[Notes from a talk I gave to Taunton Humanists in March about Intermittent Fasting - including all I've learned over the past year.]
My blood results, after 12 months on IF:
Finally got to see the doc yesterday (4/4/13), to get the results from my recent fasting blood test. He'd been on holiday for a week, and then it took a couple of days to get an appointment.
BP 127/79 - which he described as 'perfect'
Cholesterol: HDL 1.7, LDL 3.1
Total cholesterol/HDL ratio 2.9
The doc said this was as good as he’d ever seen. I’m guessing he meant for a 75 year old male.
On the subject of my low heart rate - 45 a couple of weeks ago, 48-49 yesterday, the doc was quite relaxed. No need to worry.
My 10 year prognosis is that I have a 21.9% chance of getting a heart attack or a stroke. Given that someone of my age is automatically given 20%, I’m quite happy with that.
Whether these results can be put down to IF, I can't be certain. One thing is for sure, though, I shall carry on with this regime with renewed gusto!
How it all started, for me:
In early August 2012, Dr Michael Mosley presented a BBC Horizon programme on the subject of fasting, including Calorie Restriction (CR) and Intermittent Fasting (IF). This backed up everything I'd discovered about the health benefits of fasting - and I switched from 50% of calories on two days a week to the full-blown 25% of calories (600 calories or less).
The Horizon programme was around on iPlayer for a while - then on YouTube, but it gradually became unavailable.
However, recently, various manifestations of the programme have surfaced - the latest one I've come across being here:
Now, however, Dr Mosley has written a book on the subject, in collaboration with Mimi Spencer, and this will be available from all good bookshops (and some possibly not so good!) from 10th January. All the reviews I've seen so far are extremely favourable. I myself have ordered three copies from my local independent bookstore.
[Saturday 1st December - I'm now trying to include everything I've posted on this subject, on the various forums I use, so that there's a comprehensive record of my progress. So there may be some duplication until I get things sorted properly]
Maintaining as I am, there's not a lot new going on - but thought this week's fasting may be of interest:
Strange couple of days for me - best laid plans, and all that!
I began my normal fast yesterday, but then friends of mine decided to take advantage of this glorious weather and invited me to accompany them on a walk over the Quantocks. Funnily enough, we'd only been going about three hours when we came across a pub - just happened to be about lunchtime! [grin]
I was still going to carry on fasting - right up until I realised that, not only was I going to have to forgo a pub lunch - but also a pint of beer. At this stage I made a unilateral decision to move my fast day to today. [wise]
For lunch I had a large plate of chips, beans and mushrooms in the pub - plus the pint, and very nice it was too! Came home and got stuck into some spicy almond biscuits left over from Xmas. 6 or 7 of these later, I wrapped up the packet and threw it on top of the kitchen cupboard! [phew]
Later, for dinner, I had the bubble and squeak leftover from yesterday's roast dinner, plus broccoli, a stuffed mushroom and a serving of veg curry.
In the evening I made a vegan parkin (wheat free) - so I had --a couple of slices-- to taste that.
Today, Tuesday, is normally a feed day, so I had breakfast - and then realised that, since I was going away with my son that night, I could fast today and do my first ever overnight fast. And, since my breakfast was only around 200 cals, I'd be well under the 600 cal mark.
In the car with my son, he was telling me how he knew I was fasting, but he really wanted to take me out for a curry. He'd found this terrific Indian restaurant, and he would like to treat me. Well, living 3 hours apart, as we do, these events weren't as common as I would like, so, --out of a sense of filial duty,-- once again, I allowed pragmatism to rule, and we had the curry - plus the obligatory lager! [grin]
I'd brought the parkin with me - I'd made it for my son who has a slight problem with wheat - so we had a couple of slices of that on our return, with a mug of coffee.
So now I'm fasting again, and I won't eat until 6.30-7.00 tomorrow.
To sum up my fasting this week (remember, I'm only maintaining):
Sunday 7.00pm - Monday 1.00pm complete fast for 18 hours
Monday 9.00pm - Tuesday 7.00pm, 22 hours with only around 200 cals
Tuesday 9.00pm - Wednesday 7.00pm 22 hours complete fast, then <600 36="" all="" breakfast="" cals="" font="" hours="" on="" so="" then="" thursday="" told.="">600>
Looking at that schedule, I know I said that this WOL is flexible - but that's ridiculous! [grin]
I also try and eat bigger meals on my feeding days - I'm thinking of ditching the side plates and going back to a dinner plate.
*Here's a link to the current thread on this way of eating on the Mumsnet forum. It's a mine of information, and the posters on there have virtually all adopted this or similar
"Hiya, after asking last week about breastfeeding (thanks to those who responded) and IF and then doing my own research I decided to just give it a go. So far, it's been brilliant. I am feeling really well, not weak or light headed, baby is well and milk supply not affected. Even with broken sleep I have more energy than I've had in ages and my mind feels alert. My first 2 fast days were so do-able that I decided to add a third and though it's early days I feel like this could definitely be a permanent way of life. Since I've gained weight steadily with 2 pregnancies I have 6 stone to lose, but for the first time it doesn't feel daunting to get back to health."
