Alternate Day Diet

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Background


The Alternate-Day Diet: Turn on Your “Skinny Gene,” Shed the Pounds, and Live a Longer and Healthier Life was written by James B. Johnson, M.D.

It achieves calorie restriction by severely limiting calories every second day so the result over time is a reduced calorie diet. This program is based on animal studies that indicate that restricting caloric intake on alternate days can turn on the “skinny” gene.

Dr. Johnson has applied the same theory in human clinical trials and discovered that not only does this approach promote weight loss, it also produces a whole range of beneficial effects on health. Volunteers lost on average eight per cent of their body weight over an eight-week period, and experienced benefits such as reduced inflammation, improved insulin resistance and better cellular energy production.

Johnson also claims that alternate day dieting can help to lower blood pressure, alleviate arthritis and reduce levels of potentially harmful free radicals in the bloodstream.

Alternate Day Diet Basics

alternate-day-dietEvery day is either an Up Day or a Down Day. You are free to eat as much as you would like to on Up Days and On Down Days you will restrict calories. While you can eat whatever foods you want and as much as you like you should not intentionally overeat, but it is important that you eat enough so that you feel satisfied.

For the first two weeks of the diet you consume no more than 20% of your usual calorie intake on Down Days. To simplify matters a daily intake of 500 calories for Down Days is suggested during the induction phase.

Meal replacement shakes are recommended as the only food that you consume on the Down Days during the induction phase. This is because they are convenient and make it easy to monitor your calorie intake. You only have to diet for one day at a time. The next day is your Up Day where you are free to eat the way you normally would.

The longer-term Alternate Day Diet plan is not as restrictive as the first two weeks. You can eat real food on Down Days and can also increase your calorie intake to up to 35% of your normal amount if you want to lose weight. If you have already reached your target weight you will eat up to 60% of your normal calorie requirements in order to maintain your weight.

Recommended Foods

Meal replacement shakes, fruit, vegetables, chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, pasta, oats, whole wheat bread, high-fiber cereal, legumes, kojac, Shirataki noodles, red wine.

Sample Diet Plan

Breakfast

Veggie omelet
High-fiber toast

Lunch

Garbanzo bean spinach salad

Dinner

Soft fish tacos

Exercise Recommendations

Exercise is not necessary for The Alternate Day diet although general exercise information is included in the book.

Costs and Expenses

The Alternate-Day Diet: Turn on Your “Skinny Gene” , Shed the Pounds, and Live a Longer and Healthier Life retails at $14.95.

Pros

  • No foods are completely off-limits.
  • Easy to follow and stick to.
  • Eliminates feelings of deprivation that occur with long-term dieting.
  • Written by a medical doctor.
  • Includes thirty days of Down Day menus.
  • Includes fifty recipes.
  • Studies suggest that this diet can significantly improve asthma.
  • May improve metabolism and extend lifespan.

Cons

  • Dieters may experience hunger and fatigue on down days.
  • Not suitable for those with a history of eating disorders.
  • Does not encourage exercise.

Conclusions

Some dieters may find the Alternate Day Diet program an easy way to reduce calories without being required to completely give up their normal diet. However, there is a potential for those who have a tendency towards disordered eating patterns, to overeat on the Up Days, which may negate the calorie restriction effects of this plan.

Additionally for many, the extremely low calorie intake on The Alternate Day Diet Down Days may result in hunger and fatigue that could potentially have a negative impact on the ability to perform normal daily activities.

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Marie Ward

    Is this not an active site anymore? Is there one out there?

  • Marie Ward

    This is my first week. This is my up day and I had a wonderful meal of left overs from Tuesday. 1/2 c potato salad , 1/2 c chicken salad both from the deli., plus 1 c of cantaloupe. it all tasted so good much better than it did Tuesday. I guess my taste is changing. I have a pint of rich ice-cream in the freezer and it is not calling my name. Now that is what I call a miracle. Will let you know tomorrow if it is still keeping guite.
    82 year old Granny

  • Kellie

    Hi, I am planning on giving the diet a go, I just have one question that I need help with. I exercise about 5-6 days per week, mostly running. Is it ok to exercise on the down days given there is hardly any nutrition going in??

    • http://www.everydiet.org ted

      Some people can handle exercising on low calorie days will others struggle. You’ll have to see which category you fall under. Start with a little exercise and see how you feel.

  • rob

    i have been on the diet for a month now i am 60 years old and need to lose about 4 stone my first week was good i lost 5 pounds but not an ounce since whats wrong please help.

