Intermittent Fasting via 5-Bites

- POSTED ON: Jan 29, 2016

I frequently experiment with various “Diets”, “Lifestyles”, and “Ways-of-Eating”.  I do this randomly, depending on what catches my interest at the time, or what I think will benefit me most at the time.

While I am participating in such an experiment,  I sometimes share small bits of my own current eating experiences, but I do not share anything about other participants.  Also, I don’t make any kind of in-depth analysis while data is coming in…. which means not until long after an experiment has been completed.

As part of my involvement with any specific diet plan, I try to keep an open mind, and I work to suspend my Judgments on the pros, the cons, and the effectiveness of the overall diet.

This past fall, I did quite a bit of experimentation with various forms of water fasting.  Although I had some minor success with alternate day 24 hour fasts; several long-term fasts, including some 3 day fasts, and one 6 day fast, I did not care for it. 


At the start of this year I decided to commit to an experiment of 90 days of some sort of consistent, Intermittent Fasting.

After a week or so, I saw that I would need to drastically change my eating plan in order to succeed at this. 

After trying a few alternatives, I decided to work at strictly following the 5-bite diet again. Eating only 2 meals a day spaced 4 to 5 hours apart, results in an 18 to 19 hour daily fast. Furthermore, the entire 5-bite diet plan is actually a “controlled fast”.  In many ways it is similar to the way I ate for the first 7 months after my weight loss surgery 24 years ago.

I first experimented briefly with the 5-bite diet in the spring of 2009, and found it interesting, but was not fond of it.  In March, 2014, I again experimented with that diet for a six month period, and continued to find it interesting, but, for various reasons, found it unsustainable for me at that time.

So,  after having made the decision to resume my 5-bite diet experiment, I began following that diet plan. I also rejoined, and paid for, a monthly membership at Dr. Lewis’ website, and am currently participating there.  

This is actually my 3rd experiment with this particular diet, and my goal this time is to do better at suspending my negative judgments while working to follow that plan exactly; while paying attention to how my body feels.  I am interested in learning what kind of weight-loss I will receive at this current time, as a result of following that eating behavior.

The 5-bite diet is  based on Dr. Alwin Lewis’ book, “Why Weight Around”. 

The 5-bite rules are simple:

1. Do not eat breakfast
2. Do not snack
3. Eat five bites of food for lunch
4. Eat five bites of food for dinner (4-5 hours apart)
5. Eat at least one bite of protein a day
6. Take a multivitamin every day.
7. Drink only water, black coffee, or black tea, diet soda, or other non-caloric drinks.

One thing I’m doing differently this time around is working to actually follow Dr. Lewis’ instructions regarding only 5 bites. 

My personal preference is to estimate out what 5 bites for me would be; serve myself that exact small portion; and then eat all of my “5-bite” serving while having lots of tiny bites until I’ve finished it.

However, Dr. Lewis’ instructions are: 

Eat any kind of food you want, ignore calories.  Only take 5 normal or small size bites each meal.  “Your hand goes to your mouth five times and you are done.”  One bite should equal about 1 swallow.  Always throw food away. 

He says that people who estimate their food portion ahead of time, instead of just actually taking 5 bites, wind up eating a lot more food. 

Failing to take only 5-bites per meal from a regular size serving, and throwing the rest away, also prevents a person from receiving the training that is needed for weight-loss maintenance.  This is because - in our present culture, servings everywhere are far too large - and people need to become accustomed to always throwing most of their food serving away.  It needs to become the normal practice of every meal.

So, this is what I’m working on as my current plan.  How long will I do it?
I don’t know.   Ideally, for the rest of my 90 day commitment to Intermittent Fasting, but for ME: it’s always one-day-at-a-time.  All I really know is that I’m going to do my best to follow that 5-bite eating plan for the rest of Today.

Here’s something some of you might find interesting.  I’ve been taking BEFORE and AFTER pictures of my 5-bite meals, and I decided to post copies of them here on DietHobby.  I’m linking them here, but you can easily find them at any time by looking under the DietHobby Heading: RESOURCES, then Photo Gallery, then 5-bite Meals.

No matter what food plan I am experimenting with, I continue to record my daily food intake in a computer food journal.  I’ve been doing this now every day for the past 11 years. 

During my past 5-bite experiments, I have found recording many tiny amounts of daily food to be tedious and time-consuming. 

This time, I have opted to create a food entry called “5-bite food”, and have assigned to it a 300 calorie value.  From what I’ve learned about the size of my normal bites, I know that this is a good estimation, and that frequently my actual total daily food intake will be lower than that amount.  So, each day on the 5-bite diet, I make that one entry.  If I eat other food, in addition to my 5-bites of food each meal, then I will individually record those extra foods as well.

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Existing Comments:

On Jan 29, 2016 AJ wrote:
I'm interested to see how it goes with you. I'm starting the 2X wkly IF, 22-24 hour fasts. I'll be starting my three week.

