This week I have been featuring a few articles about why fasting is difficult. So far, I have written the following:
Today will be the final installment in this series of articles.
In actual dietary terms, the most difficult thing I have experienced in fasting is hitting a plateau.
If you are eating nothing for days at a time, if you are not losing weight that is very frustrating.
As I have said elsewhere in this series, I don’t really experience hunger, but I do get mental signals that I am hungry or I just want to eat. As I think about it, I realize that I don’t really feel hungry, though.
I mean, if you are not eating and experiencing these mental signals that you want to eat (from time to time), that does mean that you are having to make an effort and work through these signals.
If you are making that effort and you don’t get a reward for your effort it is greatly frustrating.
I mean, if you are eating nothing, you would expect that you will lose weight, right? Well, not always.
My Fasting History
I started fasting in mid-February this year. I started out doing Intermittent Fasting (IF). I started out eating 2 meals per day between the hours of 2 PM and 7 PM. I found this very easy to do (just skip breakfast, and eat a bit of a late lunch), and the weight was coming off very nicely.
After a week or two of this, I changed my fast to a shorter eating window, which I also found quite easy to do.
Then, in mid-March, I decided to do a 10 day fast, leading up to a doctor appointment. This was more challenging, but I made it through, and I experienced great results. Lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure and great weight loss. I felt great too.
After the 10 days fast, I decided to do OMAD (One Meal a Day) and mix in a few loner fasts, maybe once a month or so.
As I kept eating OMAD, suddenly I stopped losing weight! It was super frustrating. I got stuck in the 260s, and it took about 6 weeks to break the plateau. Eating nothing (or just one meal per day) became frustrating to me when I was getting no results.
Truth is, I was getting results, though. I was losing inches, my health was getting better, and I was looking better (people were telling me this constantly). So, the results were happening, but that scale was not budging, and some days I was actually gaining weight (water weight). I was very frustrated.
But, I knew that if I persevered and kept up what I was doing, I would lose weight, so I kept doing it.
Now, I have busted through the plateau, and I am in the mid-250s now. It feels great to see the scale finally start responding to my efforts.
Yes, some things about fasting are difficult. One of the most difficult is to not be getting that positive reinforcement that you are hoping to see daily on the scale! But, fasting is also very rewarding!
Good work, Bob!!
I really wish that I could try fasting but it would totally throw my INR into some scary territory. I have been actively researching the ketogenic diet/lifestyle tho….it seems that there are so many benefits related to this dietary/lifestyle choice.
I have really become amazed by the benefits of both a ketogenic diet and fasting. On the keto lifestyle, it is so much the opposite of everything we have learned over the years. I am surprised it has not become more medically recognized that it is a healthy way to eat! I suppose it will just take time!
Plateaus are tough and can be very dangous to your success, alot of people will give up because they don’t see the scale move.
And I have noticed just like you that your clothes seem to still be getting loose and people around you is seeing you slim down but that scale is stuck.
I have been told that sometimes you body has to take a rest, kind of like a breather for your body. During this time you body will adjust things like your water retention, gain extra muscle, keeping regular for me helps.
There was one time I went 6 weeks with no move on the scales then all of the sudden 7 pounds came off the scales in two days…don’t think I lost 7 pounds in fat in two days…I think I had lost it over the previous month..just my body replaced it with water so it looked like I have lost nothing..
Keep up the good work Bob, I just got the two books book, Obesity Code and complete guide to fasting. I think I already do alot of it anyway but wouldn’t mind doing this more intensely.
Oh this morning I am down to 261 that is down 12 lbs in a month. Could be much lower if I was more aggressive..
You are right, James, plateaus are very tough, especially when you go a long time eating nothing and there is no reward! It does not get much tougher than that!
But, like you say, there are non-scale rewards like people noticing your weight loss, your clothes becoming looser, etc.
Great results on your end too, James! Keep going!
Thank you for explaining this one to me the other day. Looks like your mixing it up quite well and it’s working for you. To be stuck for 6 weeks is a nightmare. Fasting is easy when it comes to hunger pain but very hard when it comes to missing out enjoying things with the people you care about. I think it takes much more mental endurance than it does physical since the stomach pains go away, the headaches go away but the moments we miss socially is whats hard. Thank you for your motivation!
You are welcome Alexander, I’m glad that I’ve been able to help you in some way. You know that I follow dr. Fung, and he says that if there’s some social occasion with friends you should not fast, eat something, you should not deprive yourself of that or make your friends uncomfortable. That will only sabotage you in the end. So think about that.
Yea child’s birthday or something is understandable. But you know how it is Bob everyday in the Philippines is an occasion. It’s always someones birthday 😉
I have read the advice to toss the scales, and it is tempting! I know I am losing inches, my pants are too baggy, even if the numbers stay the same! But the scales give immediate feed back… hard to ditch ’em. Many call a significant lose after a plateau a “whoosh!” 🙂
Hi Luanne, nice to hear from you. I hope you are doing well.
I tend to agree about scales, but the instant feedback is irresistible. 🙂