    • Anna

      Don’t despair! You are trying & body will adjust, like most of us, we get older & things don’t work as fast as when a youth and constantly on the go..just keep up the good work! Good for you for trying..

  • Mark Hollingsworth

    One benefit is how much better food tastes on the normal days. And about when that benefit fades out, you start another fast day. Don’t forget to drink more water to make up for the water that is normally in the food you eat (food can be 80% water).

  • Sue Kelly

    I’ve just started this diet (well way of life ) today my first down day but to be honest it hasn’t been too bad ,as I know I can eat tomorrow,had mainly soup and fruit,losing weight has always been slow for me I’m 62 so I think when your older metabolism doesn’t just slow down it seems to stop! Anyway here’s hoping I lose some weight

  • Bex

    This diet is quite new to me and i never heard of it before until last week. I have been on this diet for over a week and i have lost over 3lbs! On my first down day i felt light headed and hungry but i find it gets easier knowing that I can eat what i like on my up days! I eat around 500 calories on my down days. I find it quite easy to stick to so i would recommend it.

    • Lorrie

      I started this diet on Monday and have done two “down days”. I stuck to 500 calories on those days.The first day was tough, I felt lightheaded but yesterday was better.I weighed myself this morning and I’m down 4lbs. I’m sure most of that was water weight but I’m feeling hopeful for the first time in a long while. Fingers crossed :)

  • Sandy

    Starting this Sunday going to try this diet, been on diets before but never really follow it through, this one sound good !! Any tips would be great full .

    • Ann

      I started this diet three weeks ago. As far as weight loss is concerned, I promised myself not to put myself on scales any more, so I cannot help. What I can say: The diet is very easy to stick to, even though I have changed from a one up – one down to a two up and one down diet last week (due to work). I feel this is better; I do not feel weak at all, and the morning after a down day I do not feel hungry at all (It is 9:30 and I have just had a cup of tea). I did overeat a bit, but only the first two up-days.

      I feel I can go on forever.

      • Lorrie

        Good Luck Ann, if you don’t mind me asking, what are you eating on your down days. I could use some new ideas.

    • SCOTT

      best diet i`ve been on, plan your down days, dunno if you`re english but the co-op does stir fry veg £1 1.5 packs huge dinner only add up to approx 200 cals just focus on the up days, ive started drinking herbal tea whenever i get a pang on down days and ive found my up days now all im thinking is should i eat that ? …yes, yes i should !! funny how ya brain works
      13lb loss in three weeks !

      • SCOTT

        think ive hit a plateau ! im down 18lb but have stayed there for 10 days now ….any ideas ? exercise isnt an option yet cos its too flippin cold !

  • DIANNE FINLAYSON

    Just about to start on this diet Have about 10kg to lose I really enjoy wine before meals Is this allowed on the up days?

    • KJ 5bellies

      Hi Dianne,
      Nothing is ruled out on your up days :-) Enjoy your wine!
      k.

  • ram

    im ramil,..5’6 85kg, i will try this diet prog. and hope so i lose 20kg in a short sertain of time,..

  • Tracy

    Hello
    Ive just started the diet and found it really hard on my first day, was so hungry i felt shaky and couldnt concentrate i dont think it helped that i was at work til 8pm and only had one shake with me. But what im wondering is, on my first day i had to give in and eat a low calorie meal about 9.30pm, so im wondering if i could start my days from that time? or whether this would not work? eg – on the up day stop eating at 9.30 and on the down day start eating after 9.30 if i need too. I know under usual circumstances they say you shouldnt eat that late but another reason i ask this is because i suffer with insomnia and the only thing that helps me to sleep is to eat. So i fear i would never sleep on this diet lol I would really appreciate some advice on this. Thankyou

    • Andrea Scappaticcio

      I operate a 12 noon until 12 noon regime and find it works for me. I have come to the conclusion that some of the information that’s handed down
      from previous generations is just repeated bunkum ! I sleep like a baby when I have a reasonably sized meal , before going to bed. ”Breakfast is the most important meal of the day ”…. not for me , I eat a meager brekky and it doesn’t affect my energy levels at all . I have a shake , consisting of 60g of high quality whey protein , 1 tbspn of lowfat yoghurt , 1 tbspn of pre-soaked Chia seeds… shaken in a jar with a cup of water. After that , I’m ready to take on the world. I train dogs and take them for long hikes , I go to the gym every second day for a 1.5 hr workout , work 5 days a week and have lost 42lbs since August 2112 . There is a downside , I’ve had to give my clothes to charity shops and get smaller sizes. I’m constantly aske if I am ”alright ” by friends who think I’m ill. Do the research , follow the instructions and remove the word ” TREATS ” from your vocabulary . The treat for me is… I am 70 years old , never felt better in my life and now feel I can live till I’m 100. Ciao !

