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Intermittent Fasting: First Impression

Monday, March 19, 2018

I am a diabetic, type 2. I was diagnosed in September of 1999 at which point I was put on Metformin (Glucophage), an oral medication. I don't seem to have any side effects. But I did not do much about myself. I tested several different diets--some wacky, some good, but I never stuck with anything for long. I was also living under enormous stress and tension--being a caregiver, working, and having precisely no free time for myself. My life was cluttered and chaotic and I seemed to be the only sane one living amidst stroke victims who were demanding, capricious, and draining. Was I sane? No, I was fuelled by potato chips and Ben and Jerry's, but I did my job(s).

In very late 2006--November or early December--I was put on injectable insulin--of three kinds. One, Levemir, now Tresiba, was a basal insulin. Long-lasting, it tried to keep insulin levels stable throughout the day. One, Symlin, is taken before a meal that consists of at least 300 calories. Finally, I was put on an quick-acting insulin which I inject right before a meal based on how many carbohydrates are in the meal. No carbs? No quick-acting insulin. A spaghetti dinner or rice? Beaucoup de insulin.

So I drowsed my way though a decade of this. I joined Spark People evidently in March of 2008. But then I forgot all about it and was amazed to find I had an account when I joined Spark People in late 2011. Since then I've been at various points of compliance here. An illness or death in the family can get me off-course.

My fast acting insulin was becoming less effective--or my pancreas had totally died. The 10 units I took for a risotto in 2010 had become almost 75 units in 2017.

Hemoglobin A1C is a useful measure to calculate how much glucose is in your blood over an average of the past three months. At one point, my Hemoglobin A1C had risen to slightly above 10. That's a terrible number. You ideally want it to be anywhere between 4.0 and 6.0.
I was "handling" my diabetes by giving myself more and more insulin.

I joined the BLC again last Autumn, hoping to find help. And I followed the program and lost weight. I joined the BLC again this past winter and have done well. But it finally occurred to me that I had to do something more dramatic than just increase my insulin all the time.

I have two books by Dr. Michael Mosley. The first, "The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet" is a program of 800 calories of food every day for 8 weeks.

I did the 800 calories on Saturday, March 17. I was just under 800 calories when I went to bed and I felt pretty good.

Then yesterday, March 18, I tried another book by him: "The Fast Diet" which essentially advocates taking two days (non-consecutive) from the week and eating no more than 500 calories and eating as you wish (but prudently if you can) on the other five days of the week.

I sailed through the day with a few hunger pangs and had amassed about 472 calories shortly before bed time. And then I crashed! My blood sugar was very low. I had not taken any fast-acting insulin at all that day because I had limited carbs, but the crash felt terrible. All I could do was go to the kitchen and drink some of my emergency cola. But the time I had some of that (about 3 ounces) I probably had ended up consuming about 510 calories for the day.

I woke up with a headache, which is not uncommon after a "fasting" day.

Conclusions? I am afraid of the restrictions of eating only 800 calories a day for 8 weeks. I can go for it and try, however.

I might be able to have a 5:2 fasting program if I decrease my basal insulin on the two fasting days.

Going low calorie takes discipline and it also takes the knowledge that it's an artificial state; when you stop you are likely to gain back the weight--or at least some of it. Learning to pause and enjoy the tastes of various vegetables is a worthy art to acquire.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Talk to your doctor. You may be eligible to work with a nutritionist or dietician to help you as you have so many health problems. Best of luck! emoticon
    1185 days ago
    The type of IF described by Becca and Morticia is best. Eat all your daily calories of good food within a 6-8 hour window and nothing but water the rest of the 24 hours. Lots of veggies and fruit and plant-based fats and whole grains when you have any.
    1185 days ago
    I don't think it's a good idea for any diabetics to get their calories that low. Daily I.F. is a lot safer and what you are doing is not what I am doing. I fast every day for a period between 14 - 16 hours and eat within the rest of the time. I never eat less than 1200 calories minimum.
    1185 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/19/2018 5:40:22 PM
    Honestly, it sounds to me like you need some medical supervision to help monitor your medication as you work through the diet stuff and find what really works for you. I also second the idea of reading Dr. Bernstein's book, and I additionally recommend Blood Sugar 101 by Jenny Ruhl... she specifically addresses managing medication as you transition into a lower carb diet.

