Am I Fasting Too Much?


#1

I think that I may have taken this fasting thing a little too far. Let me know what you think.

I’ve been doing IF 18/6 - 16/8 for over two years now. I also started going OMAD two days a week since the beginning of the year with an odd EF of 48 hours to 6 days here and there. I don’t snack, I eat all of my food during a meal.

I was going to conduct a test on myself by breaking IF, or at least changing it to 12/12. I was thinking of either a protein shake w/MCT or high fat cottage cheese w/macadamia as a first meal to see if that would help me break a plateau.

Before I did that, I thought that I should allow for some adjustment. For the past two weeks I told myself that I would eat TMAD, and if I felt a hunger pang, that I would snack with hard cheddar cheese & macadamia as the snack of choice.

Well, I started to gain weight. I’m 5 lbs heavier then usual (usually 245lbs +/- 2lbs). I have a body impedance scale which seems to indicate that the weight gain is more fat then lean tissue. Although I find that I can lift heavier things during strength training sessions (3-4x/week) the likely result is that I slowed down my metabolism and now I’m gaining weight as a result of eating more food. Would you agree with this assessment?

I’ll also point out that I might get hunger pangs outside my eating window, but hunger since I’ve started IF has become more of a suggestion rather than feeling hangry if I don’t eat something right away.


(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #2

I don’t know much about body impedance scales, but what I’ve read on these forums suggests that they aren’t particularly accurate. Have you had a DEXA scan? Also, how are your clothes fitting? If they still fit fine, there’s a possibility that you added lean mass (skeletal muscle, increased bone density, that sort of thing). On the other hand, if your clothes are fitting tighter, then your scale is probably right, it’s fat.


(Robin) #3

You are a very self aware person…. Who is smart enough to tweak something and then wait for results, analyze and act. Sounds like you may have your answer. But you may want to wait another week or so to decide for sure… time is our friend… unless it’s a sure and steady increase on the scales Then abandon ship!


(Central Florida Bob ) #4

Am I right in thinking the only thing you changed was adding a cheddar and macadamia nut snack to your TMAD? You also talked about changing your TRE pattern (Time Restricted Eating) from about 18/6 to 12/12.

Whenever possible, I think it’s preferable to just change one thing at a time, but to be honest 5 pounds out of 245 is 2% and that may be hard to see. How do you determine your weight? Is 245 +/- 2 strictly one day measurements, or an average of a few days? I see more than that in variation daily; I’m currently 197 +/- 1.2 (0.6%) on a scale rated at +/- 0.4%. The weight is an average of four measurements which were taken over a full week.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think that’s excessive fasting. I’ve been eating essentially 18/6 or 17/7 for years now. I don’t remember the last time I had three meals in a day, but it was probably in 2016. I have two mugs of coffee to start the day, and that’s all. Since last May, I’ve been TMAD on eating days and going back and forth between alternate day fasts and a 60 hour fast followed two days later with a 40 hour fast.


#5

I don’t have an answer, it’s probably not even that easy…
I doubt IF could harm metabolism if we eat enough, it would make exactly zero sense… And even 5-6 meals per week isn’t too much fasting for some people, of course it’s very bad for others. 6-8 would be nice for me if I could pull it off, I am quite sure. I overeat on TMAD. Your energy need is surely way higher than mine but some people can eat really big meals.
I would continue to see what happens, 2 weeks are not so much and then decide what seems to be right for you. For now. We change and have different days. I had times when I couldn’t do OMAD, I needed 5-6 meals a day! It’s important to be flexible in my opinion.

The weight gain isn’t so much, it’s hard to tell what is it and why. Again, continue if this feels right for you and you will get more information.


#6

You are correct in BIA scales not being accurate. There’s sometimes a 5% difference between what the scale tells me and what a DEXA scan reveals. I usually just use it’s measurements to indicate a trend and so far the trend for BF% is going in the wrong direction.

At my weight, 5 lbs isn’t enough to notice. Clothes feel the same. Arms (wishfully thinking?) seem slightly larger. But then again so does the gut. I’ll take tape measurements tomorrow morning if I can, latest by Saturday and compare.


#7

Excellent question. I forgot to note (very important) then on my OMAD days that I would often be at a deficit of over 1,000 kcal. On my TMAD days I would usually eat at neutral +/- 100 kcal either way. I didn’t change to 12/12 yet, but I will test that next week.

I would typically have a deficit during the week of 1.0k-2.5k kcal and wouldn’t have the scale budge as a result.

I would measure daily and keep a log of weight and the BF% that my BIA scale gives me. Any given week for the past few months I would be around 245.


