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Intermittent Fasting for Maintenance



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Is anyone using intermittent fasting as a maintenance strategy? If so, what model are you using? Thoughts/insights?

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I would be very concerned about doing intermittent fasting. 1) As a post-WLS patient it would be EXTREMLY hard to meet all your nutritional needs in just one or two meals a day. Seems like you are setting yourself up for health issues. 2) I personally had surgery to break the dieting cycle. I've done them all, including IM, and none of them worked long term and were healthy & sustainable. Why would you want to revert back to behaviors that didn't serve you?

If you want support moving into maintenance, I would say reach out to your team. They should be able to help guide you in a healthy way. If they don't have resources for maintenance, see if you can get in to see a dietitian, preferably one with WLS experience.

Hang in there, this is uncharted territory and we all need support! But don't let yourself be enticed back into old, unhealthy habits.

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well...i sort of do intermittent fasting naturally (both during weight loss phase AND during maintenance)

i normally don't eat until after noon (just not a morning eater...never was even before surgery). After surgery i don't normally eat past 7 or 8 pm..i got into this habit cuz i had a horrible experience with nighttime regurgitation one night and it was enough to make sure i always went to bed on an empty stomach.

...sooo i ended up practicing 16/8 IF without really meaning to. been doing this pretty much about 90% of the time for about 4 years now.

not sure if doing so has any added health benefit but i do it anyway cuz its just how i roll lol.

p.s. i meet all my nutritional needs most of the time and can easily get 1800+ calories in during those 8 hours (fyi, i graze). my last set of labs 1.5 months ago say im in great health...and i dont even take any Vitamins.

YMMV.

Good luck!

Edited by ms.sss

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I still do IF, occasionally. Most of the time it’s 14 or 16 hr fasts that sort of just happens if I’m busy and delay Breakfast. But sometimes I do OMAD when I’m not hungry. But at 5yrs post op it’s definitely easier to eat enough vs too little so it maybe easier the further out you are.

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I've known a few long-time post-ops who've done that. The ones I knew didn't eat anything until 10:00 a.m. (or noon - some people waited until noon). So I guess that would be the 16/8 plan? (I'm not super familiar with IF, other than the version where you eat within a certain window).

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This is an interesting question. I've read quite a lot of the scientific literature on Intermittent Fasting (IF) and I think it can be summarized as follows:

  1. IF has similar and many times better results vs. daily calorie restriction if the goal is weight loss. A lot of this additional benefit is due to the inherent ketogenic nature of IF.
  2. Compliance with IF is typically better than daily calorie restriction.
  3. If weight loss is the goal, IF can fail spectacularly if the subject overeats when not fasting. This is problematic for some people because they feel like IF gives them an excuse to eat badly on refeed days/times. IF really only works if you eat "normally" when not actually fasting.
  4. While there are numerous studies showing improved biomarkers with IF, almost all of those were done with either animals, or with overweight subjects. When compared to daily calorie restriction, many, if not most of the benefits are explained simply by underfeeding, not by IF specifically. (I should note here that IF can be extremely beneficial for certain specific medical conditions. I'm excluding a discussion on that subject and assuming we're talking about otherwise healthy adults.)

Taken as a whole, the conclusion I've personally come to is that IF can be beneficial for the right people, but it's not for everyone. Which leads me to your question:

Is Intermittent Fasting good for maintenance after WLS?

Assuming by "maintenance" you mean you'd be at or under a normal body weight, I'm not sure how beneficial IF would be? After all, IF is typically talked about as a diet or weight loss strategy. My point being that if instead, you are worried about or are actually seeing weight regain in "maintenance" then IF may work for you. Keep in mind however that IF & daily caloric restriction should both technically work. The question I can't answer is which is best for you. Only you know which eating pattern you can best comply with. Also, there are genetic and epigenetic factors at play here as well. Some people just do better with different eating patterns. The best advice may just be to try IF and see how you like it. Don't forget there are lots of different IF eating patterns and while 16/8 may work great for one person, someone else may need 5:2 or even alternate day to be successful.

