Moving on… [Data Driven Fasting FAQ Part 10]

As we head towards the end of the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge, many people start to ask about what’s next and what they can do to dial in WHAT they eat (rather than just WHEN).

We’re big believers in keeping things as simple as possible to allow you to master one new skill at a time. If in doubt, it’s better to keep things simple rather than becoming overwhelmed.   However, eventually WHAT you eat becomes critical. 

While DDF has really taken off, we’ve been working to help people solve the ‘WHAT to eat’ puzzle at Optimising Nutrition for the past five years. 

This final section of the DDF FAQs will give you some ideas that you can implement once you feel you are ready to take the next steps in your journey toward Nutritional Optimisation.

10.1 How Long Can I Do This For? 

You can follow Data-Driven Fasting until you achieve your goal. For example:

  • a waist-to-height ratio of less than 0.5,
  • a body-fat level of less than 15% for men or 25% for women, or
  • as waking glucose of less than 100 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/L.

As shown in the chart below, a pre-meal trigger of 4.5 mmol/L or 80 mg/dL corresponds with a waking glucose of about 4.9 mmol/L or 90 mg/dL, which aligns with the lowest risk of all-cause mortality. 

But if you have a long way to go, you may not reach your goal in a single four-week DDF challenge.  We recommend you transition to Maintenance Mode if:

  • You reach your goal,
  • 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,
  • To take a break until the next round of DDF Challenge, or  
  • You notice changes in libido or monthly cycles (women).

You can always restart the process when you feel you are ready or when the next round of the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge rolls around.   

10.2 Maintenance Mode 

Long-term weight loss can get hard after a while. Therefore, it can be beneficial to take a ‘diet break’ to ‘practice maintenance’.  When you’re ready to activate maintenance mode, click on the three dots on the right of the DDF app home page and select ‘maintenance mode’.  

Maintenance mode will give you a slightly higher pre-meal glucose trigger (10 mg/dL or 0.6 mmol/L above your final trigger) that will help you maintain your current weight. 

If you weigh yourself at least weekly, the DDF app will provide you with an updated maintenance trigger. 

  • If your weight drops by more than 2%, your premeal trigger will increase. 
  • If your weight starts to trend up, your premeal trigger will lower. 
  • If your weight goes up by more than 4%, we recommend you jump into the next round of the Data-Driven Fasting Challenge to dial things back in again.  

Learning to maintain your weight is also a skill that many find harder than the weight loss process itself.  Hence, it can be helpful to continue to use your blood sugars to guide you as you set out on this new phase.  You can think of it as having trainer wheels at your new lowered body weight. 

Maintenance does not mean you eat anything and everything. Instead, you are practising eating in a way that enables you to maintain your weight.  During maintenance, you may be able to focus a little more on the WHAT to eat side of the equation without worrying so much about eating less frequently.

10.3  What Should I Eat During Maintenance? 

Maintenance Mode will allow you to eat more often and/or in larger quantities. Therefore, what you eat initially shouldn’t change too much.  However, if you are finding you’re still hungry, you can bring back some more energy from carbs and/or fats. 

But be careful about reverting to hyperpalatable carb+fat comfort foods.  Most people find these foods hard to eat in moderation.  Once you start and tell your body that these foods are available, it can be hard to stop, and you may find that you quickly undo all your hard work and be back where you started. 

10.4 Should I Switch to Maintenance or Keep on Chasing My Trigger Between Challenges? 

If you haven’t lost a lot of weight and are easily meeting your trigger at every meal, you may want to keep chasing your trigger between Challenges. However, if it’s starting to get hard and you’re feeling overly food-focused, tired, cold or mentally exhausted, we recommend taking a break and practising weight maintenance until the next round.  It’s important that you don’t push your body to the point that it’s hard not to rebound. 

It’s normal for your premeal trigger to be slightly higher after re-baselining at the start of each round of the challenge.  As shown in the chart below from Julia’s 18-month DDF journey, your premeal trigger will fall during the first few rounds, but then finds a lower level that it is comfortable with.  Periods of maintenance between challenges allows your glucose stores to replenish at this new normal before starting again.  Even though your trigger may not continue to drop further, you will continue to lose weight as you repeatedly chase your trigger in successful founds. 