    I'm personally not a fan of the 5:2 diet... it's been proven many times over that severe calorie restriction puts a lot more stress on the body than does a complete avoidance of food. I highly recommend reading Dr. Fung's blog series on fasting starting here:
    BR>or watch his videos here:

    I'm on my 7th day of water-only fasting and I feel GREAT! What I love most especially is that my BG is completely under control, and I have absolutely no dips in energy because my body is adapted to burning fat (my body fat) for fuel!

    There are a number of approaches to dieting that work, but the two that don't are LCLF (no fuel for your body to burn consistently... you're always crashing), and HCHF (you will always be in fat storage mode, and your lipids will go completely out of whack). As a diabetic, your body has already decided that that carbs for fuel won't work for you, especially if weight loss is your goal. That leaves LCHF. I know you don't particularly care for that option, however, it isn't actually you who decides at this point (due to your current health complications, the luxury to freely choose has sailed). Your body has you over a barrel, and it's your body that's trying to tell you what is best. Your only decision at this juncture is really whether or not you're going to listen.... or you can keep using insulin and other various medications to silence your body's "voice."

    A Primal approach by Mark Sisson is really good transition plan, which may be especially helpful to you in managing your medications with respect to slowly moving toward what your body needs in light of your weight loss goals.


    1185 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/19/2018 6:53:09 PM
    I'm sorry, written by doctors or not, 800 calories a day is very low! Especially if you include any activity! I would be crashing all the time!
    1186 days ago
    You have some EXCELLENT advice *here* so I have nothing to add other than (for me) there is no food after 9PM, then...what I plan to 'do' after a full night's sleep, is a morning fast. I keep foods (not liquids and not 'something' like your tea or my espresso) off the menu till noon (hopefully having my workout DONE) and eat my heaviest meal around 12PM to 1PM, leaving my lightest meal for around 5PM to 6PM. That leaves plenty of time before the "no food after 9PM" to have a light healthy desert. It's not actually a "diet" but more of a life-style change. Ginger tea, Chamomile tea, or a combo, should help with the headaches.
    1186 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/19/2018 1:11:08 PM
    There are any number of fasting protocols out there that don't push super low calorie days like that. Don't give up, just keep investigating. I see you're on a few teams here - that's great, leverage some of the collective knowledge and experience they bring!

    Have you ever read Dr. Bernstein's book?
    1186 days ago
    You can do intermittent fasting by eating your normal low carb diet during an eight hour period and then fasting for the rest of the 24 hours. This actually works, and I do eat a few exchanges if fruit per day, and a couple of exchanges if bread per day, like a piece of toast and a potato. I also have a couple of milk exchanges, and about six ounces of meat per day, plus plenty of veggies and some good fat. It is a form if IF that I learned about through Jason Fung.

    I would suggest you skip any radical changes, as those changes are not changes you can keep up for the rest of your life. I try to limit my carbs to around 125 to 150 net carbs per day. Gross mg carbs minus fiber mg=net carbs.

    Going way low on the carbs can make you have an emergency low. I stay away from the radical low carb diets.
    1186 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    I found an anti-aging endocrinologist who put me on Metformin, a weekly shot of Bydureon, Acarbose with meals, and Armour Thyroid at night. My blood sugar was 115 and now it is 100. I read The Diabetes Solution with Richard Bernstein MD and learned a lot, and I watched the YT videos of Jason Fung MD. Richard Bernstein has had Type 1 diabetes since he was 12 and was told he wouldn't live past 42 because of complications, but he is now 83. 95% of his patients have T2. I know now I had PCOS as a young woman and he writes about that.
    1186 days ago
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