Please help! How long between food on a fast day?

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Please help! How long between food on a fast day?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Anissa 8 years, 3 months ago.

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  • Hello fellow fasters. I decided to embark on the 5:2 diet one to lose weight as a present to myself for my 30th Birthday but also because as I am getting older I apprecaite my health so much more, especially as both my parents have diabetes and I want to stay healthier for longer.
    After watching the Horizon documentary and reading the Fast Diet book I started the intermittent fasting a few months ago – after a horrible tonsillitus which mean;t that I hadn’t eaten in 4 days and I had the flattest stomach I had in years after two children which I wanted to maintain (suffice to say, it’s no longer flat). I have read lot’s of the posts but none really answer my question and I wondered if anyone else was having the same issues?

    I start work at 7.30am so on fast days, which are a Monday and Thursday I thought I would do best not to eat until around 1pm which is normally just a soup, I then eat again at around 7pm when I get home, the following day sometimes I feel hungry so I eat a normal breakfast or I end up waiting until lunch – am I getting the fullest effects this way???? As Mimi suggested in the book, I am one of those who need clear direction and being told what to eat otherwsie I feel like I am doing it wrong. I can’t help feeling that the way I fast is wrong as I am not leaving enough time between food – I thought leaving food until later in the day after eating ‘normally’ the night before would suffice but my weight and mass suggests otherwise. I however do not feel I have lost anymore weight and I am not feeling any of the other benfits I crave such as being able to sleep and having a little more energy. I know everyone’s bodies are different but I feel that maybe my fast gaps are not long enough and I always feel that my none fast days are just adding back on what I saved from my fast day even if I have not gorged.

    I really want to continue with this as I have lost 10cm around my stomach in the last 3 months (I think partly down to my tonsillitus)but my weight has remained the same, however I am starting to feel disheartened and although I can go the day without food my evenings start great and then end up with a choclate bar, which in turn I don’t feel motivated to do the other day. I am desperate to have more enery for my children, no diabetes and to wear trousers which I haven’t done for 3 years.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I am new to this diet, but unless you habitually skip breakfast, it doesn’t sound like you benefit on your fast days. Perhaps you could eat half your calories at breakfast and skip lunch instead? Also check the GI and GL levels of your food, for instance, agave syrup is lower than honey, but just as sweet, also a poached or boiled egg is more sustaining than soup, banana is better than apple for energy (in my opinion). Of course we are all different and it may be that you need to take a break from this diet and try again in a few weeks. I don’t think you need to be told what and when to eat, you are obviously a smart person and overthinking it will only cause confusion. I think it’s great that you lost 10cm of tummy fat, that’s the danger area, so well done and just keep it simple, you will get there!

    Hi, Anissa – I’m not sure I’ve got it clear in my head what your pattern has been to date and I wondered if you could say a bit more to clarify things. From the sound of it, you work full-time, leaving home early, to start work at 7.30am each day; you normally have some lunch at work and then you get home in time to eat around 7pm. (Do please correct me if any of this is wrong.) Is your work schedule constant, for five days in a row with two consecutive days off, for example, or does it change, according to shift-patterns maybe?
    On your fasting days – usually Mondays and Thursdays – you say you have been choosing to skip breakfast and have a light lunch at 1pm and then you eat again around 7pm. So, on that basis, taking fasting day Monday as an example: your first fasting period actually starts from the time you last ate on the night before (Sunday) and includes all your sleeping hours, until the time you next eat on the Monday. If that period is from dinner at, say, 7pm Sunday until lunchtime 1pm on Monday, then you will have already done one substantial fast of 18 hours.
    There has not yet been enough research done on humans to categorically say, so far, what the optimum period of fasting is but, as I understand it, health benefits should be gained if one fasts for at least 12-14 hours. (I feel I’m on shaky ground here but I believe that 10-12 hours is the time it takes for the body to clear one’s store of glucogen fuel from the previous meal, so that fat stores can then start to be drawn upon in activity and the body has also had a break from producing hormones like insulin to cope with food metabolism and has had a chance to go into ‘repair mode’ instead, thus keeping one healthier.)
    The pattern most recommended, to get a second effective fast fitted in to your fast day, is to eat a light meal at, say, 7pm on Monday (using up the last one’s fast-day allowance of 500cals) and then not eat anything else until breakfast at, say, 7am on Tuesday, a non-fast day, when ordinary meals are eaten throughout the day – that’s another fast period of 12 hours. This pattern is often described as Sleep-Fast-Sleep and actually covers a total period of 36 hours rather than 24, because it includes two nighttime sleeps.
    Your timing seems OK, if I’ve read it right, so something else needs looking into. There could be lots of reasons why you have not seen any weight-loss and I suggest you read around the various topics to find other people’s experiences and advice. One difficulty can be that it’s very easy to under-estimate one’s total weekly intake, especially if one relies on calorie-dense foods – the phrase used for non-fast days is ‘eat whatever you like’ although, in truth, that refers to the unlimited range of foods rather than their unlimited quantities. Also, many people using the 5:2 approach find their weight-loss is slower than average because they have some underlying health issue, such as an under-active thyroid or diabetes.
    I really feel for you, after trying for a few months now, but I hope that you can find the time in your busy life to do more research on the site and discover some appropriate solutions. I wish you every success.

    Thank you so much! Debjb44 and Jeanius!!

    Jeanius – you are pretty much spot on, I start work at 7.30am every day apart from Friday’s when I am home with my youngest son. I would eat something rather than soup but we only have a microwave at work so I find soup a little easier to deal with. I feel great after my fast day but even when I am careful on my non fast day it feels like I am just reversing all my hard work. I am not sure this is working for my body and I felt more benefits when I first started I.e looking at foods in a different light and listening to my body. I think circumstance and other pressures are not helping but this is why I was hoping to change my thought pattern and not just dive into food every time things got tough! I’m not going to give up and will keep trying. My current pattern is eat dinner on Sunday night (although last night wasn’t a good one and I ate some cereal at 11pm) will fast again today, and will eat lunch at 1pm using my remaining calories tonight with the kids between 6-7pm and then eat again tomorrow, Tursday at breakfast or at lunch again. I never used to skip breakfast but find I’m not that hungry in the mornings until about 10am. I feel assured that I am at least giving myself a chance and leaving enough times between meals – I do think I am relying on clocks too much still and should maybe just take a walk at lunchtime rather then eat something especially if I’m not hungry. I had actually only lost 5cm off my stomach my husband measured me wrong. I do feel better that I am making the most of the fast and will read others experiences. I just have a very weird body that doesn’t know if it’s coming or going!!?? Thank you again for your help 🙂

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