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Old 12-27-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
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"The Magic Number" (Krista Varady's Every Other Day Diet)

Is there a thread already started for Krista Varady's The Every Other Day Diet? Is anyone reading it? I found this very interesting:

"I found that many of the risk factors from the two diseases [cancer and heart disease] were lowered most effectively when the animals ate 25% of their normal calories on fast day. Not 75%. Not 50%. Not 0%, or a total fast. Time and again, the healthiest percentage was 25%, or what I call a modified fast. And the 25% level of calories on fast day did more than prevent and reverse signs of disease. It also prevented the loss of muscle mass the animals otherwise experienced at 0%, when they were given no food on fast day."

Wow! I just read that, so I'll let you know if I find out more about if/how this applies to humans in her studies.
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Old 12-27-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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Interesting, Chris! There is actually a thread that LCG started recently, and there have been more on the "Every Other Day Diet". Did anyone see Krista Varady on CBS Good Morning?

But I like that you have started a thread on this particular finding. I usually strive for 1800, so 25% is 450 and usually what I eat. It does make one wonder though why she would recommend 500 calorie DDs, regardless of size or age, etc. At least that is my understanding. Does she give calorie recommendations for individuals?

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Old 12-27-2013, 09:18 PM   #3
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She does not. The dieters in her study averaged out to 480(female) and 520(male), so she went with the overall average. She suggests the average to avoid people having to do math for their personal weight. I think we could have managed it, though.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calichris View Post
Is there a thread already started for Krista Varady's The Every Other Day Diet? Is anyone reading it? I found this very interesting:

"I found that many of the risk factors from the two diseases [cancer and heart disease] were lowered most effectively when the animals ate 25% of their normal calories on fast day. Not 75%. Not 50%. Not 0%, or a total fast. Time and again, the healthiest percentage was 25%, or what I call a modified fast. And the 25% level of calories on fast day did more than prevent and reverse signs of disease. It also prevented the loss of muscle mass the animals otherwise experienced at 0%, when they were given no food on fast day."

Wow! I just read that, so I'll let you know if I find out more about if/how this applies to humans in her studies.
Very interesting! But isn't she just repeating what other IFrs have said before? Wondering how her IF is different from Dr J and other IF writers? They all recommend alternate day fasting/eating!

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Old 12-27-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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I love that there is some preliminary science of the actual benefits of an actual percentage. It's nice to know - as a definite not-super-low DDer - that I don't need to pressure myself to get to those super low numbers if it doesn't feel right. And for me, it usually does not.

That puts me at 449, and I find that very do-able. I particularly like the muscle sparing attribute. Thanks for sharing this, Chris!
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jdforshort View Post
Very interesting! But isn't she just repeating what other IFrs have said before? Wondering how her IF is different from Dr J and other IF writers? They all recommend alternate day fasting/eating!
I know ... especially with Dr. Johnson's updated book and Dr. Varady's book coming out at nearly the same time saying very similar things! It's not going to be very new to any of us, but what Varady would say sets her apart is that she has done the most human trial research, and I did get some important new insights. The biggest one was learning that 0% (a total fast) is not as ideal as 25% in both animal and human studies, and that it can make a difference in both preserving muscle mass and disease prevention.

Also there were great down day recipe ideas ... I want to try a whole bunch of them! And the insight into the benefits of exercise making such a difference in weight loss in her studies, and the maintenance plan sounds so great as well: 1000 calories on MWF and the rest of the days are up days or "feast days" -- I prefer "up day" -- but with more emphasis on mindful, healthy eating).
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:23 AM   #7
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Chris, Now, you've got me going on this too! I just read that the best results they got were when they:
1) limited the meal on DD to a 2 hrs window (they did 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm) to ensure proper fasting mode and,
2) replaced breakfast & lunch on UD with liquid protein meals. This trimmed down the waist more!!

This was just from online research.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:50 AM   #8
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I really want to read her book!! I don't know about doing breakfast and lunch as liquid after a DD. That would be really tough. I'm sure that would really cause weightloss. I think it might cause binging for me.
I do like that she says its better for our body to eat 25%. I have been killing myself trying to go really low on DD's and maybe I don't need to. This is good to hear.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:25 AM   #9
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I'm curious about the recipes. I also heard there was a recipe book for the fast diet. Should have asked for it for Christmas.
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:29 AM   #10
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Interesting about the 25% on DD. I was one of those that did the super low DD for about 18 months and I did notice I had really lost a lot of muscle. Had to gain some weight back. Now I try to eat protein on DD to keep that at bay this round and higher calories on DD. I had slow weight loss anyway.
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:34 AM   #11
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I like to do total fasting Down days, because it is easier for me to abstain completely than limit to a small number of calories.