      • Anything will try once

        you are awesome! good for you!

  • KJ5 bellies

    I started this diet one week before Christmas (seriously!) and I am still following it. I am enjoying the health benefits of reduced weight and the increased feeling of wellbeing. I have read Dr. Johnson’s book that goes along with this diet and I would recommend anyone else who is considering this diet to read it also.
    I have been encouraged by other peoples’ comments relating to reduced symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases and I can vouch for these reports, my ailments have reduced noticeably.
    Before I started this diet it had taken me a full year to lose 14lbs, now on this diet I have already lost 10lbs in a little under 5 weeks. This isn’t just a diet, it is a lifestyle and I am pleased to be a part of it.

  • Joy

    We are doing the 3 day diet that my husband used to take off 50# in 6 weeks to get into the Navy 25 years ago! It is interesting food combo, and in only 2 days, 5.5 lbs came off both of us! Seems to me like the calorie count is about 1000 per day when I count what is on list to eat, but it could be less. It actually seems like a lot to eat at dinner. Last night was 2 beef franks, 1c. string beans, 1/2 c. carrots all steamed, 1/2 banana, and 1/2 c. vanilla ice cream! I am craving a good green salad for tomorrow!
    My question is, would it be better to do just one day off, or two, or more? There were no other instructions with the diet!

    • KJ5 bellies

      Hi Joy,
      Welcome to the diet!
      If you’re referring to the Alternate Day Diet I would recommend reading Dr. Johnson’s book which explains why the diet works and helps with motivation to stick with it. From his advice and research the Alterate Day diet and the 5:2 diets work in a similar way. In the Alternate Day diet you restrict your calorie intake to under 500 calories on alternate days; on the remaining days you may eat whatever you want – no foods are off limtis (to undo the good work of the Down Day you would need to routinely consume more than 160% normal calorie intake on Up Days). A similar alternative is the 5:2 diet; in this option you choose 2 days in the week to restrict your calories. I haven’t tried this option. I have been on the Alternate Day diet for 5 weeks and I am happy with the results and the improved feeling of wellbeing.
      Hope this helps!

  • Victoria

    I did this diet for 8 weeks before Xmas, lost a stone and loved it… Haven’t put any weight on over Xmas, and started again today. You can plan it around your social events and no matte how hard it gets – its just until the end of the day! I save up my calories throughout the day, and really look forward to dinner. Can’t face it on the weekends, and work is so busy that the time flies. Coffee and fruit for breakfast, weetabix for lunch… And 400 calories for dinner. Easy!

  • Rob

    I have just started the diet today and have a quick question that I’m hoping somebody will be able to answer…

    I’m planning on the down days to just have the one meal (dinner) a day. That way, if I don’t eat anything beforehand then I can still enjoy a ‘normal’ dinner if I am eating with people, just a smaller portion than normal. Does anybody know, one way or another, whether this is still allowed/ok to do without an adverse effect on the diet?

    • KJ5 bellies

      Hi Rob,
      I agree with Amber.
      If you are content with eating once in the day then that’s fine, it won’t affect the results of the diet at all. The most important thing is not to feel deprived of food, once you hit this point you will start craving and start nibbling. You might be better to try to eat a small amount in the morning as well. There are plenty of low calorie and virtually no calorie foods that you should have to hand. Also remember to stay hydrated, drinking water really does help to ease any feeling of hunger. When you have completed the induction period of 2 weeks you don’t have to be as strict. 100 calories below or above the Down Day calories won’t affect the end results.

    • Amber

      If you are able to go the day without food and just enjoy one meal it will work as my sister in law has been on the diet since June 2012,kept her down days to just an evening meal and has gone from a size 18 to a 12.
      She has inspired me to take up the diet and i am doing the same. last week was my first week and i lost 3lb.

      • Rob

        Thanks Amber, that’s usefull to know!

        1st week in and I’m down about 3-4 pounds.

        Good luck with it!

      • Crystal

        Hey I wanted to know how long it took ur sister in law to lose the weight that she lost?

  • Jayne

    All of these comments sound great and I have bought the book and started the diet today. I’ve been fine all day but this evening have started to feel a little dizzy, Is this usual when you start this diet and does it get better once your body adjusts to the diet?

