Since my last post, I’ve gotten some questions about alternate day fasting (ADF), specifically what I eat on my “skinny” days. As a quick recap, ADF is just that. You eat up to 500 calories on every other day. I do a modified version where I eat 500 calories on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then eat whatever I want to on the other four days. It’s weird that I don’t feel deprived on my skinny days, but I’m starting to appreciate the large quantity of food on the plate on the “regular” days, especially when we go out to eat. I can no longer finish a restaurant meal.
You can actually get a lot of food in 500 calories if you do it right. For example, two Hershey’s kisses is about 44 calories — or about the same as an entire cup of watermelon, and a cup of watermelon is much more filling. So my goal is to get the most food for my calories so that I neither feel hungry nor deprived. And you can eat whatever you want on the skinny days. If you absolutely MUST have some chocolate on skinny days, then the 22 calorie Hershey’s kiss is probably a good, satisfying, low-calorie idea.
I generally keep my breakfast to 100 calories and my lunch and dinner to 150 calories each. That gives me 100 “flex” calories during the day if I want a snack (celery) or I can save them for a short glass of wine in the evening. (Chardonnay has about 120 calories …) My typical day (below) is a bit heavy on the carbs, but a lot of that is fiber which keeps me from being hungry. And at 500 calories, that’s only 100 carbs for the whole day if I ate nothing else. But it’s important (at least for me) to get some protein in every meal to help keep you full.
Here’s a typical skinny day:
Breakfast: 1 cup (5.5 oz) of cantaloupe (56 calories) along with either a slice of turkey bacon (40 calories) or some scrambled Egg Beaters (45 calories worth).
Lunch and Dinner: To make life easy, I typically eat a turkey sandwich for both meals. I use two slices of low-cal wheat bread (40 calories each), 2 oz. of sliced turkey breast (about 50 calories), about a tsp. of spicy mustard on both slices of bread (10 calories total), then I load it down with another 30 to 50 calories of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and spring mix. I have substituted a lean protein (chicken, shrimp, fish, etc.) and a salad for the sandwich when I’ve gotten bored. You can really have whatever you want as long as you stay within the calorie limit. For example, Lean Cuisine has a great Steak Portabella dinner that’s not only low-calorie (160 calories), it’s also fairly low carb and has 15 grams of protein. I’ve eaten one of those, especially during cold weather when I want something hot.
I use MyFitnessPall.com to track all my food (skinny and regular days). And I lost 10 pounds in January even eating pretty badly on many of my regular days (pizza, Mexican food, etc.).
If I do get hungry or hit a low point on a skinny day, I just remember that the next day I can eat whatever I want. I figure I can do anything for a day. I think that’s one of the reasons people fail on regular diets — there’s no end to it.
While my version is not necessarily anti-inflammatory, or gluten-free, or Paleo or other structured diet — there’s no reason why it can’t be. One of the great things I’ve found about this is that it’s completely flexible because you can eat whatever you do or don’t want. You just eat less some of the time.
I hope this answers your questions. Like anything else to do with your health, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about your diet. Mine has seen the results and is delighted. My labs (cholesterol, glucose, etc.) look great, so my doctor has no problem with my staying on it.
I hope whatever your health goals are, that you’re successful and happy reaching them. Thanks for checking in.