Maybe I should make an effort to do 500 calorie days. I am planning on switching to maintenance when I hit 154. That might be a good time for me to practice restraint.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:04 AM   #12
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In her book, Varady mentions that to control a variable in her experiments, she always had the main meal at lunch, but she advises eating the calories whenever they work for you ... except: she suggests that having them all at breakfast might make it hard to get through the entire day. (She's currently doing an experiment to see if the timing of the meal matters, but that was in progress at time of print). The book suggests one 100 calorie snack and one 400 calorie meal (regular food), but she says there are other ways to divvy up the calories. (What seems to work out best for me is a snack --as late as I can make it -- and then a 300-400 calorie meal at dinnertime or later).
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:09 PM   #13
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Good thread! Thanks Chris.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirtain View Post
I like to do total fasting Down days, because it is easier for me to abstain completely than limit to a small number of calories.

Maybe I should make an effort to do 500 calorie days. I am planning on switching to maintenance when I hit 154. That might be a good time for me to practice restraint.
In one of the personal stories she has there is a guy who lost a lot of weight by drinking broth, coffee and just eating celery if necessary on DDs. He said that if he started eating on a DD he could not stop. So he basically did a total fast.

So, I think you should not force yourself to eat 500 calorie DDs if it's not right for you.

I'm the same way about finding it hard to stop eating once I start so I try to go as long as possible with just coffee, water and broth on DDs. Occasionally I manage a 0% DD, but not often, that's for sure. I usually end up somewhere between 400 - 600 these days.
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #14
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Just thought of something else that is standing out to me about what I've read in her book so far.

It's her study on fats and her take, not only on "healthy" fats, but saturated fat as well.

People who ate fat on their DD lost more fat and retained more muscle.

Today is a DD for me and I guess I have not been back on JUDD long enough to be getting the appetite suppressant benefits of sirt1 because I'm really, really hungry and it's not even lunch time yet.

So, I was thinking about what Varady said about fats on a DD and I'm going to eat some healthy fats with my veggie soup for lunch.
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calichris View Post
In her book, Varady mentions that to control a variable in her experiments, she always had the main meal at lunch, but she advises eating the calories whenever they work for you ... except: she suggests that having them all at breakfast might make it hard to get through the entire day. (She's currently doing an experiment to see if the timing of the meal matters, but that was in progress at time of print). The book suggests one 100 calorie snack and one 400 calorie meal (regular food), but she says there are other ways to divvy up the calories. (What seems to work out best for me is a snack --as late as I can make it -- and then a 300-400 calorie meal at dinnertime or later).
DITTO, Chris! Looking back at my historical food log, I see the best losses were when I had closer to 500 cal on DDs and my UDs were between 15-1700, + the long walks! So, I'm going to start repeating this and see if I can recreate the magic!
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:51 PM   #16
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Would the Kindle version be OK? Some books have a lot of graphs that don't work on a tablet type device. I use an iPad. I usually like to get books, but am getting overwhelmed with books!

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Old 12-28-2013, 01:22 PM   #17
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Would the Kindle version be OK? Some books have a lot of graphs that don't work on a tablet type device. I use an iPad. I usually like to get books, but am getting overwhelmed with books!

Thanks!
I read it on Kindle and I didn't see any graphs? So I think it would be ok! I also kindle pre-ordered Dr. Johnson's new book, which I'll get on 12/31.
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Old 12-28-2013, 01:25 PM   #18
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I read it on Kindle and I didn't see any graphs? So I think it would be ok! I also kindle pre-ordered Dr. Johnson's new book, which I'll get on 12/31.
Thanks for the reply. It was another book that had graphs that you couldn't read, so thought I would ask.....
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:37 PM   #19
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Good thread! Thanks Chris...
In one of the personal stories she has there is a guy who lost a lot of weight by drinking broth, coffee and just eating celery if necessary on DDs. He said that if he started eating on a DD he could not stop. So he basically did a total fast.

So, I think you should not force yourself to eat 500 calorie DDs if it's not right for you.

I'm the same way about finding it hard to stop eating once I start so I try to go as long as possible with just coffee, water and broth on DDs. Occasionally I manage a 0% DD, but not often, that's for sure. I usually end up somewhere between 400 - 600 these days.
Ah Yam, you are just getting back in the swing. Your DDs will lower - if you want them to - in a few weeks.

DD and UD I usually start my day with HWC in coffee (just different amounts depending on the day) and a side of bone broth (with butter on UD). While I was losing I frequently made green smoothies with veggies and water (cannot tolerate pre-made shakes).

I definitely found 'liquid' calories can be filling without triggering the hunger monster. And I certainly found 'liquid' calories and weight loss were BFFs.

