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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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December 30, 2009

Fasting Makes You Active

By Mark Sisson
147 Comments

It’s a familiar image we might attribute to stereotype: a sluggish, maybe portly individual lying prostrate on the couch, his/her front littered with Dorito crumbs. Could there, however, be truth behind the picture? Is there indeed a connection between incessant snacking and chronic slothdom? Or considered another way, is there a connection between fasting and being active? As a long-time fan of intermittent fasting (and a believer in the research behind it), I’m convinced. A study out this month sheds even more light on the relationship between lethargy and continuous eating.

For decades now, conventional wisdom has told us that we should eat regularly throughout the day to keep our blood sugar steady. With three regular meals and at least two snacks, we’re counseled to keep our bodies in a perpetual postprandial state. However, newer research, including this month’s study from ETH Zurich, questions this assumption. Scientists focused on the opposing relationship between a transcription factor, Foxa2, and insulin. Foxa2 is found in both the liver and the hypothalamus, the central command for hunger regulation. It has a hand in the expression of two eating and physical activity related neuropeptides, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) and orexin. When insulin is present, as it is during and after eating, Foxa2 and the related MCH and orexin are reduced. However, fasting mice showed consistently high levels of Foxa2, MCH and orexin. The researchers then found that “hyperinsulinemic, obese” mice showed reduced Foxa2, MCH, and orexin, regardless of whether they had eaten or not. When the scientists bred mice with continually active Foxa2 (immune to the counter effect of insulin), these mice showed high levels of MCH and orexin – and a correspondingly high level of physical activity whether they had eaten or not. The specially bred mice had low body fat as well as higher muscle mass.

Consider this study another nail in the coffin of conventional wisdom. (It also goes a long way in explaining the snacking couch potato association.) Fasting, even short, between-meal breaks, promotes the activation of Foxa2 and the resulting formation of MCH and orexin – as well as their activity-inducing effects. A simple survival principle explains this: a hungry animal needs to get up and move to find food. On the other hand, if we are constantly swimming in the insulin of eating and post-eating states, we’re undermining our own motivation (and biochemical stimulus) to get up and burn off what we just ate.

CW encourages us to never skip breakfast, bring along a mid-morning snack, make time for a good lunch, grab a mid-afternoon nibble and then have a good dinner. Oh, and if you can’t sleep, you’re supposed to have warm milk and a banana before bed. Our bodies are either eating or processing what we ate. There’s never a recovery period. Nary a resetting opportunity. We’re so focused on the hobby horse of “stable” blood sugar that we’ve forgotten that there’s more to the biochemical story of balanced energy. We make ourselves feel perpetually full to the exclusion of feeling anything else. (How about light, energized?) We continually raise our blood sugar and insulin levels and, in doing so, turn off the body’s chance to activate or upregulate other key substances that promote energy balance – and as this study shows, the physiological motivation to be active. Simple advice: skip the snack. (Besides, dinner never tasted so good as it does on a healthily empty stomach.)

Let me know your thoughts. IFers – have you found this principle to be apparent in your own experiments? Thanks for reading.

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147 Comments on "Fasting Makes You Active"

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AlyieCat
AlyieCat
6 years 8 months ago

I find that when I fast I am more likely to curl into a ball and do nothing – no energy to do stuff.

wd
wd
6 years 8 months ago

probably because you are not yet adjusted to the process. I’m a regular now and I can last quite a while (up to 3 days) without serious hunger pangs or drops in blood glucose. you could just be… weak.
ha.

Sygun
6 years 8 months ago

IT fasting is a great time for the body to rest the digestive system … if you are new to fasting of any kind, I have found that eating my last Primal Meal of the day by 5pm and going to bed feeling a bit hungry helps me sleep better and feel alive and energized in the morning…. practising this as consistently as possible you might find fasting a joyful pleasure rather than an unpleasant experience…

Ben
Ben
6 years 8 months ago

I was the same before switching to a [more] primal eating style. I haven’t tried a full day IF or longer yet, but the single skipped meal IF brings zero loss of energy, zero mood swing (from decreased blood sugar) and a feeling of intensified alertness/awareness. My brain (not my body!) keeps trying to tell me it’s “meal time” and therefore I should eat something – despite the fact that I’m NOT hungry – so I sometimes walk or cycle just to distract my brain 🙂

Amy
Amy
5 years 8 months ago
this subject intrigues me. for several years now, i’ve noticed my body go through cycles of hunger and not-hunger. i’ll be eating normally and then randomly (at least, to me) for a week or so i won’t actually feel hunger and have a hard time reminding myself to eat. then after several days of this, i’ll swing to the opposite end where i’m hungry all the time. i’ve never noticed energy changes with the swings. only when i try to mess with it, like, make myself eat regular amounts when in the non-hungry phase or not eat when in the… Read more »
Bryan Cash
Bryan Cash
6 years 8 months ago

