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March 19, 2008

How To: Intermittent Fasting

By Worker Bee
355 Comments

After the great discussion last week following the 1 Meal vs. 3 Meals news post, we thought it was a great opportunity to follow up and delve into the nitty gritty of IF. Practically speaking, what does IF look like? Today we’d like to focus on the “window of eating,” a dimension of IF that got people talking last week.

Any brand of fasting can already seem a little daunting for the newcomer. (But for those whose impressions of fasting involve hunger strikes or gaunt figures sitting in meditation, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.) Reading about some options, and knowing your efforts will indeed be rewarded with true health benefits, makes the leap a little more inviting.

Let’s first put this on the table: there is no one way to do IF. The only real guideline is that, as always, the food you eat should be healthy. (It’s pretty clear how we choose to characterize that.) In addition to the substantial health benefits, the simplicity and flexibility are what draw people to IF.

As Mark said, he enjoys mixing it up beyond the use of one approach by missing meals naturally or on an unplanned basis in addition to full day fasts. Let your choice(s) fit with your personal/family schedule, natural rhythms, and your personality (some of us are meticulous planners and some are more spontaneous – “and that’s O.K.”). The point of IF is this: episodic deprivation takes your body “off the track” for a while and allows systems to reinvigorate and recalibrate (also known as up-regulating and/or down-regulating gene expression). Check out Mark’s previous post on IF for more info on the research and nifty benefits of fasting.

Here are a few ways to IF (in unofficial terms):

Skipped Meal:
As Mark alludes to in his comment in the 1/3 meals post, he likes to miss meals naturally or on an unplanned basis. When we listen to our bodies rather than blindly follow routine we find we’re not always hungry when mealtime comes around. Let yourself skip a meal when this happens, or plan a meal skip during a convenient time.

Condensed Eating Window:
As shown in the comments from last week’s post, this is a popular option. The day’s food intake is condensed within a set number of hours, often somewhere between four and seven hours. The timing of this window varies depending on the individual’s schedule and preferences. The time since you prior meal or until you next day’s meal becomes the fasting period.

Early and Late:
For some, this option is more easily managed than the condensed eating window. The day’s food intake and nutrients are balanced between an early meal and later afternoon/early evening meal.

Single Twenty-Four Fast:
Most people choose to have a normal dinner and then fast until the following evening. Others choose to extend the fast until the following morning. For many people, this can be a weekly routine. Others may integrate it on a monthly basis or as an occasional event based on their sense of progress/plateau.

Alternating Day Fast for Week (or more):
This approach is often credited with a deeper “cleansing” character. Some people do it once or twice a year. Others make a seasonal commitment. You can choose to drink only water or include teas/small amounts of juices during fasting days. On the alternate days, some people choose to eat normally, and some opt for reduced caloric intakes.

One tip: During your “window of eating,” however long or brief it is, don’t feel that you should eat more than you might be hungry for. It’s a unique opportunity to listen to your body’s signals. It also serves as a way to “prove” to your conscious brain that you can survive quite nicely on smaller amounts of food and that you don’t need to “make up” for those temporarily lost calories. Of course, eating according to the Primal Blueprint at all times whether fasting or not means that you are constantly refining your fat-burning skills. This, in turn, means that you are not so dependent upon regular meals to sustain normal blood sugar levels, physical energy and mental acuity.

Interested in trying IF for the first time? We’ll highlight the “condensed eating window” approach (one option among many) to get you started. This approach, particularly with a fairly extended window, is very doable and can seem less daunting as you get started. Choose your own timing and length of window based on your schedule and preferences. If you can’t decide, you can consider condensing your eating between the hours of eleven and 5:00 p.m. Look for a corresponding IF menu in this week’s installment of “Eat This Today, Feel Good Tomorrow” later on today.

Be sure to send your feedback. We’d love to hear your results!

