No food on fasting days

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  • Add me to the list! I find it MUCH easier not to eat than to limit.

    I’ve been doing 2 back-to-back FDs since Christmas last year (with a back slide of several months between April and late Sept.). I get my FDs out of the way and I’m free to enjoy sensible meals twice a day the rest of the week.

    I mainly stick to water on FDs but if my stomach will be a distraction I have a 12oz. cup of hot broth for 20-30 calories at dinner and bedtime as necessary.

    I’ve found this very do-able in the long term and flexible for social occasions. Beyond what weight I lose, I feel sooooooo much better. More flexible, more vigorous and more enthusiastic.

    La Chubster – another good advice post, I like the broth idea especially.

    I find not eating at all is best way for me. Plenty of fluids.

    I haven’t been eating on fasting days either. I think it is typically easier. However the holiday feasting as really twisted my eating patterns. So I’ll see if I can keep it up. The fasts were getting easy, but now they are a bit harder again.

    Hi, can I join you all on this please? I’m re-starting 5:2 after doing it almost 3 years ago, losing weight for my hols then putting it all back on and more. I’ve tried off and on to fast but really I’ve just been messing about and not sticking to it. I also find that if I eat anything early in the day it just stimulates my appetite and makes me want to eat more. I’ve found that if I don’t eat at all and just drink tea, coffee, low cal hot choc and water I can often last all day and not end up eating over cals.
    Karen x

    Hi Karen, I’m with you. Once I eat my appetite develops. I have gone 60 hours without eating before. Still a wimp with fasting but I’m also trying to build some muscle.

    It’s my first fast of the New Year today and so far it’s going great dykask, a mug of tea, a coffee and a vanilla latte, a walk with my dog and I’ve taken the decorations down and blitzed the house from top to bottom. Feeling quite pleased with myself so far 🙂

    Onwards and downwards as they say….

    Hi I am starting my diet, I think eating on my fast days would make me feel worse so I am deciding not to eat will this help? Has anyone not eaten on their fast days and eat normal the other days and lost weight?

    Hello Courtneyh, welcome to the fasting lifestyle. Try not to think of it as a mere diet, even though you will probably lose weight practicing a fasting lifestyle. That is only one of the many benefits, as was demonstrated in Dr Mosley’s documentary. I began in January 2016, and have not missed a fast day since.
    Fasting has made me aware of what I eat, and also whether I am eating for hunger or simply for boredom, pleasure, or habit. I realized that I had a considerable sugar habit. I began by replacing sugar in my coffee and tea with artificial sweeteners. A little research revealed that these are not healthy either, and really they just perpetuated my taste preference for sweet things. So I began drinking my coffee BLACK- no milk, no sugar, cold turkey! Now I LOVE the taste of black coffee. I realized that using cream and sugar masked the beautiful rich flavours and now I enjoy the full flavour of the coffee. It goes so well with food now, as it cleans the palate with every sip and allows each bite of food to be fully savoured. Which brings me to mindful eating, which I have also begun to appreciate since I began fasting. Now I eat slowly, deliberately, enjoying every bite, often thinking gratefully of the farmers and workers who produced the food. When I am on a fast and feel a hunger pang, I often think of the world’s hungry people, who also feel hunger, but are not able to imagine eating anything they want the next day, because their hunger continues, while mine is voluntary and temporary. Suddenly, my fasting lifestyle is not heroic or brag worthy, and it gives me awareness of the plight of many, and my own good fortune in this world.
    When deciding to eat on fast days, I simply remember that “Fasting is not eating, and eating is not fasting.” Either you are fasting or you aren’t. Don’t be afraid to fast completely. Drink lots of water, ,and allow your body and digestive system to rest. Take pleasure in the process, and be grateful that you can eat when you choose to.
    I used to suffer from chronic bronchitis, and this is the second winter that I have not come down with a terrible respiratory infection. Everyone around me is coughing, yet so far, this this the second winter that I have been bullet proof. I am certain that my fasting lifestyle has given my immune system a huge boost. These are some of the advantages of fasting in addition to losing weight. I have lost 12 lbs overall. I lost 16 and gained back 4 because I eat anything and everything on my eating days. I don’t mind, because I am in my 60’s and weigh 120lbs after fasting, 124 lbs on eating days. I am now happy with my body as it is. I feel strong and healthy, and fasting allows me to enjoy all foods in abundance.
    I see friends who can’t eat this or that and deny themselves the pleasure of a few french fries or a slice of cheese cake or ice cream when we eat out. I can indulge in anything I desire- only because I do my two days a week of complete fasting. If I were more restrictive on my eating days, I would certainly lose more weight, but I have learned to accept my aging body as it is, and I swim once a week, paddle, take long walks, and do yoga. So far so good.
    You are doing the best thing for living a long healthy life, Courtenayh! Stick to it- the early days are a bit tough, but it gets much easier as you go along, and you will learn to love it. Fasting will change you in more ways than just your body weight. You are learning self control and discipline. You will become strong in body and mind! Keep us posted with your progress!