Great post! I used to be one of those who was under the influence of CW. I thought I had to eat every 2 hours. It was a struggle because I was hungry all the time and I never could get my body fat % down. Now that I follow a PB I never worry about the next meal and I’m happy with both weight and Body%. Thanks Mark

Desiree
Desiree
5 years 3 months ago
I also used to eat every two hours (prior primal) and NEVER loss weight lol, or body fat. Ever since the primal diet I noticed my calorie intake is fine, and I don’t get so hungry and so I got curious about fasting and came accross Marks wonderful posts, and will start my first fast tomorrow 🙂 I am actually excited. BTW since primal I have lost 17lbs and dropped 7% bf to a wonderful point of 125lbs and 20.6% woo hoo. I find this so amazing.. I too never stress about my next meal and don’t binge crave… I… Read more »
Daniel Merk
6 years 8 months ago
I really want to believe that when I skip the between meal handful of dried figs, coconut and or handful of almonds that I am helping my body regulate insulin properly. However I struggle with fasting even between breakfast and lunch (about 4-5 hours). This morning I did eat 1/8c steel cut oats with flax, 1 pear, and 2 eggs cooked in bacon fat at 7am. Its 11:30am now and I am so hungry that I am afraid that lunch is going to be a gorge-fest on more grains (pregnant wife loves 1 slice of Roggenbrot per day). As a… Read more »
Mark Sisson
6 years 8 months ago

Daniel,

Could be that the 35 +/- grams of carbs in your breakfast are causing the problem. If you had had 4 eggs and no oats and/or pear, you might reduce insulin and, hence, the hunger that accompanies. As I say here, it takes about three weeks of steady low carb eating to “reprogram” the genes to preferentially burn body fat. When that happens, hunger subsides and energy stays even and balanced.

Daniel Merk
6 years 8 months ago

Weird, 2 days of oats (we’re talking 1/8c dry) and I am beginning to notice a scratchy throat and a bit of the sniffles. So crazy because I don’t feel like a cold or anything. I have been really off the grains for a long time now, but thought I’d change things up as long as I keep the carbs under 150ish. Time to re evaluate. Thanks!

Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life
6 years 8 months ago
Daniel, I would definitely say increase the protein and fat, with or without the carbs. In fact, with the carbs the protein and fat will slow down digestion and prevent blood sugar swings, so you may be able to go longer without eating. But if that still doesn’t work you might want to cut out some carbs as Mark suggested. It does take time to get used to, though. I was a chronic eat-eight-small-meals-a-day person about a year ago. I’ve finally got myself down to 2-3 meals a day, and in the past couple weeks I’ve been dabbling in IF… Read more »
Aaron Blaisdell
6 years 8 months ago
Daniel, I concur with what Elizabeth and Mark both said. I’d only add that you really should try increasing your consumption of saturated fat. Many, including myself, have found a hperlipid diet to be incredibly satiating. I usually go about 15-17 hours between dinner and lunch with nothing in between each day. I eat a lot of FAGE Total yogurt, eggs, bacon, full-fat meat, cheese, etc., and this satiates me for a LONG time. Before starting lacto-paleo, my breakfast was whole grain cereal. I was ravenous by 11am and remained irritable and cranky until my lunch fix. And so on… Read more »
Alcinda Moore
Alcinda Moore
6 years 8 months ago

I so agree!! Fruit especially seems to be a trigger for me. Berries I can handle, but even those have to be kept to a small portion. Oatmeal and a pear for breakfast and I’d be starving within an hour….adding the eggs might allow me to last 2 hours. But give me a couple of eggs and a few strips of bacon and I’m good for at least 4-5 hours!