    I’d be really interested to hear your replies.

    Thanks

    • Rob

      I believe feeling dizzy can be a normal side-effect of not having eaten and would imagine that as long as you are definitely drinking enough (at least 2 liters a day, I believe), you should be fine. That said, I am not a medical professional and have only started the diet today, so I couldn’t say for sure.

  • Michelle Devine

    Only been doing this diet for 1 week & lost 4 pounds

    • Lia

      That’s great, Michelle! What were your calorie numbers??

    • Bev

      That’s brilliant Michelle, hopefully I’ll be as successful x

  • Bev

    Hi , day one of this diet, haven’t been able to purchase the book yet, am hoping to do so later today, can anyone tell me can I do the diet days on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday but have Saturday and Sundays off? Does anyone know if this will work? It will mean I’m only fasting for 3 days and eating normally for 4, just wondered if this woul work???? Thanks.

    • KJ5 bellies

      Hi Bev,

      You will probably have read the book by now but in case you haven’t… ideally fast on alternate days but if you can’t manage that at the weekends you would be better to have an inbetween day than to blow it completely. That said, if you have reduced your Down Days to 20% of your regular calorie intake then you would have to consume more than 180% of your regular calorie intake on your Up Days to undo the effect of the Down Days. The science behind the diet is a gene called SIRT-1 andit remains active for up to 48 hours, then gradually declines over the next few days, What that means is if you don’t fast at the weekend you won’t really make a big difference to the diet’s intended results.

    • Brenda

      I read on another forum that someone was doing it that way. I didn’t see any further posts from her though so I don’t know how that went.

      I think the only way to see is to try it. (It’s your body! lol) I think if I did it that way, it might mess with my head — I just started today as well, and I like the idea of the strict alternating.

  • jane gartland

    i have been on this diet for a week now and have lost 4 pounds. i am delighted and hope to lose more next week. the only thing is i had a day where i ate a little more than usual although it wasnt a huge amount and put on 2 pounds that i havjanee now lost again is this normal?

  • Paul

    I started the Alternative diet 2months ago, and I have lost 13pounds, I am now at 84 kg from 90kg. I am now 185 pounds and I am 5ft 9, still wanting to get my BMI down to 24.4 so another 20 pounds to lose hopefully. It is amazing how on the up days I am not eating as what I would normally eat as I do not feel that Hungry for some reason, I am realizing how Psychological food can be that drives many people to eat for not being hungry but for greed and appetite. It is also so nice having people tell you that you look slimmer and this is such a motivation. My only difficulty is finding what to eat with having a limit of 700 calories on my down days. I was so inspired by the BBC Panorama program that showed a documentary on this diet where the reporter not only tested it but as changed his life to stick with it also now. I never thought I would see the benefits so quickly and being a cancer survivor I now see this as a positive move forward in the way I eat and see food. The cost of the book is nothing when you see the vast amount of schemes and web sites all offering their own diet programs, what I like about the Alternative day diet is the scientific research and findings about the ways it can improve your health besides loosing weight as well. I am soon considering doing exercise as well as I appear to have more energy than before.

  • roger taylor

    i read somewhere silent movie film stars did the alternate diet and i t was very effective /ln actual fact your restricting to half your diet

  • Rebecca

    I have been doing this diet since June 2012. I love it because it is so easy to stick to…I only have to wait until tomorrow if there is something specific I am craving. When tomorrow comes, I often find I am not even hungry for it anymore! My goal was to lose 70 lbs, so far I have lost a total of 37! I have had 2 instances of weight gain during this time 1) when I went on vacation for a week and 2) when I traveled out of state for my sister’s wedding. In both instances, I was not restricting myself at all, and ate whatever I wanted. The result – I gained between 1-2 pounds. Fortunately, I lost it right back again after getting back home and resuming the diet. I do not overly restrict myself on up days, I just try to eat reasonably. I also try to walk for exercise 3-4 times a week. Everyone keeps telling how good I look and they want to know what I am doing. A co-worker last week said to me, “Girl you are just melting away! What are you doing?” This is definitely working for me, and I can easily see myself doing this permanently. It is my new lifestyle.

    • Bobbi

      Hi,

      I’m currently 150 and would like to get down to 120 by March, so in reaonably time, on your up days what would you say is your calorie intake total?

      Love hearing Good stories like yours!!

  • Whitney

    im 20 and recently put on quite abit of weight…I really want to try the alternate day diet but i dont like shakes/milk/smoothies/Tea/Allot of fruits… whatwould be suitable to eat on a down day?

