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Intermittent fasting--questions for those who've tried it

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  • #31
    I have never had any issue fasting on a 'high carb' diet. I think that this is one of the touted benefits of the IF approach - one doesn't have to pay that much attention to what one eats. Not to say that one shouldn't try to eat low simple sugar, low fructose, unprocessed, high fibre, good fat and all that. The main goal is to get insulin levels down and letting the body mobilize and burn FFAs rather than continuously pouring in carbs which keep insulin levels high and fats locked up. Definitely agree with those pointing out that the main benefit is to stop one from snacking - almost always on highly processed high sugar crap.

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    • Zaphod
      Zaphod commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, me neither. I havent changed my diet or paid attention to macros or whatever. I hope its not high carb but I bet it is compared to those that are paying attention.
      Has made zero difference with doing IF or working out fasted.

  • #32
    I understand running and cycling on empty in the morning is doable and even has its benefits in training, but I think if you’re doing 15-20 hours/week of Ironman training or 60-80 mile weeks of marathon training it’s really not sustainable. I realize this isn’t the vast majority of people of course. But especially if a lot of your workouts include speed work, tempo segments, etc. I’m more concerned about recovery afterward than performance during but that’s also a consideration. There’s a reason most endurance athletes don’t make IF a regular part of their training.

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    • Zaphod
      Zaphod commented
      Editing a comment
      I think thats incredibly different and so much so that its really not applicable to average dr. joe. Anything over 2 hours of easy with maybe some tempo efforts likely requires some fueling. Im doing 35-40 mpw and find no issues refueling, recovering, etc...and I do one threshold/suprathreshold workout a week and some tempo/sweet spot during my long run. No big deal under 2 hours.

      If you're doing tri/marathon training and much more volume (35 mpw is 4.5-5h, big deal), things are different. In fact, nutrition and energy management during training and in prep for the race is as much a part of the training as anything else. If you dont get it right you'll totally mess things up.

      Also in that case you're spending so much time working out that you're spending a significant amount of time not eating period. Makes no sense to be worried about diet/IF/etc...at that point. You'd probably have more of a holistic nutrition plan at that point.

  • #33
    Most important question:
    Are you allowed coffee during the fast?

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    • uptoolate
      uptoolate commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes on coffee, water, any beverage that does not contain carbs, fat, protein though most advocates will let you put a bit of milk/cream in a coffee or tea but definitely no sugar.

  • #34
    Originally posted by invest View Post
    I am starting intermittent fasting with a low/medium carb diet. I'm four days in. I'm wondering if people who are doing it or tried it can relate their experiences:
    1. how long have you been on it?
    2. what is your fasting routine? (e.g. I am currently doing 20 hour fasts, eating 2 meals between 3 and 7 pm)
    3. do you periodically do extended fasts (>24 hours)? If so, how often and for how long? It will be a mental hurdle for me to get past 24 hours.
    4. starting vs. current BMI or weight, or % BMI or weight loss
    5. how long did it take to get to your current steady state BMI
    6. when you are fasting, are you able to get through the day seeing patients or operating with normal performance? I have noticed that for myself, I get anxious (hangry) around 1 pm. Then after I eat at 3 pm, I am drowsy for about an hour.
    1. 1 year.
    2.. When I work, I do one meal a day(typically I dry fast with only a glass of wine with food). Weekends I try to get 15 hours(wife not a big believer in IF)
    3. On rare occasions I will do a 36-48 hr fast, but hard to turn down food when I come home from work with a nicely prepared meal by live in in-laws who don't listen to me when I ask them not to make me food.
    4. 5'4'' 139lbs-->130lbs.
    5. 1-2 months.
    6. After a few weeks, I got over the hangriness, stomach occasionally growls, but it stops. My afternoon sleepiness has improved since I've been doing fasting but it hasn't totally gone away. I get sleepy after I eat dinner.

    I do mountain biking and gym wall climbing fasted. 1-2 hour sessions 2-3x week. No problems. Every 2 months I'll even donate blood after a workout while fasted. No problems, curiously, my total cholesterol(blood donation site doesn't give a fractionated value) has gone up from 200-230. I suspect my TG's are bumping up, due to the body liberating more free fatty acids to produce more ketones.
    Last edited by burritos; 12-30-2019, 09:31 AM.

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    • #35
      The body is very happy to burn free fatty acids and they are the main fuel for the heart most of the time. The idea that glucose is needed to do exercise (or the brain needs it to think!) is mainly the product of a great marketing campaign.

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      • #36
        Originally posted by uptoolate View Post
        The body is very happy to burn free fatty acids and they are the main fuel for the heart most of the time. The idea that glucose is needed to do exercise (or the brain needs it to think!) is mainly the product of a great marketing campaign.
        Glucose/fructose(sucrose) in nature is for seasonal animal obesity. Gorge on fruit, spread seeds in our poop, we fatten up long enough to make it to the next season. Rinse and repeat.

