Does anyone have any stories of how IF has NOT helped them? And why do you think it might have failed? Would love to hear both sides of the IF coin.
As luckybastard said, failure is very broad and also quite personal.
I have been experimenting with IF for about a year now and think that I finally have it 'sorted' for me personally. I now tend to fast from dinner to dinner, except for weekends when I may have breakfast or lunch with friends. This works well for me as generally speaking, I find it difficult to eat many 'small' meals as I am a bit of a glutton and never feel satisfied - so one big meal at the end of the day works perfectly.
With regards to 'failing', beforehand when I was experimenting with both 16/8 and alternate day fasting, I would often find myself finishing the fast with a binge because I felt I had 'earned' it. I didn't make much progress. I think the 16/8 fasts just weren't long enough for me to really get an understanding of my body, and the alternate day fasts were too long. I now eat a good amount of starch, a moderate amount of protein and a big heap of fat when I break my fast - and I am completely satisfied until my next meal ~24hrs later. The starch here really helps.
I've read a lot of posts on the internet from people stuck in binge/fast cycles, and I have experienced this first hand, so for people who have any issues with food (food as a reward, as comfort etc.) then I can see how they would be likely to 'fail'. IF certainly does not work for everybody.
I think the binge following a fast might not always be psychological, but in some cases the result of a nutritional deficiency (or, more controversially, the body's defense of a set point).
In my case, I started on a binge-purge-fast cycle soon after I started intermittent fasting while eating low carb paleo. (I tried out both a 16/8 fasting/eating window and the ESE approach). I was still eating plenty of calories, mostly as meat and coconut oil, taking in a daily average of 2000 calories or more for a 4'10" frame. However, even after I removed nuts from my diet, I would binge on meat, fish, and leafy greens like chard, all while continuing to IF. This made me feel physically ill and mentally crazy, as I've heard time and time again that "no one binges on steak and leafy greens," but I was doing it. For other health reasons, I finally decided to increase my consumption of tubers and fruit, and now I don't binge any longer, even when I fast. Sadly, IF has not yet allowed me to achieve "sweet abs," but I'll continue to lift weights and see what happens.
In conclusion, I think IF can be a powerful tool, but everyone has different nutritional needs that must be met, or risk bankrupting his or her body. It's important to note that bingeing is not always a psychological problem. No doubt sometimes it is. But other times the body is truly starving for a nutrient that the mind hasn't necessarily identified, and it has nothing to do with being mentally weak.
Failure is too broad a term, i think. I did a combination of Martin Berkhan's Lean Gains and occasional 24 hour fasts. The good things that it did was it made me able to deal with hunger better than I've ever been able to in my life and it put an overdrive on my weight loss. The unexpected complication was that it aided in messing up my sleep pattern. My theory is that it taxed my adrenals a bit and did something weird. However, tossing potatoes into the mix has seemingly helped get it back on track and I've gone back to IF'ing with only very occasional sleep problems.