so I’ve been following 5:2 low carb for awhile now but the last couple of months I could not stay focused on any diet and put on a few pounds.
I restarted with a fast day on Sunday but because I was having a lazy day at home in Monday I decided to see how I felt doing 2 days in a row, and I felt ok. Better than I thought I would.
Today is normally a fast day for me so I decided to carry on for a third day. And I’m feeling good? I would normally be starving and low on energy at this time of the day but I’m not hungry and my energy level is fine.
So I’ve stumbled into the 800 calorie diet without planning to and I think I may now carry on if I continue to feel ok.
It will be interesting to see if I feel good tomorrow after exercising.
It feels really weird that I would expect to be hungry and weak but I’m not.
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When you say a fast day you mean you eat 800 calories, not abstaining from eating altogether, I gather? How many grams of carbs do you eat a day? I ask because it’s not remotely surprising to me that your energy level is fine. I ate 800 calories a day (with several water-only fasts of 48 hours or more) for 14 months in a row and felt great. If you keep your carbs low enough, your body burns stored fat for energy and it’s a far more stable and dense energy source than the glucose burned from the carbs you eat.
The idea that human bodies must be constantly fed or they fall apart from lack of sustenance is very recent, very post-industrialized Western and entirely unjustified. In fact the majority of human existence was characterized by cycles of feast and famine, and we were doing far, far more exercise then than we do now because from hunting/gathering to farming to trades most people were doing some form of physical labor to live or move or generally go about their business.
As for hunger, assuming you live a relatively normal life instead of experiencing actual famine, it’s a momentary thing, not a state of being. From personal experience I can say that even on a day 7 of a water-only fast the physical rumble of hunger in the belly lasts minutes, no more. The rest is anxiety. “Shouldn’t I be eating? Why am I not eating? I need to eat.” It’s not physiological at all.
Esnecca – that’s really interesting about the 7 day water fast. When I did 5:2, my two fast days were back to back water only days and I often wondered what effect going longer would have. Did you notice any particular benefits from longer water fasts, compared to 800 cals per day or shorter water fasts?
I did, BeeGirl. The reason I tried a week-long fast in the first place was that I had been reading about the benefits of autophagy (the body breaking down its own damaged and moribund cells for energy thereby making way for fresh replacements) and an increase in the body’s own production of human growth hormone which spikes around the fourth day of a fast. By then I had been doing 48-72 hour fasts once a month for about 6 months and I had found that I really enjoyed them. The second day energy boost was a particularly fun phenomenon. I could, and did, walk for hours, and I chatted excitedly about a million things all day.
What I found with the week fast was that I experienced a decrease in physical energy the second half of the week but a marked increase in mental energy. My thoughts were very clear and precise and I completed two major writing projects that had been lingering unfinished far too long. I also could very clearly see the effects of the HGH and autophagy in my skin. I looked noticeably younger, pink cheeks, tiny pores, loose skin a little snugger. My OH calls it “fast face.” 😀
Yes I was doing 800 calories on the fast day (but I have done a full day on 0 calories before).
I think I’ve had about 30-40g carbs today.
I’m used to doing fasted exercise as well so my body may be used to pulling energy from fat.
I definitely think this is more confusing mentally than anything else. Mostly because we have had it drummed into us for so long that it’s bad to not eat.
If I think about it, I probably put on the weight by having days of excessive calories (like 1000 more than required), and my body survived, so why shouldn’t it be ok the other way round aswell?
I’ve been really interested in the research about intermittent fasting lately, it’s completely throwing the old theories out.
Thanks Esnecca, that’s really interesting. Something I shall definitely ponder for the future.
It sounds to me like you set yourself up for success better than you realized with your under 50g carbs and fasted exercise, Niknak87. The fact that it was accidental only underscores that your body is gravitating towards it in a natural way. I think I’d done the 800 cals for a week when I realized I could easily switch to a 16:8 schedule because I wasn’t really hungry in the morning anyway and I preferred to exercise in a fasted state, as in I liked how I felt doing it, not just that I intellectually understood its insulin-reducing and fat-burning benefits. It had the added advantage of giving me 800 cals to play with over two meals instead of three which appealed to my foodie nature.
BeeGirl, I did my first 48 hour fast after I’d already lost something like 170 or so pounds. It wasn’t something I embarked on right out of the gate. Take your time, get your bearings, do what works for you.
I think you might be right there with what I’ve been reading, hopefully I will be able to utilise this lucky start to continue 👍
Esnecca how often do you do the 7 day fast? I really like the sound of those benefits. I’ve done a 72 hr fast without too much difficulty so I’m planning to incorporate that into my routine at least once a month
gokiniruth, I’ve done three between February 2018 and January 2019. I don’t schedule them like I do my regular 48-hour fasts. The first was an experiment inspired by my reading and my OH’s curiosity (he broke fast on the 5th day, which was an amazing accomplishment as he had never done an extended of any kind before). The second was in the middle of the summer after a holiday had upended my usual IF schedule so I wanted a full reset. The third was in January of this year. It started as a post-holidays reset and then kept going when I injured my back and was laid out flat for 3 days unable to even go to the bathroom unaided, never mind cook or even sit up to eat. Once the acute pain abated, I recovered thoroughly and quickly. I don’t know if the coincidental extended fast helped, but it certainly didn’t hurt.
Thanks Esnecca. Using it as a post holiday reset sounds like a good idea so I’ll give it a go x
Just thought I would update that I ended up carrying on and still on the 800 fast.
I am 8lbs down, my resting heart rate dropped down from 59bpm to 51bpm, my heartburn and acid reflux have dramatically reduced.
Also I have some spider veins on my cheeks which appear to have shrunk.
I have good energy levels, and I feel fitter.
Oh and my clothes are fitting me again.
I have no problems so I’m going to keep going 👍
Random thing I’ve noticed, instead of craving sugary foods, when I do think of food, it is usually fatty foods I think of. I’m guessing this is a sign I’m in Ketosis and my body is wanting the fat for fuel.