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        • #37
          Originally posted by uptoolate View Post
          The body is very happy to burn free fatty acids and they are the main fuel for the heart most of the time. The idea that glucose is needed to do exercise (or the brain needs it to think!) is mainly the product of a great marketing campaign.
          I'm friends with a lot of Ironman athletes (one who just finished at Kona world championship) and a lot of marathoners (Boston qualifiers)...other than maybe one or two fasted runs a week to train the body in burning fat, the majority of their training is not done fasted. If training fasted was the most effective way to do things I'd think we would see a lot more of this practice among those athletes. These are people who are SUPER serious about their diet and training...I don't think it's just marketing that makes them do what they do...

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          • #38
            Originally posted by mianesmd View Post

            I'm friends with a lot of Ironman athletes (one who just finished at Kona world championship) and a lot of marathoners (Boston qualifiers)...other than maybe one or two fasted runs a week to train the body in burning fat, the majority of their training is not done fasted. If training fasted was the most effective way to do things I'd think we would see a lot more of this practice among those athletes. These are people who are SUPER serious about their diet and training...I don't think it's just marketing that makes them do what they do...
            If you want to optimize performance, then I don't think you need/should do those activities while fasted. I think exercising while fasted for non performers like me increases beneficial cell metabolism for wellness.

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            • #39
              Originally posted by MPMD
              I do IF from time to time. At one point was probably doing 3 x 24h fasts/mo. Was trying for once a week but ED schedule makes that tough.

              My top thoughts which will help newbies:
              1. Like all weight loss regimens it will not make you drop much weight if you are already at a normal weight (this is the case for me).
              2. Hunger pangs can be intense but for most of your fast they are temporary.
              3. There is a massive difference in the way you experience a missed meal between accidental and on purpose. If you are starving at work and can't get grab lunch and are hangry that is one state of mind. If you get out of bed saying that you aren't going to eat until 8pm or whatever that's a very different proposition. The first suuuuuucks, the second is annoying but very manageable. I think this is the biggest barrier to entry for IF "but I'm going to be starving!" I was usually totally fine for 20 hours of a fast with just pangs of hunger here and there, fairly uncomfortable for the next 2, and really very hungry for the next 2.
              4. When you break a long fast you can eat a lot and still be nowhere near your typical caloric intake for the day. Fast for 24 hours and it's 8pm? Have a burger and fries and you're still way under where you would be in a normal day of snacks and 3 squares.
              I agree with most of this. Proper mind set is key. Break a fast with some nice grass fed beef, great. But fries cooked in vegetable oil, I'll pass. I'm in the camp though where I think food source matters, not simply the number of calories (not to say that calories can be ignored, it's still important).

              Are most people fasting for weight loss? I assume that's probably the case. I did have some weight to lose, but it's been stable for a while now and I continue to fast more for the autophagy, hormonal, and other benefits.

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              • #40
                Originally posted by MPMD
                3. There is a massive difference in the way you experience a missed meal between accidental and on purpose. If you are starving at work and can't get grab lunch and are hangry that is one state of mind. If you get out of bed saying that you aren't going to eat until 8pm or whatever that's a very different proposition. The first suuuuuucks, the second is annoying but very manageable. I think this is the biggest barrier to entry for IF "but I'm going to be starving!" I was usually totally fine for 20 hours of a fast with just pangs of hunger here and there, fairly uncomfortable for the next 2, and really very hungry for the next 2.
                I'm the opposite. Knowing I am fasting makes me feel hungry. Not eating for 24-48 hours because I'm beyond busy & tired... I feel nothing. Only after I stop & think do I realize "... oh, I'm hungry, I should eat something because its been a while...".
                $1 saved = >$1 earned. ✓

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                • #41
                  Originally posted by mianesmd View Post

                  I'm friends with a lot of Ironman athletes (one who just finished at Kona world championship) and a lot of marathoners (Boston qualifiers)...other than maybe one or two fasted runs a week to train the body in burning fat, the majority of their training is not done fasted. If training fasted was the most effective way to do things I'd think we would see a lot more of this practice among those athletes. These are people who are SUPER serious about their diet and training...I don't think it's just marketing that makes them do what they do...
                  I dont think anyone is saying its most effective, saying its not detrimental and that the body indeed is happy to use a different source than intake during activity. "fasted" is going to mean different things to different people. Saying its not something to worry about for the average person is not saying, "this is best practice, especially so for elite athletes". This is a huge distinction, and no one is saying anything of that sort, simply that its no big deal for average hobby runner/cyclist/etc...

                  Just because you're super serious doesnt mean you arent susceptible to marketing or know anything at all about what you're doing. This is almost more true in fitness than anywhere else, also a place where people will do all kinds of dumb things for the possibility of an edge. It is the land of fads and traditions based on nothing more than a one time whisper, participants touting things they have no understanding of, etc...I put sugary recovery/energy drinks in all my rides of any distance until last few years, why, marketing and the off chance it could help. It is not somewhere to find a lot of generally reasonable and well thought rational motivations for doing things. They do the any new thing the current best person does, etc...

