Who can benefit from IF, when, and what kind?
One of the things I like best about the Primal Blueprint is that it really does make for an intuitive lifestyle choice. It has a few rigid avoidance policies, sure, but otherwise it's got a really good flow to it that really makes sense to me.
And once I was introduced to it, I found IF to be just as intuitive.
In the process of going primal I rather quickly picked up on IF in the form of occasionally skipping meals with a (usually unplanned) full 24 hour fast tossed in maybe once a month.
From there I started hearing about eating windows and eventually found myself on Martin's doorstep, and within a week I was engaged in an almost daily 16/8 window situation that I found suited my lifestyle to a T.
During this time I lost about 50 lbs total. Sometimes I would go long periods without losing any weight (though these were usually during times I was being non-compliant with the Primal) but even when I went off Primal I usually still stuck with my IF . . . no loss during those periods . . . but no gain, either.
So for me, the Primal/Paleo WoE seems key to actual weight loss while the 8/16 window style IF just fits my lifestyle and kinda helps me control the constant graze (I do find I graze a bit within my 8 hour window, but before and after it I really don't have snacking or hunger issues).
So, I was just kinda curious as to what other people's experiences have been with IF. What type do you practice? How has it helped or hindered you? Do you think IF is a fair lifestyle choice? Or should it be reserved for specific times and purposes in your weight loss (or maintenance) protocol?
Can IF really muck with your body and make it think it's in starvation mode when practiced moderately? (By moderately I mean never more than a 30 hour fast - and fasts over 16 hours not taking place on a daily basis, and a reasonable calorie consumption when not fasting).
Has anybody used IF simply as a means of regulating calorie intake?
Again, I'd kinda like to track people's individual experiences more than hear about how Authority X says so-and-so. I'd kinda like to bear down on people's n=1 experiences and see what n tends to = across the board.
I'd also be kinda interested to see if different types of fasting (skipping meals vs leangains vs eat-stop-eat styles of IF) produce different results.
I currently still have over 100 lbs to lose before I even get down to a range where I'll be doing any final *sculpting* - but for me, I've found IF gave me the one thing that even switching to a Primal diet didn't, and that is a sense of control over when and how I eat that has been absolutely priceless (given that most of my life I have been an emotional or habitual overeater, shoveling food in to bury what I'm feeling or to fill space during times of boredom).
Whatever else it may be good for, IF helped me gain control in those areas, and in that respect has been an invaluable tool.
Last edited by brahnamin; 07-11-2011 at 04:55 AM.
Reason: to add link
Losing weight, gaining muscle, calming your mind, kicking emotional eating: Leangains rules for all these things. So easy, and so effective.
I've been doing 16/8 for a few months now. Helped me sculpt my midsection. I didn't have a ton of weight to lose when I started, but it got me over that hump, and I will probably do it forever. Currently trying to gain weight. Leangains helps you do that without gaining fat (carb cycling).
Just from my reading, I would guess that a twice weekly ESE 24 hour fast would work best for someone with a lot of weight to lose. Key is to only eat normally the day after the fast (no binging). 6pm - 6pm shouldn't be overly difficult for most once they adapt.
I believe my best results came when I did follow the Leangains protocol of 16/8. I have strayed away from it more recently and dabbled in some other options (a lot of people seem to do really well eating early in the morn!), but when it comes down to it if I eat breakfast early, I inevitably end up getting hungrier and eating way more than I need to throughout the remainder of the day. (not sure if it's psychological or physiological for me but it is what it is I guess) So my 8 hours when I was doing the IF regularly would be from about noon to 8 p.m. and I probably mostly did two meals in that time, sometimes a snack in between Stats.. female, 26 yrs, 5'6'', around 135 lbs on average, would like to get to 125 or get rid of the extra flab is more accurate! I have never been really overweight so I can only speak from a perspective of fluctuating back and forth 115-145 lbs approximate. (excluding pregnancy) I think Primal WOE is best.(I have had way too many cheats lately and way too much darn sugar) I personally tend not to do so well if I cut carbs too low for more than a few days at a time it seems. So I have also been thinking about carb cycling lately instead of just hanging around the daily approximate 100g of carbs that I normally get. Also: I don't really exercise other than a bit of walking. (gasp) Shame on me I know, lately I've just simply been lazy. So it has been my experience for best results...Primal fare on the menu, I did coffee w/ cream in the morning, 8 hour eating window, 2 meals (lunch/dinner) I think is better than 3, no snacking, plenty of water. Just my 2 cents FWIW. Looking forward to reading what others have to say, good thread! (Oh as a note I have tried many other methods of fasting, I just say 16/8 because personally it was the easiest for me to actually stick with over a period of time as opposed to others. Not that the others may not work...I just never stuck with them long enough to know...lol)
Last edited by sarahmasteller; 07-11-2011 at 09:34 AM.
i fast for 24hrs twice a week. I was already fairly lean to start with and still losing fat. I'm getting stronger with weights all the time so not losing muscle. and i'm female.
