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Intermittent Fasting

Monday, January 06, 2014

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is gaining ever more interest in the UK and Australia, with various celebrities claimed to be doing it, though it does not appear to have become that trendy yet in the USA. There has for some time been serious medical research into the longevity benefits of severe calorie deprivation. Some research now indicates that even occasional severe calorie deprivation can have these benefits, hence 'intermittent fasting'. There are several versions of this, ranging from no food at all for 3 1/2 days every two months, to reducing calories to one quarter of daily needs for two days per week, preferably not consecutive. The latter is called 5:2 (five days of feeding, two days of semi-fasting on c500cals for women, c600cals for men--some versions allow these to be spread over the day, others suggest having these in just one meal, and nothing for the rest of the day). Books on this concept include The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, The Alternate-Day Diet by James B Johnson, MD and Donald R Laub, MD, and The 5:2 Diet Book by Kate Harrison. There is also lots of information online which you can find by googling 5:2 or Intermittent Fasting. There are different versions of 5:2 which play around with starting and ending times of the semi-fast; 16:8 restricts eating to an 8-hour window every day. The point of all these is to ensure a long stretch of no food intake at all, or severe calorie restriction.
A milder version by Dr Michelle Harvie and Prof Tony Howell is two consecutive days of protein, veggies and dairy up to 50g carbs, which ensures weight loss but does not promise the other health benefits of the more serious calorie restriction of IF, such as controlling cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure as well as activating cell renewal.
What is crucial in all these versions is that one must eat normally on the other five days of the week. 'Normal' means eating what is necessary to maintain weight. Maybe a small treat, not a binge.
One additional benefit of IF is getting back in touch with one's body's signals, rediscovering the feeling of true hunger rather than eating because of the clock, or boredom, or emotions.
One criticism of IF is that it can lead to obsessing about food, so people with eating disorders are discouraged from attempting it. I think the focus on calorie counting is a part of this problem. My take on this is that one can plan ahead a balanced meal of c500cals (women) such as protein, veggies plus one carb, either whole grains or fruit. This is to be eaten in the evening. From what I've read, the longer the interval without food, the more effective the health benefits. Also, the later one postpones the start of eating, the more tolerable the hunger is. So, no breakfast, just tea/coffee as usual. For the rest of the day, herbal tea, low-cal drinks and lots of water. If hunger becomes intolerable, eat one of the dinner items ahead of time, but then obviously one can't have it again for dinner. Knowing there is a proper meal waiting at the end of the day makes it more bearable, for me, than teasing myself with minuscule "meals" throughout the day. Also, nibbling throughout the day isn't really fasting. On some days I'm so busy that I just don't have the time or the opportunity to eat during the day, so my only main meal is the evening meal anyhow. For IF I would just need to skip breakfast as well. It also helps if the last meal on the previous day is relatively light, e.g. last night I only had fruit and nuts, or even skipped altogether to extend the fasting time. Another possibility is having protein shakes or bars up to 500cals a day, but personally I prefer real food.
There are so many versions of this IF that it is worth experimenting with the different formats to find the one that is easiest to follow. Also, if there is a plateau it may help to switch to a different version for a while. However, I don't think true fasting (only water, no food at all) should be extended beyond 36 hours without medical supervision, and there may be some medical conditions that contraindicate even that long, e.g. diabetes (?).
There is a Spark Team for IF but it appears to be inactive. I have found several 5:2 and IF communities online which are supportive and informative (and free!).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAMEY13 1/7/2014 2:56PM

    Hi Sunny, we miss you on Tips for Writing and Weight Loss.

Hope all is well with you.

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    I've read about it and find it interesting but it's not for me.

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MOTLEM 1/6/2014 6:38PM

    Hey there Sunny! emoticon I see a couple of my girls have responded to your blog. You will get plenty of support on the 'One For All and All For One' Team where we do Fast 500's and DEEf's for others.

The co-leader Susie, TWANDK9 something, can't remember her total handle, does exactly what you do. She just has the one meal. Everyone is different, but maybe you and Susie could become Fast 500 buddies, who knows what the future will bring.

Great blog! and once again, welcome!! emoticon

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    I just read a religious book which says that fasting can cleanse your system. They mentioned daily fast with skipping a meal or weekly fast similar to the one you have mentioned. I would imagine that our Neanderthal relatives had some times of fasting due to lack of finding or killing food. So an occasional fast seems logical. I will note that as a teen I actually did a daily fast which allowed me to drop 50-60 pounds. So it can work. When you do eat--eat the healthy foods and add a supplement of vitamins and minerals and it should work very well and keep you healthy.

Another note, The actor " Face in the TV series was told he had cancer. He did some research and left Hollywood going on a fasting diet. Since there was less "food" to feed his cancer, he cured himself. No radiation, meds, etc. Makes you wonder if modern medicine has all the answers.