Sunday 14th October
Wednesday 26th September.
Typical day's menu:
The total comes to around 550 for the day - and I feel quite full after eating all that!
Things have moved on apace since I last posted. I have now adopted a 6:1 way of eating (WOE) - 6 days of eating normally, and one day fasting. My weight has more or less stabilised at around 60kg first thing in the morning. I've lost 6 or 7 kilos and I've now got 3 new notches in my belt. I've moved to 6:1 because I don't want to lose any more weight.
Breakfast - 20g ground flaxseeds (for the Omega 3) + 20g apple juice - 109 calories
Lunch - Combination of sliced mushrooms and tomatoes - roughly 35 calories
Dinner - Chilli non carne made with a low calorie veg stew plus red kidney beans and a Fry's vegan sausage cut into chunks and a small baked potato. And a small glass (50g) red wine.
Looking for the benefits of IF as regards Alzheimers and came across this Guardian article from Feb. 2012. Very informative, with great links in the comments section.
Today's food intake - fairly typical:
Breakfast - 20g porridge oats and 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
Lunch - 37g wholemeal bread with 16g mushroom pate, 30g beetroot and half a tomato
Dinner - veg curry comprising onion, celery, green pepper, courgette and mushrooms plus tomato puree and flavourings. The whole dish was around 150 calories, which was enough for two meals. So I had half of this with one boiled potato and some broccoli. About 170 calories all told.
More people coming on board the IF programme - my brother-in-law, who has diabetes type 2 is giving it a go. And I learned today that my daughter's in-laws have begun the programme, Calorie Restricting down to 600 calories 2 days a week.
The more I look at intermittent fasting (IF), the more beneficial it appears. Here's an interesting article on IF and cancer.
Co-incidentally, I've just dropped my calories on my CR days down to 600 calories or less.
Here's another website I've come across, with lots of interesting references and links:
Although the psychic reference on the site is a little disconcerting, the info and links seem to be on the up and up.
Wednesday 8th August 2012
Terrific Horizon programme on the subject on BBC2 last night - here it is on the blog, LeanGainsGuide
And here's a precis of the Horizon programme
as Every Other Day fasting (EOD). This was also looked at in the programme.
The reason that fasting shows so many benefits seems to come down to something called Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This is a key factor linking calorie restriction and longevity. It seems that when we’re eating normally, cells are constantly driven to divide by IGF-1, but when IGF-1 levels drop, the body slows production of new cells and starts repairing existing ones instead.
I found this excellent summary here (thanks, David)
I do 'spoil myself' on the 50% days, in that I make a large pot of filtered coffee to last me until 5.00pm, when I pour myself a large glass of stout, which lasts me until dinner - generally about 6.30.
What I'm doing differently:
I now have a pudding every day - I never used to do this before.
Monday 30th July 2012 Into the sixth month already - and I'm so much into a routine I don't even think about it any more. Generally, Mondays and Wednesdays are my 50% days, and I eat 'normally' on the other days.
After my initial weight loss I've been gradually losing more - I'm now about 8lbs lighter than when I started, and I've had to cut two new notches in my belt. But I've now stabilised and I don't intend to lose any more.
I feel absolutely no different to how I felt before I started - that is, I feel great!
Breakfast - I now eat about 20% less on 'normal' days;
Lunch - ditto;
Dinner - both myself and my wife now use side plates instead of dinner plates - except for the roast dinner on Sunday. However, I now leave perhaps 1 quarter of it on the plate.
I often have some supper late in the evening.
I also often snack as I detailed above.
22nd April 2012 I start my 8th week tomorrow, and I'm still feeling in excellent shape.
16th April 2012 First day of the 7th week - went through the whole day on half rations without feeling any hunger. After yesterday's excesses with chocolate, this was perhaps just what I needed.
No breakfast this morning since I had to have a 'Fasting blood-test' taken. Returned home, had a cup of coffee - and, to my surprise, I'm not feeling hungry. If I do, I'll have another drink or otherwise distract myself.
Here are a few more articles/blogs that I found useful:
I'm still surprised that, after eating half the amount I usually eat for dinner - my main meal of the day - I can feel 'full' afterwards. I'm definitely eating slower, and I appreciate every mouthful. This reinforces my thoughts that we definitely eat too much if we don't think about the amount we eat.
To put that another way - until I started this programme, I more or less filled my plate up with whatever I was eating. Our plates are on the large size and maybe that contributes towards eating too much. And I've taken the portion size, 75g of rice, say, to be the norm. Now I have 65g and I don't notice the difference.
I came across an article in the Daily Mirror by Dr Miriam Stoppard on the benefits of eating slower. The conclusion was that you could save up to 25% of your daily calorie intake by using this method.
However, I've been unable to find it on line, and I've had no response to the email I sent her.
Thursday 29th March.
I'm halfway through the 5th week of my 'Eating less' (or Calorie Restriction) programme and I'm happy to say I feel great!
I've lost about 3 pounds - and I could lose more if I wanted to.
