Break the Cycle

Last Thursday, I talked about a study that said, in so many words, the more you eat, the more you gain. It’s not just about the excess calories building up around your body, but the fact that the act of overeating actually makes you want to eat even more. This obviously leads to a vicious cycle which can be difficult to break. However, they did have a suggestion and I decided to try it.

Conceptually, it’s pretty simple: Don’t eat. With your body’s blood sugars, insulin levels, and everything all crazy bonkers, about the only way you can reboot this system is to just leave it alone for twenty four hours. It sounded kind of crazy. I’d never tried a fast before. But after a couple weeks of the holidays and another week still filled with visions of sugar plums twenty-four seven, I decided to not wait any longer.

Around eight o’clock Sunday evening, I had my last meal. Spaghettio’s. Yum. I went to bed and woke up hungry. Then there was this strange gap in my Monday morning where I usually pulled together whatever breakfast, lunch, and snacks I was going to take with me. Instead, I walked around like a student after finals week not knowing what to do with all this extra time. I hopped in the car and went off to work, thinking, “Hmmm, I’m really not going to eat today. Very strange.”

How’d the day go? Pretty well, actually. Aside from being offered cookies, candy, and snacks all day, I didn’t touch anything. Nor did I tell anyone what I was doing. I wanted this experiment to be as real as possible. I sure got hungry a few times during the day. A couple times just gnawingly hungry, but I made it.

Until Monday night. I’d thought about just going without food until the next morning. But by ten o’clock that evening I started feeling a bit … odd. I had a headache, but still felt a bit strange. I decided to take a blood sugar reading. It was 70. That’s about my lower bound for safety, and decided sleeping another seven hours or so probably wasn’t the best idea.

I fixed a bowl of Honeycomb cereal (with banana and milk). Just one serving, but it was wonderful. Best meal I’d had in a long time.

And did the experiment work? Well, like all good experiments, a little bit of yes and a little bit of no. For the rest of the week I stayed under calories every single day. I didn’t get overly hungry and I didn’t dream about potato chips all day. I ate a bit too much Saturday evening. Then again Sunday evening. But I can hardly blame that on a failed experiment. I’ve been doing that forever.

Day 175
Starting Weight 224.0
Current Weight 206.0
Change from Last Week -3.5
Lost So Far 18.0
Pounds To Go 7.0

So mostly, I’d say “yes.” I feel like I got that clean break from the holidays I so desperately needed, both mentally and physically. My overnight weight drop between Monday and Tuesday was about five pounds. Granted, I don’t recommend fasting as an actual diet solution. Please be mindful of that disclaimer I have over on the right. And I can’t rule out a placebo effect too. But mostly I think the insulin speaks for itself.

I’ll know more next week. Meet me here then for the charts and the final verdict. I’ll be the guy eating the Honeycomb cereal…

21 Responses to “Break the Cycle”

Helen said
January 19, 2009 at 7:09 am

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this – it’s something I’ve done. At one point in my life I lost 25 lbs. simply by eating half of what I wanted Tuesday through Saturday. Eating whatever I wanted on Sunday, and then fasting from Sunday dinner to Monday dinner. I really did okay with it and I felt like it reset my clock. Hmmm, now you’ve given me something to reconsider…

Erik said
January 19, 2009 at 8:17 am

Back when I was steadily losing 1-2 lbs a week (July – October) part of it was a mini-fast every Saturday. I’d eat dinner Friday night, then not eat anything (no calories at all) until Saturday dinner. Saturday dinner was always extra early, but it worked pretty well. As long as the first meal to skip is breakfast, the hunger pangs don’t set in as quickly. For me I start getting the weird side effects after 20-22 hours, so I’d eat at that point. Of course, I was usually hiking for a couple hours Saturday morning, which would burn through my reserves a bit faster than normal.

meg said
January 19, 2009 at 8:24 am

Very interesting and I can see how it works!
I love Honeycombs…yum! Have you tried the strawberry ones?

Jennifer said
January 19, 2009 at 8:25 am

Interesting. Helen, your comment made me remember when I lost a bunch of weight about 8 years ago, I did exactly that, I would make my meal, eat half and still be full! Hmmm…I’m going to have to try that again!

MaryBe said
January 19, 2009 at 9:16 am

Did you drink water? Any thing else? I haven’t fasted since parochial school Lent! I don’t remember how!

Charlie said
January 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

I did drink water. That was it…

Charlie said
January 19, 2009 at 10:10 am

Hey meg, you finally got your domain name. Cool!

Biz said
January 19, 2009 at 10:11 am

I haven’t had honeycomb in AGES! There is no way I could ever go that long with eating!

Happy Monday Charlie!

Tuscanystone said
January 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Well done Charlie. Glad to hear you’re back on course and lost 3.5lbs ~ way to go!!

There’s a lot of ‘Intermittant Fasting’ being bandied around the internet at the mo. It’s almost the new Atkins in weight loss!I can see how it would get your insulin levels low! Not eating tends to do that!! lol

I’m not sure how low 70 is tho. What’s the average? Seems you have a different measuring system to us here in UK. Ours goes from 4 to about 8 in the ‘normal’ zone with 5.8 being ideal.

Are you planning a weekly fast or is that all you wanted, a kick in the right direction?

Tusc 😀

Charlie said
January 19, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Ours is a measurement of milligrams to deciliters (mg/dl). Yours is a millimole/liter. Normal is between 80 and 110.

Tuscanystone said
January 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Cheers honey, you are very wise 😀

Quix said
January 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I keep thinking about trying a short fast, but I am a serious grump when I don’t eat. Like, don’t get your fingers near me when I’m hungry… Plus, I didn’t eat on accident from Friday dinner to Saturday dinner, and I gained weight. Might just be different strokes for different folks. 🙂

Anonymous said
January 19, 2009 at 5:58 pm


Would coffee be allowed on the ‘fasting’ kick-off day / noncalorie beverages or is it simply water and air?


Charlie said
January 19, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Amy: I suppose as long as there are no calories, it would be okay. Though I’m sure some could argue that the caffeine might mess things up. But the bottom line is letting the blood sugars and insulin balance themselves out.

Quix: Well, it’s really about trying to break the self-imploding cycle we bring down on ourselves. It’s only indirectly about losing weight.

LisaNewton said
January 20, 2009 at 3:01 am

I like this idea. In my younger years, I did do a little bit of fasting, and I think I’ll try it again. Thanks for the reminder.

Laura Jane said
January 20, 2009 at 10:53 am

This does sound like an interesting idea. I haven’t been able to stop craving sweets since I got pretty off-track around the holidays. However, I don’t think fasting would help me stop wanting them. However, it would help to put things in perspective.

For the Love of Peanut Butter said
January 20, 2009 at 11:16 am

I love this post, as well as the honeycomb one. Thanks for sharing your stories and experiences in such a funny light, you are a spectacular writer!

Detox Info? « Chandra’s Shenanigans said
January 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm

[…] Then I was also intrigued by the posts about fasting I read this week at Every Gyms Nightmare and Back to the Fridge.  […]

HangryPants said
January 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm

It sounds like an interesting idea. Kind of like going cold turkey for daym, but I could never do it. I would get a headache by 1 pm.

Back to the Fridge » Sorry Ladies said
January 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

[…] to that question. Sent to me by Stephanie earlier this week, it ties in very nicely with the fast I tried a week ago Monday to help reboot my […]

Back to the Fridge » The Verdict said
January 26, 2009 at 12:07 am

[…] I was having a bit of trouble. I read about (and subsequently attempted) a dietary experiment. And last week I gave my preliminary results. At the time, things were looking generally positive, but I wanted to […]