10.5 Pause Mode

We designed ‘Pause Mode’ for people who want to take a break from chasing a lower trigger but don’t want to see their trigger go up for long-term maintenance.  Pause mode would be ideal for a quick break between Challenges, especially if you are not finding the process too challenging (yet).

To activate Pause Mode, go to Quick Actions (three vertical dots) and select ‘Pause Mode’.  

Later, when you’re ready, you can then restart Hunger Training at the same trigger without having to re-do baselining.  If in doubt, we suggest you transition to maintenance between challenges rather than continue to chase a lower and lower trigger, which can get very difficult and frustrating after a few months. 

10.6 Should I Do Another DDF Challenge?

Many people have found they love the community support in the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge. After one challenge, they feel they are just starting to get the hang of the process and want to keep going. 

The DDF process is quite simple, but retaining your habits and finding a new groove can take some time to master.  If you sign up for a single challenge, you will access the DDF app for 45 days.      

If you are already a DDF Unlimited Member, you will get an email inviting you to join the next challenge group at the end of each challenge.  Going forward, we plan to run at least seven DDF challenges per year.  You will also be invited to a DDF Masters group where people can ask for support beyond the challenges.  We are building a supportive community of people who have mastered DDF to help newcomers who join in the future.  

10.7 When Is the Next Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge?

The growing Data-Driven Fasting community is extremely exciting!  More and more Unlimited Members are coming back for subsequent rounds of DDF to continue their journey and help newcomers find their way.  You can check out the full schedule of upcoming events here

10.8 Should I Do DDF Or the Macros Masterclass First?

Data-Driven Fasting is a great introduction to kick start your weight loss journey by dialling in WHEN you eat. However, WHAT you eat eventually becomes the limiting factor.

DDF is relatively simple, whereas the Macros Masterclass and the Micros Masterclass require that you track your food for four weeks to guide you to dial in your meal choices. So, the DDF Challenge is an excellent starting place for most people, especially if they already have a blood glucose meter.

You should only bring out the big guns once you have exhausted the simplest options. But when you’re ready, the Macros Masterclass and the Micros Masterclass are excellent options to help you fine-tune WHAT you eat to help you move towards optimal.

10.9 How Do I Get the Free Food Lists?

We have created a wide range of nutrient-dense food lists tailored toward different goals that you can access in our Optimising Nutrition Community here.

  • If your post-meal BGs are typically below your upper limit and do not rise more than 30mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L after meals, we recommend using the Maximum Nutrient Density or Fat-Loss food lists.  
  • If you are still working to stabilise your blood sugar to a healthy range, you should choose the Blood Sugar and Fat Loss food list.

Each food list is organised into groups (e.g., plants, animal-based, seafood). The foods at the top of each list are ranked the highest for each goal. We recommend you work through these food lists and find foods you want to incorporate into your daily routine. You will find some you like and others you don’t.   

10.10 Nutribooster Recipe Books

After publishing hundreds of articles about nutrient density, satiety, and optimising blood sugar and insulin levels, we finally realised that we needed to make it as easy as possible for YOU to implement in your kitchen if Nutritional Optimisation was going to become a movement. 

When everything is optimised using artificial intelligence and big data these days, why shouldn’t you be able to optimise the nutrients in your food? Our ambitious goal was to reinvent and revolutionise the recipe genre by spotlighting essential micronutrients using a data-driven approach.

To bring this to fruition, we created a series of recipe books tailored to a range of goals. To help you decide, we have prepared this table with a brief description of each book and who they are most suited for. 

