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The 5:2 Lab

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Thanks for this erudite discussion. In his blog today, Paul Krugman (2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics--sigh--my hero :oops: ) posted about this big loser article. I gave a plug to this forum in my comment:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/0 ... &smtyp=cur
Hi @marybeth its always lovely to see yr dancing avatar!
I havent got the energy today to read all the comments ( its hot! I think the uk are getting their summer asusual for a few days in May!) but i read Krugman's article which is short and cheering..and i always need something cheering to keep me going!
I must look thru the comments later and find yours x
CandiceMarie wrote: Hi @marybeth its always lovely to see yr dancing avatar!
I havent got the energy today to read all the comments ( its hot! I think the uk are getting their summer asusual for a few days in May!) but i read Krugman's article which is short and cheering..and i always need something cheering to keep me going!
I must look thru the comments later and find yours x


I always look for your posts, too, @CandiceMarie. I haven't been on the forum much lately--surprising how busy the life of a septuagenarian can be!

I like it that someone as well-known as Paul Krugman can help spread the word about IF to his many readers. It is good to read about his success in becoming more healthy.
Marybeth wrote: Thanks for this erudite discussion. In his blog today, Paul Krugman (2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics--sigh--my hero :oops: ) posted about this big loser article. I gave a plug to this forum in my comment:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/0 ... &smtyp=cur

Oh that's right: Krugman is a 5:2er! I had somehow forgotten that...
ADFnFuel wrote: The writers of both this, and the thread's initial article, would find research far more productive and valuable to everyone if they spent more time looking into what actually works rather than what fails.

It is interesting why weight loss maintenance is so difficult for so many. But yes, rather than being overly bleak, they could focus on things that work. I hope there are better studies and statistics on IF in the works.
MaryAnn wrote:
ADFnFuel wrote: The writers of both this, and the thread's initial article, would find research far more productive and valuable to everyone if they spent more time looking into what actually works rather than what fails.

It is interesting why weight loss maintenance is so difficult for so many. But yes, rather than being overly bleak, they could focus on things that work. I hope there are better studies and statistics on IF in the works.

Could we pull off such a study ourselves? Over the years we have a large collection of persons that have reached goal at some stage. Some of us have capabilities in doing research, the main question would be: will we be able to get many members involved in filling in a survey or other form of data collection (including those that once reached maintenance but are no longer active in the forum)? Time for a specific topic discussing the possibilities to start such a research???
Are most studies of successful weight loss by any means done using men, who seem to have a relatively easy try at it?
Women are quite different creatures physically and mentally and I've experienced four distinct time areas for my physiology that very much effects body shape i.e. Pre-pubescent, pubescent, after child birth, menopause and beyond.
Perhaps studies could be directed to understanding women and how best to remain strong and healthy throughout our lives using nutrition rather than medication? We are half the population after all.
This may sound obvious and there's probably tons of studies out there doing just this but the ones I've read are biased by funding, gender and corrupted arguments from Keys onwards.
In the questionnaire we did a couple of years ago we had to disregard the men because there were too few of them, so perhaps another reason to do the research ourselves. :smile:
I think it would be hard to do a high quality study because our sample would be biased by those who hang around. Also, we haven't done things like measure hormone levels, TDEE, etc. before and after.
Agree @MaryAnn, hence the first point I made:
the main question would be: will we be able to get many members involved in filling in a survey or other form of data collection (including those that once reached maintenance but are no longer active in the forum)?
On your second point: from a standard 'medical research' point of view you are right. The trouble is: who is measuring hormone levels, TDEE and such over a period of 3 years or more? Since nobody seems to be able to pull off such research, certainly not with a larger number of real persons (as compared to mice), we might look for different research designs, especially if we think psychological, motivational and behavioural factors also play a major role in maintenance.
Again, I agree with your points basically, but I'm also very frustrated by the fact that the medical perspective on weight and health issues seems to result in very carefully designed medical studies only, where very specific groups of respondents are studied in small numbers over a very limited period of time, using very specific 'interventions'. We need more information on what happens to many different people in real life conditions over longer periods of time.
As you might guess: I have a social science background :smile:
Re: a survey here: I suppose there is bias in both directions--people leaving because they were successful or because they weren't. I'm discouraged by the number of people who say they've lost weight by 5:2/IF but then gained it all, or most of it, back. I don't know what the percentage is, but it makes it seem that IF is no more sustainable or good for maintenance than any other diet, even though I know it works for me and others here. Perhaps the bias is in my own head!

