Author Topic: 5 Day fast next week; 15 day fast started today!  (Read 4960 times)

infromsea

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5 Day fast next week; 15 day fast started today!
« on: November 22, 2016, 01:54:32 PM »
My wife and I are starting a five day fast this Sunday (NOV 27th) at around 8 PM and we are planning a 15 day fast in late FEB/MAR of 2017. We’d like to do the 15 day fast sooner but won’t due to holidays/other engagements.

Anyone want to join us in one or the other and commiserate/offer support back and forth?

This will be our second fast of the five day length. We consume water, black coffee, and, in the depths of despair, a diet soda/fizzy water with sucralose if necessary to maintain sanity (last time I drank 2 diet drinks over the five days). 

Background

We’ve been fasting for six months, primarily intermittent (going 18-24 hours without a meal) but had worked up to three days before attempting the five day fast. In our experience, you will likely see weight loss but, if you are not weight stable prior to fasting (your weight is not going up or down for 3-6 months) then you may not maximize the weight loss benefit. If you are gaining weight on a regular basis, you may put all of your fast-lost weight right back on post fast. I would not recommend fasting as a weight loss mechanism, unless you are in good control of your diet and are weight stable.

If you have never fasted before, I would not suggest attempting a five day (or longer) fast to start out. I’m not going to sugar coat it, during our first five day fast, there were moments of freaking despair, especially in day 2-3, as the body is switching to fat burning mode, it’s one of the more difficult experiences I’ve had. It’s actually suggested by some that if you are going to pass the three day mark, you should go for the 7-10 or longer fast protocol. Essentially, if you are going to pay the piper, might as well dance as long as you can. We want to see if the five day fast gets easier after repetition and maybe front load it with a keto based diet a few days before, see if that makes a difference.

Why do this?

For health reasons, primarily autophagy. I personally have multiple non-cancerous lipomas and I’m doing a long “sort of” experiment to see if the body will eventually re-absorb them.  In addition we have nasty family health histories so we are playing with various protocols for preventive measures.

For a challenge. After you go five plus days without food (and you can unless you have certain medical conditions) you feel like you can do ANYTHING in life. In addition, in the two days since we’ve been re-feeding (post fast eating) I’ve felt like a golden god. I’m not exaggerating. I have more energy and mental clarity than I’ve had in 5-8 years. I honestly thought to myself, if I felt this way every day of my life, I’d rule the world in six months. You’ll have similar moments during a long fast period. The mental clarity and energy level can be amazing. I found I could discuss things all day and think logically, I just could not study difficult topics without trouble, it was strange, I could read a section from a text book and follow it but committing it to memory or really wrapping my mind around a new equation/etc. would not happen.

To save money. This is MMM after-all! Seriously, we could care less about the grocery savings BUT, when you consider that two people didn't eat for five days, that's some DOES have an impact. We are already grocery-store-frugal as it is, so we didn't save much but it could be a motivating factor in the lives of some. It was nice not going to the store and we didn't have a "bow wave" of spending (or eating) afterwards. I don't think you CAN eat the accumulated "missed calories" if you tried, maybe from one or two meals, but not five days worth.

Can I do this if I have (insert condition/limitation here)?

It’s probably up to you and your doctor but, in my experience most folks CAN fast and enjoy the benefits. My wife keeps telling me I have to “be more careful” since I don’t have much excess body fat but, to be honest, unless you are rocking 7% or less body fat, you can probably do up to 15 days easy. The rough estimates I’ve seen is that you can fast up to 2 days for every excess pound of fat over 4% body fat and/or do not fall into the underweight BMI category (less than 18.5). The length of fast may need to vary based on your condition. If you are 60 pounds overweight, you can most likely do 15 days without issue, while, if you are at 9% body fat or 18.6 BMI, you should probably roll with shorter durations, it all comes with knowing yourself.

What’s the hardest part about fasting this long?

Honestly, I’d say the hardest thing is finding something to do with the “free time” you have on your hands. For much of the time our energy levels were up and down, you may be wacked out tired, but don’t need sleep, and have time on your hands. We went to work as usual; worked in the yard/around the house, did some deep cleaning/organizing, and tried to keep busy. We actually did some shopping, and we both HATE to go shopping. Having the free time, low energy states (sometimes) and lack of desire to really accomplish anything “big” made shopping and video games attractive at night, it gave us something to do/keep our mind off food. That’s harder than it might sound since SO much of our society is based around food. My wife counted 51 restaurants (of all kind) on her 8 mile drive to work (moderate sized metropolitan area).

Do I have to stop exercising?

It depends, mostly on your current level of fitness and body fat stores. I exercised during our five day fast, running three miles morning 1/2/4, walking three miles on day three (that was the WORST DAY) and running five miles and lifting weights on morning five. Once you “switch” into burning body fat instead of ingested food, you theoretically can exercise just fine for as long as you have stores. Your body breaks the fat down and uses the glucose created, it’s may be as efficient and you may not have the same level of energy but it’s certainly doable. I would not suggest a marathon in a fasted state but I also would not say it could not be done, I’m sure it’s been done before. I’d suggest starting with walking and working in a job later in the fast, once again, your current level of health/fitness will come into play here.

Won't I lose muscle?

No, the body will up-regulate human growth hormone and won't break down muscle. Think about our ancestors, did they lose muscle and lay down after a period of not eating? If they did, they are not YOUR ancestor, cause they probably died without passing on genes.... When you think of detractors like this, consider evolution, does the idea of "you can't do XXXXX" jive with evolutionary progression and the human body?

Is this safe?

We’ve read six books, at least 20 scientific articles from peer-reviewed journals (for what they are worth…) and watched a good 20-30 hours of videos with doctors discussing fasting (Dr. Rhonda Patrick/Dr. Fung and so on….) and yes, bottom line, this is safe (for most people). On days four and five, I felt like I could continue fasting for an indefinite amount of time, I even worked out on day five and spent the second half of the day doing yard work and wood working activities. My only detractor was low blood pressure leading to dizziness when I stood up too fast or bent over to pick up leaves.

