Intermittent Fasting – Week 8

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(picture from 2 years ago, loading truck at 220 lbs.)



Week eight brought a breaking of the plateau around 200 lbs.  Looks like I am well on my way to normal BMI of 25 at 188 lbs. by the end of November.  I made a few tweaks this week.  The biggest was switching from eating 25% or less of my TDEE, which is about 625 calories to a full water fast of no calories.

Bulletproof Coffee

On the first fast day, I also tried a bulletproof coffee.  This turned out to be about 300 calories.  I did not repeat the trial.  Bulletproof coffee is a coffee with an added tablespoon of coconut oil and two table spoons of butter.  You whip it up in a blender and drink the emulsified frothy mixture like a regular coffee.  The idea is that the medium-chain triglycerides and fat prime your body to burn fat through ketosis.  Bulletproof coffee is also supposed to blunt your hunger during the day to make it easier to fast.  I didn’t feel like the bullet proof coffee blunted my hunger at all. It also didn’t have any dramatic effect on my weight.  For the rest of the week, I skipped the bulletproof coffee and just drank regular coffee and ate nothing.

Full fast versus 25% calorie restriction

At the urging of many people on the HVMN Facebook group I switched from the fast-mimicking caloric intake on fast days to a full fast. I found it to be a rough ride. I feel different.  I found myself uncomfortably distracted hunger and the sensations of low energy and disassociation. In comparison, the two small meals of high protein and fat that I had been consuming under the previous 25% calorie restriction left me feeling normal.  One benefit of the full fast is that it correlated with breaking through the weight plateau.  Through this week, my weight starting gradually dropping again. In the next week, I am going to return to the 600 calories on fast days. Let’s see if the weight continues dropping.

Switching to 4:3 from every other day fasting

4:3 fasting is where you eat normally four days a week and fast three days a week. In my case I fast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and eat normally the other days.  The problem with every other day fasting is that the day of the week on which you are fasting moves around.  This makes it hard to schedule with my family.  Making dinner, events and dinner parties are harder to work around when the day you’ll be fasting on switches every week. Secondly, I was never getting the opportunity to eat leftovers.  I like my cooking.  When I make something great, I want to eat it again the next day.  If we have something great in the fridge, I was always missing my chance to get some if I declined to eat it on my feast day, because it would be gone from the fridge by the time I was eating again.  Combined with returning to 25% caloric intake on fast days, switching to 4:3 is going to increase my caloric intake by week considerably.  I want to maintain my rate of weight loss, so I am going to find ways to increase my caloric expenditure to maintain and even CICO rate.

Eating less on feast days

Also, correlated with going full-on water fast on my fast days has been a decrease in the number of calories I eat on the feast days. I eat ad libitum, so this is a function of my hunger not any conscious restriction.  I will keep an eye on this phenomenon.

TDEE and adjusting activity level

Having eight weeks of data with some consistent patterns, I can now look at the correlation of my TDEE calculations with my actual experience.  One of the most sensitive variables in the TDEE calculation is the activity level.  Adjusting between “sedentary” and highly active can swing your TDEE by several hundred calories per day. I initially started with “lightly active’ as my activity level. When graphed by day, this level of activity yielded a TDEE that was significantly higher than my caloric intake.  Using this value for TDEE, I calculated my expected weight loss and found that my actual weight was much lower than predicted by the caloric deficit.  When I considered my additional energy expenditure from physical activity, the predicted weight loss correlated more closely.

Body Fat Measurements

I have three ways to measure body fat.  The Omron hbf-306c body fat analyzer, plastic calipers and lookup table, and the Navy waist circumference calculation.  These three measurements have converged over the last week as a made few adjustments to each technique.  On the Omron, I had set my activity level to “normal”, which gave a reading about 2 percentage points higher than when it is set to “athlete”.  When I changed this setting to athlete, I started getting body fat readings that were much closer to those calculated from the super iliac caliper and the waist circumference. Right now, the seven-day average of each of them is within .36% of each other. That they are converging so closely makes me think that an average of the three might be a fairly accurate estimate.  If this continues, I will be confident that the BIE setting should be athlete and I can throw out the previous BIA measures from the Omron.

Holding on to Fat Free Mass

From the body fat percentage measures, it seems that I am holding on the fat free mass well.  I calculated the fat and fat free mass, by multiplying my body weight by the body fat percentage. On an absolute basis, fat free mass is largely unchanged over the last week.  After an initial drop when I started back in August, fat free mass has recovered and then stayed steady.  Fat mass continues to drop.  I have only graphed the fat and fat free mass drops since the 9/10/2017 because I didn’t have enough measurements of body fat percentage previously.

Alternate day fasting is proceeding apace and I am on track to meet my goals. I’m going to have to retitle this series because what I am doing now is not strictly alternate fasting but 4:3 or the every other day diet.  Perhaps “Intermittent Fasting” is a better title because it encompasses these variants.  It also gives me some leeway to make additional changes.  Hopes this information is useful.  Best of luck.