How many of you fast on a regular basis? I've heard that it has benefits but also am curious if it i

Pros? Cons?

How many of you fast on a regular basis? I've heard that it has benefits but also am curious if it i 41 votes

I fast
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Want to try it
Gia6280Mommy_DSJS_38almost_hipsterjrdiazpkkrystosekblkadr 6 votes
Not my thing
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  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 505 Member
    edited May 17
    Not my thing
    The important thing to remember about fasting is that usually when people use that method successfully - it's simply bc for whatever reason, that helps them stay within their calorie goal more consistently.

    I typically only eat two meals per day. On a weekend for example (like when I'm able to be at home) I will have breakfast at ~9/9:30am. Then I will eat my next meal usually around 3/3:30pm. I know that's not a typical fasting schedule or anything if we're talking IF...but it's quite a long time between having food. Some reasons for this are --- I don't eat breakfast on week days bc I simply don't want to get up any earlier to make time to make something, LOL. I get up, get ready for work and go. If I do have something to eat it's a snack and would never usually consist of more than ~300 calories. This just works for me personally. For some people, it'd be an awful idea to skip breakfast. I do typically have some sort of snack either between my two meals or later in the evening if I get hungry again.

    My meals tend to be higher in calories than what some others might consider a 'meal'...I want something that has like 700-900 calories in it depending on what my activity plans are for the day. So, I'm not stuffed but I'm definitely full when I eat. I also have Invisalign which affects my ability to eat more often as I'd rather keep my trays in as long as possible. So I go quite some time between eating --- when for someone else, it might be better to eat smaller amounts of food more often in order to feel satiated the entire day.

    The cons of fasting/IF would be that if it causes you to not be satiated and feel really hungry/ravenous during some part of your day --- it can then cause you to just say 'F it' and eat way over your calorie goal.

    It's more about what fits in your lifestyle/schedule really.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,806 Member
    Not my thing
    In case you're interested, there was a thread about this in the Debate Club part of the MFP Community.

    If you haven't been in the Debate area much, be aware that that part of the Community has slightly different rules. People are still expected to be civil, but are allowed to debate points rather strongly. Open disagreement is standard. If you're interested in evidence from research and such, those things are more common in the Debate area, though I don't recall details about what was in that particular thread.

    Me, I don't like arbitrary rules, and am happiest with the fewest constraints I can manage while still accomplishing my goals. (That's true for weight management, fitness, and pretty much any other area of my life: I'm a hedonistic aging-hippie type.)

    I was able to lose weight fine, and maintain a healthy weight for 6+ years since, without fasting. (That, after multiple previous decades of overweight/obesity.)

    I also know that for me - unlike for some people - fasted workouts feel very miserable, and I don't personally have trouble with stomach upsets even with pretty intense workouts soon after eating. I eat from shortly after I get up in the morning, to shortly before bed at night, whenever I want to eat - I don't even have the same number of meals/snacks every single day. 🤷‍♀️

    I did this, instead, as my personal more minimal-rules approach, in case that's of interest:

    Fasting works very well for some people, if it helps them manage calorie intake. It's really trendy now, too - it can be a more engaging thing to talk about with friends than just "I eat less", which is pretty boring conversation fodder. 😉
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,875 Member
    What kind of fasting..."fasting" is pretty broad. I've done 16:8 IF at various times for various reasons. As for benefits...many of the touted benefits have little in the way of actual evidence. The primary benefit of IF for many is that it allows them greater adherence to a calorie deficit by having a specific eating window. That said, I have lost weight, maintained weight, and gained weight doing 16:8 ultimately comes down to calories.
  • shockbishop
    shockbishop Posts: 37 Member
    I fast
    I do the 16 hour fast naturally since I don't eat at night. I'm super fat. I think it's just helpful to not eat late in other ways. As for fasting for days, done that too but for non dietary reasons.

