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Practice intermittent or extended fasting for weight loss, health, longevity etc? — The Grow Network Community
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Practice intermittent or extended fasting for weight loss, health, longevity etc?

danielle.meitivdanielle.meitiv Posts: 30 ✭✭✭

Hi all

For the past few years, I've been practicing some form of intermittent, extended, or modified fasting on a regular basis. Fasting was the only way I was able to lose weight during peri/menopause and I continue to do it to maintain that loss and for the well-documented health and longevity benefits. I do a 16/8 to 18/6 fast 5-6 days/week (I was never a big breakfast person anyway) and occasional 72-hour "dirty" fasts (with coffee and coconut milk, etc). I've followed a few 5-day DIY "fast mimicking diets."

Anyone else fasting or interesting in trying it? Would love to hear your experience, thoughts, questions, etc.

Happy to discuss but let's not start with "fasting is starvation" or "fasting will kill you" (it clearly hasn't/won't). i'm a scientist and certified health coach. Interested in discussion but let's keep it constructive and fact-based.




  • My wife and I have been doing it for three weeks, and it is working-- unlike other diets or things we've tried to improve our health. We are both losing weight, my blood sugar is down consistently, and surprisingly I feel better most of the time. We are definitely sold on it.

    Right now we are doing a modified alternate day fast where we eat 500 calories during the fast day. We wanted to start a little slow because we both have health problems, and we wanted to be sure we can do it. I am already thinking about going to a true alternate day fast, but again want to move slowly so I don't overdo it. We also do a 16-8 overnight fast every day.

    @danielle.meitiv, I think we would get along great because I am a person who always says "Show me the science behind this, so I can do my own research and make up my own mind." With that framework, here are my experts I have relied on the most:

    TOP RANK. ALL MEDICAL DOCTORS: 1) Jason Fung, a Canadian kidney specialist. 2) Dan Maggs, a British General Practitioner. 3) Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo, a Swiss doctor who runs high-end spas in Germany and Spain focusing exclusively on fasting. If I win the lottery, I would go and stay there. :)

    SECOND RANK. NOT DOCTORS BUT STILL CARE ABOUT SCIENCE: 1) Stan Ekberg. Swedish chiropractor and former Olympic decathlete. Deep dives on specific food interactions with the body, including pesticide and mercury levels. 2) Mindy Pelz, another chiropractor, but still shows the scientific basis. Particularly good for detailing what is happening hour by hour in a fasting body. 3) Thomas DeLauer, a fitness coach, gym owner, and health show host. At times he can dive the deepest into the biochemical effects of food on the body.

    THIRD RANK. GOOD FOR MOTIVATION AND FOOD GUIDANCE: 1) Jess at YouTube channel Keto Rewind. Has lost nearly 200 pounds using mostly fasting so far. Although she is third rank for science, Jess is probably the second most important person on this list for my wife and I after Jason Fung. Her combination of practical tips, real results, and inspiration are huge to us. 2) YouTube chef "Dot2Trot" has tasty, easy food recipes that we like.

    So that is a list of our experts. I will give a link to a YouTube playlist I created to be a good introduction to fasting. It has at least one video from every one of my experts, except for Dot2Trot, because I just found her recently, and I have a separate playlist for recipes. But her YouTube name is distinct enough that it will show up in a search for anyone who looks.

    I'd be happy to answer any questions about what we are doing and how it is working. Glad to find at least one more person here who is into fasting. It's still early yet, but I think this is going to change our lives.

    My YouTube playlist: Introduction to Intermittent Fasting: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsezt-SRLp8_NP8zqwwpS_QCbPOiPfUlT

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,660 admin

    I do believe it works, but I would be careful with intermittent fasting if you are female, even though it can help you lose weight. Keep in mind first of all that many (most) people often overdo any type of diet or exercise idea or misunderstand it (and so don't do it correctly) or might just not do well with any particular way. Everyone is different.

    Before getting upset at my post, please consider what I have to say as we have first hand experience with the following.

    If you are not careful, you can get F.A.T. (Female Athlete Triad) which can cause ongoing reproductive, etc. health issues for women similar to what restrictive high level athlete diets can cause. I found information when I was researching because of my young adult daughter who was experiencing some difficulties while doing intermittent fasting. She was also a high level judo athlete at the time. I found the connection of F.A.T. & intermittent fasting very interesting.

