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N=1 - Kickstart the New Year with 1 meal a day, based on UK fasting study

by 153 · January 02, 2014 at 04:08 AM

So, there was this study - - a while back in the UK where subjects were placed on an 800 calorie/day diet (600 calories from shakes and 200 from veggies, spread throughout the day). There was some success in drastically reducing blood sugar fasting levels. As I'm in the early throes of Type 2, I'm going to try this N=1.

I plan to only do 1 meal a day, usually breakfast (or lunch on weekends when I wake up late), sticking to the 800 calorie recommendation. This will also help kickstart some of the cellular cleaning mechanisms of IF. However, for satiety purposes, I will skip the meal replacement shakes and replace with eggs/meat and healthy fats, mostly coconut and/or MCT oil, to help me get into mild ketosis as well. The remainder 200 calories can be filled by about 4-5 cups of frozen mixed veggies. In a pinch, I can whip up a meal replacement "shake" with 1/2 can of coconut milk and about 2-3 scoops of whey protein isolate. I understand that in the original experiment, the subjects ate throughout the day, but in my case, I will try my best to stick to just breakfast. I may cheat and do some bulletproof coffee or coffee with high-fat cream later in the day.

Any recommendations on this foolhardy experiment? :-) I will make sure my supplementation is dialed in (Vitamin D/C, potassium, sodium, fish oils) and not go to the gym. After 1 week, I'll switch to the standard Eat Stop Eat practice of 1-2x IF'ing a day, and the rest of the time eating 3 times a day with weights 2-3x a week, and HIIT 1x a week.

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15 · January 02, 2014 at 02:47 AM

I did this for a long time, although not for healthy reasons or in a healthy way. About 10 years ago when I was modelling I used to only eat one time a day and that meal would be pretty moderate - 10 pcs of sushi for example. But I was eating carbs at the time. I was also doing a really intense power yoga class that was 2 hours long - but only once a week. I was in the best shape of my life at the time and have never been able to get back there again. BUT I WARN YOU - that it is pretty likely that you will get serious attacks of lightheadedness! This happened to me a lot, but it's also a sign that your losing weight very quickly (probably too quickly).

But now I know better and can achieve the same results - without passing out - by eating paleo. So, my recommendation to you is to take it easy! You really don't need to be super extreme. Also, it has been found that eating less is more healthy in the long run, so it's ok to cut down on consumption - which is why the paleo theory includes fasting times, but stick to a schedule.

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153 · January 02, 2014 at 03:35 AM

Okay folks...thanks for everyone's input. My main thing was seeing if I could give this blood sugar thing a kick in the a$$ quickly, then after a week go to regular meals. It seems that it's better to stay at a more regular feeding cycle with more calories and not screw things up internally, with the occassional foray into intermittent fasting twice a week. However, I'll take the advice of @AmplifiedHeart as well, and if I continue the foolhardy approach of one meal for multiple days in a row, I should dramatically increase my calories, probably right after the gym when I'd be tempted to overeat anyways.

15 · January 02, 2014 at 12:59 AM


0 · January 01, 2014 at 04:41 PM

Me and my boyfriend are currently eating one meal a day. We started about two weeks ago and i'm not sure that we will ever go back to eating as frequently as we use to. As expected, the first few days were pretty rough. We drank plenty of water and my boyfriend would sometimes snacks on nuts and raw vegetables. I on the other hand, completely abstained from eating until it was time for my one meal. We chose to make dinner our only meal so we pretty much eat around 6 pm everyday. Our one meal is usually always above 2000 calories and it always consist of meats,veggies,carbohydrate (sweet potato usually), and dairy.

Eating this way has changed my whole relationship with food. The main reason why I embarked on this one meal a day journey was because I have been a struggling food addict for years. I wanted to break the bad relationship that I had with food and I felt that abstaining from it for so long throughout the day would help me with that. It has done that and so much more.I appreciate food much more. Me and my boyfriend literally get super excited in anticipation of our one meal. I actually look forward to cooking now and I put so much more love into my meals. Not only does eating this way save me time to do other things because I don't have to cook as often, it saves me so much money too!. Me and my boyfriend have both lost a significant amount of weight since eating one meal a day, even though we haven't lowered our calories by much if at all. Its hard for me to put it into words but we both feel much lighter and clearer both mentally and physically. Neither one of us work out either although we plan to start a walking routine soon. We have nothing but positive things to say about eating one meal a day and we will continue to eat this way for the long term.

I also suffered from a severe lack of discipline so abstaining from food for most of the day is a HUGE feat for me. Being able to do this makes me feel so much more positive about myself and brings some much needed discipline into my life. I feel like I can do anything now that the food is no longer controlling my life. I would definitely recommend the one meal a day thing but do it at a reasonable calorie level. For me, that is at least 2000 calories a day. I think 800 calories a day is dramatic and unnecessary for most.

2272 · December 31, 2013 at 08:14 PM

If you have a serious medical condition then I would say go for it...if you want to do it for fun and will make sure you take care of yourself (as you stated with the vitamins, etc), then good luck and best to you.

I agree most with Sol to find a sustainable way to do this...especially if you currently have 3 meals/day. maybe first try 2 meals, then down to one. No reason to suffer for a week!

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153 · December 31, 2013 at 08:02 PM

I may find that after 2-3 days, I'll go crazy and have to go up to my standard 3 meals a day. But definitely, I will not do this more than one week.. :-) I am curious though if someone has also done something like this, or even a full on 7 day fast, no food, and what their experiences were.

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190 · December 31, 2013 at 07:51 PM

Since you've limited it to a week I think you will be fine. If it was me, I'd just fast for two days and then move into a more normal caloric set-point.

5810 · December 31, 2013 at 07:48 PM

It sounds to me like you're willing to harm your body because your fearful mind is in a hurry. My recommendation is to find a SUSTAINABLE way to deal with your blood sugar issues. Pick a sustainable plan that makes sense to you, monitor yourself frequently, and make adjustments as needed. Some people do well with very low carb, others do fine just eating real food (paleo or otherwise.) There's no cookie cutter answer hence my desire that you pick something reasonable that makes sense to you and adjust your course as needed.

Update: Missed the part about your only doing this phase for a week. I'm still concerned with such an experiment. Plus, not everyone does well with IF. I couldn't do IF successfully until I cut the carbs way down and upped the fats A LOT. I still recommend a more thoughtful approach with self-monitoring.

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153 · December 31, 2013 at 07:06 PM! something's gone wonky with the format. I'll try to fix it, and won't delete the question (like I did once already)

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