I like the logic that says we can have a famine day and still eat/drink enough to be not-uncomfortable.
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Old 12-28-2013, 06:12 PM   #20
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I especially like the acknowledgement that this isn't a "one size fits all" plan!
I also like the 25% DD concept - since I'm trying to get some muscle right now, I don't want to go too low on DDs and sabotage those efforts. Just need to be mindful of WHAT those calories are, I guess.
I'm really pleased to see someone doing human research on this!!!
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:01 PM   #21
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This is from "The Every Other Day Diet" Facebook page:

"If you find it easier not to eat anything on the diet day, it's fine if you only drink tea or water. If you choose to do this, please be sure to drink at least 8-10 cups of water on the diet days, and 2x your daily protein requirement on the feast days. This will help to prevent muscle loss."
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:55 PM   #22
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Thanks Christina! I must admit by UD calories aren't always from the healthiest sources out there...
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:31 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotsomeold View Post
Ah Yam, you are just getting back in the swing. Your DDs will lower - if you want them to - in a few weeks.

DD and UD I usually start my day with HWC in coffee (just different amounts depending on the day) and a side of bone broth (with butter on UD). While I was losing I frequently made green smoothies with veggies and water (cannot tolerate pre-made shakes).

I definitely found 'liquid' calories can be filling without triggering the hunger monster. And I certainly found 'liquid' calories and weight loss were BFFs.

I like the logic that says we can have a famine day and still eat/drink enough to be not-uncomfortable.
Good Stuff, Nancy! Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:41 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calichris View Post
...
"I found that many of the risk factors from the two diseases [cancer and heart disease] were lowered most effectively when the animals ate 25% of their normal calories on fast day. Not 75%. Not 50%. Not 0%, or a total fast. Time and again, the healthiest percentage was 25%, or what I call a modified fast. And the 25% level of calories on fast day did more than prevent and reverse signs of disease. It also prevented the loss of muscle mass the animals otherwise experienced at 0%, when they were given no food on fast day."

Wow! I just read that, so I'll let you know if I find out more about if/how this applies to humans in her studies.
I have thought about this frequently. Will get the book and learn more.

BUT

Since I am curious and don't want to wait, can anyone tell me Dr Varady's definition of 'normal' calories?

For JUDDD, Dr J uses calculated RMR + 14% as 'average' UD calories. Does Dr Varady use a similar calculation?

I ask because I know (a) my 'normal' calories are all over the place, and (b) pre-weight-loss my 'normal' daily calories were, like, waaayyy too high.

This is very interesting and thought provoking!
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:24 PM   #25
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She says:

"Obviously 25% of normal caloric intake is a different number for different people. If you're a 6'3" man weighing 205 pounds, the normal level of calories you burn is a lot different than if you're a 5'3" woman weighing 150 pounds; the bigger the person, the more calories needed to maintain weight. In my scientific studies with groups of people, we carefully determine 25% of normal caloric intake for each study participant, using a precise formula and double-checking it with a sophisticated medical test. Unfortunately, I can't offer you that kind of individualized determination of 25% of your normal caloric intake; it's just not possible outside of a highly controlled scientific experiment. But here's the good news: an individualized version of the EOD diet is not required in order for it to work." (she then goes on to explain that 500 is the average and works no matter what you weigh when you start the diet).

From that, it seems as though normal means "calories to maintain your weight if they were the same every day."

I don't think it's so hard to google "TDEE calculator" and get pretty close to your true 25% though. (Also: for me, Dr. Johnson's up day calories are just about the same as my TDEE on various sites).

One thing I like about Varady is that she'll give you the research, but usually her answer to questions is ... if it works for you, do it.

Last edited by calichris; 12-29-2013 at 06:29 PM..
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:05 PM   #26
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It would be interesting for Dawn to chime in here with her experience using the TDEE calculators and how she feels about this 25% in relation to what she'd been doing.
Too bad we can't tag people in here like in Facebook so she knows I just gave her a shout out!
This is really neat stuff. I'm going to have to buy the book.
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:47 AM   #27
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For people who are interested in Varady's published academic research, a number of the papers are available through Open Access (online and free of charge).

Some of the papers are interesting and it's worth noting that (inevitably) the participant numbers behind some of her statements are very small and not enough to support a rigid guideline rather than a suggestion. (I like writers such as Varady who remind readers to discard what doesn't work for them.)

I have to say tho' that a couple of the papers that I've read are a mess to the point where I've no idea why they were published and it's a little difficult to understand what actually happened. One of the papers I've thinking of was published in a 'pay to publish' journal with minimum review - and the journal is not well regarded and I've discussed it in a different thread: Alternate Day Fasting weight loss in normal weight and overweight subjects: a randomized controlled trial However, it might not be that paper (tho' my criticism of it stands).

