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My Intermittent Fasting Journey

My progress on Intermittent Fasting will be posted here with updates on my weight being posted daily, and with updates on my waist size and body fat content being posted on a weekly basis on a Monday. My weigh-in day was a Monday but I will now be weighing in every day in order to keep everything on track, and I now fast on a Monday on most weeks (although that will often change depending upon my circumstances at that time). More information about my weight loss background and my goals for the future on intermittent fasting can be found on my first forum posting which can be seen by clicking here.

New Records and Set Point Theory

by johncs2013 on 30 Sep 2013, 14:54

Today was my first weigh-in day after joining this forum, and I'm really pleased with my overall results after gaining two pounds during the previous week. Last week started off with an RPM class and turned into my usual day for bingeing.

I used to binge all the time before I lost weight and that was how I got to 19 stone in the first place. However, the 5:2 diet has given me more freedom on what I can eat on a non-fasting day. With the 5:2 diet, we are free to eat whatever we like. However, that is not the same as eating as much as we like as I discovered last week when I gained that couple of pounds.

What is most important is the average calorie intake across the whole week but with the 5:2 diet, we will generally lose weight because we are eating well below our BMR for each of two days every week and then eating at our maintenance level during the rest of the week. That means that if that maintenance level is 2000 calories per day and we limit ourselves to 500 calories per day during our two fasting days, that amounts to a calorie deficit of 2 x 1500 or 3000 calories per week, which is enough to lose just under a pound of body fat every week.

If on the other hand, we overshoot our maintenance level by say, 750 calories per day on our non-fasting days, that is an extra 5 x 750 or 3750 calories per week which is enough to put us into a 250 calorie surplus over the week assuming that we have successfully completed our two fasting days as before. That means that we would then be gaining a pound of body fat every 14 weeks (nearly 4 pounds over a year) plus some extra weight due to water retention, etc. 750 calories might seem a lot, but that number of calories can be consumed very easily.

That is why I started last week by reigning in my binging day a bit from the previous week, and going back to the same calorie intake on that day as what I had on the previous Monday which began a week where I had lost weight. However, I have recognised the fact that I enjoy the occasional binge and the 5:2 diet allows to have that on a weekly basis. The other non-fasting days are then comprised of more careful eating.

I have also been reading a few articles on the set-point theory which states that just as our bodies act to control our body temperature as it gets too hot or too cold, our bodies also act to try to maintain a certain weight which depends on our genetic make-up and our lifestyles over the years. When we overeat and do very little or no exercise, the body will very quickly revise that set-point weight upwards, even if that results in us becoming morbidly obese.

However, it is very difficult to revise that set-point weight downwards as we try to lose weight. What happens is that the body will allow us to lose a certain amount of weight before it fights back to try to get us up to our previous weight. That is why so many people who lose weight end up regaining all of that weight with some additional weight on top of that. If you have lost a lot of weight, this will probably mean that that the set-point weight will be well above the actual current weight, with that being the case for at least a year or so after that weight loss has happened.

Now, if I cast my mind back to the earlier part of this year when I was calorie counting, there was one week which was a really good week for me in terms of diet and exercise. I didn't eat any unhealthy foods during that week and yet I gained a pound of weight during that week. I then took a complete break and ate really unhealthily for a couple of weeks. During the first week, I gained a massive 8 pounds of weight and that was followed by a further 4 pound weight gain during the following week. That meant that in just three weeks, my weight had soared from 11 stone 10 pounds, all the way up to 12 stone 9 pounds.

I can easily understand that the first big weight gain would probably be mostly due to water retention, as there is no way that I could gain such a large amount of body fat in such a short period of time. However, that still doesn't really explain the second large weight gain because by then, I would have thought that the water retention issue would have largely sorted itself out. That therefore only leaves the question of whether or not, the set-point theory might have played a big part here. Since I was 19 stone before I started to lose weight, it is likely that my set-point weight was (and possibly still is) well above the weight that I had got down to, and this might have been my body's way of trying to get me back up to that weight.

Even now, I still get occasional weight gains that pop up from nowhere although the general trend is still downwards at the moment. The latest such weight gain happened just last week and that was after I had started the 5:2 diet. Is it possible therefore, that this could still be the set-point theory trying to act? However, all of those articles about the set-point theory were relating to weight loss in general, and it is going to be interesting to find out whether or not, the 5:2 diet would reset the set-point weight down to that lower and healthier level, any quicker than other conventional ways of losing weight.

Anyway, last Tuesday was a fasting day and instead of having two small meals, I waited until the evening and had one large meal. The fact that I had a few beers on the previous night meant that I couldn't do a full 24 hour fast, but I did at least completely fast from the time when I finished that last beer, right up until Tuesday evening. By saving all of my calories up until then, I discovered after entering everything into MyFitnessPal that I was able to have a main course that is as big as what I would normally have on a non-fasting day, and still remain within my 600 calorie budget for that day.

Wednesday and Thursday were no different from previous weeks. My fast day on Friday was then similar to the one on Tuesday except that since I hadn't drunk any beer on Thursday night, I was able to complete my first ever complete 24 hour fast (that is a full 24 hours with zero calories and only green tea and water to see me through). My evening meal on that day was the same as on Tuesday except that I had substituted my baked potato for brown rice which actually felt more filling, despite the fact that it was mostly carbs.

One thing that I had discovered about the previous week was the fact that I hadn't being going to the toilet leading up that that following weigh-in. That meant that my body was probably hanging onto a lot of waste materials which probably contributed quite a lot towards the resulting weight gain for that week. That probably happened because I wasn't getting enough fibre and that was the reason why I ate some brown rice on my second fasting day to provide some additional fibre that would help to clear out my system.

That helped quite a lot with my bowel movements and the weekend followed in the usual normal eating pattern except that I had got bored on Saturday afternoon and ended up eating a whole box of salted cashew nuts which amounted to a massive 1000 calories. Now, I don't know for certain if everything else that I ate on that day amounted to the proper maintenance number of calories (I don't count calories on non-fasting days anymore). If it had, then this shows just how easy it is to eat those additional calories in the manner that I described earlier. Naturally, I was concerned that this might be enough to derail my efforts for that week especially as those nuts contained a lot of salt which is bad for water retention.

Despite that though, I got a pleasant surprise when I got on the scales this morning and discovered that I had lost nearly two pounds since the previous weigh-in. That in turn shows that you really can eat what you like on a non-fasting day because I also lost 0.4 inches from my waist to take my waist size down to 31.5 inches and set a new all time record for my lowest ever waist size for the whole of my adult life going all the way back to the 1980s (or possibly even the 1970s).
Last edited by johncs2013 on 30 Sep 2013, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.

Height: 5ft 8in

Lower Trend Weight Limit: 70.0kg (11 stone 0 pounds)
Upper Trend Weight Limit: 73.0kg (11 stone 7 pounds)

Last Weigh-in Date: 1 Mar 2014

Actual Weight: 74.3kg (11 stone 9.8 pounds)
Trend Weight: 72.6kg (11 stone 6.0 pounds)

Body Mass Index: 24.83 (actual) / 24.26 (trend)

Current Method: No Fasting
Low Calorie Days: As Required

Trend weights calculated from Libra Android App
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