Current Diet Experimentation

- POSTED ON: Sep 22, 2015


The longer I do this, the harder it is to find any type of eating or non-eating low-calorie concept that I feel motivated to experiment with.

However, somehow, I always seem to find some type of diet or non-diet that gets my interest long enough for me to try it out.

Of course, I continue to consistently record all of my food intake every day in a computer food journal.  I have now done this every day for 11 years, and this is my most valuable dieting tool.

This past couple of months I've been experimenting with intermittent fasting again. 

I started by personalizing a 24 hr alternate day fast, similar to Eat Stop Eat, but designed for my own personal preferences.  I followed that for about 3 weeks, then I did one 36 hr fast, from dinner one day, skipped all food one day, ate breakfast the following day.  That seemed to work well for me, and the following week I did a 72 hr fast, where for 3 days I had water only with up to one cup of bouillon per day.  I had hoped to have a 5 to 7 day fast, but my body decided otherwise.  Day 1 was as I expected, Day 2 was far easier than I expected and on Day 3 I felt quite weak and nauseated. I woke up on Day 4 feeling ill, and ended the fast.

Although, I do like the concept of Fasting and want to run some more experiments, for a few weeks after the 72 hr fast, I was simply unwilling to fast any more, and followed my "normal" eating plan of trying to eat an average of under 1000 calories per day - eating whatever, whenever.

On Monday, Sept 14, I began another water fast, aiming for the goal of 7 days, with the understanding that I would stop when, and if, my body gave me the symptoms it did during the 3 day fast.  My fast went as expected, and this time the symptoms didn't show up until the evening of the 6th day.  My night was uncomfortable and I ended my fast at breakfast time the following day. Sunday, Sept 20. 

Today is the morning of the 3rd post-fast day.  The 1st day I broke my fast with a 6 oz can of tomato juice, then an hour or so later, 1/4 of an avocado. Several hours later my lunch was a saucer plate containing 1 1/2 oz roasted chicken, 1/2 cup green beans, and 1/4 of an avocado. Several hours later I ate 1/2 raw apple with 1 oz cheddar cheese.  I finished up the day with another 6 oz tomato juice. About a 1/2 hr after first taking food, my nausea receded and stomach cramps lessened, but all day I felt weak, tired, and crampy. I felt better the 2nd day, yesterday, but still very weak. This morning, the 3rd day, I feel normal.

Weight results of all this fasting?  My total net weight results of the month-and-a-half-before my recent 6 day fast ... which includes the return of water-weight-loss after my 3 day fast.  My best efforts resulted in about a 1 pound net weight loss. Knowledgeable medical experts are agreed that a "normal" person can only expect to lose about 1/2 pound of body fat during each day of a total water fast.  All the rest is water that will be regained after resuming food intake. My 6 day fast resulted in a 10 pound loss which I know is primarily water, and if I had the body of a "normal" person, I could expect a net loss of about 3 fat pounds.  However, probably for me the maximum fat loss will probably be more like 1/4 pound daily, which would mean I could reasonably expect about a net 1 1/2 pound loss.  This, of course, will depend on whether or not I can keep my calories consistently low during the next 3 weeks or so.  It's always emotionally hard to watch those pounds come back on daily when I am consistently and successfully eating very low-calorie, even when intellectually I know exactly why this is happening and even expect it. 

Since I am feeling "normal" today, my plan for the next several weeks is to eat according to my personalized plan for Alternate Day 24 hr Fasting.  I am a retired person at home all the time, and as a lifestyle I can't tolerate consistently missing breakfast or lunch or dinner. Lunch is my favorite meal, but I also love breakfast, and I love dinner. I also find it difficult on one day to eat all 3 meals, but then on the following day, to eat only one meal.  Here's a graph I made that explains my personalized concept, the one I find to be the easiest and most functional for me.

This plan allows me to eat lunch every day, along with breakfast on one day, and dinner on the following day. Repeat.

This article is mainly about WHEN I'm eating. I'm experimenting with whether, or not, lowering insulin through fasting will halt the creeping weight gain that I've been having - even with a very consistent, very low-calorie, food intake.  I've never had type 2 diabetes. I've had my blood glucose tested, but never a direct test of my insulin alone, since this isn't a test doctors do for normally healthy people.  I'm interested in Dr. Jason Fung's theories about Insulin Resistance, and about Insulin being lowered by fasting. Sometime I'll write a detailed article, but anyone interested can check out the series of fasting articles at his blog,
Intensive Dietary Management.

As for WHAT I'm eating, I am working to eat an average of under 1000 calories per day; the ideal would be somewhere between 600 & 800 calories per day. I have no forbidden foods. I eat only foods that I like. At this point, the only macronutrient I pay attention to is Protein. (There are some some detailed articles in the DietHobby Archives explaining why.) My computer records tell me that, normally, my total day's food choices inadvertently wind up being close to the same percentage amounts of Protein, Carbs, and Fat - all 3 macronutrients equally.   With my calorie limits always in mind, I eat at mealtimes when I'm hungry (I'm always hungry at mealtimes), and stop when what I've served myself is gone OR when my body feels satisfied (even if I have not eaten all the food portion that I've pre-measured and allowed for myself).  I take a daily multivitamin pill and no other medication or supplements.