BUT I JUST CAN'T! MAYBE YOU CAN BUT I DON'T HAVE THE WILLPOWER!

OK. I'm not going to use my energy to convince you. If you think you can't, you can't... and so on.

Why are you posting this here?

We’ve searched for other message boards to discuss this topic, throw down this challenge and we just haven’t found one with reasonable/non-emotional folks to discuss this topic in a logical and intelligent manner. Most of the boards I’ve found revolve around those who have not done their home-work, don’t want to put the work in, or attempt something like a 40 day fast right out of the gate, and then wonder why they are so weak if they fail. Many of the boards I’ve browsed have been laden with head-cases. I know that isn’t the case on the MMM board (and reading this far down into my post indicates you are capable paying attention to one thing for longer than it takes to read a tweet from kayne [my boy] west).

We are looking for others to share war stories with, discuss preparation strategies, and moan and bitch with when it’s time for the big fast. We’d be glad to have conversations over email/skype etc. It’s hard to find folks who can have a decent conversation about this subject. In my experience, 99% of people just say “that’s not healthy” without even thinking before they speak. When the doc tells us to fast to test blood sugar or get a colon screen do we punch the doc in face and tell him that’s not healthy?

So, who’s ready to for a heavy duty challenge, to climb a higher hill than just skipping desert, or feeling superior because you skipped breakfast one day. Take this challenge with us and give the finger to the concept of “you have to eat every 12 minutes or you’ll go into diabetic shock!” If you undergo this, or something like this, you’ll gain a clarity and new relationship with food.

You’ll “see” the matrix and realize that the main benefactors of our current “food is always here for you” society (in the USA at least) are those that sale that food. Those of us that buy it don’t always need it and we sure as hell don’t “need” most of the junk being pushed into our faces. Obesity epidemic.... not a worry if you can develop the fortitude to go 5-15 days without food, if you can do that, you can surely conquer any demon.

Questions? Hit me up here or via direct message here on the board. I'll continue to edit this and maybe update based on questions/comments.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tim
 

 

« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 01:07:52 PM by infromsea »

Shor

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Sounds pretty awesome! 5 day and 15 day fasts sound like a huge stretch!

I attempted IF earlier this year. Mostly it involved skipping breakfast and lunch, generally easy, although it freaks people out a bit. Coffee keeps the motor running.
Some days I was extending the fast across 2.5 days (dinner - fast day - fast day - lunch), but the occasional light-headedness scared me in to backing off after that.

I'll probably pick it back up (light IF, mind you!) after I eat down my current stash of perishable foods.
I'm fairly certain that my largest cuttable expense of 2016 was 'eating out'. Big enough that I could cut that category down in to smaller categories, and they're still some of my biggest adjustable expenses.

Hotstreak

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Have you considered a fasting mimicking diet?  Your body enters a fasted state, physically speaking, so you get most of the benefits you're looking for, but you still get to eat a minimal amount of food.  If you think about it, it doesn't make sense that your body would act substantially differently on 0 calories vs 25 calories.. so it's about finding the level of intake where you get the most benefit, while avoiding some of the negative impacts that come from not eating.


The protein/fat/carb ratio & calorie intake is roughly equal to two large avocado's and two tablespoons of greens powder, one of each at breakfast and dinner.


Personally I skip meals when I'm not hungry, but I wouldn't consider a long term fast (certainly not 15 days, holy smokes!).  However I would do a fasting mimicking diet as an experiment.

darknight

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You should post a before/after pic of what a 5 day fast will do. Document like crazy your emotions etc, maybe like a 6 hr journal. I've always wanted to do something like that.

westtoeast

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Posting to follow... I do IF with a feeding window of 8 hours a day (lunch and dinner) and an occasional full day fast. I'm interested in trying up to three days but a bit scared about functionality at work. I look forward to hearing how your long fast goes, as I've never heard of someone going that long-- best of luck!

alleykat

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5 days, wow, that is something. I cant do it but I am interested in following along with your experience.  I would like to do a fast of some sort though but it will have to wait until after the holidays if I do consider something.   Good luck.

homestead neohio

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Posting to follow, especially to hear how low the lows are and how high the highs are.  Will need to do my own research before deciding to join a future fast.  Good luck.  That would be a serious demonstration of willpower.

infromsea

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Hotstreak-
I've done some reading on the fast mimicking diet (FMD) by Valter D. Longo and others, I see it as something to experiment with later in 2017. On one hand, having a little food each day might reduce some of the "lows" of a pure water fast, on the other hand the ratios seem to be kind of tricky with FMD. I thought about reverse engineering the food kit that ProLon is selling, but that's in the future.

Darknight-
Surprisingly, for me, the before and after pics are not that different. I'm 5'11"/162, about 12% body fat so the only real difference is in abdonimal definition. I see weight swings of 8-12 pounds based on how much beer I was drinking prior to the fast :)    You lose 3-6 fluid pounds first and then, based on your re-feed and fat stores going on, should lose .5 pounds a day per day of long term fasting.

During a fast of this nature I keep notes in google keep, how I feel each day, what time I went to bed, how I slept etc. That's how I know that day 3 of our 5 day fast was pure misery, I wrote some mean stuff for that day.... I will do the same in the future.

westtoeast-
I have an office job, managing HR functions for a 900 person organization so I have some lee-way when it comes to work. I don't know if I'd do something like this if my job was more mental but I certainly would do it if it was moderately physical, working on the floor building jet engines or if I was a plumber etc. I would NOT do it if I was doing arduous labor each day or flying planes etc. 