Bryce Lee
6 years 8 months ago
Daniel, I don’t know how long you’ve been going Paleo, but I’d recommend not forcing the fasting issue until it becomes easy for you. My wife, for example, took about 6-8 months of Paleo eating before missing breakfast was realistic for her. It just takes some of us a long time to restore our bodies ability to mobilize fat and regulate blood sugar. Eat lots and lots of fat, avoid crap, and only eat when you’re hungry. After a while, months to years maybe, fasting will happen naturally. Don’t force it or you’ll turn yourself off to IF forever and… Read more »
BarbeyGirl
6 years 8 months ago
I absolutely agree with this, Bryce. It took me nearly 5 months on the PB (at near 100% compliance) before I was ready to IF. When I was ready, it happened almost by itself, without effort. For me, it was a combination of learning to trust my body not to go into chew-my-arm-off-hunger mode if I skipped a meal, plus learning to identify (and wait for) genuine hunger rather than eating “because it’s mealtime,” plus understanding the science behind IF. I started by stretching out the time between dinner and breakfast to 12-15 hours most days. Then, the day before… Read more »
BarbeyGirl
6 years 8 months ago
Another thing — learn to accept hunger. It’s okay. All the world’s food will not evaporate if you wait half an hour to eat…but likely as not, your hunger WILL evaporate. This only works for me when carbs are low and grains non-existant, but it’s wonderful! I just now went through an “I want dinner” phase that lasted about 20 minutes. I’m hungry, but not starving. I’d rather wake up tomorrow with that wonderful, light, fasted feeling than indulge in a snack tonight. So, I didn’t eat…and now the hungery feeling in my stomach is settling down. This is very… Read more »
David
David
6 years 8 months ago
My own experience is that it’s all about adaptation. I don’t follow PB explicitly (although now reading about it with interest) but I’ve been practising daily IF (anywhere from 19/5 to 23/1 schedule, usually after 6pm) daily for most of the last decade. I’m also a regular exerciser (mainly Heavyhands and bodyweight) and hill-walk, bike and ski, mostly without the need or desire to change my usual feeding schedule. Nowadays I associate fasting with energy and clarity, for work, play, or exercise of whatever level of intensity is needed. Eating, by contrast, is followed by a noticeable (though not necessarily… Read more »
BlazeKING
BlazeKING
6 years 8 months ago
Great post Mark. It certainly makes sense and I am sure everyone here can attest to having more energy when in a fasted state. People who eat all the time, or as many call them, grazers, don’t stimulate those processes that tell them to get up and move to food. Their bodies think food is and will always be around. I am currently bulking and trying to get all my calories in a 4-6 hour window. It’s nice being able to feel hungry, prepare and gorge. I’m also not convinced about pre and post workout nutrition leading to higher gains.
Diego Paparella
Diego Paparella
6 years 8 months ago

Has anybody heard of the warrior diet? seems to comply with fasting all day and having one meal at night time.

thecarla
thecarla
6 years 8 months ago
I have been experimenting with fasting and I find if I eat breakfast and lunch I can skip dinner. I usually try to eat between 9 am to 2 pm and not eat the rest of the day during my work week and 11am to 4pm on the weekends. I feel great. I have found that dinner seems to be superfluous and I eat it out of habit or boredom. Most intermittent fasters seem to skip breakfast but I get up a 530am and there is no way I could work all day and last until dinner.
wd
wd
6 years 8 months ago

as far as I understood it you’re not really reaping benefits in full from the fast unless it’s around 24hours w/o caloric intake. someone strike me down if this assumption is incorrect.

hannahc
hannahc
6 years 8 months ago

[quote]Fasting, even short, between-meal breaks, promotes the activation of Foxa2 and the resulting formation of MCH and orexin – as well as their activity-inducing effects.[/quote]

From above. I’ll trust that Mark did his research 😉

wd
wd
6 years 8 months ago

I find it hard to believe that you quoted the article above… actually I’m flabbergasted.
Perhaps it wasn’t in the article? {Wink}

void_provocateur
void_provocateur
6 years 8 months ago
The 24 hour fast is the least prevalent form of fast. The most common is the eating window fast (fast 19 hours, eat in a 5 hour period), or the one meal a day (23 hour fast, eat in a 1 hour window). You reap the full benefit by just giving your body enough hours to process and reset. 36 hours is also great, beyond that and while there is still some benefit, the law of diminishing returns sets in. I believe 72 hours is where metabolism really slows down and your body starts preparing for famine mode. The point… Read more »
David
David
6 years 8 months ago

As a diabetic who test blood sugar hourly when making dietary changes, I can confirm that a 12-hour fast makes a difference in my blood sugar levels. I’ve been eating breakfast and dinner with no lunch for only about a week and there is a noticeable difference in my response.

Michael
Michael
6 years 8 months ago

I have stated this prior to finding your website as well as the benefits of IF. There would be days I would be laying tile, building cabinets or some other type of work only to find it becoming dark outside and realizing I had skipped all meals that day. At the time, I attributed it to a micro-calorie diet, and rather then eating well and properly, I simply ate less. It gave me loads of energy, but was probably not that healthy.

Meeses
Meeses
6 years 8 months ago

Hm…I do IF, but I find that the only reason I move around more during fasts is to keep warm.

Adam Kayce
6 years 8 months ago

I think you’re right on… although I don’t have enough IF experience to say definitively.

I felt better and was more energized when I was IF’ing, but then I got the flu… so I don’t know if my loss of muscle was due to IF or being out of the gym – or both.

I’ve always liked the higher activity level I have when I’m fasting, and as long as I’m eating clean, I don’t have any energy swings or cravings… and that’s with an 18-19 hour fast, on average.

Ken
6 years 8 months ago

Great post and it totally reinforces my experience. I eat twice a day, once around 10am then dinner 6-9 ish depending on the convenience of it. Also do 2 24+ hour fasts per week. I’m quite active and feel fine energy wise. I do occasionally succumb to the hunger and snack on some nuts and cheese, but not too often. I am still carrying 15# of spare tire fat and wonder if by my body having a ready energy source to tap into that keeps me going and all the sluggish folks are skinny little punks?
Thanks for all the effort.
Ken

Anne Scott
Anne Scott
6 years 8 months ago

I’m replying to Daniel Merk’s post — Daniel, maybe you’re very carb-sensitive. I am too and I would find that quite a carby breakfast, with the oats and the pear (tried to eat a pear last month and found it too sweet). Dried figs are also very sweet. Maybe eating just protein and fat for breakfast…?

