As I mentioned in this post, when I heard Art De Vany say he eats “two meals a day, sometimes one, sometimes none” I thought that was unfathomable.
But after reading The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting, in which Dr. Jason Fung described his experience with his Intensive Dietary Management clinic and how he would get many patients with type 2 diabetes off insulin and diabetes medications within just a few weeks through extended fasting, Lisa and I were ready to give it a try.
Neither of us had even been diagnosed as prediabetic, but Lisa’s fasting blood sugar had been 102 in October 2016, which is what got us started on this dietary and lifestyle journey.
In The Obesity Code, Dr. Fung cited a study of 70 days of alternate daily fasting in which body weight was decreased by an average of 6%, while fat mass decreased by 11.4%, with no loss of lean mass. He also said
Studies of eating a single meal per day found significantly more fat loss, compared to eating three meals per day, despite the same caloric intake. Significantly, no evidence of muscle loss was found.The Obesity Code, p. 243, Jason Fung, M.D.
It’s important to note that with alternate daily fasting, you’re still eating every day. Typically you eat dinner every evening, and skip breakfast and lunch every other day.
So on Sunday you would eat all three meals, but then on Monday skip breakfast and lunch, limiting yourself to water, black coffee or tea. Then repeat the cycle.
Two Three important additional points:
- If you are taking insulin or medications for diabetes, you absolutely need to have medical supervision while fasting to prevent dangerous low blood sugar episodes.
- If you’re eating lots of carbohydrates, you will be miserable on an all-day fast. It’s best to get at least somewhat converted to fat metabolism before starting fasting. Eggs, meat, avocados, nuts and other foods relatively high in fats and with moderate protein, combined with limiting carbs to 25-40g per day, will help convert your body to burning fat.
- I’m not a doctor. I’m not giving medical advice. Check this out for yourself and make your own decision in consultation with medical professionals you trust.
One more tip: a good way to start is with time-restricted feeding, just skipping breakfast every day and eating lunch and dinner during a 6-8 hour window. This still gives you an extended period of lowered insulin levels, and isn’t quite as extreme as going 24 hours without food.
With all of those caveats, here are my weekly bluetooth scale readings from our 10 weeks of alternate daily fasting. I weighed every day, but for simplicity am just sharing the Wednesday morning readings.
With the caveat that the body fat and muscle percentages seem to be calculated by some voodoo electrical signals running through the soles of my feet, at least all of those readings were coming from the same scale.
So the bottom line is that I lost about a pound of fat per week while essentially preserving muscle mass. (The other 4 lbs. lost, according to the scale, were water weight .)
Note also that when we started the 10-week experiment I was already down 37 lbs. from Peak Lee, as demonstrated in my “before” pictures. So presumably I had already lost the “easy” weight.
And in keeping with the study cited by Dr. Fung, my body weight was reduced by 6.2%, while my body fat was reduced by 18.1%, during the 10-week period.
Have you tried intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding?
If so, how did it work for you?
If not, what questions do you have?
See the whole series about my health journey. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
7 thoughts on “Our 10 Weeks of Alternate Daily Fasting”
Lee, interested in how this method differs between sexes. Did Lisa have the same result as you? Thanks for being a test study and keeping track of your data for us!!
It worked well for Lisa too…and in fact was the strategy that finally helped her to break through. Trim Health Mama was extremely slow going for her, and Slow Carb a little better. It wasn’t until she did alternate daily fasting that she felt she was gaining momentum. I’ll share more on her story through all of this in a future post.
Thank you for sharing this information Lee. I too lost the easy weight when I was a member of Weight Watchers. I went from a high of 330 to 245 but have struggled going up to around 260 and then back down to around 245 or so. I recently purchase a bluetooth scale with body fat, muscle mass, water weight and BMI measurements. I plan to start the alternate day fasting today for a couple of weeks to see how it goes. My wife started the 8 hour eating window, 16 hour fasting plan a month or so ago so I think that may work better after I lose a few more pounds. I’ve always been told I’m pre-diabetic so I think this may be a real positive for me.
That’s great, John. I’m glad this is helpful to you, and as I understand it those extended periods of lower insulin levels are really crucial to restoring insulin sensitivity. Keep me posted on how it’s going!
I will keep you posted…Thanks Lee!
This is really fascinating, Lee! How do you resolve the success you’ve had with intermittent fasting, with the 4 Hour Body’s mantras on a) getting enough protein every day and b) eating within 30 minutes of waking? I’ve been trying to follow those guidelines (with some success) but am definitely open to an alternate fasting schedule.
Hi Greg – that’s why I’m sharing all of this as My Health Journey as opposed to My Health Destination. I’m telling the story of how my thought processes have unfolded as I’e learned more. I definitely think the 4HB approach is a major improvement over what Peter Attia calls the Standard American Diet (SAD). And I really liked (and still do like) the idea of eggs & bacon for breakfast every morning. I think that can be really helpful, and I did lose about 15 lbs. during that phase of my journey. And the main thing in the 4HB is avoiding sugar (or anything white except cauliflower), don’t drink calories, and when you eat carbs have them be in beans vs. starches. I think the time-restricted eating (within an 8-hour window for example) – and occasionally skipping a couple of meals to make it a 24-hour fast – takes it to the next level. It’s also less socially awkward because skipping breakfast and working through lunch doesn’t typically affect other people, and then you can enjoy dinner, which is usually the most social meal.