*Florian Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Post Workout Fasting

Modern Forager: My IF Success Story

Conditioning Research: IF Reduces Inflammation

Sponsor note:
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355 Comments on "How To: Intermittent Fasting"

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Rachel
Rachel
8 years 6 months ago
are you seriously suggesting people fast? as in not eat? that’s called something isn’t it- oh yeah anorexia! i realize this is one day but you have written a suggestion for people to skip meals, or full days of eating once a week. So which is it MDA- skip meals or eat 5-6 small meals a day? i do understand the point you are trying to make of listening to our bodies, but i think there are much healthier ways of going about knowing when we are hungry and when we are not. and if it was as simple as… Read more »
Ron
Ron
6 years 10 months ago

you should research before you post, you are completely ignorant on this subject.

Angel
Angel
5 years 3 months ago

Did this person seriously type anorexia?

Angel Lovelii
Angel Lovelii
4 years 11 months ago

Lmaooo @ anorexia…. Reallly?

Jessica
Jessica
4 years 10 months ago

Um, this lifestyle is NOT anorexia. This person is clueless!

David
David
6 years 10 months ago
Yes you are hanging on to conventional wisdom a bit there. Who says that we need to eat all of the time, every day? What scientific research do you have that suggests that fasting is unhealthy for you? It’s just what you have been told since birth and thought never to question it. Just like in school when it is drummed into our heads that grains should be at the very heart of our diet. Try and keep an open mind when it comes to breaking conventional wisdom. IF is a great practice for health, not just for fat loss,… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 6 months ago

This is clearly a more intelligent reply. NIce!

Agi
Agi
4 years 6 months ago

Just a small nitpick to an otherwise good response…anorexia nervosa is a mental condition (and probably what the original comment was referring to) but in and of itself anorexia is a physical symptom, which presents as a decreased sensation of appetite. This can occur as a result of anorexia nervosa or a host of other medical conditions and drug reactions. It is not neccessarily indicative of something harmful…one would need to see what other symptoms were present.

steph
steph
6 years 3 months ago

Clearly you haven’t done any research on intermittent fasting! The point of it is not solely to be able to listen to your body and know when you are hungry. Maybe you should do more reasearch or try it yourself before you start arguing against it. There are many doctors who agree intermittent fasting works. Read up a little more before you make such a ridiculous post my friend.

kev
kev
6 years 2 months ago
Anorexia is not the same as fasting! Anorexia is a mental condition not physical. It is when a person has mentally brainwashed him or her self into thinking they are fat. They will usually pick at there food and or eat sugary junk and starve themselves in other ways. Fasting changes the body’s physiology and allows the body to dump junk that has been accumulated over time. They are too completely different subjects. If someone refused to eat because they think that the food will make them fat would be considered anorexia. It is the mindset. Bulimia refers to mindset… Read more »
Brian
Brian
5 years 11 months ago

Yea i agree you don’t know what your talking about.So people who fast for religious reasons are anorexics?Besides that it would be more along the lines of bingeing which it still isn’t so…maybe its quiet time for you now.

E.A.
E.A.
5 years 6 months ago

You should research more. http://www.ajcn.org/content/86/1/7.full

Not anorexia at all.

Madison
Madison
4 years 7 months ago

Great link. Thanks for sharing!

Luther
Luther
5 years 6 months ago

read the post numb-nuts.

paulo
paulo
5 years 3 months ago

Well said…Why the h*ll would you suggest this? Makes no sense to me. Furthermore I am very familiar with up/down regulating as you say and there is no scientific proof that fasting will cause this.

ally
ally
5 years 3 months ago

actually, if you look at studies for caloric restriction and its ability to extend lifetimes etc, it makes sense. cr creates beneficial adjustments by putting the *organism* in slightly stressful situations, causing adjustments to be made through up/down regulation. with that said, provided that the person isn’t going to pass out or die of starvation, its quite plausible that hunger would be able to alert the body to make particular adjustments by up/down regulating genes that could be beneficial in terms of weight loss.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst
5 years 3 months ago

Rachel I’ve been caught a few times myself. I’ve posted some bloopers and guess what, they’re on record for all eternity. Now I tend to research before I post. If you wiki “Intermittent Fasting” you’ll get the information you need to clear up the confusion.

francois
francois
5 years 1 month ago

most people dont know nothing about fasting, as you just shown here, you have so much to learn, poor you. I kind of hate people like you very ignorant and stupid

Liz
Liz
4 years 4 months ago

Hate?! That’s a bit harsh.