RE: medical studies: The Biggest Loser study was impressive in the amount of time and detail, though it was still relatively few participants. I've seen a few others, but they were relatively short term (even a year is rare). I am (or was?) an experimentalist, so I'm used to the high standard researchers are held to in terms of controls, etc. Those standards aren't very conducive to human health studies.

P-JK wrote: Agree @MaryAnn, hence the first point I made:
the main question would be: will we be able to get many members involved in filling in a survey or other form of data collection (including those that once reached maintenance but are no longer active in the forum)?
On your second point: from a standard 'medical research' point of view you are right. The trouble is: who is measuring hormone levels, TDEE and such over a period of 3 years or more? Since nobody seems to be able to pull off such research, certainly not with a larger number of real persons (as compared to mice), we might look for different research designs, especially if we think psychological, motivational and behavioural factors also play a major role in maintenance.
Again, I agree with your points basically, but I'm also very frustrated by the fact that the medical perspective on weight and health issues seems to result in very carefully designed medical studies only, where very specific groups of respondents are studied in small numbers over a very limited period of time, using very specific 'interventions'. We need more information on what happens to many different people in real life conditions over longer periods of time.
As you might guess: I have a social science background :smile:
Yes I know what you mean, MaryAnn about the amount of peeps who have lost weight using IF and then gained it all again. It makes it sound like any other diet doesn't it. However, I think most of us struggle to begin with and it takes time to truly appreciate the benefits of fasting. After all, bad eating habits don't disappear overnight.

I am currently my lowest weight in several years with still another 2 stone to go. I have bean doing Slimming World for almost a year now and am at that point where I'm starting to eat badly again and need something else to give me a nudge - well its fasting! For me, to just fast twice a week is easy. If I use SW the other days then that should be a perfect combination. I will have the odd 'off days' that's for sure - but I feel happier knowing that fasting is there when I need it. I mean, don't we all feel truly wonderful the morning after a fast?! Your stomach feels flat(ter), you feel as though you've lost 5 pounds. And I think it gives you more energy too.

The good thing about people who've gained weight after losing it initially - is they've come back! That's the main thing.

Keep going everyone. Just two days a week? Its pretty easy really isn't it!

Bean :smile:
How large a sample size would be needed for an acceptable error rate for such a study? How does that number compare to the total number of members here since the first day?
Re: a survey here: I suppose there is bias in both directions--people leaving because they were successful or because they weren't. I'm discouraged by the number of people who say they've lost weight by 5:2/IF but then gained it all, or most of it, back. I don't know what the percentage is, but it makes it seem that IF is no more sustainable or good for maintenance than any other diet, even though I know it works for me and others here. Perhaps the bias is in my own head!


Yes, that's bothered me for awhile too. Makes me less confident that 5.2 is sustainable long-term. But...I think the key is what I touched on earlier: Long-term, the mental aspects are the most important, and the hardest to control. It's not just about "being hungry" or having a depressed metabolic rate. Of course, it helps if you don't have these; then your main battle is with your own mind; not constantly battling your body too. Ironically, it seems one thing that has helped me is I never go on vacation (Brits and Aussies would say "on holiday"), so I've had no reason to stop fasting and get out of the habit. 'Cause I think that making it a (good) habit and not varying it (any more than necessary) is key. Though one of the strengths of 5.2 is its flexibility, that can be taken too far. Once your mind thinks it calls the shots (making exceptions), your habit has been undermined.
I'd really like to replace the word discouraged which seems fatal to continued interest, with the word disappointed which leaves the door open to possibilities.

A survey might help put some numbers to the success rate and more importantly identify what the others needed to help them succeed (if they can identify it, which itself seems problematic). Are failures due to priority, lack of supporting evidence, motivation, conviction, adherence, biology, psychology, a combination ... or something else? What then are the solutions for these issues?

One thing I've noticed consistently with returnees is that they almost universally state that they know this works (why else would they have returned?), and that they failed because they returned to their former ways.
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