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not getting enough calories because of IF?

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  • not getting enough calories because of IF?

    Hey all,

    I'm working on losing those last 5-10 lbs, and I've been experimenting with IF. So far I'm not having trouble with the fasting part, but I'm concerned that on the days I fast (typically skip breakfast or eat breakfast and dinner but not lunch) I don't get enough calories. A fitness calculator tells me I should be consuming 1300-1400 cal/day as a baseline, and this is often boosted to 1500-1600 because I usually walk 2-6 miles in a day, and do HIIT workouts a couple times a week. However, on the days I do IF, I'm lucky if I can get in 1000 calories (I have a hard time eating super big meals, and Mark's post on IF says not to force yourself to eat more than you're hungry for when breaking a fast).

    I've always heard that it's bad eat such a low level of calories per day, but does it work out if I alternate my IF days with days of normal paleo eating? Or should I just try to find more calorie dense foods (nut butter, etc) to make sure I'm consuming enough on IF days?

    Also, I'm still a bit confused about how much protein I need to consume, especially because this is the area in which I think I fall particularly short on IF days. I'm 130 lbs (height is 5'4", and I'm 23), but I don't know how much of that is lean weight and how much is fat. I shoot for ~100-130 g protein, but maybe this is too much? (which would be a relief, because it's really hard for me to get that much. 70-90g seems to fit more naturally into my diet) So if anyone has input, it would be great to hear!

    Thanks so much for the help!


  • #2
    100-130g of protein is not too much if you are looking to gain muscle mass.
    Have you considered changing the way you IF? Rather than skipping a meal could you just shorten the window of time in which you eat? That way you are not forcing yourself into gigantic meals. Not everyone can eat that way. Some people here would recommend a tablespoon of coconut oil just to supplement a bit of calories and fat.


    • #3
      If you're lifting then you should be getting around 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass. Mark and other sources recommend around .8 grams if you're not trying to build muscle. I think as long as your daily average protein intake is more or less in the right ball park you'll be just find. I also wouldn't worry much about not getting enough calories. Running a calorie deficit is necessary for losing weight and your body will tell you through hunger if it needs more. As long as you're comfortable and losing weight at a slow sustainable rate, I'd stick with what you're doing.


      • #4
        I think a lot of people that do IF and report good results are losing due to eating less as much as they are losing due to IF itself, but they won't admit it. A couple IF sites that people read the most are done by bodybuilders and this may not be the case for them, but it would be for many people that read that stuff.

        Listen to your body and don't worry about calculators. If I went by calorie recommendations I would he huge.


        • #5
          I'm experiencing the same thing. I've recently started counting because I'd like to loose some weight. I've been eating Primal since October, anything and everything and IFing A LOT but decided I wanted to drop. Once I made a conscious effort, and cut some calories, I'm finding that I'm only consuming around 900-1100. I'm just going to go with it. I might add coconut oil back in with my afternoon coffee. I haven't counted calories since CW and I am amazed at how much food I can eat with the crap cut out! It's unbelievable when your not trying to make bread and rice and sugar fit in. No wonder people can't stick to it!
          Strong is the new Skinny!


          • #6
            Correct me if I missed it, but I don't see it being mentioned anywhere if you are successful with losing weight. After you started doing IF, have you lost weight? If you have, then I assume that you are worried about losing muscle. If you can get into Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat, you can see quickly that the literature shows that muscle loss really isn't a big deal with IF. It becomes an issue if you deprive yourself from calories for a long time. Something like 18-30 hours must be completely fine.

            Why are you worried about getting too much protein though? Do you have kidney problems? If you say that you are getting very few calories on some days, then you must not be worried about eating too much protein and gaining fat, right?

            You may have mentioned this, but again I couldn't grasp it: How frequently do you IF? I haven't personally ever fasted, but I'm reading material on it currently and plan to start it shortly. My guess is that 1-2 times a week is more than sufficient. It sounds that you are doing it moreoften, right? If you don't get any calories one day once a week, then it shouldn't be a problem at all, but if there are several days often, maybe restricting your body from nutrients and energy will have its impact. What do others think about it?