Joe
Joe
2 years 5 months ago

But at least she don’t use no double negatives, like you done here.

Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.

Sophia
Sophia
5 years 1 month ago
A few points: 1. I just started the Primal Blueprint with my husband a few weeks ago. I was seriously skeptical about the “eat when you’re hungry until you feel satisfied” since I was convinced that part of the reason I gained weight was a lack of willpower. The problem I had was that no matter how much I ate, I never really felt satisfied. Full does not always = satisfied. When I was “full” I could always manage to eat a little more until I was totally stuffed. Even if I stuffed my face until I felt sick, I… Read more »
Tabitha Davis
Tabitha Davis
4 years 10 months ago

Absolutely!! It’s crazy how I went form being able to eat and eat and eat…and not be able to say no to not even being able to finish a kids meal at the restaurant I work at and not even care!! Sooooo awesome!

Me
Me
4 years 9 months ago

Idiot.

Ignorant Troll. Do your research first.

Alvaro
Alvaro
4 years 7 months ago

Mind your manners! you don’t need to be offensive!

Alvaro
Alvaro
4 years 7 months ago

“Anorexia”? “eat more faster”?
What are you talking about?

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 7 months ago

Actually, you’re last sentence isn’t accurate. I’ve been doing IF for the last month (lost 20lbs)using a 2 day fast, 1 day eat, 2 day fast, and 2 days eat plan and my appetite is significantly less than it was prior to IF. I also tend to crave healthier foods. Salads and meats as opposed to pizza (my former favorite meal). I’m not here to say it’s for everyone, but give it a shot before condemning it.

Raghda
Raghda
4 years 4 months ago

So you go 2 days without eating anything or how do you do it?

Dan
Dan
4 years 6 months ago

The ignorance in these comments is almost laughable. Do you even know what anorexia is?
Just another person using the Internet to be “heard” even when wrong.

Melissa
Melissa
4 years 6 months ago
anorexia is a disease, in which you cannot/don’t want to eat due to mental health issues. people fast for many reasons, spiritual and for health reasons, and for different lengths of time. did you even read the article? there are many different ways to eat, it is individual. there is not one set way. some people who are “fasting” don’t feel extraordinarily hungry. people can make their own decisions on what they feel is necessary for them, and fasting may be it…or eating three meals a day, or 5-6. maybe read more than one “health” article and form your own… Read more »
Drumroll
Drumroll
4 years 5 months ago
Just have to say… If this is anorexia, why haven’t I lost ANY muscle since I began eating this way? That’s the biggest classic symptom of what anorexia does to you since you are afraid to eat pretty much ANYTHING. Agreed with everyone saying that people should research before they post. Some people will NEVER accept the Paleo lifestyle. My aunt is a nurse, and one day, she asked me how I kept so healthy and looked so good. When I told her about my lifestyle (hey, SHE ASKED!), she railed on the unhealthiness of all those saturated fats I’m… Read more »
Sheena
Sheena
4 years 5 months ago

Drumroll – I have had exactly the same experience time and again – I am asked how I have lost weight/look so good/ look so fit/look so well etc – and I start sharing the Primal Blueprint ethos and get shot down time and again on the spot! Usually by overweight/unfit people who are looking for a miracle shilst being addicted to and wearing the comfort blanket of conventional dietry wisdom – now I just keep it to myself and continue to get compliments!

EM
EM
4 years 4 months ago

“Fast to be healthy,” had said the Prophet (s.a.w.).

I’m a muslim. And I fast. I am not anorexic.

zark
zark
4 years 4 months ago

Intermittent Fasting is NOT an attempt at weight loss. People who try it seem to be quite easily able to maintain a very healthy weight.

Darren the Barbarian
Darren the Barbarian
4 years 3 months ago

I have dyslexic aneroxia, I don’t think I’m fat enough.

Jen
Jen
3 years 7 months ago

<3!

Kevin P Carey
4 years 2 months ago
Vanna
Vanna
3 years 5 months ago

Well said.