Daniel Merk
6 years 8 months ago

Interesting. For 4 months now I had been eating uncured bacon, and 4 eggs for breakfast. By noon I was not hungry and noticed I would not eat again until dinner. I thought that if I went back to doing “some” oatmeal I would change things up a bit but I think you are pretty much spot on– I am carb sensitive.

David
David
6 years 8 months ago

I think 150 g. of carbs a day is a lot for anyone. If you do have insulin sensitivity issues then its way too much.

Christoph Dollis
3 years 26 days ago

Carbs at evening, or every few evenings. By morning, you’ll be in ketosis again.

Protein, fat, and low-starch vegetables in the morning.

Bryce Lee
6 years 8 months ago

I responded directly to Daniel, but I would definitely agree with Anne. Unless you have restored your insulin/carb sensitivity, I’d avoid oats and starches for a while. If you are hungry three hours after eating starches, then you are not adapted to them, and should give yourself a break for a while.

An occasional piece of fruit, or weekly sweet potato, won’t derail your efforts to restore carb sensitivity, but dried fruit and oats in the morning will.

Good call Anne.

bryce

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
6 years 8 months ago

When I’m active (which is pretty much all the time) I’m ravenous. Three meals a day don’t cut it for me; I’ve gotta have snacks.

I gave IF a try once, and all I wanted to do was sleep.

Marc Feel Good Eating
6 years 8 months ago

I work out fasted, I’ve played a day long tennis tournament in a fasted state with no drop in energy….only enhanced “senses” if you will.

IF is much less scheduled for me know. Most days I eat only 2 meals a day. First one around noon or 1. Second anywhere between 6 and 8.

As anything new….. START SLOW.
Happy new year everyone
Marc

Shauna
6 years 8 months ago

When I eat consistently throughout the day, I get really panicky. Maybe I’m crazy (ok I’m definitely crazy) but my anxiety is non-existent when I fast. For the last few months I’ve been thinking that “snacking” is sort of like an assault on the body. It’s helping me think twice before eating between meals.

Susan
6 years 8 months ago

I had incredibly bad mood swings when I was eating higher carb, so it definitely makes sense.

Louise D.
Louise D.
6 years 8 months ago

I had major anxiety and panic attacks for years, on drugs and everything. They all vanished with low carb. It was amazing. We’re not alone.

Diana Renata
Diana Renata
6 years 8 months ago

I find this to be absolutely true. I typically eat only breakfast and dinner, sometimes just dinner. I find I have more energy than when I have 3 squares. Not to mention when I fast for any duration I’m more apt to break into a run rather than walk. Even if it’s from my car to the front door.

Accipiter Circus
Accipiter Circus
6 years 8 months ago

IF makes everything easier throughout the day. I always take my midterms and finals fasted because I feel much more awake and alert and I always try and go to Crossfit fasted between 12-16 hours. Granted, eating primally I never really feel sluggish. Even when I overeat I still feel like I could go sprint if I needed to.

David
David
6 years 8 months ago

Today I did 5 x5 sets of military presses followed by 10 rounds of deadlifts (about 50% of my max) followed by 10 burpees at 6 am. It’s now 9:30 am and doing an IF til noon. Will this have a negative effect on muscle gain? I am trying not to lose weight but am trying to gain muscle mass (I’m 56 years old-have lost some muscle mass)and lose BF “love handles”.
Will IF or longer fast after a workout help me reach my goals (gain muscle and lose BF?

void_provocateur
void_provocateur
6 years 8 months ago
I wouldn’t worry about losing muscle while IFing. You would need to fast for up to 72 hours for that to happen. Make sure you are eating a lot of fat and a lot of protein when you do eat. Going IF and Primal is like going on a ketogenic diet. hell yes you’ll lose body fat! Just maintain your training and you will maintain and even grow your muscle. If you can, I would recommmend the book eat stop eat and it will explain how the idea of negative effects on muscle growth is falls. Body builders routinely IF… Read more »
David
David
6 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the reply. I am in my mid – fifties and have worked on gaining muscle the past 2 years. But, no muscle gain. So, following PB religiously has been very productive with muscle gain. Been told to eat more protein but feel too stuffed and lethargic. So, maybe fasting can help me gain the HGH needed for muscle growth??

David
David
6 years 8 months ago

Ooops. Following PB outline for gaining muscle has not worked for me, waaaah!

