So Many Birthday Dinners, So Much Food

Day 14, Feast Day #8

One of the worst things about alternate day fasting has got to be when a fast day lands on a special occasion, holiday, or other important or rare social occasion. Being hungry alone is tolerable. But it is just masochistic to be hungry in a group dinner or party setting. For me, April is a birthday laden month which includes myself, my mother, and friends.

Now I have no plans to be so strict with this diet that I end up offending people on special occasions or holidays. Especially when the person likely to be offended is the same person that carried me 9 months and brought me into this world. 

My mom's birthday is next Monday, so Zach, my brother, and I are driving down this weekend to spend some time with her. The drive is three to four hours depending on traffic, so we won't make it into town by the end of today's feast day. So what is a girl to do about mom's birthday dinner on Saturday, a fast day?

Zach and I have come up with a decent compromise for this type of socially obligated eating and/or drinking function: the occasional 800 calorie not completely cheating day. 

Why 800 calories? It seems that a good number of the research papers I have looked at related to intermittent fasting will use a 800 calorie day as the fast day calorie allotment. Some even go up to 1,200 calories on a calorie-restricted today. So it is cheating in that 800 calories is much more than the usual 400-500 I get on a fast day. But 800 calories is still only 40% of a normal 2,000 calorie diet or 50% of a 1,600 calorie diet. With 800 calories one can eat a decent meal and have a drink easily.

I know very well without any restriction, I will overindulge. After all, my eating habits up until this point lacked boundaries. Hopefully Zach and I can stick to our cheat day strategy and not go crazy. I am also hesitant to just full out eat on a normal fast day because I feel like it would make the next fast day much more difficult.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hi
    I am from the UK and doing the intermittent fasting. I bave read a few research papers, but am no expert.
    I personally dont agree with going up as high a 800 calories on a fast day. I think you can call this restricted calories, but it is no longer fasting.
    You may still lose weight which is great, but you will not get the same health benefits as proper fasting - ie the cessation of insulin flooding your body, and the release of ketones.
    I understand it is tough to fast when there are so may parties but I think you would be better off just doing a 2 days fasting week, with a lower calorie intake.
    Personally when I am not eating I feel so fabulous that I dont want to eat!!

  2. Hey Evie, thanks for commenting. I totally agree with you in that I should not expect the benefits of fasting (other than what is from calorie restriction) from eating 800 calories instead of the standard 400-500. I mainly set up this calorie-restricted cheat day in an attempt to not go overboard. (It clearly did not work all that well). I have since asked some others doing different types of IF and a lot just say do two feast days in a row and then get back on track.

    How long have you been intermittent fasting for? Do you do a 5:2 plan?

    I am hoping to continue an alternate day plan until I get to a healthier weight and then maybe switch to a 5:2 so I have more flexibility

  3. Hello! I'm so glad I found your blog! It's so encouraging to find like-minded people. I've been doing the Fast-5 form of intermittent fasting since January in preparation for my wedding in June. It's working great for me: I went from 125 lbs to 110 lbs. Like you, most of it fell off as water weight during the first month.

    Since Fast-5 doesn't have a strict calorie limit, I try to stay at a reasonable 1200-2000 calories 4 days/week (Thurs-Sun) and under 800 calories 3 days/week (Mon-Wed). That way, I will lose 1-2 lbs per week, which is healthy. I experimented with different calorie limits and found that if I go over 800 on those 3 days, I will stay the same or gain that week.

    I chose Fast-5 over ADF because it's too hard for me to only eat 400-500 calories. I'm disciplined enough to eat nothing at all for 19-22 hours everyday, but once I break my fast, I'm like the Pringles slogan (once you pop you can't stop). Even though I'm not losing as much weight as I would on ADF, I think I'm still getting many of the health benefits according to the Fast-5 literature. The ease and flexibility makes this lifestyle something I can see doing comfortably forever.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that there is some magic to the 800 calorie number. I didn't do much research, just my own trial & error. Good luck!!!

  4. Congrats on your upcoming marriage, fanta307! I hadn't heard about Fast-5 before so I will have to read up on that approach to intermittent fasting. There are so many versions out there.

    I never thought I could be as disciplined about the 400-500 calorie limit as I have been, honestly. What is your goal weight? I don't think I could even weigh 125 lbs without sawing a limb off. Haha.