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I have been following this thread with great interest. I have doing 5:2 for over 2 years. I fall into the category of someone who has struggled with weight since my early teens. I have been on innumerable diets lost weight then put it back. Since becoming hypothyroid 21 years ago the amount I out back was always a bit more than I lost till I reached the point where I decided I was never going on a formal diet again but just going to eat mindfully. This resulted in a gain of about a stone over 5 years till I was heading towards 15 stone. What appealed to me about 5:2 was that there was no continuous deprivation stretching into the future - I could still have a drink and some sweets but not to excess and not every day. My weight loss has always been on the slow side but if I stick to plan I can still very slowly lose weight. If I don't fast, for example when I am on holiday, my weight will go up but when I get back on plan it slowly comes off again. I reckon it now takes at least 3 times a long to lose the weight as to put it on. However unless I have planned to miss a fast I have never failed one. I know that it works ( slowly) but only if do it properly .I think my years of dieting have given me the will power to get through each fasting day especially in the knowledge that tomorrow I can eat normally. My TDEE is now around 1650 so I stick to 400 cals on my fast days. I still write down everything I eat on a fast day and I weigh my food and use a calculator to work out the calories. The only think I don't count is sugar free drinks . Quite a lot of old timers say they don't count any more as they can accurately estimate what they are eating but I wonder if there could be a bit of 'slippage' there.
I thought that this quote by@carorees was very interesting.
carorees wrote: Serendipitously, a friend shared this article on FB today:

What happens next when your New Year's diet isn't working
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-susan- ... 01044.html

Some good insights in the article, especially:
What's a Healthy Weight?

A healthy weight is a person's natural weight. It's very individual, based primarily on genetics. For instance, if you come from a long line of tall, slim ancestors, you have a good chance of looking like them. If your ancestors are short and stocky, that's what you might see in the mirror. All the healthy eating and exercise in the world can't change that.


4. Have you accepted the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes? Size acceptance is not beating yourself up for your size nor is it just "giving up."

Aim to: Understand the factors that go into you being the size you are and then, if you choose, optimizing your lifestyle to make the most of who you were born to be. That means treating yourself well by eating well, moving your body regularly, getting enough sleep and managing stress.


In the past I have found it difficult to have sympathy with some posters with BMI in the low 20s who are bemoaning the fact that they can't lose those last few pounds when I think I will be happy if I can maintain somewhere around BMI 25 - 26. I think the above quote helps to explain how we all need to decide what is normal or achievable for ourselves when we decide where to maintain taking into account these factors . If we aim to maintain too low just because that is what is the accepted norm we could be making it too difficult for ourselves.
Only just found this thread. Got to the end of page 2 and its way too much for my brain. Seemed a bit negative overall and im on a positive vibe at the moment so thought it dangerous to read on

could someone give me the synopsis of what this is all about and more importantly the conclusions. I have read the initial post but the thread really gets into some detail i cant follow.

sorry if im sounding blonde (thats ok if you think im an idiot. especially as I actually am blonde)

i did pick up a random post later by @Pudpud17who says
"Sorry to be terribly new and naive.... But I thought the whole idea of 5:2 to was that it is infinitely sustainable forever..... This whole post is leaving me a bit bewildered. And worried. So people don't want to fast forever?
I don't think I mind the thought of fasting forever.... Or more like cutting back after days when I've eaten more.... But I cannot and will not count calories!!!!
But like i say.... I'm very very new here and know very little.....just thought i'd stick my oar in.....
"