Daniël
Daniël
5 years 1 month ago

About the getting colder thing. I am low in carbs (<100), but high in calories. What does it mean to be cold?

discgolfgeek
discgolfgeek
6 years 8 months ago
According to Art Devany, you will be better off not eating until noon — his theory is that eating after a workout will reduce the growth hormone response. On the other hand, many studies indicate that eating some protein and carbs (some say before, some say after, some say both) enhances muscular development. Supposedly, thirty grams of protein is the maximum needed, more than that provides no benefit, for a lighter workout, 20 gms would likely suffice. Myself, I prefer some protein/light carbs before a good workout and my body tells me whether it wants a booster afterwards.
Ryan
Ryan
6 years 8 months ago

I agree with Meeses. I don’t really notice much difference in energy level (usually not a problem). However, I definitely feel colder – esp. in the a.m. Perhaps “enhanced senses” as Marc puts it?

Jamie
Jamie
6 years 8 months ago

I am new to PB. I have been doing well but wonder if I am esting too much fruit. I do berries once or twice a day, a grapfruit and then an apple or banana? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life
6 years 8 months ago

That’s a hard question to answer because everyone is different, but what you mention doesn’t sound like too much, as long as you’re not loading down your diet with any other carbs, and as long as you’re eating plenty of fats and proteins. It’s important to listen to your body and see if you can tell how it’s reacting to what you’re eating.

Dee
Dee
6 years 8 months ago

So hunger pangs are good? I want to try IF, but I’m nervous. In the past whenever I go too long without eating, my stomach gets bloated and hurts like crazy. Can that really be good for you?

void_provocateur
void_provocateur
6 years 8 months ago
Hahaha, I had those problems at the beginning too. But you have to realize there in lies your answer. Hunger pangs are not real hunger. Hunger pangs are muscle contractions. It is muscle memory. You have been eating a certain way for years, decades even. If you pay attention, the worst hunger pangs always hit at the time you were statistically most likely to be eating a meal. Your whol system starts working, stomach acids churning, before it realizes there is nothing coming. If you drink a cup of tea and then find something to do to keep you busy,… Read more »
Susan
6 years 8 months ago

I actually used to be the same way. I was severely carb addicted and if I did not eat breakfast, I would get incredibly nauseous and nearly throw up. I’m not kidding!

All of that went away when I found my appropriate carb level (which is very low) and “real” hunger took over. I think all those horrible drops in blood sugar were to blame for the nausea. When I am going to IF I usually eat a very low carb meal before I do it, so I don’t set myself up for failure.

Charles Olson
Charles Olson
6 years 8 months ago

Im not sure if your familiar with the book “lights Out” Sleep, Sugar and Survival. I recommend it to anyone who wants to start “IF”. Make sure you have your diet down and get plenty of sleep (9 hours) and then through in a “IF” period. I try to run with a 15 hour fast before i start eating.
Great as always Mark! Look forward to 2010.

Steven R. McEvoy
6 years 8 months ago

I try and do a 3 day fast every quarter, and through lent still fast on Fridays.

DB
DB
6 years 8 months ago

Jamie, that does seem like too much fruit, at leat it is for me. I keep my fruit intake to a minimum, maybe every other day or less, and I restrict it to berries only, and just a half a cup at that. Treat fruit like a dessert that you imbibe in on an infrequent basis.
Apples and bananas are very high in sugar…

Charles Olson
Charles Olson
6 years 8 months ago

James-Try to limit your fruit intake, its like “candy” if your down with a low carb paleo diet, Try to stick with veggies, i run on about 50 to 70 grams of CHO a day since i switch to a low carb deal and cut of the fruit. Fruit also tends to give me GI problems so i treat it like a “cheat” and limit my intake to post work out meals.

Catie
Catie
6 years 8 months ago
Hi Mark, I’ve been IF-ing for about a month now after reading about it on your site and doing some research on the benefits of IF and calorie restriction. I essentially skip breakfast, eat lunch at noon and dinner at 5 or 6pm and then don’t eat until lunch the next day except for some green tea in the morning. I am much more energized and am not constantly thinking about my next meal or snack- my appetite has decreased tremendously. I didn’t think I would be able to feel greater than when I started eating low-carb about 6 months… Read more »
OLDDUDE
OLDDUDE
6 years 8 months ago

I have found a significant decrease in musculoskeletal aches and pains with IF.Granted it’s a n=1 but I am pretty observant and smart(also cute for an old guy.Even if you are sketchy on the scientific merits, IF is worth doing just to observe your relationships to food,desires,rituals etc.Brad Pilon’s ebook Eat Stop Eat is worth reading.

Nancy
Nancy
6 years 8 months ago

I’ve tried to locate Brad Pilon’s book, but it seems to only be an e-book, correct? Can you get a print copy anywhere?

void_provocateur
void_provocateur
6 years 8 months ago

No, it is e-book only.

C2H5OH
6 years 8 months ago

someone explain me this whole n=1 thing

Rodney
Rodney
6 years 8 months ago

n=1 is just a scientific way of saying that the statement is just based on personal experience. N is the number of whatever is being studied, such as 6,543 men and women in a study is written as n=6,543. In other words the commenter is saying the comment isn’t based on any large scientific study, just their own personal experience.