    We were able to correct what was happening as we caught it early. She still eats in a similar manner, just with more awareness & a few tweaks to prevent the same thing from happening again. She is slim, fit & happy and her body is working much better now.

    This is not a widely publicized issue, which is unfortunate, but one all females should be aware of if they wish to proceed.

    Here are two sites that address this issue:

    So my take on it if you are female is just to be careful, watch for signals if something could be off and be willing to take action. Be informed & don't just follow hype & trends.

    If you are following this method, which can be beneficial, but are questioning if it is really right for you or if something feels off, don't ignore it. It doesn't mean you need to quit, but you might need to alter your practice of it somewhat to stay at your best & truly healthiest.

  • frogvalleyfrogvalley Posts: 456 ✭✭✭✭

    My husband had to lose 35 pounds in 5 months (because he had 12 originally) and did Intermittent Fasting. He lost the weight, however was of the old school that thinks fasting food has to not be fun. That practice still has a bad taste in his mouth. Please, this is the 21st century and if you can't find something on the internet that taste good with your dietary requirements, you ain't lookin' hard enough. Once he discovered one could shake the herb bottle more than once to pep up a meal, voila - happy hubby. Actually, it's now an herb party with most meals - happier, healthier and lighter

  • jolanta.wittibjolanta.wittib Posts: 362 ✭✭✭✭

    We (my husband and me) have been practicing intermittent fasting 16/8 for more than 3 years. I am a very strong believer in it. My husband managed to get rid of diabetes II. I have to add that we stopped using sugar and refined wheat flower and any processed food. But we do eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, honey and dried fruit (naturally dried, of course) and I love milk products.

    We do not take any pharmaceutical medications. Our only medicine is food and herbs. And we are in our sixties, seventies.

    Since we introduced intermittent fasting we both lost weight, we are more active physically and mentally.

    I love the idea of giving my body enough time to concentrate on cleaning itself. I like that it uses the stored fat, which I do not need.

    I am also aware, that, before one starts fasting or loosing weight, one should clean/detox oneself.

    I believe in fasting, but one really has to learn how to fast.

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    I have considered intermittent fasting, but am hypoglycemic and if I go to long with out eating My blood sugar bottoms out. I have switched over to a mostly low carb diet (no bread, rice, potatoes, or pasta) and my blood sugar has leveled out considerably. Is anyone here intermittent fasting with low blood sugar? If so how do you manage? How did you start?

  • BigfamilybossBigfamilyboss Wisconsin Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    I'm a health coach too!

    I'm a long time faster. I was doing it back before it was a thing back in the 90's. I wouldn't do it when I was pregnant but after baby was born I felt so much better when doing it. I've got fibromyalgia and the only time I lose weight and kinda sorta feel like I'm halfway normal is when I'm fasting 20 to 22 hours.

    Good To know there are others here doing the same.

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 739 admin

    @danielle.meitiv I have turned intermittent fasting into a life choice. No need to eat 3 meals a day. Usually start the day with herbal tea and a shot of fire cider. Brunch around 10am, dinner between 6-7pm. I'm happy and feel the healthiest I've been in a long time. Could do with losing a few kgs but I'm happy in this body. More plant based these days and harvest lots from the veggie garden. I'm not religious about it, happy to be flexible, depending on circumstances but for the most part, suits me fine.

  • DaniDani Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I do intermittent fasting. I like to keep things uncomplicated so I just stick with nothing but water or herbal tea after 7pm and breakfast after 8. I mainly do it so my system has an opportunity to do all of the amazing things it can do while I'm sleeping and not have to focus on digesting.

  • ieducate2008ieducate2008 Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    I'm actually just starting to try it. So far, so good. But, I haven't lost any weight. However, I do feel better.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 466 ✭✭✭✭

    My daughter and I have done intermittent fasting. I lost 13 lbs! I've also done a five day water fast and two five day fasting mimicking fasts which were basically water fasting with a 500 calorie dinner so that my husband wouldn't worry and drive me crazy about not eating.