    I'm no expert but I'm pretty certain starving for a time throws your body is a freaked out place where it needs to survive this hard winter.
  • Anobono
    Anobono Posts: 10 Member
    Fasting is not a good solution for me. Let's be clear, because I can never eat less than 3 hours before my bed time, you could say I fast every day from around 6 PM to 9 AM for 15 hours. Otherwise, I have to eat a breakfast, lunch and dinner with occasional snacks in between, so I don't fast in any other way.

    I learned a few decades ago that the key for me to not have cravings all day, for food and alcohol, is to always have breakfast with protein and to eat at regular times. This helped me tremendously when I stopped drinking in particular because before that I'd spend all the hours after dinner first on alcohol then on caffeine until I ate some food at lunch time -- that's 18 hours from 6 PM to 12 Noon! This was taking a serious toll on my body and my brain. Also, I suffer from digestive issues and if I don't eat when I first get up, and then on a regular schedule, I have serious heartburn (acid reflux).

    I'm thankful that I've already established a healthy eating routine for myself because weight loss is now mostly a question of what food I choose and the quantities I eat. As I get used to eating less (currently 4 1/2 months in), I find that I don't feel well when I eat larger portions. I guess my body is finally getting retrained.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,964 Member
    Not my thing
    No, I like breakfast. I feel it's best to fuel my body with a filling nutritious meal to start my day.
  • gpanda103
    gpanda103 Posts: 175 Member
    I fast
    Lots of fasting zealots will claim all sorts of benefits. It doesn’t really. It’s just time restricting your eating

    If you can keep yourself occupied during your fast, go for it.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,620 Member
    OP - you would get a lot more out of this thread if you engaged with people rather than just get votes.

    Which of the many versions of fasting interest you?
    What benefits have you heard of and from what source?
    (There are some truly awful prophets out there making a lot of money out of the current popularity of fasting for weight loss.)

    I lost weight successfully with 5:2 fasting.
    Strict 16:8 time restricted eating just irritated the hell out of me even with a generous calorie allowance.
    I skip breakfast most days to shift my eating to the parts of the day I enjoy my food the most but I'm flexible about it.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,379 Member
    Not my thing
    I don't and won't fast. I tried it briefly in the distant past. I was starving all the time and worse, I became utterly obsessed with food. All I thought about was my next meal. It was completely unsustainable for me.

    My sister used to fast a lot. (True fasting, not IF.) She had a lot of health issues as a result. That also put me off fasting, even if my love of eating didn't.
  • almost_hipster
    almost_hipster Posts: 1 Member
    Want to try it
    I lost 20 pounds with intermittent fasting, eating one meal a day that ranged from 1000-1500 calories. I loved it at the time. Since then, COVID and a lot of life changes happened. Trying to get back into it.
  • Seasonal_One
    Seasonal_One Posts: 39 Member
    I'm on week 18 of OMAD and find that it works great for me. I've read a lot about the benefits from fasting and watched lots of videos. All good information and after 18 weeks, the calorie reduction people are likely correct. But it works, for me. This is not something that is going to work for everyone. I don't feel overly hungry as I eat my meal and never over-eat.
  • melsdragonfly88
    melsdragonfly88 Posts: 1 Member
    I fast
    To each his own…I’ve been doing intermittent fasting 16:8 for a few years now and it suits my lifestyle perfectly. I must admit, it took some time for my body to adapt to the new meal schedule, but once I mastered not eating at night, it came naturally. What helped me a lot was drinking green or herbal tea in the evening to cut cravings.

    The 16/8 method involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between. I still have 3 meals, usually at 9:30am then lunch at 1:00pm and dinner at 5:30pm. This schedule seems to work best for me :) It’s important to keep in mind that the main reason for its success is that intermittent fasting helps you eat fewer calories overall. If you binge and eat massive amounts during your eating periods, you may not lose any weight at all.

    It’s simply one of many lifestyle strategies that can improve your health. Eating real food, exercising and taking care of your sleep are still the most important factors to focus on.

    At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition. The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.

    Intermittent fasting is great for some people, not others. The only way to find out which group you belong to is to try it out.

    If you feel good when fasting and find it to be a sustainable way of eating, it can be a very powerful tool to lose weight and improve your health.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,607 Member
    Not my thing
    Not for me.