BarbeyGirl
6 years 8 months ago

“n” is the unknown cause that equals the known result of “1.” So, OldDude is saying that he aches less (the known result, or “a”) and, due to correlation, he suspects that IF (a possible solution to “n”) is the cause. 🙂

BarbeyGirl
6 years 8 months ago

LOL Oops, I meant “1” where I typed “a.” Just trying to confuse you!

BarbeyGirl
6 years 8 months ago

Oh, good gravy. Laughing again…at myself. Listen to Rodney — he’s right.

Brian
Brian
6 years 4 months ago

NO. In statistics, “n” denotes the sample size and there was 1 person in his sample. He is just speaking of personal experience.

Jamie
Jamie
6 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the input. I have been very strict. Coffee,eggs with bacon for breakfast then eat thefruit while at work. Dinner has been a large salad w/almonds,cheese and chicken or steak and green vegatables. I also snack if I get hungry on almonds. I found fitday yesterday and I was in the 50-100 range ofr carbs. What are other snacks I could go toduring the day of I cut fruit down. Carrots and celery get old pretty quick. Any ideas would be appreciated. By the way, I am really enjoying this site. I feel so much better since going primal.

DB
DB
6 years 8 months ago

As far as the celery goes, It can get old, but I try to make it a bit more appetizing with Almond butter. Take some raw almonds and put ’em in the food processor until they turn to butter. It can take 5-10 minutes for a cup. I add one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. for more creaminess. Then I add one tablespoon of 100% cacao powder, and a few drops of Stevia. Spread in your celery stick. Tasty and good for you.

Louise D.
Louise D.
6 years 8 months ago

Boiled eggs, cold roast beef, cold chicken, all lovely snacks at work. I make mayo for chicken salad to go with crunchy veges sometimes as a treat. Add in some pine nuts, yummy.

Grok is Softball!
Grok is Softball!
6 years 8 months ago

My first swing at PB and within 10 days of starting, I was off of work and putzing around the house/running errands. The entire day went by, my family came home and was wondering what was for dinner! I had gone about 28 hrs without eating and never even missed it. And I got a lot of stuff done!
I say first swing because I fell off and got run over by the wagon. Back on it again now and my simple goal is to make it thru today eating primally!
Thinking I like accidental IFs!

Nick
Nick
6 years 8 months ago
I IF as a matter of lifestyle–I don’t like to waste time eating if I don’t have to–but I find that in colder climates (Korea, mid-west) it is hard to keep warm. When I was in Iraq in the summer, I was the only one who didn’t think it was hot and I also didn’t get as thirsty when I was fasted. I also spend less money on food, since I’m not eating all the time. I don’t know how this impacts anything, though it hasn’t made me less fit. I think the reduced heat production is evidence of less… Read more »
Katie
6 years 8 months ago
This is a very timely post for me. Working with a trainer right now who’s got me on a short but hard exercise plan very similar to PB. She has also gotten me to reduce my daily calories to 1600. At first this was hard. She kept saying, “I want to see what this does to your energy”. What I thought she meant was, am I getting enough calories at 1600? It turns out she meant the opposite: are you bouncing off the walls? Once I got good at keeping myself at 1600, I couldn’t fall asleep at night! She… Read more »
Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life
6 years 8 months ago
Just make sure you’re getting enough good food for your body. I like IF because it’s a temporary lull in calories that you can make up for. Skipping meals and eating less than you need triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol (so does exercise) – that’s what gives you that energy surge. That’s all right for the short term, if you make up for the spent hormones with a good diet. But if you spend very long on a low-calorie diet (for most people 1,600 is low-calorie) then you risk adrenal burnout. At least in my own experience this… Read more »
Brad
Brad
6 years 8 months ago

I’ve done 10+ mile runs, heavy weight lifting sessions, and 2-hour basketball games all on 12+ hour fast with only water. I experienced no ill effects, and continue to get stronger and faster. I’ve done the eating windows, the Eat-Stop-Eat method, and the alternate day fasting. ESE seems to suit me the best, but I LOVE working out fasted. Eating primaly with plenty of fat helps me go all day, even as long as 36 hours, without much effort.

Jen Nelson
Jen Nelson
6 years 8 months ago

I love this. Years ago, the conventional wisdom said three square meals a days and that’s what I grew up with. I never get hungry between meals if I eat every 5-6 hours and my meals are “clean” (no starchy carbs).

Jen Nelson
Jen Nelson
6 years 8 months ago

I clicked too fast. I meant to add that I used to fast all the time for a day of too and have done juice fasts in the past and always felt great. I think it’s a great idea and good research!

Judymac
6 years 8 months ago

Strangely enough oats are the only cereal that doesn’t give me the munchies, I can eat a bowl of porridge with fruit and not suffer from hunger pangs for hours. This may be because I am a Scot… 😉

PS No I’m not eating oats at the moment, I’m trying for the full 30 days free of any cereal.

