It is often medically supervised, and there are fasting mimicking diets along those lines. From what I’ve read, there are various definitions of fasting, which are based on absolute or dry fasting (no food or water). Intermittent fasting is generally up to 48 hours of some kind of fasting (otherwise called energy restriction). Beyond that it is termed periodic fasting for longer periods of time. After five days, one is at risk of refeeding syndrome, where the imbalance of micronutrients in the body may cause sudden death if one eats too much at that point. Refeeding should start with vitamin supplements (or those fasting should always supplement micronutrients for that matter). Women, children, and normal weight individuals are at higher risk than overweight men for complications from fasting. It can have health benefits too, but it has to be balanced like any diet to prevent extreme reactions, and not everyone can tolerate it, as with most situations. The body is always metabolizing something, so I was just saying that should be kept in mind (it never really fasts anyway—it would merely accumulate too many poisions at some point for lack of countermeasures). Reading about heat exhaustion, whether or not someone is fasting, damage can be done to the kidneys when adequate hydration is not maintained, and this requires more than water alone. Hypothermia is also more likely to occur as a result. Thermoregulation is definitely something to keep in mind. Cognition and coordination can also be affected. I think those are the biggest risks.
An update is due - I stopped IF after about three weeks with zero scale movement. I just started feeling hungry at breakfast and didn’t see the point.
But I did find something that’s working for me and where I am right now: portion control, making lighter/lower calorie selections, and cutting down evening snacking.
Typically I count calories at breakfast, which often involves eggs or egg whites and 35-calorie toast. I measure the milk in my coffee and try to keep the whole morning consumption to <300 cal.
Lunch is often dinner leftovers but in smaller portions. There are more leftovers now because I purposely serve myself smaller amounts at dinner (I was close to matching my 6’ husband…ok…sometimes exceeding).
For dinners, I cook more poultry and lean proteins and trim excess fat, reduce oil in dressing, and hold back on cheese, sour cream, mayo, and cooking oils. If I have seconds at all, they are usually salad or vegetable side. I am bulking out grains and pasta dishes with riced cauliflower. I have tiny portions of potatoes and most other grains. I add water to my salad dressings (lol).
Drinking remains more or less stable but I avoid keeping bourbon in the house as it goes down a bit too easily for us both. I am not into beer these days so wine and dry cider are my go-tos.
When I can’t resist a snack, I reach for pickles, air-popped popcorn, rice cakes (sometimes with cheese melted on top), or weighed pretzel sticks and yellow mustard.
It took 2-3 weeks for my appetite to adjust to smaller portions, but the weight loss motivated me and now it’s easier to keep going as the scale inches lower. I feel hormones play a role, too, but after various diets (Always Hungry, IF, calorie counting all day), this one fits my lifestyle best and gets results. And I am much less frustrated with myself and (hopefully eventually even more so) how my clothes fit. I read the Reddit #1200isplenty for support/ideas/portion reality checks (personally I think I aim for more like 1400-1600/day).
I have been using this portion guide as a loose reference: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/calorie-control-guide-infographic
Thanks for reading!
Congratulations on your progress! Sounds like you found a not insane sustainable way that works for you
Very glad to hear that you find a way to hack your problem! The best is you still enjoy food!
Progress is the best reward!
The truth is, while I thought of myself as a volume eater, there aren’t that many things that taste really good that you can eat large portions of and still lose weight, aside from salad and some veg. Once I scaled my appetite down a little bit, it got easier. And that will be key for maintenance.
Sounds good. Speaking of volume, I was reading that being like a hungry hungry hippo can lead to a hippocampal disorder… so if we don’t chew much, and still eat as much as the average Joe (hippo), then we’re about twice as likely to get dementia! By the way, I was watching hippos eat whole watermelons (they didn’t chew them much)—I’d say hippos are also demented for eating their young, but I digress. Calorie restriction, or extending the time between meals (i.e., fasting) may counteract this kind of neuropathy, as it stimulates neurogenisis, similar to chewing (or prevents hormonal imbalances as a result). There are other dietary factors, like alcohol, caffeine, sugar, etc., which are related to memory and cognition too. I wasn’t aware about the cognitive importance of mastication until recently though. Reading between the lines, if we want or need to be on a soft (smoothy) diet, then that especially should be done in an energy restrictive or intermittent way.
As much as diet has an impact on cardiovascular health, cancer risks and longevity, it has also an impact on mental health. Research over the last 5 years has now clearly established that our learning and memory abilities, as well as our mood, can be influenced by diet, not only during development, but also during adulthood… Calorie restriction can extend lifespan, improve behavioural outcomes in some experimental animal models of neurodegenerative disorders and enhance spatial learning.
It is also important that these diets be balanced, as calorie restriction could cause depression, for instance, if it leads to malnourishment (such as iron deficiency). I’m sure some of this is well known. Well, I’m still learning about it for the sake of looking at long term effects (based on what has been studied—eating has a lot to do with chewing, I’ve found).
Just stumbled on this thread. This topic was covered at a Nutritional Medicine Conference I recently attended.
FWIW, I don’t have a weight problem, but I have had a blood sugar problem, that I preferred not to treat with medication. Not quite as simple as calories in/calories out science, as I and others have long suspected. The timing of the fast is particularly intriguing. I’ll add references when I can.