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Fat Loss Diary: Moving on to Alternate Day Fasting

May 19, 2014

So last week I started intermittent fasting … but I only managed to implement two fasting days, in line with popular books like The Fast Diet, the 5:2 diet etc.. It worked well, but I read two more books on the subject which convinced me to move on to a “proper” alternate day strategy. One of these books is a German/Austrian book called “Die morgen kann ich alles essen Diät” by comedian Bernhard Ludwig – the other one, which I found more interesting as far as the scientific arguments are concerned is Krista Varady’s The Every Other Day Diet. I knew Krista Varady from Michael Mosley’s BBC Horizon episode on fasting – he interviewed her and ended up tweaking her protocol (one day of calorie restriction alternated with one day of normal eating) for his book. She didn’t appreciate that – in her opinion having two feed days in a row may have a disruptive effect on your ability to automatically restricting calories on feed days. So reducing the number of fasting days per week in order to make the diet easier to implement may actually undermine its efficacy – even more so in maintenance mode, which in The Fast Diet works by reducing the number of fasting days to one per week, but in Krista’s book works by increasing the amount of calories you can eat on fast days and keeping the weekends “fast-free”, but you still have three fasting days per week.

Looking back at my week I can – in a very uncontrolled n=1 way – confirm that 2 fasting days per week is problematic. I fasted on Monday and ate normally on Tuesday, and wanted to fast again on Wednesday – but something got in the way (work lunch), so I decided to push back the second fast day – no problem, I can put my fast days where I want, right? Sure … I ended up just barely getting in the second fast day on Saturday, and between the fast days I overate. I still probably ended up with a caloric deficit for the week, but in retrospect I think that using a strict alternating strategy leads to much better compliance at least for me. Clear rules! You can still eat a small meal each day, so a work lunch is doable (salad + some protein).

So for this week I’ll be alternating properly: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday will be fast days with no more than 500 calories, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will be unrestricted. Next week will be the other way round – which some people find disturbing because they need regularity but which I find quite cool actually. One effect is that your weekends alternate – on some weekends you get to eat on Saturday, on others you get to eat on Sunday.

So that’s all for this week – we’ll see how strict alternate day fasting works out for me!

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