The FastDay Forum

The 5:2 Lab

8 posts Page 1 of 1
Finished an extended fast the other day. Many pounds gone in a short period of time. However I noticed, as many disconcertingly do, that several of those pounds returned rather quickly in subsequent days. Far too many, too soon, to actually be fat. So, after looking at my long-term weight graph I see the same bounce with every extended fast and now understand why.

From rusty memory, our digestive system is approximately 30 feet (10 meters) in length. If we consider our digestive system to be a conveyor belt we can mentally divide it's length by the number of meals we have each week. Everything we eat and drink goes onto the conveyor to be processed over a number of days, eventually excreted at the other end. All of it weighs something. With steady meals, the weight of the food/drink on the conveyor - which contributes to our total weight - remains steady. (We never notice this.)

With fasting we reduce the amount going in, so the conveyor gets steadily lighter, contributing less to our total body weight. With a sufficiently lengthy full fast, the belt empties almost completely and its contribution to our total weight goes to zero. Our total weight goes down. (Yes, we definitely notice and celebrate this!)

So when we end a fast, we are again loading food items onto our conveyor. Its weight and subsequent contribution to our total body weight goes up. This happens much too quickly to be the result of fat being re-deposited. Ta da! Rapid weight regain, explained! (We unfortunately notice and lament this.)

Remember that weight loss mentioned at the top? Much of that weight was only the reduction in conveyor weight, not actual fat loss. How do I know? Long term numbers can expose trends that single numbers cannot. From these, the difference between my steady weight before and my steady weight after happens to match the result of predicted fat loss based on TDEE over the number of days of the fast.
Seems to make sense. But overtime we do seem to keep some weight off, although it's probably harder than the initial weight loss (as I'm experiencing right now).
Well, sure, that makes sense. Just as how you weigh less in the morning than you do at night, after eating all day!

@Wmr309 - this is just referring to the big loss you see right after fasting, but you do still lose weight over time as you are reducing your calories and forcing your body to use it's reserves. But, you are right, every time you lose and gain weight it is harder to lose. There was a big study about this with the biggest loser contestants. I have been struggling for a while now too. Of course, age doesn't help either. But hang in there! I'm hopeful that it can still be done! :smile:
The initial post by ADFnFuel is yet another (?) reason for not worrying about or focusing on daily fluctuations in weight. And, in general, a reminder that what we should be focusing on is healthy eating and its associated strategies, rather than weight per se. But why can that be so difficult? Partly due to the comment I made elsewhere about it being easier to eat than think and reflect???

And on the comment about weight loss becoming harder each time you need to lose - do you have the reference @cblasz (I guess I could google...). 5:2 was the only diet that ever worked for me but although I did also reduce a few poor eating behaviors initially, I am now back to eating more or less how I used to eat and the weight is going back on. When I was doing a lot of exercise, that slowed the weight gain, but now I am not able to do that amount of exercise (at least for a while) I can almost watch the fat depositing... As you would have read elsewhere, my attempts to have fast days now almost always fail. I do "despair" about finding strategies that will work for me to stop the weight gain and maybe shift those few pounds that mean I am feeling uncomfortable. I know "all" the theory and what one "should" do, and I am aware of lots of strategies that I could use - but I don't.

The Precision Nutrition article was a timely reminder about the power of processed foods to "make" you overeat. Maybe that will help me not turn to these foods for comfort or out of boredom??

None of these issues are new ones, and they have already had much discussion over the years on this forum. So I am not expecting anything new in response! Or necessarily anything in response...! Just having a bit of a rant. :razz: :razz: :razz: :grin:
When the dieter is ready, the diet will appear. I have no idea why now was the time to do it, but it happened.
Hi @Roscoe

That certainly was the case when I first found out about 5:2 - but, as mentioned, it has never happened at other times in my life when I did need to lose weight. And wanted to. The diets I tried then were ridiculous. But I never saw 5:2 as a diet - and I now don't "believe" in dieting anyway - I just saw it as a doable way to reduce calories. And it was. Then. Not now.

As you all would be aware, I "believe" (as I think you do Roscoe) that nutritious eating is the goal - mainly whole foods, and minimal processed food that has too much added sugar and poor quality fat. But this does seem to be too hard for many people to stick with. Many people prefer to follow a diet that has lots of rules as this seems easier. And often is, short to medium term. But as we know, most diets are not sustainable. Tho neither, does it seem, that healthy eating is. Argh!

I am trying to use lovemyparrot's latest Precision Nutrition post as an aid to limit my consumption of processed foods. Also, it is now 2 weeks since my accident, and time to stop letting myself overindulge in food...
Roscoe wrote: When the dieter is ready, the diet will appear. I have no idea why now was the time to do it, but it happened.

Agree. Happened to me the same way. Too bad serendipitous events like that seem to involve an occasional planetary alignment.

I believe that are quite a few alternative approaches remaining (many uptapped), limited by curiosity and personal need. Simple problems are one and done. Everything else requires successive refinement.
Roscoe wrote: When the dieter is ready, the diet will appear. I have no idea why now was the time to do it, but it happened.

That also worked for me when I was 31 years old. I dieted for the first time ever. I did WW online, which since I was a software developer at the time, was perfect for me. My officemate and I did it together and it was great. I lost 47 lbs. in less than a year. But that weight slowly crept back on over the years and I have struggled ever since. (I'm now 48!) My body is very very resistant to losing the weight.

The only other time I lost weight was when I had a very stressful few months culminating with the death of my brother. I could hardly eat then. I lost 15-20 lbs. then, but naturally when I was feeling better and started eating regularly again it crept back up.

I have made a lot of permanent changes. I exercise more than I used to when I was young (early 20s/30s) and don't eat like I used to. But still it's not enough. I will keep trying though!
8 posts Page 1 of 1
Similar Topics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Be healthier. Lose weight. Eat the foods you love, most of the time.

Learn about the 5:2 diet

We've got loads of info about intermittent fasting, written in a way which is easy to understand. Whether you're wondering about side effects or why the scales aren't budging, we've got all you need to know.

Your intermittent fasting questions answered ASK QUESTIONS & GET SUPPORT
Come along to the FastDay Forum, we're a friendly bunch and happy to answer your fasting questions and offer support. Why not join in one of our regular challenges to help you towards your goal weight?

Use our free 5:2 diet tracker FREE 5:2 DIET PROGRESS TRACKER & BLOG
Tracking your diet progress is great for staying motivated. Chart your measurements and keep tabs on your daily calorie needs. You can even create a free blog to journal your 5:2 experience!