    Hey, SixtyPlus. So interesting to read your entry because I’ve been IFing for a little more than a year now and I have also recently realized that I haven’t had the colds, URIs and bronchitis that generally plague me either.

    I’m asthmatic so I am easily triggered by colds, etc. In addition, I’m on medication that makes me, ironically, even more susceptible to whatever I’m exposed to. So it’s been heaven.

    I don’t really know what, specifically, to attribute it to, but I think it’s interesting that we are both *fasting* IFers.

    Counteyh, I don’t eat at all on my FDs. And I do them back-to-back so that’s some 60 hours with just water (in the form of unsweetened or flavored iced tea). It’s become part of my pattern and my body puts up no resistance to it. In fact, I think it straightens out any little injudicious thing I’ve eaten on a food day.

    As for my food days, I don’t think I’d say I eat “normally”. “Normally”, for me, isn’t normal. I don’t count calories but I have a whole list of foods I won’t eat because they trigger worse eating for me. Those things include processed foods with ingredients I can’t control and don’t particularly trust, any form of sugar including fruit, starchy vegetables and grains. …even the “healthy” whole grains. I LOVE them AND I’m a baker so I use them all the time but they just cause binging for me so I don’t eat them.

    Other than that, if I prepare something myself avoiding my trigger foods, I’ll eat it and enjoy as much of it as I want.

    I’m going to be 70 very soon so my metabolism is slow. So is my fat burning (I also don’t weigh myself so I have no idea what I weigh). BUT it is steady. And it is quite remarkable compared to any other approach I’ve used — and I’ve been very overweight since I started kindergarten. This approach has gotten me from size 22 jeans down to size 8s since Christmas 2015.

    Additionally, I think it’s worth noting that I’ve never followed a “diet” for a whole year before. This way of eating isn’t even particularly challenging for me. I’m rewarded every day by feeling so much better! One day I suppose I’ll get down to a lean healthy body. I doubt I’d want to change how I now eat even then.

    This was so inspiring–thank you. Even when I’m eating ‘healthy’ meals like a big, steaming bowl of pho, I find myself mindlessly eating the entire portion simply because it’s the happy crying sort of delicious and I derive pleasure from the process. But if I were to slow down, and reflect gratefully on all the human diligence that went into procuring such a delicious meal, I think I would be able to stop myself before downing the entire bowl for pleasure.

    On-topic, I also find it easier to not eat at all on fast days. That way, you’re not distracted by thoughts of your next meal, and you can look for other, much more productive ways to cope with your hunger, e.g. drinking more water or doing a 5-minute session of jumping jacks and a couple sets of lunges and squats. Working up a sweat always quells my hunger. My biggest challenge in developing a better relationship with food and my body has been defeating obsessive thoughts about eating. Like, “Where will I go for lunch today?” or “What will I buy at the grocery store tonight?” rather than centering my thoughts around positive, life-enhancing things: how much I love the people around me, what I am going to do today to make it more apparent that I love them, and what I am going to do today to make it more apparent that I love myself (like losing weight!).

