Fast-5 Lifestyle and Beeminding Weight Loss

Continuing the discussion from Best Practice for recording weight when away from home?:

I’m a big proponent of Fast-5 and very upset that I let myself get away from it for a while.

I did Fast-5 religiously for about 3 years. Lost over 50 lbs in about 9 months (242 down to 186). That was nearly 2 lbs per week weight loss. I went from a 42 waist to being able to wear a 36. Over the next few months gradually gained back about 8 and stayed stable at 193-195 for nearly the next 2 years with size 38 pants. (A 36 inch waist was too snug.)

About 18 months ago I started cheating and most of that was having a drink an hour or so after my window closed a few days a week. That was enough to make my weight climb back up. (Don’t know if it was calories outside the window or the fact that it was alcohol.)

On Jan 2nd I was 229 when I started Fast 5 again and went up a pound on the 3rd! I’m 212 today with a goal to get and stay below 200. Thats a loss of over a lb a week.

What generally works for me:

  • Window 3-8 PM. That way I can have a small lunch at 3:00 and still eat diner after I get home. I used to have acid reflux if I eat too close to bedtime, so closing my window at 8:00 worked well.
  • A couple of days with a 3-4 hour window will break through a plateau.
  • I always break my fast with fat or protein, usually a stick of cheese.
  • I try to avoid too many carbs, but I don’t go crazy. I love pasta.
  • Absolutely no calories outside your window. Not even cream in my coffee. For me it seemed to work exactly as indicated in the short ebook that describes this lifestyle.
  • I don’t know how much it matters, but I started taking a good multivitamin. But nothing excessive or exotic.

What doesn’t work:

  • Breaking my fast with any type of carb but especially sweets (candy, donuts, cookies, etc.) If I do this I will have carb cravings for the next day or two. Sticking with the window and avoiding those carbs so the cravings wouldn’t continue was hard until I figured it out.

Generally, it has to be an idea that works the way you think. For me it was the fact that I never really had to think about eating too much or really even the wrong thing in general. I fully accepted being at the mercy of the clock. For 3 years I doubt I cheated that 5 hour window more than half a dozen times or so. I may have slipped it to earlier in the day to attend a luncheon or some similar adjustment. But other than that, no more than 6-10 days of cheating the whole time. Usually things like Thanksgiving.

Give it 2-4 weeks. The fit of your clothes will change faster than the scale. It takes that long for your body to work through the change in habit.

Once you get used to it, you will get hungry about 2-3 hours before your window opens. Acknowledging the hunger pangs and knowing that they are just a sign that you are doing something good for you that wont’ hurt you, makes them go away. You’ll forget about it and finally realize that your window opened half an hour ago.

Read the ebook again. I read it 3 times, I think. I really should read it again myself.

Eventually, you will crave what your body needs. For me, protein and fat work well. For some, it’s certain vegetables. Good thing I like meat and eggs. Once I got off the carbs that caused cravings, it was pretty easy. I think my body’s need for protein is what actually broke that cycle. I just needed meat and there was no room or desire for carbs.

There used to be lots of discussion on the Fast-5 group on Yahoo, but it’s been silent since Oct 2014. The archives are full of good discussions about diets, tricks that work, etc. I think everyone moved to Facebook, but I’m not really sure.

Using Beeminder to track both Fast-5 and weight is helpful encouragement. It’s obvious from the data that they go hand in hand and I can only control one directly. I make a note on my weight what my Fast-5 status was the day before and any excesses (like candy).

Hopefully this will help someone considering Fast-5 Lifestyle.


Thank you for sharing your story! I’m not sure a 5-10PM schedule would work for me, but i’ll experiment with. I know for sure that eating late doesn’t end up well for my morning weight measurement :smile:
How can you easily beemind your “breakfast” and “last meal” hours though? Seems like the only way to do it would be manually.

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I just Beemind if I’ve followed the rules that day or not. I update it manually here each evening. (It’s a 1 if I’ve followed the rules and 0 or no report if I didn’t, with a goal of 6/week.) I also monitor my weight each morning here. You won’t be able to see them, but I usually add a comment about following Fast-5 the day before and anything unusual about my eating that day as well.