    I find I do better eating smallish amounts spread throughout the day
  • enlightenme3
    enlightenme3 Posts: 795 Member
    I fast
    I do a 16:8 IF and have (mostly) for about 2.5 years. I originally did it because I believed the hype around eating whatever I wanted but within the right time frame I would magically lose weight. Well, it worked, but not because I had an eight hour feeding window. Turns out that I was eating less calories at the same time and that is what helped with the weight loss. I also gained weight while doing IF- lost 25 pounds in 2020 and then gained 15 pounds in 2021. So why continue with IF? Like the previous poster @melsdragonfly88, it suits my lifestyle. I typically have a workout class I do around 9am and I've never felt comfortable working out with something in my stomach. Then it is black decaf coffee and water the rest of the morning to re-hydrate from the workout. One of the biggest reasons I still do IF is this mental game I have around not eating after 8 pm. After dinner snacks, nibbles, desserts (more than one) were the biggest contributors to my daily calories in the past. I still eat those things, but when I might have gone for more I stop myself because it is after 8 pm. Silly, but it works for me.
  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 758 Member
    Not my thing
    I don't stay up too long after dinner and usually wake up cold, hungry, and mean in the morning. If I tried skipping breakfast, I'd end up in prison!
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    Not my thing
    I support whatever safe method helps someone create a calorie deficit. I can lose weight just fine on many small meals and snacks, but if people lose weight on OMAD or 5:2 or whatever, I'm happy for them.

  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 777 Member
    I fast
    I've done IF daily for nine months, I do mostly OMAD/20:4

    The research on it is impossible to decipher in terms of individual affects. The pro-fasting side overstates the significance of the researcher that suggests major health benefits, and the anti-fasting side overstates the relevance of very short studies that fail to show an effect, without accounting for the fact that failing to show an effect isn't the same as showing no effect.

    The truth is that it's almost impossible to effectively study diets with concrete proof of their effects. We can't take large groups of humans, randomly assort them, and control the way they eat for a year. Plus, human bodies are complex.

    As a former research scientist and licensed doctor, I roll my eyes very hard at *anyone* who claims to know the "truth" about anything to do with the effects of diets on the human body. No one has special access to scientific information that can give them that knowledge, the science is just too limited, and frankly, most eating research is funded with the specific purpose of food marketing agendas, so it's basically useless to begin with

    (Read up on the influence of food companies on basic nutrition research, and how the specific phrasing and "facts" we see everywhere about diets and calories is directly coming from food manufacturers, such as "a calorie is a calorie" and "everything in moderation". It's not that it's wrong, it's that there's a reason those are touted constantly as facts, because specific food companies pay to have research constantly churned out to keep those statements in the public discourse.

    Also read up on how the main governmental agencies that research nutrition fully admit that they wouldn't even bother conducting most of the studies that they do if they weren't obligated to split costs with private funders aka food companies, in order to get government grants. So the vast majority of nutrition research is known by the very scientists who conduct it to be useless, agenda pushing, marketing. Long story short, take food and diet research about as seriously as you take food and diet advertisements.)

    What I *can* say is my *personal* experience with fasting, which was prescribed to me by my neurologist.

    I had gained a lot of weight in med school, then lost it all slowly with just reasonable diet and portion control. Then I regained a small amount of they weight back due to illness/prednisone in my late 30s and failed for 2 years to lose it again, despite restricting my calories even more and cutting out alcohol completely.

    My metabolism was in the toilet. I had no energy, and my body felt heavy and cumbersome all the time. I was still a healthy weight, so I just decided to try and accept that this higher healthy-range weight was my new normal as a disabled woman about to turn 40.

    Then my neuro prescribed IF to try and manage nerve pain, and it did nothing for that, but pretty much over night repaired my metabolism and I was suddenly able to eat significantly more calories and lose weight again at my former normal pace, which is a modest 2lbs/mo.

    I have much more energy. I was on vacation with my sister early on in IF and she thought I was on stimulants because I was so revved. The energy level difference for me is not subtle.