If gaining weight is not an issue and you're looking more for the potential health benefits, I'll point out again that most of the scientific literature seems to support that both IF and underfeeding in general have the same benefits. This means it really comes down to you again. Can you avoid overeating when refeeding? Do you struggle with compliance on a "normal" diet? Your answers will determine your success with IF.

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Some do it & swear by it but then you can find someone who swears by any diet and many for whom they didn’t work.

No one diet works for everyone because we have different needs. In maintenance you need to find, not a diet, but a way of eating that works for you. One that is sustainable (this is life long & many diets are short term only), provides your body with what it needs & complements your life & how you want to live it. It may incorporate aspects of many styles of eating. For example I’ve included aspects of Keto & Atkins, occasionally include vegetarian meals, usually fast for about 13hrs overnight, etc.

I only fast 13+/- hrs because if I eat breakfast too early my tummy doesn’t like it & it sits heavily or I feel blah. And I eat the high Protein of keto/Atkins because I don’t absorb protein well. So I included these aspects just to keep my body happy & functioning well.

So, sure give intermittent fasting a go & see if it works for you.

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@SpartanMaker This is incredibly helpful. THANK YOU for taking the time to share such a thorough and thoughtful answer. I'm mostly considering IF because I'm concerned about weight regain. Now that I've moved into maintenance, my calorie count is creeping up. I find it pretty easy not to eat before lunch, so IF might help limit my snacking/potential overeating.

Again, THANK YOU. You've given me lots to think about.

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4 minutes ago, losinglosinglosing said:

@SpartanMaker This is incredibly helpful. THANK YOU for taking the time to share such a thorough and thoughtful answer. I'm mostly considering IF because I'm concerned about weight regain. Now that I've moved into maintenance, my calorie count is creeping up. I find it pretty easy not to eat before lunch, so IF might help limit my snacking/potential overeating.

Again, THANK YOU. You've given me lots to think about.

Glad you found it useful!

If you try it, don't forget to share your results here. I'm sure lots of others would be interested to know how it goes for you.

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If snacking &/or overeating are your concerns, IF may not work for you. As @SpartanMaker said, its success depends upon compliance. If you’re drawn to snacking &/or overeating now, you’ll likely still do it in the smaller eating window of IF. It doesn’t stop you from eating or stop you from making not the best food choices.

If these are your areas of struggle, you’re half way there because you’ve identified the problem. Go back to measuring & monitoring your portions to get back on track. What are you snacking on & why are you snacking? Habit, boredom, craving, etc.? Look for something to distract you instead of snacking. We’ve years of thinking we need to go on a ‘diet’ when we put on some weight. When some simple changes of behaviour might be all we need.

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@Arabesque It’s more a question of grazing. I’m drifting toward eating throughout the day. I’m wondering if I restrict my eating to 8 hours it will limit grazing. I’m just thinking about different approaches before I slide back into bad habits.

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There is a good website on IF called the Galveston Diet, it is run by a doctor who specializes in nutrition and women's health, but will be beneficial for anyone.

Either way, she has more fact based info on IF than anyone else I have seen.

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You're in maintenance, try anything you want just monitor yourself.

If it works and you like it, great. If not, try something else.

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7 minutes ago, kcuster83 said:

You're in maintenance, try anything you want just monitor yourself.

If it works and you like it, great. If not, try something else.

couldn't have said it better myself.

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22 hours ago, losinglosinglosing said:

@Arabesque It’s more a question of grazing. I’m drifting toward eating throughout the day. I’m wondering if I restrict my eating to 8 hours it will limit grazing. I’m just thinking about different approaches before I slide back into bad habits.

There’s grazing & there’s grazing. Grazing when you eat an appropriately portioned size healthy meal over a few hours or eat several small healthy meals over the day that meet your caloric & nutritional needs are fine. Anything else, like grazing just to eat, or for boredom, etc. or grazing beyond just a mid morning &/or mid afternoon snack can be worrying & lead to the weight gain fear you have. Consider what you’re grazing on & why you’re grazing. Do you exceed your caloric need by grazing? Maybe try the mini meal grazing or eating a meal by picking at it over a few hours. Or even reduce your grazing to just a single between meal snack. (I snack three times a day. It gives me a needed additional 25 odd grams of Protein but still fits within my caloric needs.) Worth trying.

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