Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eat, Fast & Live Longer

Just heard about a BBC documentary on fasting called Eat, Fast & Live Longer. I haven't watched it yet but will put aside some time this weekend to check it out. It sounds like it will be really good. Here is a link to it on You Tube:

Last week was my vacation and I definitely went off plan a bit. So hard with 4 people staying at our house and constantly eating to avoid eating an extra meal or two. So for about a week I ate 2 meals a day. I tried to get in as much fasting as possible but even with that effort I found myself feeling terrible.

I was really tired and felt sick. I was so bloated and uncomfortable. I don't know how I lived like that for so long. This week I am back on track with my 19 hours per day and what a difference. I feel so much lighter.

All that eating has made me want to reassess where I am with my fasting lifestyle right now. I have been way too flexible about it this past year and I think that is why I have been having trouble moving the scale.

When I began intermittent fasting I was super strict on my schedule. At 5pm on the dot I would eat no fact it was usually earlier because I had my last snack around 3:30 or 4:00. But lately I have had a snack or two when I got home from work at around 6pm and I would occasionally break my fast early too.

The other thing that I have been doing which I think has been keeping the scale from moving is my random schedule. I used to have a specific routine. I ate between 12 and 5 Monday to Friday and had a dinner on Saturday with a long all day fast on Sunday. But I found that I missed having dinner with my husband and so I switched to dinners on Friday's too. Then when pottery class was out I would eat on Sunday as well and move my all day fast to Monday. This is a really different schedule. Tuesday to Thursday lunches...Friday to Sunday dinners...3 lunches and 3 dinners...I don't think this works as well with intermittent fasting as a consistent schedule does.

I think it is important to keep the fasting window as consistent as you can. Moving it for one day here or there with an extra long fasting window surrounding it doesn't seem to make a difference but switching back and forth between lunches and dinners too regularly seems to have a negative effect.

I realize that if I want to eventually reach my goal I need to re-focus and tighten the reins. So I have decided to start a new schedule for the fall and be a consistent as possible to try to re-gain my momentum. I also need to kick it up a notch in order to try to release the last 40 pounds of my excess weight and reach my goal.

Here is the plan:

Tuesday-Friday (4 days), Eat Lunch: 12-5pm window.
Saturday, Eat Dinner: 5-10pm window.
Sunday and Monday, Long fast: 62 hours.

I find that when I switch my schedule from a lunch to a dinner it helps to have a longer fast on either side of the switch to "re-set" the body so to speak. This helps to counteract the switch in schedule and throw the body off a little so it doesn't get stuck.

I also plan to add in an hour walk per day, minimum of 5 days per week but hope to achieve 7. I already do Pilates twice per week so I will continue with that too.

While my husband's family was visiting, his brother and his wife walked one hour every day. They have done this their whole marriage. They say it is not only good for their health but also good for their relationship. It will also be good for our dog too so looking forward to that.

I am scheduled to be in a bathing suit in December when we vacation to Jamaica...and I want to aim for a bikini by then! Gulp...Three months to get bathing suit we go!


  1. Are you sure about the 62 hours? My understanding is that the body enters starvation mode at around 36 hours, meaning resting energy expenditure lowers along with other, mostly bad, changes. I don't have any data on how long it takes to reset this, if ever, so if you know what happens, I'd appreciate a post. Regards.

    1. That is a common misconception...Check out my post

      The link at the top of the page "Starvation Myth" for more information.

    2. Your post merely notes that fat loss is not discontinued during prolong fasts based on a statement by Lyle McDonald. Even your reference to him admits my concern that resting energy expenditure lessens as fasts progress. Do you have some clinical trial data that refutes my contention that periods of (total) fasting exceeding about 36 hours reduce REE and that recovery from this (bad) situation might take a considerable period of time?

      I, too, practice intermittant fasting for both health and weight control purposes. However, my reading of the clinical experiments and physiology textbooks leads me to conclude that skipping meals for more than a full day (36 hours including 2 nights) may be counter-productive.

  2. Dear Jenna,

    I watched that program, it was on TV here in the Netherlands a few weeks ago. When I saw the man eating the gigantic bowl of fruit (and he was supposedly a "calorie restricter") I was shocked; his body was fit, but he didn't look healthy in the face at all. Dr. Mosley looked healthier but his numbers weren't very good until after he did the fast.

    They didn't mention Fast 5 on the program; Mosley did a three day and the Alternate day(?) and then later on he switched to 5 days normal eating and 2 days "fasting." But on his fasting days he ate like... 500 calories; eggs and ham. (I don't consider that "fasting!") Anyway, I'm curious to know what you think of the show!

    Good luck with your new schedule, it looks great. My window is usually 6pm - pm, but if I feel sick and insanely hungry I'll make the window 3:30 - 8:30pm. I'm curious to try a longer 62 hour fast like you mentioned, I'll give that a go. The longest I've fasted is 30 hours...

    looking forward to your next post,

  3. p.s. I just watched it again, one of the docs mentioned that the daily fasting schedules don't work as well the longer fasts. I definitely want to try the 62 hour fast and see what happens now.

    1. I watched the documentary and I really enjoyed it. My husband actually began this morning on the 5 & 2 method.

  4. I think the "rigid" rules work best for me. I sense that you may be similar. If I wake up feeling not sure of what I'll do I know that the day will be shot. But if I wake up knowing what hours and what quantities I'll eat I usually do pretty good. Vacation and family visits don't apply. :-)


    1. I think I am that way too. I do really well when I am strict. People often comment on my will power when I set my mind to something. I am defiantly set on this new schedule now. I will post along the way and let you all know how it is working.

  5. Jenna,

    I am a new reader to your blog and to fasting. I am interested in the health benefits of fasting since I don't need to lose any more weight. I have been fasting myself and my dogs for 1 day a week, but would like to do more. I am intrigued by your fasting schedule, especially fasting for 2 days every weekend! It seems like you would reap huge health benefits from that! Have you researched much on the health benefits of 2 day fasts? Most people are aware of the weight loss benefits, but what about the health benefits?

    1. Check out my latest post. Hope you find some helpful information in there!

  6. Parents can encourage their children to feel good about themselves by showing them how it’s done.

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