15 days isn't that long of a fast when compared to some. There is a well documented case of a fast lasting 382 days. That's not a typo. Search "Features of a successful therapeutic fast of 382 days' duration".

alleykat-
Thanks for the kind wishes. We are doing the 5 day fast in response to the holidays :)

homestead-
Thanks for the kind wishes. I can tell you that last time, on day 3 of the 5 day fast, I asked myself why in the hell I agreed to it at least every 5 minutes, it was a minute-to-minute situation and probably the most miserable 8 hours of my recent memory (it passed by 1400 or so that day and life got MUCH better).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tim







Meadow Lark

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I do IF with a 2-4 HR eating window.  BUT I define fasting a little different, and I drink coffee with 2 T CO outside of my window in the morning.  So it is more of an "insulin fast".  I also usually do 44 HR fasts once a week.  Health and weight loss are my main motivation.  My main thought is that it reduces my insulin levels, and since I have insulin resistance and high insulin levels that is what I need.
I am in the middle of a 38 HR fast.  I am keeping it open that I may turn it into a longer fast.  Not as a punishment for over indulging on Thanksgiving, but because I believe it is healthy to shake up your metabolism - follow moments of lots of food with little food. 
If it is about guilt, shame, feeling superior because I am not eating - that is an eating disorder.

infromsea

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Meadow Lark-
I would agree that fasting does wonders for insulin management. My wife is pre-diabetic and has a family history, that's one reason we became interested in fasting protocols and "went down this rabbit hole", to manage insulin without medication (I would bet money that the pharmaceuticals HATE that idea, managing insulin/diabetes with diet rather than pills....).

I agree that switching your eating habits around could lead to healthy metabolic changes. In addition, the concept of feasting and THEN fasting is probably one that is genetically programmed into us. I think, however, that a great part of the obesity epidemic in this country is due to the fact that many people feast, and feast, and feast, and don't follow/precede those periods with a fast. In addition, the idea that we have to eat six times a day or that we HAVE to eat breakfast has been thoroughly discounted, those ideas lead to guilt and shaming in many households (you HAVE to eat breakfast or you are not healthy....).

I also agree that attaching too many emotions to eating is usually a bad idea and could lead to an eating dis-order. That's one reason those who are bulimic/anorexic/not weight stable (gaining weight on a regular basis) should not attempt long term fasts, it would likely exacerbate their problem rather than provide health/weight loss benefits.

I also think that punishment for eating is not a good idea (Oh, I ate so much, now I have to go to the gym...). I would offer that exercise actually does very little to support weight loss, it's 95% diet. I think many people engage in exercise as punishment for their diet when it should be the other way around, your diet should support your level of activity and exercises. If you love to run, eat to support that, if you take long walks, eat to support that, if you lay around and watch TV, eat to support that, and so on. It's one thing to run an extra mile here or there or take a long walk after dinner in response to an extra chicken wing or that third beer, I think we can get in to trouble when we focus too much or exercise (or excessive diet restrictions for that matter) as a punishment response for previous eating. Maybe the difference is when you plan the fast/diet changes before engaging in the feast, just being intentional vice reactionary?

What is "coffee with 2 T CO", is that coconut oil? Do you consume that on your 44HR fasts? Do you see the same physical responses with and without it? (Insulin response, weight loss....).


Dulcimina

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I do 24 hr fasts MWF and have gone as high as a 36 hr fast.  I usually consume broth, tea or a diet soda.

I'm tempted to try your 5 day challenge starting today, since I'm already fasting.  It would mean that my day three, which you've described as the worst day, would come on Sunday when I'm at home and can deal with it without work stress.  Depending on how I feel on Sunday, I could either end the fast (would still be a personal record), try Hotstreak's fast mimicking diet (just need a couple of avocados) or push through until Tuesday.

I've never had the mental clarity and energy that you describe from shorter duration fasting, so it will be interesting to see if I get that with the longer fasts.

Meadow Lark

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Yes - CO is coconut oil.  I forget that I am making up my own code as I go.  It's a riff on Bulletproof Coffee, except I am vegan and too cheap to buy MCT oil.  Yes, I have that when I am fasting, too.  I tried IF without the coffee and coconut oil several years ago, and succeeded for about 2 months.  It was really hard for me - I was extremely cold and slow (not okay as a labor and delivery nurse) and uncomfortable.  This time, with the coconut oil and coffee I have not noticed any energy issues, although my job is easier now, I am not having issues being cold, and this feels like I could do it permanently.  it feels very sustainable.


infromsea

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I do 24 hr fasts MWF and have gone as high as a 36 hr fast.  I usually consume broth, tea or a diet soda.

I'm tempted to try your 5 day challenge starting today, since I'm already fasting.  It would mean that my day three, which you've described as the worst day, would come on Sunday when I'm at home and can deal with it without work stress.  Depending on how I feel on Sunday, I could either end the fast (would still be a personal record), try Hotstreak's fast mimicking diet (just need a couple of avocados) or push through until Tuesday.

I've never had the mental clarity and energy that you describe from shorter duration fasting, so it will be interesting to see if I get that with the longer fasts.

Good luck! I hope you make it any duration you decide on.   The mental clarity thing is strange, it usually takes some "practice" for it to become normal, maybe that's due to the body switching from carbs and stored glycogen (the liver stores about a day of energy that you have to "use up") and into ketosis (burning fat stores). That's the theory anyway, that ketone bodies can cross the brain-blood barrier easily, so we think more clearly.

Your results will surely vary BUT, what I notice is that I go from "I can't do this another six freaking minutes or I'll murder a puppy!" into a state where I honestly feel like I could go weeks without eating. Don't get me wrong, there are still waves of hunger, no real "pains" but waves. I ride them out, usually by finding something to do, even exercising/walking helps, and I keep on going.

I hope you get that experience, reaching that states of "you know, I could go a LONG time like this..."  That's the period of mental clarity and, in my case, gave me the ability to really feel in control of my hunger, my diet, my relationship with food.

It's not uncommon to reach that state, I just think it's on the "other side" of 2-3 days. Not all of the 2-3 days are 100% miserable though, in my experience, the misery state lasted about 8-12 hours, the rest of the time was varying degrees of hunger and energy levels.

