QuickStart Guide – Data-Driven Fasting

We prepared this quick start guide to provide a high-level overview of what we are trying to achieve in the Data-Driven Fasting 30 Day Challenge.

  • If you’re interested in DDF, the quickstart guide will give you a taste of what’s involved.
  • If you’re in the middle of a DDF Challenge, this guide will help you quickly troubleshoot and know what you can do next to keep making progress.

Purpose

The purpose of Data-Driven Fasting is to:

  • Validate your hunger using your blood glucose as a fuel gauge.
  • Retrain hunger signals to align with your actual need to eat.

Baselining 

  • Test glucose before every meal and snack you usually eat.
  • Your Current Trigger is the average of pre-meal glucose during baselining.

Hunger Training 

In Hunger Training, you will play a ‘get to know you’ game with your inner lizard. You will tame Lizzy (and make it very content – so it goes back to sleep) as you give it WHAT it needs WHEN it needs it.  

  • If you feel hungry -> test your BG to validate hunger.
  • If BG is above your trigger -> wait.
  • If BG below trigger -> eat.
  • If BG slightly above trigger AND REALLY hungry -> prioritise protein/nutrients (with less fuel from carbs and/or fat).
  • If BG significantly below trigger -> allow some carbs (to replenish, but not overfill, your glucose fuel tank).
  • When you test, reflect on your hunger sensations (e.g. stomach rumbling, mentally exhausted, can’t think straight, light-headed, cold) and calibrate them with your premeal BG. 
  • Your trigger will reduce based on the average premeal BG after five days of hunger training over seven days.  Your Personalised Trigger will drop by a maximum of = 0.5% per day.

Stages 

To make the process sustainable, we want to guide you to the minimum effective dose of testing.

This table outlines the stages of the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge and when you need to test your BG (other tests are optional).

Stage Goal premealafter mealwaking
1. BaseliningEstablish triggeryesyesyes
2. Hunger trainingWait to refuel until BG < trigger yes
3. WindowEnsure you’re not eating too lateyesyes
4. Meal skippingSkip meals if BG > trigger yes
5. ConsolidationEstablish a new sustainable routine yes

Your fuel gauge lines 

  • Wait until BG is less than your current trigger to eat.
  • If post-meal BG is above the ‘upper limit’/full line —> reduce food quantity and processed carbs in the future.
  • To reduce the time between meals and allow your BG to drop faster -> reduce dietary fat.

Progressive overload 

  • DDF is essentially progressive overload for your metabolism.  We don’t reach our goal all at once, but rather by small doses of stress (fasting) and recovery (nutrient-dense eating).  
  • If you are hungry and BG is below trigger, eat!  Waiting longer WILL lead to excessive hunger, rebound binging, and burnout, accompanied by unproductive feelings of guilt and failure.
  • You only need the minimum effective dose to progress sustainably over the long term.

When to eat 

  • If premeal BG higher earlier in the day —> prioritise protein % (less carbs and fat) at your first meal.
  • If pre-meal and post-meal BG higher later in the day —> eat more satiating meals earlier. 
  • If waking BG is increasing —> finish eating earlier in the day.  

Your Main Meal 

  • After a week of Hunger Training, you have the option to adopt a Main Meal regardless of BG (e.g. family dinner or before/after exercise). You don’t need to test your BG before Your Main Meal.
  • All other meals/snacks become Discretionary Meals that you eat if BG is less than your trigger.

What to eat 

Once you are comfortable using your BG to guide WHEN to eat, you can use it to guide WHAT to eat.

Remember: It will be hard to fail if you prioritise nutrients/protein when you have plenty of fuel onboard.

What to focus on 

Based on your BGs and weight loss progress, you can move through the following stages.

Focus areaLimitActionWhen to progress
1. Stabilise blood glucose< 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L rise after mealsReduce processed carbs to achieve healthy glucose stability.When BG rise after meals is < 1.6 mmol/L or 30 mg/dL
2. Meal timing/intermittent fastingOne Main Meal with one Discretionary Meal (OMAD+)Reduce the number of times you eat per day.  When average meals per day is less than 1.5. 
3.  Increase protein % by dialing back fatWork up to 40% protein.Increase protein % (by reducing dietary fat) until weight loss re-commences.When you have reached goal weight, body fat, waist:height or waking glucose. 

Maintenance 

You can always restart baselining, find your new trigger, and recommence Hunger Training when you feel you are ready or at the start of the next Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge.  Transition mode in DDF app if:

  • You reach your goal (e.g., waist:height less than 0.5 and waking BG is less than 100 mg/dl or 5.6 mmol/L),
  • The process is becoming stressful,
  • You are becoming overly food-focused,
  • You are struggling to reach your trigger,
  • You are feeling overly hungry, weak, cold, depressed, or lethargic, or   
  • You notice changes in libido or monthly cycles (for women).

If in doubt

  • Don’t overthink it.  
  • Follow the process.
  • Don’t try too hard.  
  • Less is more.  
  • Progress over perfection.

DDF Index 

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