Im with pudpud17 as I believe that you do indeed have to fast forever. Perhaps less frequently but then you don't get the health benefits. Perhaps the health benefits are yet to be proven but at this point i dont think its dangerous. Can be a social nuisance and as long as one isn't into heavy duty liquid fasting or prolonged fasting then im hoping 5:2 is sustainable, aka can be continued as a long term eating strategy.
StowgateResident wrote: I would like to say to @Pudpud17,and anyone else who is feeling discouraged after reading this thread, that this is not true of everyone who has lost weight successfully using IF. I first reached goal in July 2013. In October that year, I took my eye off the ball (family reasons), stopped fasting, stopped visiting this forum and extra goodies crept back into my diet. By January 2014, not surprisingly, I had regained 13 and a quarter pounds, but was still ten pounds lighter that the previous January! This in itself was a victory, of sorts, for me. I hadn't started a new year under twelve stone for forty years!
I started 5:2 again and regained my target weight in time for my 65th birthday on March 11th. Since then I have maintained at or around that weight and even though my tracker has more peaks and troughs than the Himalayas, due to holidays and family visits, I consider myself a 'maintainer'.
All of this I have achieved with 'straight' 5:2. I haven't cut out any food groups, so I don't do 'low carb', I don't do 'eating windows', I don't eat cauliflower rice or courgette spaghetti, I haven't given up chocolate or dairy etc, etc, etc. I wanted to lose my weight in a way that would be sustainable for me forever and so it had to include the foods that I wanted to keep in my diet forever. I have however cut down (not out) on all the foods that I know are high in empty calories and have finally learned that the world doesn't come to an end if I leave food on my plate!
Since reaching my target, I monitor my weight daily and use that as a guide to whether I need to throw in a fast or two. I can go several weeks without needing to fast but I also realise that I can't go back entirely to eating the way I have in the past. It makes sense that , if that's why I put weight on, then returning to that way of eating will have exactly the same effect again! I have also upped my exercise slightly by trying to go for a two mile walk several times a week - mostly successfully, although I don't think that I will ever be a 'keen' walker!
I have enormous sympathy for those for whom this WOL is not proving as successful as they hoped but maintaining a weight loss, particularly if you have a low TDEE, does require eternal vigilance. My hope is that it will become easier over time, as our bodies adjust to our lower intake and if it doesn't become easier then a couple of fasts a week does not seem too high a price to pay - not to me.
I hope that this very lengthy post doesn't come across as being all about me and how great I am. By telling my story, I am hoping to encourage new and not-so-new fasters to trust this WOL because, if a serial dieter for forty years can finally say 'I have found a WOL' which works for me, then it may work for them too.


Thank you for your positive note here @stowgateresident in a bit of a gloomy corner of the forum. There is light.
@Juliana.Rivers, I can't summarise all this, perhaps someone else can. I understand why it might come across as negative but I don't think it is. We are just asking questions that we don't have the answers to, to hopefully try and get peoples experiences/thoughts to hopefully try and solve some problems. If you see what I mean. I've been following this thread with much interest and it is very much a case of this is the problem so what is the solution but needless to say due to the lack of science on long term fasting there is no conclusion or the conclusion is we have lots more questions than answers.
Not wanting to put a stop to this thread, but to help Juliana and other late comers, I think that the consensus from it is: that while many people find fasting is a magical solution to their weight problems with weight loss easy and (so far) maintenance easy, for others it is harder requiring more vigilance especially during the final stages of weigh loss into maintenance and for some it may turn out to be no better than any other diet. Some people seem to hit the 'famine effect', others have not yet experienced it.

Probably it is as several people have said related to our past dieting history. Whether the past dieting (+/- the fasting period) has caused a change in metabolism that makes it progressively harder to lose/maintain or whether a long history of dieting is simply indicative of an unfortunate genetic make up that results in easy weight gain we don't know.

We also don't know what the really long term results of this IF experiment will be in terms of health benefits and long term weight maintenance. Only time will tell there.

Finally, we don't know what the answer for those who struggle is. Possibly treating the famine effect in the way that Dr Salis recommends, possibly accepting a higher weight for maintenance, possibly trying a different way of eating altogther.

We do know, though, that returning to our old way of eating will result in returning to our old shape (or worse) and so whether or not we find fasting THE answer, we will still need to modify our way of eating permanently if we are to have any hope of not ending up back at square one.

Is that a fair summary?

In my own opinion, I would like to add that the impact that stress has on weight gain is enormous and over-fasting or over-exercising can be just as stressful on the body as emotional/work stress, or lack of sleep stress. So the answer may well not be to add more fasting but to address sources of stress and perhaps use Dr Salis approach for a period before reintroducing fasting.
@carorees, That's an excellent summary, thanks!

Re the issue of the difference between first time dieters and others: From what I've observed, there does seem to be a kind of "beginners luck" phenomenon where people who have never seriously dieted experience dramatic results when they do their first diet. But the issue here, which I observed on the low carb diet support forums, was that because these people could drop as much as 100 lbs speedily without much suffering, quite a few ignored weight regain, thinking, "Well, I'll just go back on the diet and lose 25--or 50 lbs--later." Then when they do go back after those gains, they find it is much, much tougher the second time around.

Mind you, they can lose that weight again, mind you. It just tends to take a lot more work and a lot more paying attention to what they are eating.

Re hunger and the menstrual cycle: For quite a lot of women, especially those with abnormal blood sugar control, the hormonal changes that occur a week or so before their periods cause a kind of ravenous hunger that no amount of eating can fix.