Adel from the Suppversity blog has a good discussion of the ADF and exercise paper (I can't link to it). Post title: Buffered Alternate Day Fasting + Light Aerobics Cut Body Fat, Maintain Lean Mass & Improve LDL Particle Size
Adel's overall impression of the paper is that it's interesting. I'm still trying to work out whose results those where and what they represent.
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As reported previously [2], 83 subjects began the clinical trial (combination: n = 18, ADF: n = 25, exercise: n = 24, control: n = 16), and sixteen subjects finished in each intervention group (total n = 64). Additional subjects were randomized to groups with high dropout rates, such as the ADF and exercise group, to ensure that the number of subjects would be the same in each group at the end of the trial.
I haven't worked out if they included those drop-out results (Intention to Treat analysis) or if the drop-outs were wholly discarded. I shouldn't have to comb through for this - it should be abundantly clear and if it weren't another pay to publish journal, the reviewers should have insisted that this should be clarified.

[I should say that I support Open Access journals, it's just that there are too many that are effectively vanity publishing for material that wouldn't be accepted elsewhere, and this is reflected in their Impact Factor - or basically the value that is assigned to their offerings by people in the field.]

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Old 12-30-2013, 05:36 AM   #28
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This is from "The Every Other Day Diet" Facebook page:

"If you find it easier not to eat anything on the diet day, it's fine if you only drink tea or water. If you choose to do this, please be sure to drink at least 8-10 cups of water on the diet days, and 2x your daily protein requirement on the feast days. This will help to prevent muscle loss."
This is encouraging, Chris. Thanks. Experiment and observe, I guess.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:42 AM   #29
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WOE: Whatever plan keeps me around 150 lbs!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yennie View Post
It would be interesting for Dawn to chime in here with her experience using the TDEE calculators and how she feels about this 25% in relation to what she'd been doing.
Too bad we can't tag people in here like in Facebook so she knows I just gave her a shout out!
This is really neat stuff. I'm going to have to buy the book.
Take this with a grain of salt, as I have thyroid disease and I do believe it affects my metabolism, at least to some degree.

I've used the TDEE calculators and have tried to maintain with what they give me without any rotations, and it just doesn't work. I maintain well if I use their weight loss calculations at 15% reduction or so.

That being said, I'm able to maintain beautifully with higher UDs than the calculator gives me and decent DDs. Currently I'm allowing 2000 calories for UDs and 700 calories for DDs and doing 5:2, rather than EOD. I've had several days over the holidays that were 3000 calories (or MORE!), and have been keeping my DDs less than 500 and I'm amazed at what I've been able to get away with. I'm only about 2 pounds over my "normal" bounce range, but still in my comfort range. I was 147 pounds this morning after a 3rd UD in a row. I'm content if my bounce is under 150, and my low was 144 a few weeks ago, so you can see it's really pretty effortless.

A couple of months ago, I did EOD with higher DDs. I was doing 2000/700 and sticking pretty closely to those numbers, and I still steadily lost a tiny bit, even though the calculator gives me around 1750/350-875. I was amazed to continue losing and that's why I decided to try the same numbers with 5:2 to see if it could be done, and it is working!!

I've also done the Spike diet, where you eat 1200 calories 3 days per week, eat at TDEE 3 days per week, and have one Spike day per week at TDEE X 2. That worked pretty well for maintenance for me. Again, those numbers should have had me losing, according to the author of the Spike diet, but I maintained.

I really think it's all so individual, and you have to experiment to find what works best for you, or mix it up like I've done (without a ton of tweaks--if you mix it up, I recommend following each plan you try for a minimum of a couple of weeks to a month to see trends).

All that to say, I did NOT notice any faster or bigger losses doing VERY low calorie down days. I was/am much more satisfied with 500-700 calories on DDs and still lost, even with my thyroid issues.

This probably wasn't what you were looking for, and I'm at work, so I'm just sort of throwing my thoughts down here briefly (ha-ha!). There really does seem to be something magical about fasting or modified fasting that allows me to eat MORE than I can just averaging out calories over the week and eating a steady amount. Because of this, there will always be some form of IF in my maintenance plan, even if I decide to "try out" another plan for a while; I always come back to JUDDD.
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Dawn

JUDDD got me where I want to be!
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:33 PM   #30
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Thanks Dawn! I think your insight is valuable, no matter what. Every experience counts!
I definitely agree that losing with IF is different than just low cal. I know, personally, I've lost easier and faster with IF, even averaging to the same level of restriction, compared to low cal. Not to say that its been all fun & games & cake walks but its been much more do-able!
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