  • dalansdalans Posts: 35 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020

    I am reaching out for help from you fasters. I've been overweight most of my life. I finally lost the weight in my mid twenties and kept it off until I became pregnant. I had 2 children, one at 26 and the other at 31. I have not been able to lose the weight since. I'm now almost 60 and need to lose close to 100#. I have had several surgeries, about 16 or so, between 1992 and 2012. 3 were back surgeries from an injury. After the last surgery, I was doing great. I fell again and doctors say not much more to do unless I want artificial discs inserted. At the time, it was newly out and I didn't want to be a guinea pig. I've dealt with chronic pain, neuropathy, and foot drop when I get tired. I can't do much exercising. Walking is about the main thing, but can't do that too long either due to my foot drop. I take meds for the constant chronic pain and nerve problems. It's the only way I can get up every day and go to work. Without them, I can't get far away from the heating pad and recliner or sofa. I started reading, taking classes, and learning everything I can with herbs and herbal medications to see if something will get me away from $150 a month in medication bills. I've tried every diet under the sun. I don't eat much as it is. Mostly fruit, veggies, nuts and beans for protein. I'm not a vegetarian. I do eat meat, but am really picky about what I eat because of my teeth. As I'm getting older, they are breaking and I'm losing them. I'm a real mess, huh. I know if I could get some of the weight off, it should help my back. I have never tried fasting, or intermittent fasting. Tell me what I need to do...... How does it work?

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 699 ✭✭✭✭

    @gardneto76 @seasparrow32 has a very good list of resources Jason Fung is a good. I really like Benjamin Bikman and his looking at insulin. Hypoglycemia is an insulin dysregulation. It can be overcome by increasing your insulin sensitivity through life style changes of diet and exercise. Fasting is actually part of diet. I recommend my patients get an inexpensive glucometer (look at the cost of test strips as well as the initial cost) and become aware of the impact of what you are eating on your blood sugar. It takes testing multiple time per day to really get the idea. Best wishes and blessings. You can do it, just be careful and patient. There are lots of people on the internet that have good intentions and bad advice, as well as those with bad intentions and good avice, bad intentions and bad advice and best of all, good intentions and good advice.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,660 admin

    Welcome @dalans! I hope you can find the support that you are looking for.

    As for your teeth, and possibly other things, you may want to look into using magnesium as a supplement. Most people are deficient in magnesium and it is a basic & important mineral.

    We use Ancient Minerals salts. We mix them with water to make a saturated solution, then rub a lot onto our skin. It is left on for 20 minutes, then rinsed off. Feet are a non-itchy place to apply it. You do this daily for 3 months, then do it as maintenance about 3 times per week after that.

  • AngelaOstonAngelaOston Posts: 189 ✭✭✭

    it also helped me get out of my hypoglycemic tendencies. I had to go slow, and not over to push.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,560 admin

    Welcome to TGN @dalans I'm sure you will find answers to a lot of your question on the forum. It sounds like you have a lot of inflammation throughout your body. I would try to address that while you are looking at weight loss solutions. Anti-inflammatory herbs could help with some of your movement issues. Movement assists with weight loss but hard to do if you are in pain all the time.

    Turmeric has been well studied for its use as an anti-inflammatory for most body systems. You might have to take it for a bit before you notice any results, so don't give up. Herbal medicines can be expensive as well so you might not get away from spending a lot of money unless you can find herbal supports that you can grow or forage for yourself.

    I highly recommend TGN's Home Medicine 101 and Making Herbal Medicine courses. This might give you some suggestions about what you can take that might help your specific health concerns. But there are many here on the forum that will answer any questions you might have.

  • dalansdalans Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning you talked about using Magnesium as a supplement. I take oral Magnesium routinely 4 times a day to keep my bowels moving due to all the meds I take for pain from muscles, joints and nerves and muscle spasms. Shouldn't that be sufficient?

    @torey I have heard a lot about Turmeric and I tried it for awhile. I might not have taken it long enough to see any benefits from it. I have both of those TGN's courses but haven't had time to get through them yet. Work takes up a lot of my time, at work and at home. I have to bring a lot of my work home with me to keep up.

    Thanks everyone!

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,660 admin

    @dalans It may be. I didn't know that you were taking any, but thought that I should mention it just in case. 🙂

    I understand that some types of magnesium are taken up by the body more efficiently than others. Different people seem to promote different types for specific purposes or other reasons.

    The one that I mentioned is very good as far as body utilization & doesn't cause side effects rather than temporary itching if on a more sensitive area.

    If you are needing what you take to keep things moving, that is very important. I would say to continue if it is helping.