Ali
Ali
4 years 1 month ago
To the uninitiated it may seem like a drastic and unintuitive step, but there is actually a hell of a lot of research that backs up intermittent fasting. It has been shown in mice (and humans) to improve blood profiles of triglycerides, hdl and ldl levels. Increase insulin sensitivity, decrease abdominal fat (a key indicator for cardiovascular disease), decrease stroke and decrease cancer incidence. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of alzheimer’s, parkinson’s and other brain diseases in susceptible mice. If you consider the typical ‘back-in-the-day’ Homo sapien you would understand how it matches our original lifestyle… Read more »
fancy47
fancy47
4 years 19 days ago

I have been fasting every year since I was 25….sometimes two or three times a year….short water fasts of 3 to 11 days….and the longest was 23 days.. I think you had better do some of your own research before posting ignorantly on a subject that dates back to the begining of time… By the way I am on a water fast now, if anyone would like to join me.

Jeff
Jeff
4 years 6 days ago

You are seriously reading without comprehension. Before you post a comment. Make sure you understand the subject so you would not seem as ignorant as you are right now.

Cima
Cima
3 years 6 months ago

Chill Out Sistah!
I’m doing IF for 1 month direct, and ate like 1800 calories a day. And no, it’s not called anaeroxia.

Thomas
Thomas
3 years 6 months ago

….and the FDA used to say to eat 12415125 servings of bread a day. Are you still following that? Doctors used to recommend smoking as well, do you follow that? Get with the times, or the times will leave you behind.

Greenhudler
Greenhudler
2 years 9 months ago

Anorexia? Lol, seriously?

Ash
Ash
1 year 7 months ago

Wow, some people really need to stop being so narrow minded and open up to other concepts of living as opposed to the ones that have been drilled into them from an early age by the fitness industry, Government etc.

I do a 24 hour fast once a week along with skipping breakfast here and there and I am the fittest, best functioning, healthiest and greatest I’ve felt in all my 23 years of living. I’ve also been primal/paleo for the last few years and trying to reach my goal of 7% BF. I’m currently at around 9-10%.

Katie
Katie
8 years 6 months ago

Um, anorexia is far more than just not eating…that’s just the way it is expressed. Abstaining from food for a certain period of time is a common practice that appears to have some health benefits. And the world is not going to end if you are hungry.

Aaron
8 years 6 months ago

Rachel –

As Katie said, anorexia is a serious medical condition. Intermittent fasting is simply a way to structure your eating patterns in order to potentially receive a variety of health benefits – weight loss not being the main focus. It may not be for everyone. Some people may not care to do it, and others may find it exceedingly difficult to skip a meal. We are simply offering it up to our readers as an eating option that they should, in our estimation, consider trying.

Mike Drew
Mike Drew
8 years 6 months ago
I’ll skip meals a few times a week, mainly breakfast or lunch. I’m usually not hungry when I wake up, so I usually don’t eat until a few hours later, at which point it’s lunchtime. Sometimes I’ll eat an early breakfast, and then find that I’m just not hungry come lunchtime, so I don’t eat. I find this style of eating much more natural and comfortable. I hate being forced to eat when I’m not hungry. It usually just leaves me feeling sluggish and bloated. I’d much rather eat when my body tells me to, not when the clock on… Read more »
charlotte
8 years 6 months ago
As a recovering anorexic, I really see your point Rachel. However, Anorexia is officially defined as amenorrhea for at least 3 months, refusing to maintain a bodyweight of at least 85% of normal, intense fear of fat or weight gain and a disturbance in the way one views their body. Fasting is certainly a technique that many anorexics use but not all who fast are anorexic. I use IF (with the approval of my doctor, even) for religious and health reasons and have seen only positives from it. It has not caused me to go back to my ED’ed ways.… Read more »
kmac
kmac
6 years 5 months ago

a high fatty meal with a little protein.

i really enjoy this as my meal back… its almost like a reward to tell you the truth! its dense enough to sustain you and fill you up right good.

merengue 4 eggs whites to stiff points,
mix 1 avocado, egg yolks, and baking cocoa powder,
fold in avo/cocoa mixture in merengue,
enjoy with some fresh berries 😀

seriously tho… if you eat half and store the rest for a snack later… (holds for about 8 hours) or just cut the recipe down in half eating it all isnt a huge meal

josh
josh
5 years 10 months ago

re: eggs, cocoa powder, avocado snack

that sounds delicious, but do you cook the eggs at some point? or toss in lemon juice or anything?

thanks for the suggestion!

