the recent posts on this topic, I think this may be what I needed.

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