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TECH1960PS 1/6/2014 12:16PM

    IF, has been around in the paleo community for some time, Brad Pillion has a ebook out on it that I have read and is very good. Lean gains is another great site about IF. IF, fits in well with any eating program you follow, it automatically gives you a 15 to 20% reduction in your overall cals for the week. I use Pillions 2 x 24 hour fast with my eating program, I fast from supper time to supper time. The only caveat being that you do need to do some sort of resistance training. emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 1/6/2014 11:45AM

    Ok, RDEE22 beat me to the punch!!

Hope all is well with you!

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SUNNY112358 1/6/2014 7:19AM

    Thank you PDuncan04, GoAnna, Stonecot and Rdee22 for commenting on my blog.

Comment edited on: 1/6/2014 7:20:56 AM

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RDEE22 1/6/2014 6:26AM

    The team " One for all and all for one" are doing this. Check it out.

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STONECOT 1/6/2014 5:18AM

    I've been doing IF for 10 months now. I started off with the 5:2 and lost weight very slowly, then in November switched to alternate day fasting, though I took Christmas and New Year off. I started because I wanted to reduce my cancer risk, as I've already had it once, rather than to lose weight, though I have lost 30lbs while doing it.

I don't obsess about food, though I do enjoy preparing my following days dinner on my fasting days, I take a lot of care over choosing and cooking it, and I will eat whatever I fancy, whatever the calorie count.

I do 500 calories on alternate days, in one meal at about 5pm. I find that the fasting gives me lots of energy, and I exercise hard on my fasting days, including 2 hours of karate when it falls on those days. I have never felt weak or faint while doing it, and the hunger pangs quickly go away if I find something else to do. It works well for me and I'll be doing this for the rest of my life.

Comment edited on: 1/6/2014 5:20:31 AM

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GOANNA2 1/6/2014 12:55AM

    Thanks Sunny. Nice to see you back on Spark. I have a
girlfriend who does the 5:2 but I haven't seen her lose
ny weight. HAppy New Year. emoticon

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PDUNCAN04 1/6/2014 12:30AM

  I am wanting to try this. I would love to hear from more people and their results.

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obesity drugs, weight regain

Friday, July 26, 2013

I've just read this interesting article

with some discouraging graphs showing how little one loses with diet and diet + exercise, and how much of the lost weight is regained.
It's an uphill battle, but some do succeed, so let's try to be among them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOANNA2 7/27/2013 7:46AM

    Very interesting article Sunny. Thanks
for sharing. emoticon

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WENDYJM4 7/27/2013 6:21AM

    thanks for sharing

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MAYBER 7/26/2013 11:37PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DJ4HEALTH 7/26/2013 11:27PM

    If it was not for all that stuff that they put in processed foods we would not have that problem and would be healthier too. But they are out to make us eat more and poison us at the same time to keep the money coming in for both the pharmacy and food industry too.

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    I really wanted to read this article but this stupid problem with my modem is keeping me from doing much.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 7/26/2013 2:41PM

    I loved the article! It finally gets to the root of many issues. Before we had fast foods an Genetically modified foods we were healthier. Companies know that sugar is more addictive than heroine and add it liberally to our diets. We are not buying food--we are feeding the pockets of the companies who addicted us to foods our bodies do not know how to process and therefore-it stores it.

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BARBARASDIET 7/26/2013 12:46PM

    I couldn't finish the article, it was so annoying. We have to take some responsibility for our obesity, not find ways to blame it on something else.

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USMAWIFE 7/26/2013 12:05PM

    emoticon for sharing

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PATTISWIMMER 7/26/2013 11:45AM

    now I stay away from triggers like processed foods that want you to eat more... stuff with additives and even though I am working too much right now to diet successful the end result is I am at least maintaining about 10 pounds away from my normal weigh amoung.

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PATTISWIMMER 7/26/2013 11:42AM

    yes success is possible. I am better at losing weigh now since I have cancer and less weight decreases cancer recurrence... hence I have more motivation emoticon

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The Harcombe Diet

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Developed by Zoe Harcombe after years of research, this attacks three underlying causes of cravings and bad eating choices that lead to overweight/obesity: Candida, Food Intolerance and Hypoglycaemia.
Phase One lasts for five days: unprocessed meat, fish, chicken, eggs, olive oil, butter, all vegetables except mushrooms, potatoes and corn. One natural live (bio) yoghurt. Optional: 50g (dry weight) brown rice or old-fashioned rolled oats. No tea, coffee or other sources of caffeine, but can use decaf coffee/tea or herbal and fruit teas. No milk, fruit, alcohol, and nothing fermented e.g. pickles, vinegar, soy sauce. Eat as much as you want, but try to stick to three meals a day and limit snacking unless really hungry. Some people may like to extend Phase One beyond five days, especially if Candida is strong.
Phase Two adds one or two pieces of fruit, milk, cheese, pulses, basmati rice, grains, wholemeal pasta, potatoes and other carbs, but try to limit these to one portion a day. It is essential to avoid processed foods, not to mix fats and carbs at the same meal, and to avoid any food that you know triggers cravings.
Phase Three is maintenance, when all foods can be reintroduced once weight is lost and cravings are gone.
For more details do read Zoe Harcombe's books:
The Obesity Epidemic
Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight (this one contains the diet)
The Harcombe Diet Recipe Book (also contains summary of the diet)
There is a Harcombe Diet Spark team if anyone is interested in joining me there.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KLEONIKI 5/9/2013 6:18AM

    emoticon for introducing it to us! emoticon

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    Sounds like a really good diet. Thanks for posting the info about it. I was curious.

