Successful long term weight loss doing extended fasts

(Bunny) #41

In my opinion the reason for your re-gain is because of muscle volume in contrast to what your eating and adipose tissue volume, which may not take very much food in calories to cause rapid re-gain!

The only way to keep it off is by lifting weights and building more muscle tissue combined with a little aerobic activity, only then can you eat what you want and not sit their and worry yourself to death because you over-ate a carb?

(Susan) #42

I am doing the one that @Ilana_Rose showed me from IDM that I posted on my thread, and above on this thread =).

(Sarah) #43

How did that one go?

(Susan) #44

I really enjoyed it and will go back to it in January=). Two other ladies tried it with me and also I think both of them are still doing it for December, mostly anyway =).

(From XL > Medium) #45

Just so you understand, fasting means not consuming any calories.
Your fat stores will not be accessed by the body while you provide it with any new calories each day. Fat stores are hard for the body to access, hence why the body does not go to them while it has a steady stream of fresh calories.
So you are not fasting while you consume something*.

  • Black coffee/tea/herbal teas are OK, as is 0 calories bone/veg broth.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #46

I’m going to disagree with some things here. Much depends on your fasting goals. You are wrong about not burning fat if you’ve had some calories. This just doesn’t make sense. People burn and access body fat without fasting just eating a ketogenic diet. I lost 60 lbs eating everyday.

Second, what the calories are makes all the difference. If it’s sugars (zero carb veg broth is a fantasy, hello insulin!) it will stall or lower ketosis levels. If it’s protein (bone broth, less insulin response) it will halt autophagy. If it’s fat (least insulin response) it will be used and slow or stop body fat burn temporarily until more energy is required by your body and body fat is accessed again at a higher rate.

Too many calories though just means eating at a deficit and is not fasting at all. But you can lose lots of weight still with only eating some fat. If it’s ending a fast or taking a Tablespoon of MCT, Butter or even a couple Tablespoons of HWC to get you another day I would go with that. Fat fasting is as close as you get to water fasting, which is the way to go if you can’t handle it. You’re still getting some autophagy. Nothing wrong with taking small steps and building up fasting muscle. Myself, I never did an EF until I was 15 months into keto. Now it’s easy for me at maintenance weight and a strong level of fat adaptation even though I don’t have a lot to access. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Henrietta Tubbola) #48

Hi, are you exercising regularly when fasting?

On an extended water fast, I find my weight loss slows down around day five of a water, presumably due to a lowered BMR, but my ketone levels are super high by then so I resume daily exercise (resistance and cardio), and my energy levels & weight loss skyrocket.

Just to echo a couple of points others have made: cream isn’t only fat, MCT oil is 100% fat and quickly converted to ketones. Between extended fasts you still need to be very careful what you eat, nutritious whole foods only, keep a cap on both carbs and calories.

Hope this helps and good luck :slightly_smiling_face:

(Kara) #49

Thanks for sharing this I have been wrestling with how to switch it up and keep momentum this sounds great. Do you keep cycling on this pattern?

(Windmill Tilter) #50

Do you mean that water fluctuation diminishes on the 5th day of a fast or do you have some way of ascertaining fat loss during fasting days (e.g. DEXA, Bioimpedance, etc)?

Why would anyone “cap” calories during refeeds between fasts? Dr. Fung and everyone else I’ve read advocates eating to satiety, and if anything, err on the side of eating too much.

(Henrietta Tubbola) #51

My daily weight loss during an extended water fast is not constant. Some days the loss is big, some small, and occasionally my weight increases. As I’m ingesting zero calories the only reason for a one-day gain can be that I have more water in my body, either in my bladder, stomach, or tissue. Mass doesn’t come from thin air.

I had a DEXA scan one month before I commenced my current fast, and I’ll have another shortly after completing it. Daily I measure body mass and composition via a Garmin bio-impedance scale. I also log the following each morning: plasma glucose, ketones (deriving GKI), blood pressure, resting heart rate, waist circumference. I exercise to a specific heart rate using a HRM. Each quarter I do a comprehensive blood panel with 50+ metrics. Everything is recorded in a database (I have data covering a 16 year period) and visualised using Tableau.