Eriu
Eriu
2 years 3 months ago

Kmac, I am totally stealing that. It sounds delicious. Thanks 🙂

Omar
Omar
6 years 3 months ago

Use your eyes!

Seriously 🙂 Take a look at how much you want to eat, then cut out about 1/4 to 1/3 of it and only cook the remaining 2/3 to 3/4 of the food. You’ll find that you’re not full, but you’re certainly not hungry either. I usually keep it very high protein, moderate fat, and very low carbs just to keep the fat burning going.

Depending on how much you usually eat, I’ve found that a good 12oz steak with some veggies is perfect for me. It could be different for you, or it could be more.

Huckleberry
8 years 6 months ago

I could see avoiding IF if you’re prone to eating disorders or recovering from anorexia, though it sounds like Charlotte has managed it successfully. Psychological health is as important as, and inseperable from, physical health. However, IF itself does not cause anorexia.

There really do seem to be some health benefits to IF, particularly for insulin regulation.

Food Is Love

Migraineur
8 years 6 months ago

I guess I’ve naturally, unconsciously doing some sort of IF for years. I almost never wake up hungry, so I often skip breakfast. And I find, interestingly, that if I skip breakfast, I almost never want lunch until 1 or 2 pm. However, if I eat breakfast, I’m hungry by noon.

Kay
Kay
3 years 11 months ago

I do the same. When I tell people I only eat when I am hungry, I get statements like, Well it;s linch time. Aren’t you hungry? They just don’t get it.

Mark Sisson
8 years 6 months ago
charlotte, Wonder if that’s a vestige of the anorexic days. The sense that the “sacrifice” you just made is worth an “indulgence”. Many people report that they don’t eat as much after a fast as long as they understand that it’s OK NOT to have to make up for the lost calories, that you can stop eating when you are simply not hungry for the next bite (as opposed to waiting for the sensation of fullness – at which time you may have eaten more than is comfortable). One idea might be to take whatever meal you had planned post-fast… Read more »
kmac
kmac
6 years 5 months ago

i get what your saying, i like to use the one bite every 2 whole minutes. just slowing down your eating limits over indulgence after a fast. like mark says its an opportunity to really tell how much it takes to feel full, nad being full. eating SLOWLY is a great way to do it!

Mike OD - IF Life
8 years 6 months ago
Fasting is NOT starving oneself. You can fast..it’s natural and has been done for ooohhhh….couple millions of years. Again, starving oneself with little or no calories is not the goal of IF. The goal is taking in your calories in a shorter time window, or taking a day off eating so your body can do some much needed internal gut cleaning and other health benefits. Most people with serious diseases have found much relief when they allow their body to heal. Healing takes alot of the body’s resources and energies, digestion takes up alot too. You still need nutrients, vitamins,… Read more »
Mike OD - IF Life
8 years 6 months ago

The benefits of fasting and calorie restriction also has some nice little research such as:
– increased longevity
– reducing oxidative stress
– reducing inflammation
– reduce risk of heart disease
– improving neuroendocrine responses
– increasing GH secretion
– protective effects on heart, lung, brain
– decrease in insulin resistance
and other overall disease prevention and life extension factors….here’s about 20 or so studies on it all.
http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog/resources/

Dave in Ohio
Dave in Ohio
8 years 6 months ago

Mike OD wrote: “Most people with serious diseases have found much relief when they allow their body to heal. Healing takes alot of the body’s resources and energies, digestion takes up alot too.”

Come to think of it, whenever I get sick, I have no appetite whatsoever and can go days without solid food. I guess the body does know what it’s doing.