                  Seriously, go visit a fitness forum, not exactly full of well reasoned individuals who use evidence based metrics for anything, if someone says what they want to hear for the results they believe in, they're all about it. Although back in the day, 'wattage' was an awesome forum.

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                  • #42
                    Originally posted by Zaphod View Post

                    I dont think anyone is saying its most effective, saying its not detrimental and that the body indeed is happy to use a different source than intake during activity. "fasted" is going to mean different things to different people. Saying its not something to worry about for the average person is not saying, "this is best practice, especially so for elite athletes". This is a huge distinction, and no one is saying anything of that sort, simply that its no big deal for average hobby runner/cyclist/etc...

                    Just because you're super serious doesnt mean you arent susceptible to marketing or know anything at all about what you're doing. This is almost more true in fitness than anywhere else, also a place where people will do all kinds of dumb things for the possibility of an edge. It is the land of fads and traditions based on nothing more than a one time whisper, participants touting things they have no understanding of, etc...I put sugary recovery/energy drinks in all my rides of any distance until last few years, why, marketing and the off chance it could help. It is not somewhere to find a lot of generally reasonable and well thought rational motivations for doing things. They do the any new thing the current best person does, etc...

                    Seriously, go visit a fitness forum, not exactly full of well reasoned individuals who use evidence based metrics for anything, if someone says what they want to hear for the results they believe in, they're all about it. Although back in the day, 'wattage' was an awesome forum.
                    Completely agree with this and burritos' comment. If one is an endurance athlete then one's goal is something completely different and it is very reasonable to load up liver and muscle glycogen stores (and top off what fat stores you have with the excess glucose) before heading out but you will note that they are also training in a low insulin state so that they can be ready to burn FFAs when those stores run out. Throughout human history, until very recently, it has been quite difficult to 'carb load' and the body had to be adapted to work well on FFAs and the ketone bodies derived from them. The IF advocates are largely trying to get us back to a state where our insulin levels drop long enough and low enough so that we can let stored fats be mobilized and burned - their main target group is not svelte runners! The period of low insulin also probably let's the ligand-receptor status reach a more normal state. And please don't get me started regarding the dietary and pharmacological wisdom of people at the gym. Granted endurance/cardio people tend to be quite a bit more measured than the strength crew.
                    Last edited by uptoolate; 01-01-2020, 09:19 AM.

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                    • #43
                      Originally posted by uptoolate View Post

                      Completely agree with this and burritos' comment. If one is an endurance athlete then one's goal is something completely different and it is very reasonable to load up liver and muscle glycogen stores (and top off what fat stores you have with the excess glucose) before heading out but you will note that they are also training in a low insulin state so that they can be ready to burn FFAs when those stores run out. Throughout human history, until very recently, it has been quite difficult to 'carb load' and the body had to be adapted to work well on FFAs and the ketone bodies derived from them. The IF advocates are largely trying to get us back to a state where our insulin levels drop long enough and low enough so that we can let stored fats be mobilized and burned - their main target group is not svelte runners! The period of low insulin also probably let's the ligand-receptor status reach a more normal state. And please don't get me started regarding the dietary and pharmacological wisdom of people at the gym. Granted endurance/cardio people tend to be quite a bit more measured than the strength crew.
                      Since I recently transitioned to running from a long hx of cycling and then pretty much nothing for a couple years I (as you do when you want to drill down into things) started reading forums/reddit. While I've known for a long time most athletes (performers in general) lean heavy to the superstitious rather than evidence side, at least in cycling people have really taken to data and analytics, and it wasnt that way when I started. I was the first person I know of to have a power meter, went deep into that stuff.

                      Runners otoh, are veritable luddites who seem to bounce from trend to trend and basically repeat whatever cafeteria wisdom they happen to come upon first. I can hardly go to reddit anymore, its kind of a mob amplifying sort of place and with that crowd, whew. So so interesting compared to cyclists, take Vaporflys for example (theyre slightly faster! waaah! tech cheats! so exp!), lol, meanwhile you can gain much more significant advantage cycling at a cost of thousands of dollars, spare me.

                      I've bought a power meter straight out and its pretty much amazing and it will become the go to training device even for running in the future. Yes, it will take many years, which is sad and there will be tons of resistance.

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                      • #44
                        So I'm really late to this conversation, but I've been doing IF 20:4 since about May and I'm down to 209lbs which is the first time I've had a BMI less than 25 ever.

                        I also count my calories on the Under Armour MyFitnessPal App which is super easy. I also use the Zero Fasting App which is really cool.

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                        • #45
                          At its essence, its really fairly simple. Just skip breakfast. Nothing between dinner and lunch. Never been a big breakfast eater so I guess its something I've been doing for as long as I can remember. BMI 22.

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