If I don’t limit carbs and calories between fasts I will add weight / fat on rapidly, as a thought experiment: what would happen if you ate 10 large pizzas, unlimited fries, 10 giant cheesecakes, 10 pints of beer, every single day for an entire month? You’d get fat! Ergo, calories have to be limited between fasts. Why carbs? Carbs drive hunger, it’s quite possible to gorge on high carb food and never feel genuinely satiated. We all know a fatty who’s constantly eating sugary/starchy food and yet is always ravenous :wink:

(Windmill Tilter) #53

That makes sense. I didn’t realize you were doing 1 month stretches between fasts. Generally people doing extended fasts for weight loss are cycling them on a weekly basis. I’m still a big fan of eating to satiety, but everybody approaches it differently. There is definitely no wrong way to do it.

(Bob M) #54

That teaches us nothing. What if you ate a very high saturated fat and very low PUFA diet but ate as much as you wanted between fasts? You might lose weight. Like this:

First, your example isn’t possible (you can’t eat that much food each day), Second, you add in high PUFA at least in french fries. You add in what might be the worst possible drink for gaining weight: beer. Easily digestible carbs and alcohol, both of which hammer the liver.

I don’t might thought experiments, but they have to be realistic.

(Henrietta Tubbola) #55

I think you’ve missed the point of my post, I was illustrating my earlier assertion that one could not eat unlimited calories and carbohydrates between fasts without consequence. The eating example I gave wasn’t intended to be credible or even possible, but only to prove my assertion.

The example you gave also aligns with my point that we should limit carbs and total energy intake between fasting periods, if we are not to gain weight:

(i) it limits carbs, by excluding them from the diet
(ii) it limits fats and protein by ceasing eating when satiated

If you still think you can eat unlimited carbs and calories and not get fat just because you fast intermittently please go ahead and try it. I have, it doesn’t work, and there are numerous videos of people gorging on high-carb junk food between intermittent fasts - that model is simply not sustainable.


(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #56

Well. If we eat beyond satiety then we might gain weight, sure.
However, that’s not how 99% of all people would define “limiting calories”. I would certainly call eating to satiety “unlimited calories”, because I will eat as often and as much as I like.

Your body will always try to regain lost weight due to extended fasts. That’s why many weight loss experts like Fung usually recommend something like other-day fasting, where you fast for at most 48h. Go beyond 3-4 days and your base metabolic rate will drop.

The fact that some people can lose weight with extended fasting (and many of them are very vocal in social media) is pretty much irrelevant for you. We really are different. Keto is a framework that allows most of us to lose weight easily, but there are plenty degrees of freedom within keto (diet composition, fasting frequency and so on) that may have to be explored. Sounds like you haven’t found your sweet spot, and it certainly sounds as if you shouldn’t continue your current fasting regime because it doesn’t work for you. It’s well known that people can gain weight by fasting too much, as the body will drop the base metabolic rate a lot as a response to fasting.

Personally, I lost 30 pounds in a year without fasting for a single day. I’m now fasting 5-2 (eat 5 days a week, fast for 2) but mostly because I want to enhance autophagy, not because I feel I need it for a weight loss.

(Windmill Tilter) #57

As you pointed out, the span of time between workouts is pretty important too. I typically go only 2 or 3 days between extended fasts, so my strategy is totally different. My priority is keeping resting metabolic rate as high as possible by giving the body a massive surplus on “feasting” days. Here is my weight chart. Tons of my feasting days went over 4000kcals, many were over 5000kcals, and some came damn close to 6000kcals. I was still able to lose weight at a fast, consistent clip even at these calorie levels because there were typically only 3 days of eating like this prior to another fast. I always lifted extremely heavy prior to breaking each 84hr fast, and that definitely drove hunger through the roof. I always ate to satiety regardless of the calories, and managed to pack on quite a decent amount of muscle over this timespan depite dropping 45lbs.

Incidentally, I purchased an indirect calorimeter so that I could test my RMR each day, and my RMR had an interesting pattern where it would drop during fasting by ~300kcal/day, and increase ~300kcal on feasting days. On average, it remained slightly above average relative to the what Mifflin st Jeor predicted even after months of feast fast cycles. I’d bet that if I didn’t “feast” on eating days, it would have declined over time. This is why I was puzzled by your calorie restriction strategy @KDJ, but now I understand that you were going a month between fasts.

