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Monday, December 8, 2008

Intermittent Fasting - another weight loss and health tool

INTERMITTENT FASTING

Are you trying to be a good little low-carber, but failing these days, especially with all the holiday treats around? Do you want a measure of control and a more structured schedule to help with that?

Before you run away in horror, read a little further. This is not about huge deprivation. Intermittent fasting can be austere, but it can also be very manageable and you can still eat every single day on the less austere regimen - not only that, your meals can be a bit more carby if you are not prone to great cravings. The eating window can be as wide as you like in the beginning, but optimally should be about 5 to 9 hours. Some people prefer to eat once a day - in which case their eating window will probably be 2 hours. There are specific programs out there: One called Fast Five and another called Stop Eat Stop.

Although, I have yet to try intermittent fasting myself for more than a day or two, I think it is possibly something I might try in the new year sometime to lose 5 lbs, but more importantly to reduce my CRP levels, which were a little bit high the last time I was tested. Perhaps it will be a WOE that I will adopt more frequently in the future. Dr. Eades had a post on this that indicated intermittent fasting reduces inflammation: A Fast Way to Better Health and Study

The advantages of intermittent fasting as I see it:

1) Cuts down on grazing and, therefore, calories
2) Eating takes time and energy (preparing food several times a day and worrying about what to make, etc.) Eating once a day cuts down on work.
3) Most likely the food budget will go down
4) Weight loss
5) Hardly any muscle loss - so the studies show - some googling will bear me out
6) Feeling and looking like your girth is getting smaller and the empty feeling in the stomach being almost enjoyable as a result
7) More control over food - wrestle back that control
8) Get more done during the day without thinking about food
9) More energy

Disadvantages:

1) Difficult to cook while out of the eating window - try not to
2) Social events - especially unexpected ones - need to shift the eating window and sometimes the intermittent fasting day will go out the window if one has already eaten
3) Occasional hunger - cannot relieve it with eating, however, a cup of tea or coffee with cream (with sweetener for those who can handle it without cravings)
4) Being offered something tempting to eat outside of the eating window
5) Needing to exercise some will power
6) Ketone breath
7) Perhaps not getting enough calories
8) Sometimes binging if one is prone to that sort of thing
9) Feeling a bit of a failure if the intermittent fasting day is messed up

Here is a thread on a forum that is interesting. It is closed now, but inspiration can be gained from reading in it: www.lowcarber.org

A blog of interest: www.theiflife.com

Anyway, it is just a thought this morning, and perhaps it will help someone who is struggling to be a good little low-carber, but is failing too often. This method gives one freedom from having to count anything and even freedom to eat more good carbs depending on the person.

If cravings are super strong, Wellbutrin (an anti-depressant), can help with that - giving the necessary serotonin boost without eating (googling will show that this drug can actually cause anorexia in extreme cases, so do exercise caution). Drugs are a last resort though as they almost always have side effects, some of which could be more serious. Dr. Atkins said L-Glutamine helps as does Chromium-GTF (I think - don't quote me on that one!)

During the fasting period, 100 calories are allowed if necessary. One or two cups of coffee or tea with cream and sweetener will cover that. It might just be enough to still the hunger. The sweetener might cause cravings, so do monitor that.

Effects of fasting on blood sugar? Here is an interesting blog article where Brad Pilon author of Eat Stop Eat (for weight loss) did some experimenting on himself: Fasting blood sugar levels

All the best to anyone who tries this. I'd like feedback, if you get the time.

Jennifer Eloff
www.low-carb.us

5 comments:

Tree said...

I'm so going to try this until the end of the year. I am in desperate need of resetting my metabolism and stopping the cravings after Thanksgiving. Thanks for writing about this! I'll let you know how it goes.

Jennifer said...

Hi Tracey - sometimes when one falls off the wagon, those cravings keep one from clambering back on. I hope this method helps you. It still requires discipline, especially in the beginning. Try not to prepare food for your family outside your eating window. That would derail me for sure - that's why I mention it.

Jennifer said...

Ooops, Trina, sorry about that. I was getting you mixed up with someone else I remember. By the way the link to the Examiner on your blog is not working. Is it just my computer?

Angela said...

I've been eating this way for almost three years. Not only have I lost 100 lbs, I have more energy, and feel better than ever before.

Jennifer said...

Wow, Congratulations, Angela. I've never actually met anyone who does this. Thank you for sharing.