#8

YUP! Dump the fasting dude, if you’re weight training NOT eating is the total opposite of what you’re going for. You can’t keep putting on muscle unless you give yourself the building blocks for it and give yourself adequate fuel to get the job done. You only wind up slowing your RMR, lifting and putting on muscle mass equals a raised RMR, which means you can eat more, which means you can lift more, which starts the positive feedback loop.

Fasting brought my RMR down to 1700 and I lost of ton of muscle mass, after reverse dieting and lifting hard while fueling for it my last check my RMR was in the 3400’s I believe. At my worst as far as my metabolic slowdown, not heaviest weight I was around 250ish, and about 30% BF, I’m now about 230lbs at around 10ish% B, last DEXA had me at a little over 11% but I’ve cut down. You gotta fuel your body man!

Don’t assume you’ll get hungry when your body wants food, when I was fasting all the time I was barely ever “hungry”. I was stupid enough to believe that meant I was good, WRONG! Figure out what you need for your current body composition and what’s needed to hit your goals, track, and get it in, hit the weights and let it correct. You may be in the place you need to reverse diet for a while to get your metabolism back, if so, expect to gain some weight for a while, it’s inevitable.


#9

Thanks for the response.

Here’s where I get a confused… since my goals are 1) lose fat mass 2) get stronger if possible while doing it, should I still be going for caloric surplus if #1 is my main goal? I always thought that I should be at a caloric deficit for the week, maintain/increase my lifting regimen, and my body will utilize stored body fat to fuel where I didn’t eat enough. I thought that if I provided my body with enough protein (~200g/day) that I would satisfy it’s requirements to repair/grow.

So I’m clearly missing something.

If I’m hearing you right, it seems that when you stopped fasting, and ate enough to fuel your workouts, while eating mostly keto, that your fat came off. Did you alternate weeks of deficit with surplus or just kept eating at a respectable (> 200kcal) surplus?

Congratulations on your results by the way! That’s awesome!


#10

Here to say those scales are less then useless.


#11

It gets tricky, it’s very hard to put on muscle mass while in a deficit, when you first start lifting and get hit with “newbie gains” you can temporarily pull it off for a while, but it doesn’t last for long. Idea is eat at a modest surplus but you’ll be using that to fuel muscle growth. Since muscle is very metabolically demanding you can still burn off fat while doing so. When you haven’t been tracking your intake it can be really hard to figure out where that line is, especially when fasting has trashed your metabolism and that line is much lower than you think it is. That’s exactly what my problem was, for my size and muscle mass mine (in theory) should have been in the mid 2000’s, so even when I stopped fasting and started tracking I was basing it on an average of what a handful of (usually) pretty reliable macro cals came up with, after having it actually tested and finding out it was way lower than that I adjusted accordingly and started to lose again.

You’re correct, 200 was the number I went with when upping it once I confirmed my RMR test was right, I did that for a little bit then started upping it 50cals/day for 2 weeks at a time, if I lost, I’d up it again, until I maintained again for 2 weeks. If I gained for 2 weeks in a row I’d dial it back for half and continued on that cycle. I continued to take off fat by simply beating myself a little harder in the gym and manipulating macros but tried to keep calories pretty consistent.

I found it very hard after a couple months of that to continue to add muscle mass so wound up switching to TKD, that helped a lot and I continued to add muscle, after a couple months of that I tried a hybrid approach of TKD and CKD which is the way I still am and that’s my plan for the long haul. My pre workout carbs fuel the workout so I can push harder, the post workout carbs reload the glycogen for the next workout, and typically once or twice a week I’ll eat a good amount more, I don’t like to say “carb up” because to me that implies getting reckless with them which I don’t do. I keep my carbs from cleaner sources and still keep things in mind like inflammation and maintaining a better than average A1C which I’m doing. Idea ultimately is to use the carbs for what their good for, without eating so much they started doing the bad. Really all comes down to your end goals, it’s not for everybody.

I have no science for this, but my mindset is that there is a difference between a outright caloric deficit, and eating more but also burning more. I feel that even when I intentionally burn more whether it be from more lifting, or cardio or whatever, yet still eating the higher calories my body is still having to deal with those calories coming in, so my guess is that’s helping my metabolic rate not drop again vs just not eating them at all.

Protein is absolutely the building block of muscle, but other things matter too. Again, everybody is different, but even after many years of keto and being as fat adapted as you can get the protein by itself only got me so far, switching to the TKD/CKD deal started being noticeable in the gym very quickly for me. Only way to know is to track everything including your lifting to make sure you’re progressing at a level you’re good with.