ATM, I'm sticking to eating half of what I used to eat, 2 days a week. I've also cut down my daily food intake by 10% - mainly because, after the eating less days, I just seemed to be eating too much - or piling too much food on my plate.
So this means I'm eating 80% of what I used to eat, and I'm feeling very good!
My stomach has definitely shrunk a little - I can't eat as much as I used to without feeling uncomfortably full. And, on my cut-down days, I no long get as hungry as I did to begin with. When I do get hungry, the hunger pangs disappear within about 20 minutes, so I've just learned to accept it. having said that, I don't get hungry very often. When I had to give a 'Fasting blood test' recently, I did without breakfast (of course) before the blood test, and didn't eat on my return home. I then ate my normal lunch at 1.00 without feeling hungry in the meantime. (Then I realised that lots of people miss breakfast every day without any ill effects! :) )
Having lost 3 pounds and not wishing to lose any more, I'm eating more snacks on my 'normal' days. I've not long discovered that plain hobnobs are vegan, but not the chocolate ones. So I melt vegan chocolate in the microwave, spread it on the hobnobs and leave them in the freezer for about 30 seconds. I can have 3 of these with my morning coffee.
I've also started having tinned fruit after dinner with some Swedish Glace ice cream.
My intention is to gradually reduce my food intake on my reduced food days, until I'm fasting completely for 24 hours. But I shall make sure I eat very well on the other days. BTW, it doesn't have to be all in one day. Today, for instance, I ate a normal breakfast and lunch, then started my 24 hour semi-fast after an afternoon snack. I'll eat normally again tomorrow evening. So no day need to be without food, even when fasting completely.
As I said earlier in this thread, for anyone who has reached a plateau in their weight loss, cutting out 50% of your food twice a week (or even once) might be the impetus you need to get going again.
Monday 19th March 2012
Lunch (well, half of it!) is at 1.00pm. Must admit I am looking at the clock! :)
It's no big deal to miss breakfast - but it's the first time I can remember doing so. And I'm very surprised at how easy it was.
The rest of the day went well, eating 50% of what I normally eat.
Sunday 18th March 2012
Odd day today - in that we had a Mother's Day dinner in the early afternoon. I've just had my evening meal and I feel I've over-eaten today. Never mind - tomorrow will make up for it!
Tomorrow is going to be a reduced food day. Since I have to be at the surgery by 8.30, I shall skip breakfast - and see what happens.
Wednesday 14th March 2012
This morning, mid-morning I felt a little hungry, but it didn't last.
Monday 12th March 2012
However, my eating habits have changed - for the better (with one or two lapses). I take longer over a meal - whether I'm on cut-down, or not. I tend to savour every mouthful and probably take just as long to eat a 50% meal as I did to eat a plateful before. Perversely, this means I'm enjoying my food more!
I only feel hungry occasionally - and last night was the first time I went to bed hungry. Previously I've snacked on several apricots if I've felt hungry at bed time. I'm pleasantly surprised to be able to report that by the time I'd cleaned my teeth the hunger pangs had disappeared - and never re-appeared despite the fact that I didn't breakfast until 10.20 this morning. So that was about 15 hours since dinner the previous night - although I had two small pieces of mango around 10.00 with a little soya cream.
This regime has enabled me to be far stricter about snacking. It's somehow much easier to resist the temptation - when I have a cup of coffee, for instance.
I've been reading up on different approaches to CR - and one of them is to spread the fast over two days by eating normally up to, say, 6pm, then not eating for 24 hours until dinner the next day. So you never go a full day without food. Some people, who are not interested in losing weight, then eat more to compensate. Others just eat their normal 2500 calories or so, and for them weight does seem to come off. I've lost a couple of pounds over the last fortnight, so I'm pretty much where I want to be.
With this in mind, yesterday I had a normal bowl of porridge for breakfast (I just forgot it was one of my '50% days) - and then began my cut-down. So I've had a small breakfast, and then a normal lunch.
I shall keep on this '50% fast twice a week' regime for another two weeks, and then I may reduce my intake on my reduced food days. But I shall watch my weight and if I'm losing too much, I'll just eat more.
I've run all this past my GP, and he's fine with all this.
Here's an interesting blog, which, among other things, states that vitamin B12 increases naturally in the body of fasting subjects.
About breakfast and my lunchtime rolls - I've decided to go to 90% of the amount I used to have.
Later: I had bubble and squeak, a stuffed mushroom and a serving spoon and a half of chilli for dinner - probably just a little less on the plate than I used to have. I then had a couple of pieces of mango and 40g of Swedish Glace ice cream. I was absolutely stuffed! Is my stomach shrinking? I doubt I'll go hungry tonight!
12th March 2012 Just beginning the third week - today I probably ate about three quarters of the amount I usually eat - and I'm happy to report I'm feeling fine.
I'm now weighing off my bread rolls to finish off at 75g instead of 100g as I used to do.
I am encouraged to eat less - this morning I had the other half of the piece of naan bread with a quarter of a banana. Yesterday I felt no hunger after eating this - and, besides, I'll be eating pancakes later on at my coffee morning!