Take care,

Tim

infromsea

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Yes - CO is coconut oil.  I forget that I am making up my own code as I go.  It's a riff on Bulletproof Coffee, except I am vegan and too cheap to buy MCT oil.  Yes, I have that when I am fasting, too.  I tried IF without the coffee and coconut oil several years ago, and succeeded for about 2 months.  It was really hard for me - I was extremely cold and slow (not okay as a labor and delivery nurse) and uncomfortable.  This time, with the coconut oil and coffee I have not noticed any energy issues, although my job is easier now, I am not having issues being cold, and this feels like I could do it permanently.  it feels very sustainable.

I still have issues with cold hands. Anymore than 24 hours without food and my hands feel like they are frozen. I'm still trying to figure this out, if it's due to "missing" something, a mineral or just a result of the lower caloric state and decreased blood pressure. I might try the CO in the coffee and see if that makes any difference.


infromsea

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You haven't discussed breaking the fast. I found there is some adjustments here too - digestive and post-digestive symptoms. I didn't go in with a plan, but I know for much longer term fasting, one has to be careful in the volume and type of nutrition reintroduced.  Any experience or advice to share?

In your original post - you seemed to mock reading peer-reviewed research ("for what that's worth"). Could you clarify? Maybe I am misreading the tone.

G-dog-
I've found that breaking a fast of 3-5 days doesn't require anything special. I've read suggestions about eating watermelon or other foods with high-water content first but I don't think 3-5 days requires that or extra special protocol.

I have found is that I respond better to high fat, high calorie items when breaking a fast of anything more than 18 hours. I'll have a spoon of peanut butter (or two...) or a handful of peanuts, then wait an hour or so to eat a spinach salad with my real "meal". That high fat seems to help satiate me and keep me from over-eating and the spinach salad ensures I'm getting plenty of vitamins etc. The first couple of times I went 48 hours or so, I over-ate post fast, it was not pleasant.... After the five day fast, I ate in "stages" as described above and had a full meal within hours of my first snack.

I place a very high value on peer-reviewed research BUT I'm well aware of the fact that when it comes to nutrition research, peer-reviewed doesn't always mean high quality. For one, after reading Gary Taubes (and others) beat the crap out of the last 30-40 years of nutrition research and studies, it makes me think very critically of any nutrition related research. It's the state of the nutrition and fitness industry today (and maybe always?), it's full of miss-information and studies are often funded by those who want/need certain results to support sales, the sugar industry is one example of a group that crafted their message via "nutrition science" and peer-reviewed research and papers and now those efforts have recently become more noticeable.

So, my comment was more of a deflective statement due to the sometimes emotional response that some have when discussing fasting (it's not healthy! You'll waste away!! You'll lose muscle!!! You'r gonna die!!!!). In the event that someone came in and offered evidence against peer-reviewed research (see Adam Conover's nutrition episode for one example) as support for the anti-fasting point of view, I was attempting to preempt that argument by making allowances for the fact that sometimes nutrition peer-reviewed research isn't as "cut and dried" as we'd like it to be. Typical over-thinking on my part   :)


Dulcimina

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I do 24 hr fasts MWF and have gone as high as a 36 hr fast.  I usually consume broth, tea or a diet soda.

I'm tempted to try your 5 day challenge starting today, since I'm already fasting.  It would mean that my day three, which you've described as the worst day, would come on Sunday when I'm at home and can deal with it without work stress.  Depending on how I feel on Sunday, I could either end the fast (would still be a personal record), try Hotstreak's fast mimicking diet (just need a couple of avocados) or push through until Tuesday.

I've never had the mental clarity and energy that you describe from shorter duration fasting, so it will be interesting to see if I get that with the longer fasts.

I hope you get that experience, reaching that states of "you know, I could go a LONG time like this..."  That's the period of mental clarity and, in my case, gave me the ability to really feel in control of my hunger, my diet, my relationship with food.

It's not uncommon to reach that state, I just think it's on the "other side" of 2-3 days. Not all of the 2-3 days are 100% miserable though, in my experience, the misery state lasted about 8-12 hours, the rest of the time was varying degrees of hunger and energy levels.

Take care,

Tim


Thanks, Tim.  I just closed in on 48hrs, and at this point just taking it one day at a time.  I feel like I should record some kind of metrics, but I don't really have numbers except weight.

Weight: Last meal was Thursday night.  On Friday morning, I weighed 145.8 lb.  On Saturday morning, I weighed 143.9.

Energy: Went to bed earlier than normal Friday (10:45pm) and woke up earlier than normal (6am).  Got a lot done, then crashed around 11 and had to take a nap.  Energy levels normal after that.  Still, I'm glad that I started on the weekend.  I'm not sure how the nap would have worked out on the job.

Hunger: I've been hungry since Friday night.  Sorry if this discourages anyone from trying. Not "murder a puppy" hungry, but it's there.  I'm also craving gum because I miss chewing, but otherwise I can distract myself from the hunger, or minimize with unsweetened tea.  Must revisit if it's OK to have stevia, because this unsweetened stuff is gross. It's funny - I've been dealing with food all day.  Because I started the fast on a whim, I had a lot of leftovers and other perishables to dispose of/freeze/repackage.  I had the tv on the Food network in the background, then later went to the grocery store.  I wasn't tempted even once to eat.

Mood: Pretty good.  E.g. I went to Walmart tonight expecting it to be crowded and crazy.  It wasn't awful.

I'll check back in tomorrow. 


Dulcimina

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Interesting that your interpretation of clarity was when you felt like you could fast forever - that sounds like delusion to me (😉 - clearly not physiologically sustainable to never consume calories / nutrients again). Could be an endorphin-based response. But, I do agree with feeling very powerful and in control when I reached that feeling, for me, I didn't consider it mental clarity. But maybe we just use that term slightly differently.
Could it be a hunter-gather artifact? Hunger drove the need to hunt, and the mental clarity let you focus on hunting well?

infromsea

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Gdog-
Going points about the body being a whole system. I was listening to a podcast on health/nutrition/fitness and a comment was made that we (humanity as a whole) know more about nuclear physics than we do about why certain foods/nutrients impact different people different ways, too many variables! That led me to the thought that the most important concept of nutrition/diet/health may be doing personal experiments, we just can't get "good data" any other way than to make an adjustment, see it through for a reasonable period, and consider the outcomes.