    I don't know if anyone else has any thoughts on this.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 466 ✭✭✭✭

    I agree Jason Fung is a good resource. Dr. Daniel Pompa is as well. The 3 five day water fasts I've done were group fasts on Facebook with his fasting group. They both have good books and a lot of videos on youtube and facebook.

  • danielle.meitivdanielle.meitiv Posts: 30 ✭✭✭

    Eating a low-carb or keto diet should help with the hypoglycemia because it shifts you to burning fat (ketones) instead of sugar for fuel. It also makes fasting much easier. I would start slowly: eat during a 12 hour window (7am to 7pm) and fast for 12 hours. After doing that for a few days extend it by an hour. Keep doing that until you are at 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating or basically skipping either breakfast or dinner. I find that is a sustainable pattern for many people.

    If you are concerned about low blood sugar, you might find it easier to skip dinner and go to bed without eating and then eating something shortly after you wake up.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  • danielle.meitivdanielle.meitiv Posts: 30 ✭✭✭

    It is so exciting to meet so many Grow Network friends who like fasting! I discovered it via the BBC special "Eat, Fast, Live Longer" with Dr. Michael Mosley, who came up with the 5:2 Fast Diet = 5 days normal eating, 2 days low (500) calorie.

    I did that on and off, then read Dr. Valter Longo's work, "The Longevity Diet." He recommends a 5-day fast mimicking diet (FMD) = 1000 calories day 1, then 700 calories day 2-5. I've done a few of those and I'm due for another - I think I'll do it next week. I did a DIY version b/c I can't eat some of the ingredients in his Prolon kit (soy and tomatoes) and I'm not willing to spend $300 to eat less, LOL! I do the FMD as a seasonal cleanse and to reset my immune system (I have autoimmune disease).

    I've been the same weight most of my life but gained 20 lbs when perimenopause hit. 1-2 weekly 36+ hour "dirty" fasts (coconut milk in my coffee) helped me lose the weight over 4 months and I've kept it off with daily 16/8 - 18/6.

    Like @simplethings4us and @jodienancarrow fasting is now a lifestyle for me. I like the idea of letting my body have periods of eating/growth and periods of not eating/renewal.

    Those are awesome resources @seasparrow32 ! I'm not familiar with #2 & 3 of your top docs - will check them out! I did my longer fasts following Jason Fung and his FB group, which is great. I love listening to him on podcasts and in interviews - so laidback, LOL. @kbmbillups1 I like Dr. Pompa's work too. Just picked up his book "Beyond Fasting". Will keep y'all posted on his insights!

  • danielle.meitivdanielle.meitiv Posts: 30 ✭✭✭

    HI @LaurieLovesLearning - thanks for your response. I didn't mean to sound like there was no room for discussion - I've been in too many forums where people just say "fasting is not natural" or "don't starve yourself" and wanted to make sure we didn't end the discussion that way. But I'm totally open to other opinions and discussing sources in the scientific literature that point to other conclusions. It sounds like you encountered a serious challenge with your daughter - I'm glad you figured it out and found a practice that works for her!

    As Dr. Axe mentions, fasting can become an eating disorder if not done correctly. That's especially true for young women. The situation he's talking about includes not eating enough calories. But the kind of fasting I'm referring to means not eating at all during some periods and eating normally during others. In fact numerous studies suggest that eating the same amount of calories but during a limited window can have some of the benefits of fasting. Sadly,however, people can do it wrong and get no benefit at all or worse, harm themselves in the process. Most commonly it's not eating enough, which in young women can mean anorexia.

    I had also read the articles and posts suggesting that fasting can be harmful for women and was initially wary myself. Especially because I had initially heard that women with Hashimoto's should be cautious. But then I read more about the many many people who had success and decided to try it. After all, it clearly has been a part of our evolutionary history - eating regularly spaced meals is a very very recent phenomenon, so clearly our bodies were built to handle periods without food.

    Personally, I found it worked very well. But I have never suffered from disordered eating (sadly rare for a women, I know) and did not hesitate to eat adequate amounts of food during my eating windows, including lots of healthy fats. I lost the perimenopause weight rather easily and it's stayed off. I do dirty fasts and find that eating a little bit of fat - chia seeds or some olives - before bed helps me sleep and not get a cortisol spike at night, something I have heard women sometimes experience.

    Thanks for your insights! I love Dr. Axe's work

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,660 admin

    @danielle.meitiv Thank you for your response.

    I just felt that mine was necessary knowing how people can be. You never know who is reading.