PPS I eat 4 times a day, and feel like I have good energy levels, even during this -12C snowy weather.

Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life
6 years 8 months ago

You know, Eat Fat Lose Fat mentioned a woman who experienced less hunger on soaked oatmeal than eggs and bacon (though the book promotes the eggs and bacon!). I would imagine that’s the exception rather than the rule, but it’s interesting to hear someone else had a similar experience. I know it wouldn’t be the case for me!

Johnny at The Lean Saloon
6 years 8 months ago

What amazes me is that we, as thinking, rational animals, often fail to examine, consider or even imagine what might have been the natural gustatory patterns of our ancestors, or at least the need for the gut to take a break.

Even more odd is our insular belief that eating small frequent meals is the right and healthy habit, even though the French and Spaniards hardly ever snack yet don’t suffer the obesity epidemic that continues to grow in our country.

Susan
6 years 8 months ago
I too am very carb sensitive. I noticed that over a period of two days I seemed to be retaining water. It corresponded with a soup that I made from 3 pounds ground beef and one pound each of green beans, spinach, and carrots. I figured it was probably too carby for me to be having one bowl per day. I ditched the soup on the third day and had chicken and olive oil for lunch, and a small handful of almonds for dinner. I didn’t eat until lunch today after that. I felt much better and broke through the… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
6 years 8 months ago

Anyone have any experience or know of any research about IF while lactating? How does it affect milk production?

Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life
6 years 8 months ago
I don’t know from experience but I thought I’d throw my two cents in. I think it’s most important to be sure you’re getting the proper nutrients in – plenty of saturated fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Think eggs, cheese, butter, meat, coconut oil, etc. I really don’t know if IF affects milk production, so I won’t specifically give advice on that part. But unless you hear of a valid reason why not, maybe you could try easing into it? If you’re used to eating three meals a day, try delaying breakfast for an hour and eating normally after that. Then… Read more »
Jeff Sakamoto
Jeff Sakamoto
6 years 8 months ago
First off, I love the MDA website and am a big fan. I really want to like the IF/MD lifestyle but have some concerns that I was hoping you could help answer. I am an ex-jock and division I two-sport athlete. I have spent much of my life in the gym and at the training table. However, now in my early 30’s, the main reason that I train at this point is for aesthetic purposes (I admit it!) and trying to stay lean and fit. The science behind your concepts do make complete sense. However, at the Olympia this year… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
6 years 8 months ago

I have the same questions as Jeff S.
I used to be in the Obese category – adopted a bodybuilding lifestlye got down to 9% BF and stayed healthy. I like what IF has to offer and I love the idea of not thinking about food all day but I do get foggy and tired if I go longer than 4-5 hrs without food.
Can someone speak to Jeff S. concerns?

Judymac
6 years 8 months ago

Sorry to point out that the French now have a rising obesity epidemic. In the five years that we have lived here, we are seeing increased obesity on the streets.

This corresponds with the huge updrive of junk food now available…all for convenience…

The original French food pattern in our area was two small meals (breakfast and goute -afternoon tea) and two large meals per day (lunch and dinner).

redcatbicycliste
redcatbicycliste
6 years 8 months ago

Is the increased obesity with the “native” French people? Or is it the increased immigrant community to France who are the ones who are obese?

Allen
Allen
6 years 8 months ago

Perhaps I just need to let my body get used to it, but I’m the exact opposite. I’m lethargic until I eat my breakfast, but once I do, I feel a burst of energy.

Also, while trying to gain weight right now, I doubt I could fit 4000 calories into a tiny window of the day, especially while trying to cut carbs. Over half my calories come from carbs: rice, pasta, and oats. My calories would be less than 2000.

arlojeremy
6 years 8 months ago
Hey Allen. I tried I.F. once back when I ate a “standard” diet, and then recently again after I had adjusted to the primal-type of diet that Mark advocates. I found I.F. MUCH easier when eating very low carbohydrate, because my body was more efficient at using fat (dietary, and in my body) for fuel. I was doing 24 hr cycles (ie: eat dinner, breakfast, lunch, then not eat again till the next dinner). If your body is expecting to be able to use easily converted carbohydrates, then it’s no wonder you feel lethargic, and then a burst of energy… Read more »
Curtis
6 years 8 months ago

I fall into the same trap of overdoing it on the fruits. Also, I find IF much more manageable when I eat a ‘late lunch’ around 3 or so and then fast through the evening and night. When I wake up the next day I actually am quite energetic and usually do a workout, wait an hour or two and then have a nice big breakfast (late around 10 or 11AM).

FDgreen
FDgreen
6 years 8 months ago

“I find that when I fast I am more likely to curl into a ball and do nothing – no energy to do stuff.”

“I gave IF a try once, and all I wanted to do was sleep.”