I don't think of IF as a method of losing weight but instead of method of making your body healthier. Although weight loss/maintenence just comes as a side-effect of good health. I fast ~16/8 everyday although I'll eat some fat when fasting, coconut oil or heavy cream or even leafy veggies or yogurt, as this doesn't refill the body's glycogen stores like carbs or protein will do, therefore not interrupting the fast while providing the body with fuel to prevent it from going into starvation mode, which is very possible and is not something you want to happen. If you get a dry mouth or eyes when fasting that's probably a sign that your body's glucose is completely depleted and your body is unable to produce mucous. This is a dangerous state to be in and you should eat right away. I had it happen to me many times last year when I first started attempting fasting. The Perfect Health Diet book gave me a lot of information and filled in a lot of details about fasting that I wasn't finding on other paleo websites or books: Perfect Health Diet
I started PB at about 220, got down to 190 just by cutting out sugar, grains, and vegetable oil. Stalled around 190 for a few weeks then cut out dairy, cut down on fruit. Stalled at 185 for 2 months, started IF'ing from 6pm-noon a few weeks ago and down to 178 now. I think a breakfast, of any type or size, makes me hungry from an hour after I eat it until lunch. No breakfast=No hunger until lunch. I think I could make an exception for special events and eat a big breakfast and try to skip lunch, but it would be hard. And for me, I think it comes down to calorie restriction.
I don't follow specific IF protocol like described above, as i find them entirely pointless and boring. Shouldn't be be discarding such structures by now? We are all big boys and girls and can just use our intuition. But since i eat at 8-9pm at night, and then not bother till 11-1 the next day, i guess i'm pretty much IF'ing all the time and have done for years now. I am getting really lean and muscular now. Constant energy. Never hungry and so on. Never been leaner.
I simply never feel like eating more than twice a day now, sometimes once will do. Is this conducive to mass-gain? Nope. Is it it conducive to a more natural, easy life? Yes. I am healthier now. I think we eat too much too often anyway.
For me, it allowes me to:
* maintain 6% BF
* eat really huge meals (huge as in 3 lbs pizza, or 4 lbs of frozed yougur ice cream, or 2 lbs meat with veggies)
* eat lots of fruits at least 6-8 months of the year
So, it's a lifestyle. A couple of points:
* working from home helps. It's quite easy NOT to eat from midnight (I'm a midnight eater) up to 7-8 PM on the next day when the SO comes back from work or eating out with friends. BUT, when I had a regular day job, it was hard to refuse the lunch with a colleague-mate.
* it gives you the comfort NOT to stress out for food choices when eating out. Somehow, the kebabs, ice cream, pizzas, etc. doesn't do any damage when eaten after the daily fast.
* the research tells numerous benefits: growth hormone, insulin "normalization", muscle mass savings, etc.
Women are usually recommended to try a 14/10, 14 hour fast at the most and a 10 hour window. I believe there are some studies backing this up in the way men and women are different and Martin Berkhan has talked about this recommendation of the 14/10 for women. By the way, add some paragraphs next time, that's a huge block of text and it's harder to read.
Originally Posted by sarahmasteller
For me, fasts longer than 18 are unnecessary, and again, Martin has talked about this. The sweet spot, if there is one (I think IF is not magical and it's more about CR) is around the 12-16 hour mark. I've done more harm than good to my body by doing 24, 30, 32 and a 40 hour fast once. I would use them as a scapeboat for bingeing, which just isn't healthy for either mind and body. I was also screwing up my adrenals. In either case we're all different, so if you feel good with longer fasts go for it. 16-18 is the most I'll ever go from now on, and I'm not really 16/8. Some days I'm 14-10, others 15/9, 16/8 and some 17/7 for example.
Like one of the posters said, some people just naturally eat at around, say, 9pm and then just eat at 11 or 12 or more, so they're naturally doing IF without realizing it (and not stressing over it like some of us do).
With that said I'm thinking about going back to 3 squares a day for a while as I was feeling better with it. It's all about what works for you in the end.
Last edited by JPA; 07-11-2011 at 02:16 PM.