If anyone thinks I'm eating too few calories, before telling me that, read the more than 1,000 articles that are posted here in the DietHobby ARCHIVES.  While its okay to sympathize, I get annoyed by advice given by anyone who doesn't know ALL the details of MY personal weight struggles, AND who doesn't know at least as much as I do about the many different "medical expert" takes on diet and weight and health.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Sep 22, 2015 missusriverrat wrote:
Sounds interesting. Are you going to monitor insulin and/or glucose?

On Sep 22, 2015 Dr. Collins wrote:
Thanks, missusriverrat. When I experimented with a Keto diet, I bought a blood monitor and test strips for blood and ketones which still work. From the first day of my 6 day fast, I tested both first thing each morning each day, and for the past 3 mornings since I began eating I've continued doing that. My plan is to keep on doing daily testing for the next several days, until the levels return to baseline... my normal morning glucose is high 70s to low 80s, and my normal morning ketones is negligible, like 0.2 or lower. *********** ... I don't have glucose issues, so after returning to baseline, I don't plan to monitor glucose or ketones, unless I do another long-term fast or do more experimentation of low-carb.

On Sep 23, 2015 rroush wrote:
Question for you. On your alternate 24 hour fast days, do you aim for <1000 calories? So, like on Monday, you would eat <1000 calories before noon. Then no calories from until noon on Tuesday. Then eat <1000 calories from noon Tuesday until bedtime. Is this right? This is super interesting to me. I wish I had a "normal" schedule that could be mapped out in this way. If I did something like this, it might have to be different during my 7 days on at work than it would be during my 7 days off. I have issues with hunger pains and nausea when I fast. I would have to come up with a way to manage those feelings.

On Sep 23, 2015 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Rebecca, on EVERY day, I aim for <1000 calories. I donít always succeed. Most ADF plans are one ďnormalĒ maintenance calorie day, then one very-low-calorie (fast) day. *** For example an ADF based on JUDDD, would be a normal maintenance day- which for my RMR + activities, food intake would be between 1000 -1200 calories, then the following day food intake between 250 - 500 calories, repeat. *** an ADF based on EatStopEatís 24 hr fast is a normal maintenance calorie day then zero food after dinner, say 6 p.m. until the following day at 6 p.m. ************ My persoanlized 24 hr ADF plan is basically two meals every day, hopefully with zero snacking, so probably it will result in the calorie levels being around the same every day. Alledgedly, longer time periods with zero food will help cure insulin resistance - (which I might not even have) - by lowering insulin for longer periods to help Glucagon induce lipolysis and thereby more effeciently release stored fat. *********** Every diet plan I experiment with is based on calorie AVERAGES low enough to stimulate weight-loss, and Iíve learned that there is no tricking my body through calorie cycling to speed metabolism. It always figures out exactly what Iím doing within a few weeks or months and automatically adapts itself to effiently store fat, releasing as little as possible. No ADF research study has been long enough to demonstrate this, but I feel fairly confident that this fact is true for every obese or reduced person.************* I am, as always, working to keep my calories as low as possible all the time. This experiment with the TIMING of food intake, might help me keep calories down overall. In a way, it is kind of like how Fast-5 works, except my approx eating window contains 2 meals, one of which alternates daily, within about a 6 hour window of time. So the TIMING is: Sleep=12 hr fast / B & L= 6 hr food / zero food until next day L=24 hr fast / L & D= 6 hr food / Sleep=12 hr fast/ repeat. ***** ***Result: 12 hr fast/ 6 hr eat/ 24 hr fast/ 6 hr eat/ 12 hr fast/ 6 hr eat/ 24 hr fast / and repeat.

On Sep 23, 2015 rroush wrote:
Also, are you familiar with the role of cornstarch in congenital hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia? Insulin levels are lowered/stabilized with the oral administration of cornstarch in these babies/children. Interestingly enough, the supplement industry has capitalized on this and marketed a product to endurance athletes utilizing this concept. Search "generation ucan" for information on that product for endurance athletes. I can't help but wonder what would happen if this product was given to a normal non-endurance athlete adult trying to maintain steady insulin levels. It's not super appetizing to drink this all day instead of food, but it's just a thought I wanted to throw out there that I have not yet explored.

On Sep 23, 2015 Dr. Collins wrote:
             No, Rebecca, I only know enough about this issue to be aware that my body doesnít appear to have conditions like hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Iíve also never had Diabetes 2 symptoms, and also I might not be insulin resistant. Iíve been lucky enough to be mostly healthy during my lifetime, despite my battle with obesity. Over the years Iíve had glucose tolerance tests, all of which came back normal. During the past several years Iíve done some testing of my blood glucose and ketone levels during low-carb Ketogenic diets. **********************You are an Athlete, and Iíve never been one, so you know far about that world than I do. As a Pharmacist, you know an immense amount about how various chemicals react in the body, and what chemicals would be helpful for what condition. I am comparively ignorant in that area, but based on what Iíve experienced, witnessed and studied, I tend to believe that (for the most part) a Healthy body will normally take care of itself; and that for every outside action there is a reaction which can be positive in one way and negative in another. Personally I donít use supplements or do anything except take a daily mutivitamin - (which might even be unnecessary), and I would never recommend using supplements or herbal remedies to anyone. IMO, the current marketing of supplements is just another branch of the diet industryís money making scheme to take advantage of gullable people. What seems obvious to me is that Nowadays the word HEALTHY is so highly overused it has almost become meaningless.

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