An eating window of 5-10 would never have worked for me either. But everyone is different. Find a 5 hour window that fits your lifestyle and doesn’t leave you starving. Move it a little until you find one that works. Some people have said that even a half an hour difference can be the difference between success and a struggle.


Thank you for the response. After some reading, I’ll try out a 16:8 schedule. I’m not beeminding yet, i’m using an app called Fasting Secret ( ), whose main part is basically a timer (counting the hours since you started fasting).

Now that I think about it, I wonder if there is some timer app that would e-mail the result to the Beemind bot. If the hours were over 16 , it would count towards a Beemind goal. Or something like that :slight_smile:

@dreev ? :slight_smile:


Could this be done with a new aggregation (aggday) function? Like you start a timer when you’re done eating for the day and stop it when you break-fast the next day. The hours are submitted to Beeminder (various ways to automate that, like with the timer built in to the Beeminder Android app) and then anything greater than or equal to 19 is plotted as a 1 and anything less as a 0.

Sounds interesting :slight_smile: Just installed, I didn’t realise the Android app is so much more advanced than the iOS one!

I’ll save you the extra development (but if you add it later, I can test it :)). I’ll just let the raw timer number in, and just submit only if I’m on the right amount of hours. And perhaps use the scale feature (if it works automatically for newly entered data?)

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That would work for some people in some cases. For me, I consider success if I keep my eating within a 5 our window. So if I have a day where I want to attend a luncheon, I change my 5-hour window. So my 19 hour fast was only 16 hours. Back on schedule the next day, my fast is 22 hours, but I get no credit for the extra hours.

Aggday would count the first day as zero and the second day as one. I would count them both as successful days for a total of two.

Everyone who does Fast-5 seems to have their own take on it. It is as much a mind game as anything so you have to do what works for the way you are wired.


You could run a timer on your eating then?

I don’t really see how the timer is any different than reporting your results every night. Starting and Stopping a timer over a with several hours in between is more error-prone than a once a day report. Both are manual actions.

In my case, I can’t carry a smart phone where I work and access to the web from work isn’t always feasible either. So none of the automated stuff is any good for me. (I can’t even have a fitness monitor.)


Well, in my 3-days experience :wink: the timer helps me know instantly how much I time I have left with a minimal requirement of math and brain function :slight_smile:

By the way, the physiology part of the book is surprisingly concise and understandable, unlike most other text on the subject that I have read/tried to read :blush: It can be read even without following the plan.


@dreev the timer idea works fine :slight_smile:

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I sounded more negative about the timer idea than intended. For my specific situation and the way I think, both generally and about Fast-5, a timer isn’t a good fit.

@apolyton has indicated how and why the timer helps him. I’m not surprised that it would work for some people and not others. Fast-5 seems to work for different people in many, many different ways.

He is also spot-on about the book. Easy to understand with interesting thoughts and ideas throughout. There is probably plenty in it that applies not only to weight loss, but to other areas of one’s life as well. It’s only 67 page and it’s free!


A friend of mine with similar at-work restrictions has recently got approval to carry a pedometer device that has no wireless bluetooth sync. It does have a USB sync, but there are no USB ports in the building to plug it into…

For counting things, @dreev & @alys are both fond of the abacus bracelet


This is great! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up. Much appreciated!

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I used to carry a pedometer with USB but three of them failed. One was replaced under warrantee and a second I paid to replace out of warrantee since I did like it. At the time, I don’t think there were any other options that had good reviews.

Lately I’ve considered getting something more modern but our workplace just cracked down even more. Nothing with bluetooth, WiFi, or USB is allowed now.

I would be limited to a plain pedometer with no download capability but it might still be worth it. No cool toys are allowed at work though. Oh, well.


And now we can’t have any type of fitness monitor or pedometer. They are afraid they won’t be able to tell if something has communications capability, so they’ve banned everything. Next to go will be an analog watch.

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A friend of mine works in a similarly restricted environment, and has resorted to using an old-school mechanical pedometer.

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