I also agree that there are plenty of poorly-researched books and diet plans "out there". The "daytime docs" are not helping the issue either with their daily doses of BS and "just take this pill and it will be ok" plans....

I know you were kidding about being delusional, of course I knew there would come a time when I would have to eat again, I did find it interesting that I was totally dis-interested in eating, I even made a trip to the grocery store after four days of fasting, while I was tempted, I remained in a satiated state. The body is an amazing thing. One of the reasons I want to attempt the 15 day fast in early 2017 is to get to point of "true hunger". I've read that after the body "runs out" of fat stores to break down into glucose we will experience true hunger in the throat and mouth, it might seem sadistic but I would like to push to that point.

We have not started the 5 day yet. We'll have brunch later today (fasting until then of course) and a high protein shake tonight round 2000, maybe a six pack of beers in between...... :)
 
We won't eat again until next Saturday, around 13-1400. Like you said, starting on a work day, for the same reasons you list.

Dulcimina-
Has the hunger been constant or coming and going in waves? I've had similar experiences with fasting and being around food. When you can sit at a pizza and wings luncheon and not touch a thing even though you have not eaten in two days, it really demonstrates that the body doesn't NEED fuel every three hours, that it has stores to utilize (that's what body fat is...excess/stored fuel that we don't access because we are always re-fueling) and it makes me feel great about my level of self-control. I don't sit there bragging about not eating, I find it easier to sit there with a cup of coffee, that way I can make the excuse that I don't want to "mix" food and coffee...

I would agree that the clarity and energy levels we experience when fasted are related to the hunter-gatherer artifact. It makes sense that as we go longer periods of time without food that the body would up-regulate human growth hormone and some types of adrenaline to prevent muscle loss and get us "up and moving" to find food. I've found that 3-4 days into a fast I have trouble sleeping and some studies have found that basal metabolic rates can actually increase when fasting. It all makes sense from an evolutionary stand-point.





infromsea

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  I'm also craving gum because I miss chewing, but otherwise I can distract myself from the hunger, or minimize with unsweetened tea.  Must revisit if it's OK to have stevia, because this unsweetened stuff is gross. It's funny - I've been dealing with food all day.  Because I started the fast on a whim, I had a lot of leftovers and other perishables to dispose of/freeze/repackage.  I had the tv on the Food network in the background, then later went to the grocery store.  I wasn't tempted even once to eat.

Mood: Pretty good.  E.g. I went to Walmart tonight expecting it to be crowded and crazy.  It wasn't awful.

I'll check back in tomorrow.

Dulcimina-

How are you feeling?

I always found gum helpful in fasting. I eventually got away from it in my sugar and alternative sweetener "phase-out" (a three-day fast knocked out the desire for it). I had some concerns about the theory that the fake sugars might make us even hungrier since the body "expects" calories with the sweetness but doesn't receive them... I would argue that fasting with gum/other alternative sweeteners (diet sodas/teas etc) is probably better than not fasting at all.

Hope you are seeing the results you set out to achieve,

Tim

Dulcimina

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Dulcimina-
Has the hunger been constant or coming and going in waves? I've had similar experiences with fasting and being around food. When you can sit at a pizza and wings luncheon and not touch a thing even though you have not eaten in two days, it really demonstrates that the body doesn't NEED fuel every three hours, that it has stores to utilize (that's what body fat is...excess/stored fuel that we don't access because we are always re-fueling) and it makes me feel great about my level of self-control. I don't sit there bragging about not eating, I find it easier to sit there with a cup of coffee, that way I can make the excuse that I don't want to "mix" food and coffee...

I would agree that the clarity and energy levels we experience when fasted are related to the hunter-gatherer artifact. It makes sense that as we go longer periods of time without food that the body would up-regulate human growth hormone and some types of adrenaline to prevent muscle loss and get us "up and moving" to find food. I've found that 3-4 days into a fast I have trouble sleeping and some studies have found that basal metabolic rates can actually increase when fasting. It all makes sense from an evolutionary stand-point.

Infromsea, I forgot to check in last night. On Saturday, it was coming and going in waves as you described, but yesterday was better.  I was hungry maybe three times all day which was easy to fix with some broth. 

The issue yesterday was slowness? I can't think of a better word - I wasn't weak, and I didn't feel faint.  I just couldn't go very fast.  I was walking up a steep hill to the metro station while listening to a podcast.  Halfway up, I realized I couldn't focus on the podcast because I was trying to focus on walking.

This morning, I feel a little more robust and a lot clearer in my mind.  But I'm at work today and have a dance class tonight, so we'll see how the day plays out. I did bring an avocado with me today just in case.  I have less craving for gum, so I won't add that in.  But I will add in stevia to make my tea more palatable.

Interesting what you wrote about being in control at a pizza joint.  It's one thing to look and not be tempted, but the smells would have driven me crazy. I haven't had that type of control since I was a kid.  At Thanksgiving this year, my 8 year old nephew got in a bit of trouble for a bad attitude and not wanting to eat.  I asked him if he was hungry, and he said no.  I don't know him well enough to know if he was pouting and using lack of hunger as an excuse to say he was being persecuted.  I do remember being exquisitely in touch with my appetite at that age, and not eating just because of the time of day, or just because food was around. As I grew older, and especially after I got sick eating some of my favorite foods, I developed a scarcity mindset because I never knew when I would be forced to give up something I loved.

Dulcimina

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Forgot to mention, weight today = 139.9, so six pounds lost in three days. Will be interesting to see how much I gain back once the fast is over.  I'm going to pay particular attention to drinking more today in case it's all water loss.