    Hello all,
    This is my first post to the forums – although I started with IF back in 2016. I ‘fell off the wagon’ for a while but I’m back on board again now : )

    I’m another one who has found ‘no food’ easier than ‘some food’ on fast days. In the past I was the person in my household who had to have his breakfast. No.1 priority in the morning was a (big) bowl of cereal… even when I was leaving home early on business – maybe a 5.30am rise – I’d still have a bowl of cereal before I left!

    When I started 5:2 I would have a small breakfast, skip lunch and have one of Mimi Spencers excellent suggestions for a low cal dinner. However, I did find that the small breakfast activated my appetite, made me visually aware of all those things in the kitchen cupboards, and left me wanting food. I can’t remember how it started to be honest, but there were a few occasions where I was away on business and had to ‘get up and go’ without breakfast. I found I survived : ) I then tried skipping breakfast and lunch on my FD’s – and found it easier than I thought it would be. That’s what I now do regularly – a 24 hour, no food, drinks only day. And I don’t find it too difficult.

    There’s no calorie counting – other than watching that one evening meal doesn’t grow beyond the recipe / calorie suggestion – typically about 300 – 350 calories. I drink mainly water, but I do have a liking for milky coffee 🙂 I’ve cut that down to 2 cups a day on FD’s and much reduced milk (half fat) and a little sugar – they cost me about 80 calories each. I’m thinking I might try a full 36 hour fast sometime soon.

    I don’t worry about calories during the non FD’s. I’m aware of my TDEE and I weigh myself in the same state / time the morning after each fast day. I enter the data in the tracker, watch the medium term trend and adjust my non FD consumption accordingly : )

    I realise this may not work for others, but I’ve found a ‘no-food’ approach to FD’s works better for me.

    What works for me? 36+ hour fasts (with water & black coffee)


    1. It’s simple. No decisions to be made. No calorie counting. No food preparation. No choices to be made.

    2. It’s easier. Like others here, hunger really ramps up when I start eating. Whereas during fasting the hunger periodically comes, but it isn’t as strong and it usually only stays a minute or so and then tends to fade away.

    3. It’s natural. Humans are built to regularly face food shortages and absences. Otherwise our ancestors wouldn’t have survived and thrived for millions of years.

    4. It’s effective. It got me to my target weight, body shape, and health ranges.

    5. It feels so good. The feeling of hunger, and the urge to eat, took some getting used to, and sometimes still does. But discovering that I didn’t need to get rid of those feelings was freeing. And then there was the discovery that I had much more energy and clarity of thinking on fast days than eating days. And a great sense of achievement. Weirdly, from a hunger perspective, my eating days are now more difficult than my fast days.

    I guess we’re all different and what works for some may not work for others, but I LOVE my cleansing fasts.

    Hi I have just joined this forum today, because I am feeling starving. I have heard that some people stay on this way of eating for life, and I am thinking, to feel starving 2 days a week for the rest of your life? But I guess the idea is to get it down to one day a week.

    I lost a bit of weight at first but then I soon got into catching up the calories I had not eaten, so for example I raided the Xmas chocoates one Sunday. I didn’t lose any weight that week but at least I had stayed the same, but I started thinking, is it worth all this starvation just to stay the same weight?

    Anyway I am persevering and I am not going to feel guilty about anything I eat on non fast days because I feel I deserve to eat whatever I want because I have starved myself for 2 days.

    I am beginning to realize I can’t really do that as I am just going to stay the same weight and not lose any weight, and I really want to lose about 3 stone. I havn’t done any exercise at all recently, and the thought of exercising on fast days I don’t even entertain, I don’t feel I have the energy.

    I am 58 years old and I feel tired quite a lot of the time, I can’t seem to make myself exercise. I think I am going to have to join the gym again even if it is only to go swimming 3 times a week, that cannot be that hard and I would get to relax in the sauna afterwards, but I am too mean to pay the gym membership, is is something like £350 for 3 months., this is £26.92 per week so £8.97 per swim. But I could do some of the other classes as well, for no more money.