    • Alex

      Hi Whiney, I have been doing this diet for a week and I don’t like doing the weight-loss smoothies as my weight is a private thing and don’t want to walk round the office drinking branded slimming products! So I’ve been able to stick to 20% (400 kcals for me) by eating porridge with water for breakfast (rather than milk, still tastes OK and fills you up but takes up less calories!), a salad with tuna or chicken for lunch or if I’m at home then an egg white omelette and then for dinner fish and veg or a stir fry (either with no noodles or there are some noodles you can get with an ingredient called kojac which are marketed here as “skinny noodles’ which have nothing in them, about 6kcal per serving). Then if I get peckish I make sure I have a batch of sugar free jelly made up in the fridge (less than 10kcal) for a bit of a treat. Hope you find a way to fit it into your lifestyle, I am only a week in but can really feel the difference. Good luck x

    • heather

      It is only recommended to do shakes for the first couples weeks to make down day calorie counting easier to manage. After the initial startup then the shakes are optional and the book gives lots of meal ideas and recipes

  • Myke

    As a graduate in animal nutrition (I also lectured in same for 5years) I am delighted to see this lifestyle choice being taken up by people. it will make a huge difference to those who struggle with the modern world and it’s fast, cheap,salty, fatty and sugary foods. Make a vow to stick to this for ever and you will not regret it.

  • Sair

    Hi! I’ve been doing the alternate-day diet for one week now. On my ‘down’ days I restrict my calorie intake to under 300 calories – eating fruit and drinking water (and occasionally a cup of tea with skimmed milk), and a ‘light options’ soup for dinner. On my up days I eat fairly normally – a Special K bar for breakfast, a sandwich or salad and a piece of fruit or low cal popcorn for lunch, and a fairly low fat evening meal. I find it fairly easy and have not been too hungry on my down days, particularly when I’m at work and keeping busy.
    I weighed myself this morning, after 1 week on this regime, and the morning of an ‘up’ day, but was horrified to discover that I’ve not lost any weight! (In fact, I may even have gained a couple of pounds!!)
    How can this be? Any suggestions, anyone? I’m miserable! :(

    • Ezzza

      Hi Sair,

      Sorry to hear alternate day fasting hasn’t been working for you so far. I wonder: is your BMI above 25? If you have a normal (20-25) BMI any method of weight loss will be slow.

      I also wonder if you are being a little too restrictive with the plan. Unless you are a 5’3″ 9 stone (126 pound) woman with a sedentary lifestyle, 300 calories seems a little low. The diet recommends eating 20% of normal, for a lightly active 5’5″ 9 1/2 stone (147 pound) woman in her early 30′s daily calorie need is 2000. A woman with a 2000 daily calorie need should eat around 400 calories on down days for the first two weeks of the diet and around 700 calories on days days after that.

      Your up day eating seems a little restricted too. From what I’ve read, the diet doesn’t only work on calorie restriction, it seems to be a form of calorie cycling. With most traditional calorie restricting diets the body recognises that it is getting less food so two things happen: 1) the body doesn’t just consume its stores of fat, it also starts breaking down muscle mass – which you definitely don’t want as muscle burns more calories than fat does while a person is at rest; and 2) the body, recognising it is in a period of scarce energy supply, starts conserving energy so the metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight. Calorie cycling (and it seems this Alternate Day diet also) aims to avoid those two problems by tricking the body into thinking food is in plentiful supply while at the same time reducing overall calorie intake.

      It seems counter-intuitive and a bit daft, but it is quite important to eat a normal amount on up days. Overeating is a bad idea of course as overall calorie intake would not be less if you do, but on up days you should eat around what you need to sustain your body weight. In the example I gave above that would be around 2000 calories. There are some short term studies which have been done on humans for alternate day dieting. These found that it was normal for people to eat around 110% of their daily calorific need (in the example that would be 2200 calories) on up days and still lost weight.

      Do a little bit of research on how the diet works for motivation and what your daily calorie need is to maintain your body weight, and (assuming you’re not underweight of course!) keep going with it. Some papers I’ve read on ADF suggest that for some people the initial weight loss may not be as dramatic as traditional daily calorie restriction methods but results in higher fat loss and lower muscle loss in the long term.

      I’ve been alternate day dieting for 2 months now, eating around 400 to 600 calories on down days and absolutely anything I want on up days. I found that after a week I no longer wanted to overeat on my up days and began naturally wanting to make healthy nutritious choices for most of my meals while still being able to enjoy the treats I love like alcohol and chocolate. I’ve lost 13lb (6kg) so far and feeling much more energetic.