Good luck this week, Tim.  Please update how it's going with whatever info you're willing to share.
D

infromsea

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D,

The issue yesterday was slowness? I can't think of a better word - I wasn't weak, and I didn't feel faint.  I just couldn't go very fast.  I was walking up a steep hill to the metro station while listening to a podcast.  Halfway up, I realized I couldn't focus on the podcast because I was trying to focus on walking.

This morning, I feel a little more robust and a lot clearer in my mind.  But I'm at work today and have a dance class tonight, so we'll see how the day plays out. I did bring an avocado with me today just in case.  I have less craving for gum, so I won't add that in.  But I will add in stevia to make my tea more palatable.

Interesting what you wrote about being in control at a pizza joint.  It's one thing to look and not be tempted, but the smells would have driven me crazy. I haven't had that type of control since I was a kid.  At Thanksgiving this year, my 8 year old nephew got in a bit of trouble for a bad attitude and not wanting to eat.  I asked him if he was hungry, and he said no.  I don't know him well enough to know if he was pouting and using lack of hunger as an excuse to say he was being persecuted.  I do remember being exquisitely in touch with my appetite at that age, and not eating just because of the time of day, or just because food was around. As I grew older, and especially after I got sick eating some of my favorite foods, I developed a scarcity mindset because I never knew when I would be forced to give up something I loved.

I've had a similar experience at times, in-ability to focus on more than one thing at a time, for me, it seems to be a trade off, mental clarity at the expense of deep concentration.

Your story about your nephew is intriguing, as kids, we are fine eating when we are hungry and vice versa. As we get older we are shaped more and more by our environment and upbringing. In my home, we ALWAYS ate breakfast, so I developed a habit of doing so. My spouse's family never ate it, so she developed the opposite habit. She finds it funny that I've switched from nagging her about skipping breakfast to doing the same. We raised two girls and I always had a "they'll eat when they are ready mentality" it seemed to work for them.

How did dance class go?

For me, I've just passed the 24 hour mark, black coffee, water and one seltzer water with some lime have been my intake. I've been at this point many times and am experiencing the "usual" symptoms a little tired, a little pre-occupied with food (it's everywhere!!!!) but that's about it, a few waves of hunger have come and gone, it's funny how this morning I could have eaten a horse, after consuming an extra 1,500 calories yesterday, another example of how our hunger can led us astray. There is no way I needed to eat for survival today (pre-load from last week...) so my hunger and thoughts on food were environment and habit based. We didn't eat keto yesterday like we initially planned (beer and treats!), that will have to wait for the next time. I'm spending the "saved time" reading and paying a little more attention to chores.

I did not weigh in this morning since I drank A LOT of beer yesterday.... that would make this morning's weight an anomaly, I won't discuss my spouses weight... but will re-cap her total loss and re-gain after we are done. I think your idea of consuming extra water is a great one, might help really dial in the "true" results. I'm cutting out all sucralose/fake sugars this go. I'm going to increase coffee and water to compensate. Last fast of this duration I drank a monster a day to stay sane, not going to do that this time, I'll just have more coffee as needed to be functional.

Have a good night,

Tim






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Just finished my 3 day fast and was kind of sad to end it because yesterday was bad with bursts of hunger pains and I was feeling more energetic today.

I think I'll go for another fast next month.

Does anyone have a good recommendation on a book about health benefits?  Looking online some of the logic makes sense but having real sample data would be reassuring.

infromsea

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mxt0133,

I've been there, that feeling of "I could keep going like this!" crazy aint it?

My suggested reading list:

- The complete guide to fasting by Fung and Moore
- The 5:2 diet or the Fast Diet by Mosley (this was my first read)
- The Obesity Code by Fung (not fasting specific but GOOD!)
- Why we get fat by Taubes (not fasting specific but also good!)
-  The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by Gillespie (All about sugar/eating too often and insulin response)

Also, search youtube for Dr. Rhonda Patrick, she does interviews with some really smart folks, if you browse her "channel" you'll have LOTs to take in.

Another resource is the quantified body website, the "host" does a podcast and discusses his results with fasting. Links with LOTS of data:
https://thequantifiedbody.net/5-day-water-fast-results/
https://thequantifiedbody.net/10-day-water-fast-results/

Hope that helps. I've been looking for other resources/books but, like many things, the "knowledge" about fasting seems to have diminished over the years, it's not a new concept but it doesn't get the attention that the other "diets" get. I suspect that's because it's A. Hard and B. Doesn't cost anything, you don't make money by telling people to skip meals.

I meant to ask you, did you enter ketosis during your fast? It can be hard to tell but it usually involves a metallic/funky taste in your mouth, it can be accompanied by bad breath as well.

Tim

EDITED to add a question, additional comments on books, and add some links.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 08:37:47 AM by infromsea »

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While short term fasting (ie 16-18 hours between feeding windows) does have some benefits......I would consult with a medical professional before attempting anything close to a 5 day fast.
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Dulcimina

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How did dance class go?

I did not weigh in this morning since I drank A LOT of beer yesterday.... that would make this morning's weight an anomaly, I won't discuss my spouses weight... but will re-cap her total loss and re-gain after we are done. I think your idea of consuming extra water is a great one, might help really dial in the "true" results. I'm cutting out all sucralose/fake sugars this go. I'm going to increase coffee and water to compensate. Last fast of this duration I drank a monster a day to stay sane, not going to do that this time, I'll just have more coffee as needed to be functional.


Dance class was really energetic.  We worked on changing partners. A good example is starting around 1:32 of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QbI5Rm07Mo.  Lots of kicks and hauling ass across the room to find the next two partners and then back again to your original partner.  No lightheadedness or hunger.  I didn't sleep very well last night which could be related. Final note, I was down another two pounds to 137.6 this morning.  I'll keep track of weight for the next 5 days as I start eating again.

Does having beer and treats before you start affect the difficulty of the fast for you? I've read a lot of advice suggesting that  eating low carb before you fast makes it easier to control appetite and enter ketosis.


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Tim, there's a new article from Jason Fung on refeeding syndrome: https://www.dietdoctor.com/fasting-and-re-feeding-syndrome.  If I understand it correctly, the main issue has to do with micronutrient depletion (phosphorus, magnesium).  Thoughts?