Sasquatch
8 years 6 months ago
Personally, when I come out of a fast I eat like a horse. I make up for the calories I skipped, or at least close. But I’m also very active and I don’t think my body wants a long-term calorie deficit. On another note, Indians in the Pacific NW traditionally used fasting to treat a variety of illnesses. Fasting and herbs were the first line of defense, and if that didn’t work, it was time to call the medicine man for some good old-fashioned placebo. But fasting was also a part of their life even when they were well. The… Read more »
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[…] you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Earlier today we highlighted some approaches to intermittent fasting and recommended a condensed eating window for those who were new to IF. Over time, many people who […]

Rachel
Rachel
8 years 6 months ago

Thank you Charlotte, I appreciate someone seeing my point as well.

charlotte
8 years 6 months ago
Mark – thank you for the insight. I think you have a point and I’m going to try the portioning you suggested. I think the problem is that when I stop my fast I feel like I should be able to eat my normal-sized portions but fasting kinda shrinks my stomach and it’s hard to accept that just a few bites makes me “full”. But I like your idea of reminding myself that if I’m hungry an hour later, I can just eat again then. Thanks for the common sense:) Rachel – it’s kinda funny. This topic is being discussed… Read more »
Barry
8 years 5 months ago

IF can also be used in conjunction with weight lifting to affect dramatic physique changes!

Check out Martin Berkhan’s LeanGains website for more information and stunning before and after photos.

http://www.leangains.com

Linz
Linz
8 years 2 months ago

We were not ment to take in tuns of foos evrey day. Even ouer digestive trak needs a rest. Less food is better. Anericans have such a wierd veiw on food. I think people who do this long turm will notice more energey, more vibrent skin, and over all health.
From a Godly point of view. Its quite nurishing as well.
Luke 4:4 (KJV)
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Earth Beauty
7 years 10 months ago

I like this idea of IF. I practice it in a small way of skipping breakfast most days of the week. Come weekend time, I’ll eat about two meals a day which tend to be heavier than my weekday meals.

Patrick
Patrick
7 years 10 months ago

I had a question about IF versus the warrior diet. One advocates not eating at all during the fasting window (IF) and the latter says that if you eat “light” during the fasting period, you’ll reap the same benefits. Which is true?

John
John
5 years 6 months ago

From what I have learned, it’s all about what your body comes to expect. If your body knows food is just around the corner, it will plan for it. To convince your body to burn fat since food is NOT just around the corner you have to demonstrate that by not taking in calories during the fasting period. Going light will just convince the body to slow down metabolism to “make it through” to the next meal. Also very important to avoid insulin spikes anytime around fasting – before and after especially.

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Travieso
Travieso
7 years 9 months ago

Can someone give me advice. I have been IFing one and off for a year. I try to fast at least 20-21 hours. I find it hard to make it to 24 hours, but I’m working on that. Is 20-21 long enough to be considered a fast? I have found the definition of IF so broad at times that I really don’t know if I am IFing (or IFing correctly). Any advice woudl be wonderful.

James
6 years 6 months ago

20-21 hours is definitely an IF, as a matter of fact, the benefits of IFing hit their max production at around 18 hours, everything after that is gravy…so to speak.

mark sisson
mark sisson
7 years 8 months ago

Travieso, 21 hours certainly counts as a legitimate IF period.

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[…] Marks Daily Apple How To: Intermittent Fasting […]

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[…] It may shock you to hear that there are all kinds of different types of fasting that you can do. You must understand the type of fast you are doing and stick to it without losing focus and being all over the place. In a great article over at Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark outlines the different types of fasting: […]

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7 years 8 months ago

[…] fruit with a glass of wine to wind down the day. Or if I’m beginning an overnight stint of Intermittent Fasting I’ll skip it […]

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[…] the idea of IF because it’s so customizable according to one’s lifestyle.  There are so many different ways of […]

tracey
7 years 7 months ago

i had a question for mark.. hi i wanted to know if i have been intermittently fasting becausebfor years i eat only one meal a day between 9am and 3pm and before 3 i will have a snack. I lost weight this way awhile back and ive kept it off ive had a clean bill of health for a long time and my cholesterol is low and everything has been pretty much normal for a awhile . So all i wanted to know if what ive been doing is the same regimen youve mentioned on your website?

Mark Sisson
7 years 7 months ago

tracey – Yes, you’re eating patterns could fall in to the realm of intermittent fasting and is perfectly healthy. There is no reason for anyone to be eating 3 regular or 6 small meals everyday. If you’ve found a formula that works for you then stick with it. Just make sure you are eating right otherwise (enough calories/healthy fat, low carb, high-density vitamin/mineral/antioxidant foods etc.) and you’ll be fine.