      I hope you have better success soon!

      • Sair

        Hi Ezzza,

        Thank you ever so much for your reply – it’s extremely comprehensive and very helpful!

        I take your point that I might have been being too restrictive. I guess I was trying to be ‘good’, but not doing myself any favours.

        I’ll try to up my calorie intake on my down days a bit and push the boat out more on my up days, and I’ll see how I get on. I love the idea that I may need to actually eat more to lose weight!

        Thanks for your help! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

    • Myke

      Keep going, stop weighing yourself, you may be swapping fat for muscle and water…it may take 3 weeks before you start to drop off weight, but your shape will be changing…in fact throw scales in bin and just wait until your friends notice the change

  • Alia

    Sounds Good- Here goes….84kgs to 60kgs by June hopefully :)

  • Megan Walsh

    I developed an underactive thyroid 5 years ago and really struggled to get the weight down. It took me 6 months to,loose a stone on a very low calorie diet which was hell. The minute I started eating normally – 1800 calories it all went back.

    Ive been doing this for 7 weeks and lost a stone and a half which is wonderful. I find it so easy as it doesn’t feel like I am being deprived. On my up days I can eat what I like without worry for the first time in years. JOY.

    It is something that is maintainable for life.

  • sarah devine

    I see this on horizon programme, Its the health benefits side that pushed me, Ive always been active , no pains, then one day i just woke up with arthritis and an inflamed ankle . one day at work i over heard a customer talking to her mate about this diet and she has been on it for 5 weeks. I joined in with her conversation asking her about it. She told me 5 weeks ago she was 2 stone heavier, was in bed with chronic arthritis, she couldnt even lift a kettle, and hated her self. Now she has got loads off energy, her skin looks younger and she dosnt have to take any medication any more. Im only on day 2, its my down day today, 2 pieces of fruit, spiced up veggies fried with spray oil, 2 oz rice and a small serving of lean chicken, with home made tomatoe,oregano,basil and black pepper sauce dont sound to down for me,

  • Andrea Scappaticcio

    How can I put this , without causing offence ? On down days , if I feel a bit hungry , I go to the closet , pick out the jacket that was too tight 5 weeks ago, put it on and go for a 30 minute walk ! Get of your butt and move your body ! Whilst walking , I contemplate the changes in my life , over the last 5 weeks. Here goes…weight loss of 20lbs , much more energy , lower food bills , skin looks fresher , less grumpy and irritable
    and , most significantly…. my cholesterol is down from 6.7 to 4.7 !!!! M
    I am working out at a higher level , longer on apparatus , heavier weights too. Last but not least , don’t have any of the ‘Temptation Foods’ that can weaken your resolve. On this diet , I believe , you can toss the Statin drugs in the garbage. I hope this helped.

    • Lisa

      I really fancy trying this….
      What sort if things did you eat on the down days?
      Can you eat salads and stuff rather than shakes?
      Thank you

      • Myke

        Shakes are recommended for two weeks simply as its easy and accurate…calorie counting will work the same but most people underestimate their intake and this will seriously slow down the process..and lead to drop out

  • Jon

    Following the Horizon program, I wondered if two days a week at 500 cals would be right for me. I’ve put on over 40lbs in the last couple of decades of middle age (55kg – 74kg), and it started to worry me as I’m small and that’s a big percentage.

    I found the difference between an all you want day and a 500 calorie day quite tough, but oddly if I put a “careful day” in between the two, about 1500 calories, the 500 day was actually easier. So for the last four weeks I’ve been doing 3 up days, 2 down days and 2 careful days before the downs. I’ve lost about 10-11 pounds, and I’ve only had one tough down day, and it wasn’t all that bad.

    I don’t give a stuff about over eating on my three up days. I drink wine, order takeaway pizzas with extra cheese, whatever I fancy. The careful days are veggies and fruit and lean meats, etc. The down days are a 350 calories breakfast, no lunch and some fruit in the evening, how much fruit depending on whether I had any tea with semi-skimmed milk during the day (my only regret on this diet is not having tea with full fat milk on my down and careful days).

    The weight loss has not been steady. Two weeks I hardly lost any weight at all, the weight just dropped off on the other two weeks. I guess the metabolism is going to do strange things if you jerk it about like this.

    Whether this works in the long run – 10 pounds down, 25 to go – will be interesting to see. I may have to add a little exercise into the mix at some point.

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