Today I’m diving into intermittent fasting and more specifically alternate day intermittent fasting, which is the plan that I used during my active weight loss phase. I want to break it down and give the highlights, as well as a couple of disclaimers, and hopefully shed some light on this little known weight loss plan that’s beginning to make waves in the dieting world!
- every other day rotations of very low calorie days and higher calorie days. Use this calculator to find calorie numbers (ignore the rest of that website because it’s a bit of a mess)
Um, that’s really about it! The simplicity of this plan is what made it so appealing to me. No forbidden foods, no confusing phases and no long list of rules. You just rotate between low calorie and high calorie days. You can eat however you want within this as well-SAD (standard American diet), vegetarian, paleo, low carb etc etc.
- start the plan on a high calorie day
- do not do two consecutive low calorie days. If a low calorie day gets off track, just do two higher calorie days in a row, and continue with rotations as normal.
- re-run your numbers every 5lbs lost
- on low calorie days you can spread out your calories however you want. Some prefer to break them up into mini-meals every couple hours, or you can save them for a larger supper.
- For low calorie food ideas check out pinterest!
- always pre-plan your low calorie days in advance
- your weigh-ins will not follow a traditional pattern, but instead will move in a series of bounces and whooshes. You can weigh yourself daily if you prefer, but don’t let the bounces bother you-these are supposed to happen. With ADF you cannot look at daily or even weekly weigh-ins for the most accurate picture of what’s happening. Instead compare your weigh-in after the first low calorie day of the month, to your weigh-in after the last low calorie day at the end of the month, to see your progress.
Benefits of ADF:
- Simple and easy to understand and follow
- accommodates eating preferences
- you only ‘diet’ every other day, which prevents diet fatigue
- you can move your rotations to accomodate vacations, parties, holidays etc
- easy to correct if you get off track-just jump back in on a high calorie day and resume rotations
- many people experience extra energy on their low calorie days
- you learn what real hunger is vs. wanting to eat for other reasons (This is a biggie, and I’ll be devoting a whole blog post to this later this month)
Who should not do ADF:
- people with a history of distorted eating
- people with certain medical conditions
- pregnant and breastfeeding women
Negatives of ADF:
- the first few rotations will be rough as your body adjusts. Starting out it’s ok to do higher low calorie days (I started at 800 calories and then worked my way down over a couple of weeks). Low calorie days do get easier though, and after you’ve done ADF for a while you may actually start looking forward to the low calorie days.
- you may experience some hangry moments on your low calorie days, especially during PMS. My husband lovingly called me dragon lady during these times lol. These do not happen all the time though
- going grocery shopping on low calorie days is brutal. I only made that mistake once! Always make sure to have your low calorie days planned and the food in the house, and save shopping trips for high calorie days
- some people do fine exercising on their low calorie days, but others cut out exercise on those days or just do walking