If you click on the chart it increases in size for clarity. Weight is on the left axis. Calories/day is on the right axis. Yellow is the predicted weight based on CICO (with all the adjustments for lean mass catabolism, etc). It sounds like heresy to acknowledge that CICO is predictive, but the reality is that the longer you’re on keto, and the more metabollically healthy you become, the more predictive CICO becomes. CICO is total bullshit when your hormones and metabolism are disregulated, but not when you’re healthy.

Here is a snapshot of my metabolic rate over a couple of fast cycles. You can see RMR dropping precipitously when the fasting starts, and then jump back up when the eating begins. Others who have tracked RMR daily during Feast/Fast cycles have seen the exact same pattern. Some have seen consistent peak/trough of over 500kcals!

(Henrietta Tubbola) #59

Fruno: I disagree with some of your points:

There’s plenty of solid evidence of the health benefits that accrue with much longer fasts than 2-3 days, particularly for reversal of degenerative disease related to metabolic dysfunction. (Cancer can be considered a metabolic disease, see Warburg Theory, but that is a longer discussion).

Metabolic rate is driven more by your activity level than your food intake, in fact with the increased adrenalin levels that come with an extended water fast, and intensive daily exercise I actually boost my base metabolic rate while fasting.

After reading plenty of studies, and my personal (n=1) experiments, it is not true to state “Your body will always try to regain lost weight due to extended fasts”. You could claim some people will, but not always, and you’ll find those that do gain weight over-eat between their extended fasts (back to my original point).

For many people. especially those who are not fully fat adjusted, a 48hr fast will barely burn off their muscular Gylcogen stores, and their Ketone levels will not rise sufficiently for many of the more powerful health benefits (I’m not referring to weight loss), which typically require maintenance of a GKI level <1 for an extended period.

I believe that Dr. Fung’s reticence about limiting fasts to <7D, outside of a clinical setting, is not because longer fasts do not have therapeutic value for certain conditions, but that they can be dangerous for some, particularly those with underlying health issues, without professional medical oversight (plus his potential liability if he recommended that).

I’m pleased you have attained your weight loss goals without fasting, as you say we are all different and I’m not on this site to promote long term fasting for anyone else, but remember that others are not doing Keto / IF for weight loss at all. I kept my father alive for 12 wonderful years by careful use of a Keto diet and IF, after he was diagnosed with incurable metastatic prostate cancer and given 18 months to live.

Personally, I maintain a single-digit body fat % and a >40% muscle, and exceptional blood markers (over 50 measures every 12 weeks) through a combination of a LCHF diet, OMAD, and quarterly long fasts of up to 21 days. Plus lots and lots of exercise, of course.


(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #61

[quote=“KDJ, post:59, topic:94210, full:true”]
Fruno: I disagree with some of your points:

There’s plenty of solid evidence of the health benefits that accrue with much longer fasts than 2-3 days, particularly for reversal of degenerative disease related to metabolic dysfunction. [/quote]

Sure. But that’s not related to weight loss, which was discussed here. Autophagy goes up, but base metabolic rate goes down with extended fasts.

[quote=“KDJ, post:59, topic:94210, full:true”]
Metabolic rate is driven more by your activity level than your food intake, in fact with the increased adrenalin levels that come with an extended water fast, and intensive daily exercise I actually boost my base metabolic rate while fasting. [/quote]

What is your source for this? AFAIK we didn’t have any true starvation stories since Cahill did them in the 70s, with the possible exception of the biggest loser study. And the latter clearly indicates that bmr goes down fairly dramatically even if the people doing the fasting exercise massively.

So you’re eating carbs between fasting? Well, beats me why we have this thread in the first place. The obvious question to “What is a healthy way to do extended fasts and maintain weight afterwards” is “go keto”. And I’ll still add “and don’t do extended fasts”, even if you don’t want to hear this :slight_smile:

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #63

Then why are you talking about fasting after eating carbs?
Just to construct a scenario (which obviously doesn’t apply here) where my statement is not correct?

(Niamh) #66

I can’t find what she did over the weekend.
Did she indulge in a dessert etc. on weekends ,eat normally…does she say?