    Maybe I will re-join the ladies gym, I think this is about £45 a month if you pay monthly. There is a circuit there so you just go there for half an hour it is quite convenient and organised, but last time I found I just did not go and wasted loads of membership money as I was tied in for the whole year.

    Anyway I think I will go to bed now, starving. Today I made myself a kind of veg stew/soup which I had for lunch, which was made with roasted squash and other left over roasted veg, and some carrots and onion, and in the evening I ate a piece of cold pre-cooked salmon with pepper on the top, then I ate some rocket/watercress/baby spinach salad out of the bag and later 4 cherry tomatoes and some cucumber.

    I think I actually have lost a bit of weight I think my stomach is getting a bit smaller so I must just persevere. I think I need to try and cut out sugar on the non-fast days. God I am starving.

    But, on a positive note, the starving is the burning of my fat and I guess there is just not any way around that, it is the price I pay for burning my fat. So rather than try and avoid feeling starving, I could try and welcome the feeling as something there is just no way around, but something I am doing for the benefit of my body. And simply look forward to my bowl of porridge tomorrow!

    What I need are some tips on how not to over eat on the non-fast days, as my body seems to try to catch up. I even eat more on the day before a fast because I feel like I have to stock up in advance so I won’t feel as hungry the next day, but I don’t think it works like that, I will still feel just as hungry!

    I am doing quite well on fast days, I find myself putting food to my mouth, and then remembering it is a fast day, and stopping. I have even spat food out of my mouth if it has got there before I have remembered. It’s just the other days I am not doing brilliantly., I seem to need to have hard and fast rules I have to stick to, and there arn’t any on non-fast days, so it is all cheese, chocs and bread and vegetables are not to be seen. (Although fruit does get eaten.)

    I have got one of those special plates I could try, with portion sizes marked on it, but when I tried it before, I felt starving. But now maybe as I am used to starving it could work better for me.

    Sorry it just feels quite hard at the moment, but my thought is, all I have to do is stick to the 2 days, and I feel I can do that. I just have to tweak the other days somehow, so that I lose more weight.

    JHT, if you continue to practice fasting your body will adapt to burning fat for energy and you will no longer feel like you are starving. It becomes quite easy to water fast for 30-40 hours.

    Some people think that on NFD’s eating normally means stuffing themselves with sugar and carbs all day. Eating this way will prevent you from losing any fat and will continue the craving cycle.

    Although exercise is important for health it is not a major short term fat loss method. It can have major long term effects by preserving and even growing a little muscle. The best and really only way to do that is with resistance exercise either with weights or bodyweight exercises. Add some HIIT and you can make nice progress with 3 30 minute workouts a week. You don’t need a gym membership to workout.

    BTW swimming is a so-so exercise particularly for women. It does not stress bone, a significant requirement to prevent osteoporosis. The best thing about it is cool water will burn more calories than the swimming exercise does!

    Hi jane and welcome:

    One of the challenges you will have to overcome to be successful on 5:2 has to do with your language. You used the word ‘starving’ I don’t know how many times. But, of course, you are not starving. Actually, an overweight person can easily go two or more months without eating any food and still not be ‘starving’. So it is impossible for an overweight person to ‘starve’.

    You may feel hungry. As diver said, if you eat a lot of sugar and other processed carbs like bread, rice, chips and cookies, you will feel hungry most of the time. That is why many gain weight – they eat processed carbs that make them hungry so they eat more processed carbs and the overeating gets them fat. You might consider eating meals high in fat and moderate in protein. If you start eating those kinds of meals, you will find you feel less and less hungry as time passes. And, if you ever progress to water fasting, you will notice that you won’t feel hungry even though you are eating nothing. That is because you will be well fed by the fat you are using for energy. The longest documented medically supervised water fast lasted for over one year, and the guy was never hungry (or starving).

    Here is some information that might help you as you progress with 5:2:

    Good Luck!

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