Cutting carbs helps, but for me it still didn't eliminate that hunger. I just had to wait it out, knowing it only lasted a day or so and that if I just hung on, it would go away. Eating would not make it go away, so it was a bad idea. Fortunately, that whole effect stopped at menopause, for which I was deeply grateful.
Thanks @carorees for your well explained summary. I'd also like to add that the most of the people who have contributed to this thread have been fasting for a while and remain committed to fasting.
I'd like to second that and also to add that positivity isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Viz - there have been many people on the forum over the last 2 years who have been positive and yet then disappeared from sight ... those who have stayed (and like wildmissus I am including all those who have taken the time and trouble not only to post on here, but to think through and around the topic raised) have all contributed greatly to the forum by just being thoughtful and honest,whether positive,negative or all shades in between. I'd like to commend those people for their honesty and to say to them 'keep talking,thinking and sharing your thoughts' - it is only by doing this collectively that maybe just maybe a solution will be found.
So - in case the message hasn't got across - let's celebrate the honesty, bravery and downright sheer doggedness of those for whom success hasn't come as easily as it has for the rest of us.
Some excellent posts here, succinctly summarised by @carorees
Yes, while I don't fast as a matter of course any more, it remains a weapon in the arsenal against indulgence.
I may have the first timer luck but, as in my mind it's not a diet anymore but part of my routine, it doesn't bother me to keep my 2 fasts a week even more than a year after I reached my goal. The only thing I changed was to do my fasts around 7OO cals because I am on the edge of being underweight. It may be strange but keeping my 2 fasts gives me a kind of confidence and some balance which, when you have all kind of chaos in your daily life, is a lot reassuring and stress is, in my case anyway, a huge trigger for weight gain.

The big struggle with hunger came before I learned what really suited me, which took quite some time. I know, for example, that I can't eat anything solid those days, soups really suit me, even when it's hot outside.

Also, what could have been my downfall, I had a lot of trouble to accept my new body, I talked about it a while ago, and, I must admit, at that time I even thought that it would be easier to gain the weight back. Coming here to talk about it and other things really helped me to go through that rough time. It really made me understand how a support group, which we are, can be crucial
I really do appreciate all the very valuable reports so many people have shared here. And I agree that in diet support groups "positivity" can all too easily turn into shaming people whose results don't live up to the dream. My goal in exploring these questions is to make it possible for more of us to succeed, and it is by facing the reality of the situation that we do that.

After reading a bit about the starvation response and browsing the beginning of Sansbury-Salis' book on Amazon, I'm coming to think that my hunger probably is pointing that way. I got extremely hungry during today's fast even though I am quite busy, so I broke with my usual practice and just had 145 calories of homemade soup. This was definitely physiological hunger.

Today's fast may be 635 instead of 435, or it might end up being 800 calories (which will feel like a major fast day pig out.) But if eating more on fast days will lead to eating less on non-fast days where hunger has also been a problem, I'm up for it.
Interesting Peebles, I am trying something similar to you at the moment.
I had no problems getting to my goal weight but I have had a lot of trouble maintaining, between fasting fatigue, different stresses, a lot of trouble sleeping and overeating on normal days...I have tried pretty much all forms of fasting and eating windows but still have a lot of problems not overeating on fast days, despite trying to practice mindful eating.
I have decided that my initial maintenance weight was slightly too low, at 62-64 kilos, so I have increased it to 63-65 which doesn't sound like a big change but has made a big difference because I find that I can maintain easily at around 63/64 kilos, somehow 62 is always a struggle. I also decided last week to try fasting with somewhere around 600-800 cals to limit overeating on non-fast days, possibly adding in a third fast day depending on the result, so far I have lost a bit of weight but only time will tell how it works long-term.
@Nicky_94,

Eating a small lunch today and a cup of sugar free cocoa a bit later took the intensity out of the hunger for me on today's fast, which is good to know. I will eat a small dinner and if still hungry an hour or so later, perhaps a bit more. Protein and veg with one slice of whole kernal dark rye bread.
Thanks @Caroreesfor the synopsis and everyone else who has contributed. There is a positive challenge to look forward to when I reach that Maintenance Nirvana. As some have said here, I dont expect to stop fasting and previously I said I would do it only for 2 days a week as I am on 4:3 now... I reckon I will continue on 3 days a week and perhaps allow 100 or 200 extra calories unless I can see whichever max weight I have deemed to me my trigger for action. I think that will be 72kg for me as I am ulitmately now aiming for a range of 70.5 and 71.5 thus making my long term "average" 71kg.
Part of me thinks "Sometimes the truth is gloomy. There's no point in sugar coating it." But part of me worries I'm too cynical sometimes. I've described my journey with maintenance as a struggle, but others here (I'm thinking @Chris P and @StowgateResident in particular, but I may be wrong) have done things similarly to me (continued fasting 3 days a week; had ups and downs during maintenance) and instead of viewing it as a struggle, they just see it as part of the journey. I.e., I could stand to be more positive about it.
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