TJ
TJ
5 years 8 months ago
Mark – isn’t the point of IF to break the routine ? It would seem that consistently eating one meal a day is a routine and by definition is not IF (nothing intermittent about it). I am not disparaging the eating pattern – whatever works. But it can’t be really called intermittent. I have done IF way before learning about primal anything usually starting with dinner and ending with breakfast so over 24hrs. Amazingly in the morning i would eat very little and feel very full. That was the main benefit for me – shrinking stomach -> shrinking portions for… Read more »
tracey
7 years 6 months ago
hello mark i just wanted to say thanks for the reply but i also had one question . Why is it so hard for me to get back to IFing if i make a mistake and start eating after 3oclock? it almost feels like im starting over for the first itme and the cravings for whatever i was eating will come back at the same time everyday and its like im in a battle with my body to start eating clean again.I usually wind out gaining 15 pounds if i dont get back on track.Tonight im struggling again but so… Read more »
tracey
7 years 6 months ago

hello mark i had another question for you. I have been reading the book about the fast-5 lifestyle and my question is as follows if the 5 hour window is good no matter what window you choose, then why is the 5pm to 10pm window so widely perferred? my 5 hour window is between 9am to 1pm nowdays and i keep feeling that if i suddendly change my window to 5pm to 10pm that i will start to gain weight and i dont want that.

Mark Sisson
7 years 6 months ago

Tracey, there’s no real magic to the 5 hour window in my opinion. Just do what works. As for your other question, if you are IFing and you decide to eat, you embark on a whole new set of hormonal changes, which include added hunger. If you are only eating one meal a day every day, you may be reducing the value of IF. You might try two meals a day for 6 days and then one meal on the 7th for a while.

tracey
7 years 6 months ago
hello mark thanks again for your reply, i have been eating one meal a day for many years but its usually what some people eat for dinner like baked chicken and vegetables and maybe sweet potatoes and a glass of orange juice. Afterwards i will go walking or if i feel like i’ll go jogging at the park near my house and on the weekends i go hiking in griffeth park. Ive never felt weak or lacking in energy its just i have had a problem craving sugar sometimes and if i eat at night at least in the past… Read more »
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[…] Chaos in Your Bowels: Nature (5 Feb 2009) has a research article showing that worms (C. elegans) lifespans are increased by 56.6% with Intermittent Fasting (IF), 40.4% with Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) and only 13.2% by Chronic Calorie Restriction(CCR).  CCR was the craze in the longevity circles for a while.  Fasting has always been a secret in all religions for spiritual growth and health.  ADF is too is more regular than IF which is the most chaotic way to fast.  IF is all over the Paleo webs now as an amazing secret to health, weight loss and strength building. … Read more »
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[…] to below 2400 to create a deficit. I try to be around 1100 to 1300, and on days where I partake in intermittent fasting I might dip below 1000/day. A deficit of 1000/day will result in about 2 lbs of fat loss per week. […]

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[…] genetics of prehistoric man. We can utilize automatic survival mechanisms for personal gain (intermittent fasting) and we understand how our bodies move, allowing us to perform perfect functional lifts that […]

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[…] the observed benefits than the straight practice of CR itself. (On a related note, we do recommend intermittent fasting, but we’ll leave that comparison for another time.) In this case, our interest was definitely […]

Skull Shirt
7 years 3 months ago

Your body does this naturally anyway when you get sick or injured. I can remember not eating for a couple DAYS when I got the flu. And far from getting worse, I got better. And came out the other side minus a couple pounds of bodyfat. I wonder about losing muscle though….