GoalAppropriate for
Fat lossDesigned for rapid fat loss by providing optimal satiation from adequate protein to prevent muscle loss and decrease hunger and cravings stemming from nutrient deficiencies. 
Maximum nutrient densityThese are the most nutrient-dense recipes available!
Low carb & blood sugarDesigned to stabilise blood sugars and maintain weight on a nutritious low-carb diet.  Ideal for someone with diabetes or anyone who enjoys eating low-carb.
Blood sugar & fat lossDesigned for someone with elevated blood sugars and body fat to lose. 
BodybuildersDesigned for someone looking to gain muscle without increasing excess body fat.
High protein:energy Designed with a high protein:energy ratio for aggressive fat loss.  
Nutritional ketoDesigned for someone who enjoys eating ketogenic but does not require therapeutic ketone levels.
Therapeutic ketoDesigned for people who require therapeutic ketone levels for specific conditions (e.g., for epilepsy, dementia, or Parkinson’s).
Plant-basedThese are the most nutrient-dense plant-based recipes available.
VegetarianThese are the most nutrient-dense vegetarian meals.
Low carb vegetarianThese are the most nutrient-dense, low-carb vegetarian meals designed to stabilise blood sugars.   
Maintenance Designed to help you maintain your body weight by optimising nutrient content to live a healthy and energised life.  
PescatarianThese are the most nutrient-dense pescatarian recipes (i.e., vegetarian plus seafood).
Egg-freeThe most nutrient-dense meals without eggs.  
Dairy-freeThe most nutrient-dense meals without dairy.  
Egg & dairy-freeThe most nutrient-dense meals without eggs or dairy.
Athletes & bulkingDesigned to support activity or growth while optimising nutrient density. 
MeatThese are the most nutrient-dense meals that contain meat (i.e., beef, pork, chicken, etc.).  
ImmunityRecipes designed to prioritise nutrients like iron, selenium, zinc, potassium, vitamin A, C, and D that support healthy immune function. 
Cancer (weight loss & nutrient density)Designed for someone with cancer that needs less glutamic acid and methionine while maximising nutrient density and satiety to promote fat loss.
Cancer (weight maintenance)Designed for someone with cancer that requires less glutamic acid and methionine while providing enough energy to maintain a healthy weight.
Cancer (weight gain)Designed for someone with cancer that requires less glutamic acid and methionine while providing plenty of energy to support weight gain after or during cancer treatment.

10.11 Cronometer 

While DDF solves the energy balance equation without food tracking, paying attention to your macronutrients and micronutrients is also helpful to help you dial in WHAT to eat to reach your goals.  Similar to tracking your blood sugars, tracking your current eating habits for a period can be valuable to see if you are giving your body what it needs.  

Cronometer allows users to see their macronutrient intake (carbs, protein, and fat) and their micronutrient intake (vitamins and minerals). Cronometer has a paid (Gold) option, but the free version is fine for our purposes.  

If your glucose is dropping, but you do not see the fat loss you want, we recommend you slowly dial up your protein % by dialling back dietary carbs and fat.  

We tend to see the best fat loss and satiety results when people work towards 40% protein or above.  However, you don’t need to jump there immediately. It will be more sustainable if you progressively dial it up.  For example, if you find that your current protein % is 15%, then try increasing it to 20% next week.  If the scale still isn’t moving, try 25% the following week.

You can see your protein % in Cronometer by tapping on or mousing over the ‘consumed’ circle (shown on the left below) in the app or on the computer.   We will guide you through this process step by step in the Macros Masterclass, where the Smart Macros algorithm in Nutrient Optimiser will help you tweak your macro targets based on your progress each week. 

10.12 Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge

Nutrient Density is central to everything we do at Optimising Nutrition.  However, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to solve the puzzle of what food YOU need to prioritise to improve the micronutrient profile of your diet.  

To help you understand what foods and meals you need to focus on, we created a 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge.

At the end of 7 days of tracking, Nutrient Optimiser will calculate your micronutrient fingerprint (see example below) and identify which foods and meals you need to focus on to get more of the nutrients you are currently getting less of.  

10.13 Nutrient Optimiser 

Nutrient Optimiser is the DDF app’s BIG brother. We have been working on this for three years, trying to make it as powerful and simple as possible.  If you have already done the 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge, you will already have a login. If not, you can complete the quiz at https://nutrientoptimiser.com/ to get set up.  

10.14 Join our Community!

If you want to dive a little deeper into our world, we’d love you to join our free Optimising Nutrition Community here.  After growing a fantastic community on Facebook over the past couple of years, we decided it was time to set up our own space away from the noise of social media. 

All our future challenges will be run here.  You will also get a stream of recipes and other inspiration to help you continue your journey towards optimising your nutrition. 

10.15  Follow Optimising Nutrition

In addition, we also have many resources that you can check out. 

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