On Jan 30, 2016 Kae wrote:
i find this diet most intriguing :) although i'm not one for diets (i prefer to eat now what i'll be eating when i'm at my goal weight) I'm always interested in your "experiments" as i can see me using them not as a diet per se but in certain situations like plateaus or if i've been on vacation and need a jump start to my diet. i perused your before and afters and i must say i'm loving the snickers for lunch plan :D wishing you the best of luck not just today but every day and looking forward to updates <3

On Jan 28, 2017 Carolyn wrote:
Dr. Collins, regarding the "stretch receptor changes" that Dr. Lewis discusses in his book, do you find this occurring on your current diets of small samples and bites 3x a day? My body seems to be adapting to eating many fewer calories each day since I started counting, but I'm also trying to keep the amount or volume of food equal across my three meals. I don't know if this is contributing to relatively more "comfort" with eating less food. Not to say I don't get hungry, but it's manageable. Would love to hear any thoughts and insights on this biological/neurocognitive process.

On Jan 28, 2017 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Carolyn, thanks for your interest. My own experience seems to indicate that the position of Dr Lewis (and others) .....that physical Hunger has a relationship with having consistent amounts of food volume and stomach stretch receptors...... is correct. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<....... I feel that I have clarity on part of this issue, but I also still have some remaining questions about it. For ME, eating involves both Physical and Mental "comfort", and even with careful consideration, at times I have difficulty separating these two things. In fact, at this point, I'm still considering the possibility that Physical and Mental "hungers" are somehow very intertwined and that sometimes both of these overlap. ....<<<<<<<<<<<<.... I've found that 3 to 5 days of water fasting or of 2x5 type consistent eating always reduces my physical feelings of hunger, and after day 5, the feelings that I identify as physical hunger are mostly gone between meals. However, after that 3 to 5 day period, for several or more weeks thereafter, I've also found that MY OWN BODY consistently demonstrates OTHER physical side-effects which have made it almost impossible for ME to continue that type of eating/not-eating for more than 3 to 5 weeks at a time. These side-effects might be totally personal for ME only, due to individual issues like age, activity level, general health etc. They are primarily, long-term physical feelings of extreme weakness and fatigue, with occasional dizziness and headaches ; AS WELL AS feelings of apathy, with brief periods of restlessness inside overall periods of listlessness and depression. The fact that all of those side-effects disappear shortly AFTER a day or so of "normal" (for ME) eating seems to indicate that they are somehow a mixture of both mental & physical. So far, I've been unsuccessful in sorting them out into clear categories of "physical" and "mental". <,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,> My own current "TakeAway" is that there are Physical Consequences to EVERY type of eating style. My own path is to continually search for whatever eating style works best for ME long-term ... both physically and mentally.

On Jan 28, 2017 Carolyn wrote:
I've only done one fast in my life, it was a 12-day water fast for political reasons. I remember feeling "fine" during the fast, although I didn't keep any written records so my memory is not that clear since it was about 8 years ago. I know I didn't change anything about my day-to-day activities though; I just didn't eat any food. I do remember losing my appetite after 3-4 days. At the time I was probably in the mid-range of my healthy BMI level (my overweight state did not begin until around 2012) and I lost about 20 pounds. I can't remember why I stopped the fast right at 12 days but I know habit plays a huge role in my eating behavior, and I suspect I simply *wanted* to start eating again. Physical and mental responses seem to be tied together, we can think about, visualize, see, feel, and smell food, and that triggers neural responses that affect cognitive pathways telling us to eat or that we want to eat. These topics fascinate me! :)

On Jan 28, 2017 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Carolyn, I also find them interesting. I only wish that KNOWLEDGE about eating was more specifically related to CONTROL of eating. =)

On Jan 28, 2017 Carolyn wrote:
LOL. Well, you know, like the therapists say, "insight doesn't necessarily equal behavior change." :( I'm using the "immersion" method at the moment :p in which I take total control over my food. I realize I'm in the "honeymoon" period so I'm reading a lot, thinking a lot about meals and weight, and instituting the practices of calorie portion with great vigilance. The difference is I'm not sticking to any one plan, I'm eating what I want but in globally small portions. Your blog and the Newcastle diet turned things around for me. (Although I personally don't want to drink shakes as a "meal.") I appreciate all the work you have put into helping us understand our own paths. :)

On Jan 28, 2017 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks Carolyn. Once in a great while I will make myself a little protein powder smoothie - shake, usually only when I'm eating small amounts at least 4 times a day, but I also don't like drinking my "meal". When I'm doing some type of meal plan that includes protein powder meals, I mix protein powder with a tiny bit of Torino s/f syrup and a tiny, tiny bit of Banana, applesauce or pumpkin and cook it in the microwave. I this food Protein Cupcakes Or Protein Muffins, or Protein Cookies, and I've posted a couple of recipe videos showing how to make the basic Cupcake or Cookie as well as the Smoothie Shakes.

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