    I don't think this effect would be very dramatic for someone who has a normal metabolic function though. For me, it has just helped bring me back closer to normal energy, as opposed to perpetually lethargy.

    As for the experience of fasting, I have a body that obviously *likes* IF, so I far prefer this to eating multiple times a day.

    I don't eat at a predictable time, I eat whenever is convenient for my schedule. I don't time anything, I'm not starving and counting down the hours until I can eat. I really just eat when I feel like eating and then don't for the rest of the day.

    You couldn't pay me to go back to having to eat multiple times a day, it's a pain in the *kitten*. My spouse still eats normally and when we're out and about he'll get all agitated that he "has to eat something" and it always catches me off guard. He'll settle for an expensive sandwich that he doesn't really want just because he has to. I now never have to waste money on mediocre food I don't really want, I can just wait.

    I have a very irregular schedule, so this flexibility is huge for me. Overall, IF is just a better eating schedule for my particular body and lifestyle. People always react as if what I do is super hardcore, but it isn't, it's easy and comfortable for *me*.

    I'm back down to my ideal size, which is AWESOME. Months ago I stopped paying attention to calories or even weighing myself regularly. I now only weigh whenever I can tell that I've lost more. I just eat intuitively and enjoy not having to think about calories or my weight anymore.

    This is my unique body's experience with IF. Note that I already had an excellent relationship with food, and already knew how to eat in order to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight range for years. I have never had emotional issues with food, and have only ever gained weight under extreme physical circumstances.

    I have specific, complex medical issues that caused me to gain and prevented me from losing as easily as I had before. I have specific immune dysfunction that makes IF particularly beneficial for my system, which is why my neurologist prescribes it for people with my condition.

    My story is not a universal endorsement for IF as magically beneficial for all people, that it will magically make everyone lose weight effortlessly while eating more calories.

    But it is a single persons account of IF having a positive impact well beyond just "calorie restriction."

    IF is great for some people, terrible for others, and m'eh for those in between. But for me, it's fantastic, and I'll likely never go back unless a medical reason forces me to, like a drug that needs to be taken with food multiple times a day.

    So should people try it? Sure, if it sounds appealing to them and they haven't been successful with other approaches. But a word of caution: if you have an unhealthy relationship with food and eating, it's best to address that either first, or engage in professional counselling while trying fasting.

    If it feels like restriction and starvation, then it's not healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of people who turn to fasting *do* have a terrible relationship with eating, and this can be a truly toxic combination for some of them.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,352 Member
    I guess i'm doing some kind of fasting as I don't eat between 20:00 and around 10:00. But I only managed to not eat so late in the morning if I'm doing home office and sitting behind my desk. If I were to workout on an empty stomach I would feel faint, miserable, dizzy, then eat everything I have at home.
  • age_is_just_a_number
    age_is_just_a_number Posts: 570 Member
    Not my thing
    I don’t fast, but I have been eating my breakfast later and avoiding an after dinner snack. Some people would call this intermittent fasting (15-9). I started eating breakfast later because I wasn’t feeling hungry in the morning.

    I was talking with a work colleague earlier this week who fasts for 5 days a month. Both he and his wife had been suffering from a variety of health issues. Conventional western medicine wasn’t working for them. They tried a variety of different approaches. After they tried 5 day fasting each month, their health issues improved dramatically.

    During the 5 days they only drink water.

    It is a small sample size. In my opinion, every person needs to find what works for them.
  • nsk1951
    nsk1951 Posts: 261 Member
    I fast
    I Fast ... pretty much every day ... It started for me when the doctor wanted a fasting blood sugar reading and I needed to fast for 12 hours ... which is pretty much just not eating after supper and delaying breakfast until after the blood draw . What I discovered was the I liked that 'empty in the tummy' feeling and had a lot more energy in the morning; so I started making it a habit to go that way .. nothing after supper and delaying breakfast. In time it developed into longer periods of time between last and first meal. It doesn't always result in a calorie deficit because that actually depends on the composition and size of the meals I actually do consume ... usually just 2 of them a day.