janice
janice
7 years 3 months ago
Hi, I think every one is different. If I ate anything at all like my hubby, I’d weight 300 lbs! Every year, it changes too… with age (currently 38) I just find it harder to stay in the same size clothes. I have to restrict my calories. It no longer matters that I lift and run and cycle and work out (sometimes a couple times a day.) If I want to keep the belly fat off and keep from getting chub-rub on the long runs (ouch!) I simply have to restrict my calories. It doesn’t matter that I don’t eat… Read more »
Drumroll
Drumroll
4 years 5 months ago
Working out twice a day (even if only on occasion) is probably too much. Your body needs time to recover from a workout. By not letting it recover you increase the secretion of cortisol. While some cortisol is absolutely necessary for life, and even healthy, too much causes the body to hang onto fat. This may be thwarting your ability to drop body fat. I’ve read that people who workout solidly three or four times a week often see more muscle built, and fat lost, than people who do so every day. The rest time and lower cortisol levels probably… Read more »
janice
janice
7 years 3 months ago

sorry – I’m happy TO see an old practice getting creds.
j

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[…] I have also been toying with the idea of intermittent fasting. […]

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7 years 3 months ago

[…] How To: Intermittent Fasting – Mar. 19 […]

Andrea
Andrea
7 years 3 months ago

hey,
I’ve been IF’ing for about 2 months now, 18-22 hours, twice a week, always Tuesday and Thursday. By keeping a constant schedule of fasting, am I reducing the benefits? I’ve read in several places on this site that part of the point is that your body has to adapt to changes. Occasionally I’ll skip a meal in addition if I’m just not hungry for it, but for the most part, it’s Tuesday and Thursday.
Thanks for the advice

pjnoir
pjnoir
7 years 3 months ago

Andrea, Are you doing the Eat Stop Eat diet? I have gotten great results as a diabetic with the Warrior Diet- also never hungry. Soildly based in Mark’s Primal and Atkin’s low carb. I would vary the days off ala tricking your metabolism. I do it with taking extra Fat or extra carb days or extended IF on various days. I like to keep the body wondering what the next bit of food will be

Andrea
Andrea
7 years 3 months ago

Nope, I don’t have Eat Stop Eat. I just added IF to gain some of the benefits that are seen with CR, without the crankiness.
It seems that 3 days normal, 1 day fast, 1 day normal, 1 day fast (repeat the next week) would be mixing it up enough, but I wanted Mark’s opinion anyway.
Though my body might not mind a random schedule, I don’t like it, I’m an engineer, we tend to be picky.

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[…] How To: Intermittent Fasting- post by Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint […]

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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple and How to Intermittent Fast […]

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[…] using the Eat Stop Eat method (with which I’ve had great success), or any combination of intermittent fasting schedules… which ever fits your lifestyle […]

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[…] I take advantage of intermittent fasting(IF), not only to control calorie intake but also for two more important […]

Karen
6 years 10 months ago
I’ve recently been looking into the whole IF program as well as Brad Pillon’s “Eat Stop Eat”. I’ve read and understand the beneficial and cleansing aspects to it, however I’m wondering if I would be a good candidate. I find that if I go more than 3 hours without eating, I start getting really shaky and irritable. Because of this, I always have a bag of almonds or a banana in my purse. Also, I simply cannot function without breakfast. I tried this the other week when I had to go in for a blood draw and almost fainted. So,… Read more »
Karen
Karen
6 years 10 months ago

Karen, when I started Brad Pilon’s ESE the same thing happened to me. I had to do a few mini-fasts before doing a full-blown 24-hour fast, and even then my first few 24-hour fasts were hell. H.E.L.L. But each one got significantly easier and I felt better on each one. By around fast 3 or 4, I felt great. Perhaps there was some de-toxing going on, I don’t know …. Brad talks about the dizziness factor a little here – http://bit.ly/7HseGe.

Karen
6 years 10 months ago

Thank you for the response and the link. It was very helpful. I know that just the anxiety of not eating is going to be hard on me. I get anxious just thinking about it!! I like my food 🙂 I think the idea of doing mini-fasts at first is a great idea. Thanks again!

jen
jen
6 years 8 months ago
Hi Karen, I’ve been fasting off and on for several years. There are times when I want to fast and I run into the same issue that you do. What I’ve learned along the way is to prepare my body. If you are eating meat, start to minimize the amount you eat, and at times it takes me between 3-7 days before I start. I fast every other day. I don’t usually do it for longer than 4 weeks at a time. Basically, I eat one day and not the next. I drink only water with a little bit of… Read more »
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[…] of IF There are many different types of IF.  The one thing they all have in common is their relative simplicity and flexibility. For […]

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