  • GroundedGrounded Posts: 154 ✭✭✭

    This discussion is a good one, however, there is some apple and orange comparisons going on here. A 12/12 or a 16/8 diet is different than a 500 cal/day or a 5 day fast. There is also the issue of what is eaten during the feeding window. @dalans, you might want to get some testing done to see where your diet is dificient and/or where you are having problems before jumping into anything new. You might try asking your doctor to explain what he/she believes is going on with you and why he/she is prescribing whatever they are prescribing and then address these issues looking at your total health goals. See if your doctor will refer you to a good nutritionist to get you going in the right direction. Don't panic if things aren't falling into place on a dime. Start exercising a little bit at a time, if/when it is safe for you to do so. Get adequate sleep. As you are doing all these things, start using alternative medicines and protocols to see how they either help or not so much. There are no set answers for any of this, which also makes it seem hard. You know you better than anyone else.

  • RustBeltCowgirlRustBeltCowgirl North Coast OhioPosts: 628 ✭✭✭✭

    I do intermittent fasting. I usually only eat between 7 AM and 6 PM. I have lost weight with it. I can plainly tell be the notches in my belt, as this is forcing my metabolism to cut into my "fat" pad on my stomach and abdomen.

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    @tomandcara I have contemplated picking up a glucose meter but never did. Since I have stopped eating rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread my episodes as I used to call them have almost totally disappeared. I also attribute that to eating healthier, less processed foods, and more fruits & vegetables. I can usually sense my sugar drops as I start to feel funny and shaky. If I grab a piece of cheese or a spoon of nut butter I feel better pretty quickly. If I did the glucose meter how often would you suggest testing myself? Everyone else in my family has high blood sugar, so my dr said I was good and not to worry. I made changes in my diet for others reasons and noticed the benefits myself. When I wait to long to eat, that’s when I feel it, especially if I forget to eat breakfast. I will definitely need to start very slow to see how I do.

  • siobhanashmolesiobhanashmole Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    Hey I have very low blood sugar and blood pressure and I thought I'd never be able to fast, but since my first Ramadan doing a daily dry fast for a month I've been fine. I feel really good on it have lost weight and healed gut and pain issues through it. I do dry fasts of +-16 hours (more for spiritual reasons) but I've started doing intermittent 18/6 fasts a few days a week. I do not fast if I'm ill or on my period though - I do need to have some surplus strength to do it; and prefer intermittent fasts to dry fasts (I drink a lot of herbal tea which seems to ease it).

    I would maybe check with your dr /naturopath about solutions you could try and start with a very easy 14/10 or 16/8 type fast

  • carrie449carrie449 Posts: 3 ✭✭✭

    I've been doing a 5 day cleanse you a juice supplement. I also have been drinking 2 ounces of it everyday. The cleanse was to get rid of toxins in the body. I have lost some weight and hope to continue. Tomorrow is the last day of the cleanse, but I will keep drinking the supplement. It has helped me sleep better. My joints don't hurt either.

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    @siobhanashmole thanks! What do you mean by a dry fast? No solid foods? I have low blood pressure as well. Didn’t think about that. Do you drink anything other than herbal tea and water while fasting? I love a cup of coffee in the morning.

  • dalansdalans Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @LaurieLovesLearning! I appreciate your input. @attydennis1 I know what my doctor is prescribing and why. I have had some severe back injuries that took 3 surgeries to put it back together again, then I slipped in water and landed on my back on concrete that messed every thing up that was fixed to the point it can't be repaired. Guess all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. 🙂 The meds keep me up and moving and working. I do appreciate your input about the testing though. I have to see my doc this month. I will talk to him about that. This has been a 20 year battle. I haven't given up yet. That's also why I have been getting into natural medicine and trying to learn everything I can. I appreciate all of you!

  • annbeck62annbeck62 Posts: 333 ✭✭✭

    I started intermittent fasting about 3 weeks ago. I've had many false starts before but am sticking with it this time. I'm doing it more for detox and giving my digestion a break rather than weight loss. I've done a lot of research about all the health benefits and am looking forward to seeing what I notice as time goes on. I'm still in the "this is soooo hard stage" I've always been a grazer and have I have a strong appetite (read get really hungry. I'm not one of those who can get so busy I forget to eat.) Right now I'm fasting 16 hours a day although I am still juicing and taking in other beverages during the 16 hour stretch.

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