I've been taking multivitamin during the fast, so I'm not too worried.


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I can't speak to the quality of the source, but this is where I read about simple FMD via avocado, for anyone who is interested!

https://thequantifiedbody.net/fast-mimicking-diet/

infromsea

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D,

I'm glad to hear the dance class went well. Amazing isn't it, how we can continue our normal routines and be active in a fasted state?

I've read similar info on using keto prior to a fast, that was our going in plan but we switched gears when we remembered we had invited a neighbor over for a specific meal and it involved carbs, no big deal, we enjoyed the carbs (and lots of beer!). I really thought this fast would be as tough as the last one due to the high carb intake on Sunday but that has not proven true, more on that in a few lines.

As for re-feeding, I'm taking vitamin D and a multivitamin with coffee/water/carbonated water and expect that to minimize gastro distress when I start eating on Sat. I'm going to break my fast with a protein shake that I'm well adjusted to and a handful of peanuts. Later in the day, I'll have a "full meal". Last five day fast I had the peanuts/shake and a few hours later 1/2 a frozen pizza with no issues. I've never had ANY issue when breaking a fast of 3 days or less, and I've done some DUMB things at the end of those (the amount of food I've consumed in a couple of cases.... not good).

For my current status, I'm just shy of 48 hours (hit that point at 2000 tonight) and I feel great. I slept like a rock last night, got up with good energy levels, ran 3 miles, lifted weights and went to work. Hunger has come and gone in waves, reaching a 4/10 a couple of times, no worse than that, and I've been inside two grocery stores (looking for starbucks cold brew in the green lid, even though it has no sugar, it has a slight sweetness that keeps me caffeinated and satiated, I'm using it in place of monsters/energy shots).

Mental clarity is good, irritation levels are low. I'm beginning to believe that this DOES get easier with practice. I'm already in ketosis if "metal mouth" is any indication and I honestly feel like I could do this longer than five days. We'll see what tomorrow brings, I've yet to get "strangle a puppy hungry/irritable" not sure if that is coming this go around or not.

My biggest issue is that I'm in a "hurry" for the week to be over so I can enjoy my Sat meal, I don't like being in that mental state, just wishing the day would be over.... I am patient and calm with others but too "future" oriented.

Hotstreak-
I love that blog and the podcasts, I've been slowly listening to his fasting related episodes, good stuff!

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mxt0133,

I've been there, that feeling of "I could keep going like this!" crazy aint it?

My suggested reading list:

- The complete guide to fasting by Fung and Moore
- The 5:2 diet or the Fast Diet by Mosley (this was my first read)
- The Obesity Code by Fung (not fasting specific but GOOD!)
- Why we get fat by Taubes (not fasting specific but also good!)
-  The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by Gillespie (All about sugar/eating too often and insulin response)

Also, search youtube for Dr. Rhonda Patrick, she does interviews with some really smart folks, if you browse her "channel" you'll have LOTs to take in.

Another resource is the quantified body website, the "host" does a podcast and discusses his results with fasting. Links with LOTS of data:
https://thequantifiedbody.net/5-day-water-fast-results/
https://thequantifiedbody.net/10-day-water-fast-results/

Hope that helps. I've been looking for other resources/books but, like many things, the "knowledge" about fasting seems to have diminished over the years, it's not a new concept but it doesn't get the attention that the other "diets" get. I suspect that's because it's A. Hard and B. Doesn't cost anything, you don't make money by telling people to skip meals.

I meant to ask you, did you enter ketosis during your fast? It can be hard to tell but it usually involves a metallic/funky taste in your mouth, it can be accompanied by bad breath as well.

Tim

EDITED to add a question, additional comments on books, and add some links.

Thanks for the info, I'll definitely check them out.

As for entering ketosis state I don't believe I did because I didn't get the sense of clarity and energy I was expecting the last time I fasted for 3 days.  It might be because I did it after Thanksgiving and might have had more glucose in my system to last me the three days before running out.

After a light meal last night, I didn't feel hungry waking up and skipped breakfast this morning.   I only ate lunch because everyone else was eating and didn't really feel hungry.

Like other on here, I'm really starting to re-evaluate on when I should eat.  Before it was mostly focusing on what and how much.

infromsea

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G-dog-

According to Jason Fung, after eating our blood sugar and insulin levels fall six to twenty four hours after a meal. There are many factors that can impact how long each of our bodies take for that to happen, amount and type of calories can have a large impact.

After a period of fasting, the liver begins to break down stored glycogen and continues to release glucose (the fuel for all cellular activity). Glycogen stores in the liver can last twenty four to thirty six hours. Once the liver "runs out" of stored glycogen, it begins to make new glucose from amino acids, insulin stays low, that low insulin state then leads to the breaking down of fat stores for energy, putting us into ketosis.

Bottom line, how long it takes for blood sugar to fall etc. etc. etc. and to enter ketosis are highly variable. I would imagine they are impacted by the amount/type of calories consumed pre-fasting state, that and the bodies "practice" at fasting, it seems that the more you fast, the more efficient your body is when entering ketosis? That's a supposition though, that the body gets better at it.

I'm learning is that there is a "lag" in our bodies (mine at least...). Ever notice how soon after you eat asparagus that your urine smells? For me, it's as quickly as 2-3 hours. From what I can tell, that's NOT a good indicator as to how long the other processes might take. I'll gain wait for two days into a fast, then see a drop. The weight gain is probably from pre-fast feeding. I've had bowel movements three days into a fast, where did that come from? Basically, I think some of the metabolic processes can take 2-3 days to fully occur, getting into ketosis is no different.

mxt0133-
I have found that fasting totally changed my relationship with food, and I ate a 90% clean diet before even doing down this rabbit hole. It is empowering to know that we can miss a meal (or two or three) and we are not going to lay down and die. I used to be of the mindset that I had to eat every three hours and HAD to have a meal within 30 minutes of ending exercise, for me, I've found that those things are not true. Some might benefit from those "rules" but, I think the bottom line is that we all need to experiment on ourselves, question "conventional wisdom" and be open to new old ideas that have been made new again (our grandparents probably didn't think they HAD to eat every three hours....). Most of this isn't new science, it's just been "brought forward" into our consciousness.