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DEBBY4576 9/23/2012 6:42PM

    Sounds familiar. I say, whatever works....but it must be healthy. I like that this diet is healthy and uses real oil and butter. Not "plastic" margarine and such. Good luck

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ILLINITEACHER52 9/23/2012 1:40PM

  Thanks for the info. I just read about the diet too and looked up more information on-line yesterday. I would like to join you. I bought lots of vegetables and am ready to start tomorrow. Glad to know about the team - thanks!

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1CRAZYDOG 9/23/2012 11:30AM

    Just read about this in a magazine. Interesting. Hope it works for you (if you're using it!)

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GOANNA2 9/23/2012 7:02AM

    Thanks for telling us about this Sunny. Interesting.
I'll try and get the book from my library and see how t reads. emoticon

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ROSALIEESTHER 9/23/2012 5:30AM

    Never heard of it before. Thanks for the information.

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ARTJAC 9/23/2012 5:12AM


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WENDYJM4 9/23/2012 3:01AM

    interesting. emoticon

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JANTWO 9/23/2012 12:02AM

    Thank you for sharing that!!!!

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SLIMINDOWN31 9/22/2012 10:57PM

    Interesting! Never heard of this diet. Will read more. Thanks!

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Aerial Greece video

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Greece has unfortunately been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. I just came across this video and thought I would share it to remind us of what a beautiful country it still is:
Long but worth it! Enjoy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPHLOKI 9/26/2012 3:47AM

    and for all who are worried, Greece is still a wonderful Holiday country. Right now I am on the Island fo Crete, visting my Dad who has lived here for the last 17 years. It is very peaceful, but the inflation is biting, and the locals are suffering. Also some Hotels are quite empty, since countries like Germany had given travel advisories against coming here (Germany has meanwhile withdrawn it). Therefore those depending on tourism are suffering.
I have enjoyed visiting some of the usually crwoded sites (like the Minoan Palace in Knossos and not be crowded out by all those groups coming through).

The Greek landscapes are amazing, the people frienldy and wellcoming and the food is wonderful.

Sunny, your homecountry is just amazing. I love coming here and still hope to come again.

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GOANNA2 7/28/2012 8:01AM

    Sunny, I never really saw this before. Love it. I posted it on my Facebook page. emoticon

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GREEKMOM2TWINS 3/23/2012 2:30PM

    It is a beautiful place. I have been there about 5 times. Would like to go again with my kids to show them all the history.

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STEPHLOKI 1/22/2012 12:22PM

    Thanks for sharing this!

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GOANNA2 1/17/2012 1:33AM

    Thanks Sunny. It is wonderful that you posted this
and lets everyone see that Greece is so fantastic.
Anna emoticon

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    Really pretty!!

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ARTJAC 1/14/2012 8:47PM


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1CRAZYDOG 1/14/2012 8:02PM

    It is gorgeous! Thank yo for sharing it.

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BHOLMAN1005 1/14/2012 8:32AM

    How beautiful

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Fat Business

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I was moved by the lady who said she learnt to sew because she was tired of having to buy clothes that fit rather than what she liked to wear--brought back sad memories of when I was at my heaviest (around 93kg) and living in Japan, a land of petite ladies with dainty chests, so my mother in desperation got me a maternity dress for a blouse.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    My mom and paternal grandma were both professional seamstresses when I was growing up so I was spoiled and used to well fitting, unique, high-quality clothes.

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PAWSINAZ 1/4/2012 10:15AM

    It's really long over due especially for home goods. I can't remember which catalog is it (maybe Brylane Homes) they have a limited line of furniture for the larger folks.

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    It seems like a conspiracy when the fashion industry only makes clothes for the skinny. I guess less cloth-more money.

Working in the executive world made clothing a nightmare. I finally found some clothes at Dress Barn, Just-My Size, and Catherine's which were stylish and not the sheets of tent cloth the industry called clothing. I have shared you nightmare.

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SAGE150 1/4/2012 8:50AM

    Sunny, I understand how frustrating that can be. My mom recently bought me new clothes while I was visiting back home because I gained 20 lbs while home and couldn't fit into the clothes that I brought with me. I have worn maternity shorts before when I couldn't find shorts to fit me. It really tugs at your heartstrings when you hear other people going through similar experiences.


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