Published on June 1st, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe0
It’s all about me! My MAD Fast diet: 3 month update
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”
My MAD (Modified Alternate Day) Fast diet to date!
For the last 3 months (13 weeks) I’ve been following Dr Krista Varady’s alternate day fasting regime which she writes about in her book: The Every Other Day Diet.
One of the few diets that has been thoroughly researched with clinical trials over a decade – and with research ongoing.
It’s a simple premise – on alternate days, referred to as Fast Days, you restrict calorie intake to 500
Every second day, referred to as a Feast Day, you can eat whatever you want to!
This means you restrict calories on 3 days one week and then 4 days the next – which is an endless source of confusion on the EODD Facebook page. Presumably by people who haven’t actually read the book!!
The confusion seems to arise from the fact that you are inevitably fasting on different days alternate weeks’
Another FAQ is when do you start the fast? – it’s midnight!
But, in practice, it’s after your evening meal. And it’s expected that you will eat only 500 calories for the whole of the next day. The Feast Day then starts at breakfast the morning after. Which means you are actually really doing a modified fast for more like 36 hours. But most people really don’t feel hungry (so long as they follow the instructions).
Not only is it simple in theory, it’s also surprisingly easy to do in practice. Following the directions of making the main meal in the middle of the day, saving 100 calories for a snack later, staying hydrated and exercising 45 mins x 5 days each week – hunger was rarely a problem for me.
Like most women I have dabbled with every day calorie restriction to control my weight and find it grim – depressing and unsustainable for more than a short time. And disastrously ineffective long term because of the way your body strives to protect you from the possibility of starving to death!
This mechanism is genius in times of famine, and we have collectively known famine many, many times over the aeons!
Called adaptive thermogenesis, this survival mechanism leaves you with a lower calorie requirement to maintain your weight!
With daily calorie restriction you lose muscle – up to 25%
And with daily calorie restriction you alter your metabolism, possibly permanently.
A very high price to pay for a short term weight loss for the majority of people!
Modified alternate day fasting is not only easier, it is protective to health by preserving muscle mass and improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance. It seems to work entirely differently than daily calorie restriction!
And you are only ever a day away from a proper meal! The psychological impact of that should not be underestimated!
And to Varadys’s surprise, the research showed that participants rarely overate on the Feast days – only 10% more than would normally be eaten.
On the front of the book is the claim:
I read this with the same cynicism that I save for fuel consumption on automobiles, which you’ll only ever achieve when you have the road to yourself, perfect weather, a flat straight road and the wind in the right direction.
But. with regard to the modified alternate day fast, a bit of me hoped…….
And three months down the line, it has definitely worked for me, but more at the level I expected.
(10 doing the diet, 3 when I didn’t!)
about half a size
The 3 weeks when I fell off the wagon were Easter, Mother’s Day and when I tried to restrict Feast Day calories and was too resentful to do it properly!
Although there’s no mention in the book, there are about 10% of people who don’t lose weight on this diet.
Or, like me, have results that are so slow that it’s trickier to maintain motivation.
One unexpected advantage of the Every Other Day Diet is that you can communicate directly with the author via the EODD Facebook page, and this is where I sought the solution.
Turned out to be simple in theory – a bit more of a challenge in practice….
On the day when you can eat “ad libitum” i.e. whatever you want to eat – you now restrict intake to 1500 calories
My first attempt, a couple of weeks back, was a complete disaster! My reaction to restriction?
It’s not fair!!!
Far too busy muttering about the unfairness of it all to stand any chance of success, I guaranteed failure by failure to plan!
It’s now a new month and the first day of summer, and I’m giving it another go for at least the month of June.
I’m going to document everything I eat and drink – tedious but effective apparently!
I’ll keep you posted!