DITTO

That makes at least three of us.

fixed gear
6 years 8 months ago

Me too. It felt like a sick day. Just AWFUL. I’m on board with the science, but in practice I had a hard time with it. I couldn’t wait to get up the next day and eat.

jfarley33
jfarley33
6 years 8 months ago

I fast at least once a week (24 hours), or sometimes 2 or 3 times a week.

At first my energy levels were low and I was ravenous when I ate (something I soon discovered you don’t want to do!).

Now after over a month of IF I find I do have more energy like this article indicates. I workout heavy too and love it.

For me, fasting has been the magic bullet to weight loss, more energy, and control over my body. Love it!

Sri
Sri
6 years 8 months ago
Mark, Today is day 5 of my primal diet program. I have ordered your book on amazon but I have been reading your blog for a while now. Based on that, I have been sticking to a very basic primal diet with no grains. I can tell you that I after my first meal (4 eggs, 1 cucumber, 2 strips of nitrate free bacon, 1 tbsp walnuts and 1tbsp olive oil), I don’t feel hungry till 3-4 pm. Even that hunger is very manageable and I seem to have more energy. During this time (just before meal time, I seem… Read more »
Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life
6 years 8 months ago

Well, it’s just a thought, but if you just started the diet 5 days ago the weight could be water or glycogen stores. These usually distort weight loss during the first week or two. If your strength is the same, that’s a good sign. Keep your saturated fat intake up, too – just fry those eggs in coconut oil or butter (or bacon drippings). It’s healthy and it tastes great, too. 🙂

Sri
Sri
6 years 8 months ago

Thanks. I am eating a decent amount of saturated fats. I guess I’ll see if there is a change in a week or two.

Leopold
Leopold
3 years 10 months ago
you eating saturated fats are crazy! that’s why you’re the fattest people on earth! Eat tons of palmitic acid which interferes with the feeling of satiety in the hypothalamus and causes insulin resistance. Food manufacturers have known this for a long time and feed you to palmitic acid all day and you eat all day, fast food, butter, milk, sweets and lots more is all full of palmitic acid (palm oil and animal fats) ! I’m not a terrorist, I would like to save millions of people from obesity and premature death that all these related diseases it carries. If… Read more »
Diego Paparella
Diego Paparella
6 years 8 months ago

Elizabeth, I’m really impressed with your replies, very much agree with your ideas. been to your website, read all the book you recommend. very impressed!

Mary
Mary
6 years 8 months ago

IF rocks… I can go trough the day without any brain fog, mood swings, sleepiness feeling, even anxiety… My energy is on top and i feel really free..

I think in the psychological aspect the fact you don’t have to put any attention to the eating and post-eating process gives you heap of time to get so many stuff done, it definitely makes my day longer so i can finish everything I’m supposed to.

Jeff
6 years 8 months ago

I always feel more active on fasting days. At times I am almost wired. I think the advice about not missing meals applies to carb hounds only. If you have access to your fat you have the opposite, more active effect.

jeff

Rahsaan
Rahsaan
6 years 8 months ago

Jeff and Jenn,

I eat pretty paleo, do intense lifting/calisthenics and plyometrics twice a week, and sometimes yoga. I’m pretty muscular. I’m 183 lbs and 6 feet. If you click on my profile, you can see my physique.

I used to eat 6 or 7 times a day, but found that I look and feel better eating once or twice a day with high fat meat and leafy greens only. When I was downing smoothies and starches, I was in the 190s and less chiseled-looking as well as always feeling bloated.

Christian
Christian
6 years 8 months ago
I’ve been dabbling with IF ever since I began the PB lifestyle about 8 months ago. It started as a couple of skipped breakfasts to a couple of 24 – 36 hr fasts here and there… It seemed to really spark additional fat loss and I didn’t find it too difficult to do. Then over the past two months, I’ve notice that I just don’t get hungry much anymore for breakfasts,.. and my lunches were getting pushed back further and further to a point that i just wasn’t hungry until about 4-5pm… at which point, i just decided to just… Read more »
zach
zach
6 years 8 months ago

I’ve always just eaten one meal a day, really. Big dinner with raw milk and a few egg yolks mixed in with it for breakfast. Since going low carb the thing that is somewhat concerning is how few calories I consume. I’m somewhere around 1500/day and I’m STUFFED.

Daddy Warbucks
Daddy Warbucks
6 years 8 months ago

SENDING A STRANGE WAY SO —LET ME KNOW IF YOU GET IT — OK? IMPORTANT!

DThalman
DThalman
6 years 8 months ago
I think that when you eat mostly fat, your body gets used to converting its fat stores rather than relying on the constant doses of insulin-spiking carbs. So you can go quite a ways without eating and feel great. I base this on Gary Taube’s book as well as my personal experience. You have to eat this way for a while for your body to learn it. I’ve never purposely fasted; never set out to say “I’m gonna fast today” or “I’m gonna skip this meal.” Usually I am trying to gain weight, as my body does not digest carbs… Read more »
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