The BIA scales are really hit or miss, some can be consistent for trends but usually the overall guess is pretty bad. I had a pretty descent Omron one, which also had handles for your hands so you were being measured at 4 different points, on the day of my last DEXA it had me at 16% BF, which being half of my first DEXA wasn’t terrible, but that day’s DEXA had me in the mid 11’s.

Many gyms now have the inBody scales which are still BIA, but very expensive better quality ones, not as good as BodPod or DEXA but usually free to use and may give you a better idea of where you are.


#12

Thanks man, I really appreciate the response.

You got me thinking that I have to get my RMR checked. I found a lab not too far away that has a Bod Pod, Fit3D ProScanner so might as well get a combo deal while I’m there.

I use to record everything that I ate religiously for over a year including all my workouts, heck even bowel movements. I was tracking everything with spreadsheets and Carbometer. I stopped for about 2 months since my subscription lapsed and I wasn’t seeing any real weight changes. I think I’ll start up again.

All this being said, I was making strength gains even while at a caloric deficit. Even in the last 6 months, what I use to bench at my max then isn’t even my warm up today. But I’m clearly doing something wrong.

This video from Thomas DeLauer talks about some of the symptoms of fasting too much, and I have most of them:

  • stalled weight loss - yeappers!
  • soreness & stiffness - after leg days, I have this for 3-4 days after
  • feeling cold all the time - hands and feet - not always, but a lot of the time
  • bloating
  • disrupted bowel movements

So starting Monday, I will re-introduce a morning meal to make it 3 meals a day. No fasting of any kind for at least 2 weeks. I’ll see how I feel, monitor any weight gain (also have an Omron w/4 measure points), and record my food.

These last 2 weeks I stopped doing OMAD and I’m noticing that my legs aren’t as sore after a leg day. I was consuming ~200g of protein but was still sore so that’s an interesting note.


(Bob M) #13

What you seem to be saying is that you’ve increased your strength by a tremendous amount (your warm up now is > your max used to be)…but you’re doing something wrong?

As for Thomas DeLauer’s list, the only thing I ever had on that list was feeling cold. But I’m also not trying to get HUUUGE, so I’m not that concerned with mass gains (too many injuries, including a completely torn supraspanitus). I’ve been lifting so long I never get sore or stiff.


#14

Sorry, what I meant was that I’m seeing a positive with respect to what I can lift today vs months ago, but negative in terms of fat loss. Since some can get both stronger and lose fat, while I’ve stalled, I’m doing something wrong.


(Robin) #15

Stalls are not always bad. Your body may need to simply maintain for a while and adjust to it’s now operating system. I “stall” every 10 pounds or so, but just keep on doing my thing. eventually my body says, let’s go! Just wait it out. Also… while my scales were showing a stall, my clothes were showing a definite progression. So you maybe just fine. It’s easy to overthink this in the beginning. I sure did. But you got this!


(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #16

We know that it is possible to add lean mass while simultaneously shedding fat (body recomposition), so it’s always a good idea to use the fit of clothing as a metric, in addition to scale weight.


#17

I completely agree with you that stalls are natural and that losing month after month is normal. There will some body recomposition going on, fixing things, improving others, etc.

My weight on the other hand hasn’t moved from it’s current range since January. Even with a few EFs thrown in. Is a year of ‘stall’ normal? I don’t think so, but I can’t say definitively. I think it was Amy Berger would said stalls shouldn’t exceed 3 months.


#18

I kinda wish that I bought new clothes to test that out :slight_smile:
I’m still working from home 99% of the time since we Canucks hasn’t really gone back to the office yet in the major city centres.

I do take tape measurements once a month or so. Since Nov 1st after switching up my routine as mentioned above:

  • waist is larger by .5"
  • chest larger by 1" !
  • arms & calves are bigger to by .5" (ok there’s some goodness there)

Hopefully this is all just body recomposition now that I am eating a more sustained number of calories. But I have to imagine that a good portion of it is also fat.

I’ll get that BodPod measurement and find out for sure.


(Robert) #19

I think the experiment you are proposing is worthwhile because you will learn something. Another one to try (it worked for my joint and muscle soreness) is Omega-3 supplementation. Unfortunately, some fat such as love handles remain - those are stubborn!


#20

Thanks for the advice. I do supplement with Omega-3s, I’ll all for them.

According to the video, my soreness was coming from not eating enough. I had 3 leg days in the past 2 weeks since I stopped doing OMAD and the soreness has disappeared. I think that DeLauer kid is on to something :slight_smile: