Fast 36 hours, eat 12 hours

Fast 36 hours, eat 12 hours

FITBOOK author Beke Enderstein did a self-interval fasting experiment using the “Alternate Day Fasting” method. Unlike the 16:8 diet or the 5:2 variant, fasting is performed regularly for 36 hours at a time – followed by 12 hours during which you can eat as you please.

After having already tried the other methods of interval fasting in a self-experiment, it was now the turn of “Alternative Fasting”. In this fasting guide, I present how I planned, performed and survived this advanced method of fasting – including lots of tips and culinary inspirations for alternate fasting.

After “16 to 8” and “5 to 2” it is now “36 to 12”

Four weeks were spent on one of the most difficult intermittent fasting methods: with so-called alternate fasting, I go without food for 36 hours, followed by 12 hours during which the amount of food is not limited.

This form of intermittent fasting is also known as the “every other day diet” and dates back to Professor Dr. Krista Varady, who published the book of the same name in 2013. Important in this context: Krista Varady is a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois and does extensive research in the area of ​​intermittent fasting. The expert and other studies such as the one published in 2005 in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that alternate fasting is an effective weight loss strategy.1

I will also refer more frequently to the exciting results of the aforementioned 2005 study over the course of the text.

The happy medium: a maximum of 500 kilocalories!

Similar to the “5 to 2” diet, which involves fasting two days a week, the “every other day diet” is theoretically allowed to consume up to 25% of the usual amount of energy on the day of the fast. With an average calorie requirement of 2000 kilocalories, this amount corresponds to approximately 500 kilocalories.

In order to make the most of the health benefits of not eating, I originally planned a zero diet during the fasting phase when I tried “alternate fasting” myself. However, if my gut told me that a small meal would do me good, I would get a tampon.

An important nutritional psychological note: All forms of fasting and dieting are taboo for people with eating disorders! The same goes for people who want to starve themselves and then fill their stomachs with fast food, ice cream and the like for a whole day. The focus is on the conscious decision to give body and mind a break – and shed a few pounds at the same time!

Accordingly, the figure-appropriate “Alternate Fasting” is suitable for all those who wish to benefit from fasting in terms of health and spirit – alternating with balanced, nutritious and healthy meals on meal days.

Danger: Beginners to fasting should initially choose less strict fasting variations such as “16 to 8” in order to slowly get used to increasing meal breaks.

Also interesting: Intermittent fasting as a self-experiment: »Why I no longer want to do without 16:8 in my everyday life

What did I expect from my “Alternative Fasting” self-experiment?

As I have already detailed the health benefits of intermittent fasting in parts 1 and 2 of my guide to intermittent fasting, from A for anti-aging to Z for cell protection, I will be brief at this point. .

My goals

  1. weightloss: According to the results of the study, “eating stop eating” even in the mildest version with up to 500 kilocalories on fasting days leads to a significant decrease in fat mass with an average weight loss of 5 kilograms on the first month. I found this aspect particularly interesting because, for example, I no longer lost weight during therapeutic fasting (completely without solid foods!).
  2. Improved health: Due to the many health benefits, I have become an absolute fan of fasting. The focus is on what is called autophagy (cell cleaning). In addition, blood values ​​improve during “alternate fasting” and insulin levels are lowered.

Also, I was curious to see how easy or difficult it would be for me to eat nothing or a maximum of 500 kilocalories for 36 hours.

My Intermittent Fasting Plan “Alternate Fasting”

In order not to feel tired and lacking in energy on fasting days despite not eating, I concocted a wide range of drinks. Because it is recommended to drink two to three liters of liquid during the alternate fast.

Appropriate drinks

The basis of my fluid intake was mineral water and tap water in the form of herbal teas such as peppermint, lemon verbena and sage. “In addition” there were moderate amounts of green and black tea mixed with mate tea – of course pure, ie without sugar or milk.

meals on dinner days

On meal days, I ate like “normal” days: I had two to three nutrient-dense main meals, which I supplemented with salad or raw vegetables as a starter and berries, frozen yogurt and so on for dessert. On days when I typically skipped breakfast at 16:8, I made sure lunch and dinner were especially nutrient dense.

The general rule: However, since there are no nutritional rules for meal days with “Alternate Fasting”, these can be put together flexibly.

Theoretically, you could eat anything and as much as you want, but for me personally, that doesn’t align with the philosophy of fasting. It is important for me to eat as healthy foods as possible – especially since I consume none or at most very few essential nutrients on fasting days. That said, I also treated myself to chocolate, fruit jelly, salty licorice, and a glass or two of red wine on meal days when I felt like it.

Also interesting: is red wine healthier than beer?

500 Calorie Fasting Days

As described above, I first tried not eating for 36 hours. However, since I know from experience that I crave a delicious meal after work, I had planned to have a small evening meal – on certain days or throughout the day – depending on my intuition.

fasting recipes

If you’re looking for fasting meal inspiration, you’ll find plenty of dishes in my Guide to Intermittent Fasting Part 2 that are also suitable for “stop eating.”

My Fasting Schedule

  1. The week
  • Monday: 1st day of fasting (including the night from Sun to Mon)
  • Tuesday: 2 to 3 main meals without counting calories
  • Wednesday: 2nd day of fasting (including the night from Tue to Wed)
  • Thursday: 2 to 3 main meals without counting calories
  • Friday: 3rd day of fasting (including the night from Thursday to Friday)
  • Saturday: 2 to 3 main meals without counting calories*
  • Sunday: 4th day of fasting (including the night from Saturday to Sunday)

*particularly nutritious thanks to starters and desserts

I had planned the second, third and fourth week in the same way.

Also Interesting: Popular Hollywood Star Diet Improves Sleep and Heart Health

My experience: four weeks of “alternate fast day” as a self-experiment

After not eating for 36 hours on my first fasting day, I quickly realized that I would definitely make a small dinner on each of the fasting days.

Because the 500-calorie meal on fasting days complements the health and weight-loss benefits of “eat, stop eating,” according to Professor Dr. While Krista Varady doesn’t get in the way, I also encourage world to prepare a nutrient-dense meal while fasting.


My advice: Attitude plays a big role in maintaining the fast. From a psychological point of view, it makes a big difference if I start the fasting day in the morning with the thought “no food today during the day and night until tomorrow” or “I look forward a delicious meal at the end of the day”. If you still want to try a 36 hour zero diet, you can of course find a suitable motivational saying.

My take on alternative fasting

For me, as a fan of tried-and-tested intermittent fasting, it was actually much easier to stick with the 500 kcal meal and the motivational thoughts! This assessment also corresponds to the results of studies which show that thanks to a small meal on a fasting day, the feeling of hunger decreases – and the chances of staying on the ball increase.

The fact that I have already experienced that my body can adapt very well to two meals (16:8) or one evening meal (5:2) has certainly been a great advantage for my self-experimentation. of “Alternative Fasting”.


By the end of the fourth week, my scale was actually showing me nearly five kilograms lighter. I would therefore absolutely recommend “eat stop eat” to overweight people who want to lose weight permanently and in the long term – provided they do not have an eating disorder such as binge eating. Scientific studies also show that “alternate fasting” makes sense if you are overweight, but not if you are obese (food cravings/obesity).

The rapid weight loss in the first few weeks will diminish over time. However, this aspect is important because successful weight loss should not happen too quickly. Body and psyche need enough time to get used to the new body feeling – and to learn a sustainably healthy eating behavior.

Also interesting: Reducing calories or intermittent fasting – which reduces body fat faster?

suitability for everyday use

I also note positively that there is no need to count calories on meal days and that 500 kcal meals on fast days are easy to prepare with a little practice. This makes alternate fasting suitable for daily use and simple. Dining and other invitations should of course be arranged so that they take place on meal days.

I also like that individual preferences are also taken into account and that this method of fasting is convenient for allergy sufferers, people with food intolerances, vegetarians and vegans.

My summary

I consider “alternate fasting” with nutritious food choices to be a sensible weight loss strategy. In my opinion, “eat stop eat” is better than any fad diet – taking into account current nutritional recommendations. However, people who want to lose weight should first approach intermittent fasting slowly.

However, for people who are normal weight or slightly overweight and want the health benefits of daily fasting, “lighter” variations like the “5 for 2” diet should suffice.

Personally, I have set myself the goal of sticking to my “16 by 8” method three days a week for the next few months. For the remaining two working days, I maintain the fast days with an evening meal based on “5:2” or “Alternate Day Fasting”. And very important: weekends and holidays are always characterized by culinary freedom. I will have a hearty brunch, go out to eat or cook with friends.


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