EDIT: Fixed spelling
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 05:18:44 AM by infromsea »

mxt0133

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mxt0133-
I have found that fasting totally changed my relationship with food, and I ate a 90% clean diet before even doing down this rabbit hole. It is empowering to know that we can miss a meal (or two or three) and we are not going to lay down and die. I used to be of the mindset that I had to eat every three hours and HAD to have a meal within 30 minutes of ending exercise, for me, I've found that those things are not true. Some might benifit from those "rules" but, I think the bottom line is that we all need to experiment on ourselves, question "conventional wisdom" and be open to new old ideas that have been made new again (our grandparents probably didn't think they HAD to eat every three hours....). Most of this isn't new science, it's just been "brought forward" into our consciousness.

It is empowering to know that I can go for days without food and still function.  I admit that I took it easy on during my fast, no intense workouts, but did do a lot of walking and running around with the kids.  I want to get to a point where I am comfortable doing normal activities during a fast, I'm still not used to being light headed from time to time.

I also eat every 3 hours or so even if I wasn't hungry just out of habit after I started having smaller meals during lunch and dinner.  I hated the carb overload and sleepiness especially when I was at work.  Overall I need to rethink my total caloric intake, I always tried to stay at 2000 a day but based on my current weight, age, and activity level I don't think I need that much.


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First post fast follow up

I didn't feel very well on Tuesday night. I felt faint and like my body had had enough of the fast.  I broke my fast on with an avocado, 1/2 biscuit and stevia-sweetened peppermint tea. Had no major stomach or sleep issues.

I didn't plan well for breakfast this morning, so I skipped it and had my major meal at lunch.  I just finished up ground pork with 5-spice powder and onions over rice and corn cooked in coconut milk.  My vegetable dish was about half cup of sauteed cauliflower with raisins, cashews and sundried tomatoes. I also had some hershey's kisses that my coworker handed me.

The clarity that had been eluding me during the fast came this morning.  I didn't actually feel different, but my work output has been amazing! I looked at my desk and said this is a mess.  Reorganized piles into stacks, called a half dozen people, scheduled calls, read and marked up technical research plans.  Hope this continues for the rest of the week!

Weight: 135.4, for a total of 10.4 lbs lost since the start. 

infromsea

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D-

10 pounds after a 3 day fast? That's awesome. Are you getting close to your goal weight?

Your food selections sound awesome, my mouth is watering reading that. Funny how clarity came the next day, that might be something to compare to the next time you fast (if you plan to try again in the future).

For me, I've just passed 72 hours. I didn't sleep well last night but still woke up with good energy levels. I ran six miles (slightly slower pace than normal) and have felt pretty good all day. I've had a few waves of hunger but no worse than 4/10 and my mind has been clear enough to study and memorize formulas for a cert.

The hardest part has been reading a book on primal diet/eating and reading all about food.

Two days to go.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 06:29:10 PM by infromsea »

mxt0133

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@Dulcimina

How has your appetite been since you broke your fast?  After ending my three day fast Monday night my appetite hasn't really come back like before.  I have skipped breakfast since then and no longer have hunger pains during lunch time.  I eat because I think I need to eat to have energy until dinner or the next day.

Even now i'm eating a banana instead of my lunch because I don't really fell hungry.

infromsea

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Day 5 is here. I have not eaten anything for 115 hours and I'll be honest, I should not feel this good.

I ran and lifted yesterday morning, I believe that the increase in HGH and other repair mechanisms are what make this doable. The shot of dopamine from exercise doesn't hurt.

This morning I took it easy, walking two miles in 30 minutes. My hunger level has gone no higher than a 4-5, and that's while reading a book on ketosis (lots of food talk!) and making out the meal plan/shopping list for next week, I am going to hit the grocery store on the way home, hopefully not a mistake. My energy level has been 7-10 yesterday and today. Yesterday I entered the "I could do this for a LONG time" mental state and am still there today.

Bottom line: We don't need to/have to spend money every day to be complete AND we don't have to eat every day to be healthy.

I've always felt that there are many correlations between good financial health and good physical health. If you can control your emotions and urges, you can make a difference in any part of your life.

mxt0133-
How did you feel after eating the banana? I'm wondering if your fast made you any more sensitive to the fructose/resulted in an insulin spike?

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tim


infromsea

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Soooo...

Five day fast is done. Went to bed around 2230 last night, woke up at 0430 with calf cramps (over five days at this point). Was wide awake so I got up and moved around, found that I had a headache as well. I drank some salt in water and laid back down just to relax.

Back up a little later (never went back to sleep) and the salt-water must have kicked in because I started feeling normal. I went for a run and lifted weights and the wife and I walked up to walgreens to get some glucose testing strips. After that, I worked in the yard for several hours before finally breaking the fast at 1400 today. I had SERIOUS thoughts about continuing the fast, I felt so good. (Funny, I was listening to to a podcast on fasting/KETO and one host said he always felt best from day 6 on...)

The only reason I started to eat was that I have a 20 mile long run tomorrow and I didn't want to run it at a 12 min pace and or run out of juice during the run.

I've been feeling so good while fasting that I've been doing research on how to feel this good ALL the time, reduce afternoon crashes and keep energy more consistent (we already eat a fairly low carb/VERY low sugar diet with lots of vegetables, some fruits etc.... basically, we eat pretty damn clean as it is, we have cheat days but stay clean 85% of the time). This research has led me down the keto path.

Since we are technically in keto when fasting, whey not maintain the ketosis and see if the effects are similar?

We "ate keto" today and are going to continue to do so, eating up some of our non-keto food stores (beans, 1/2 loaf of bread). We are going to use Sundays as cheat days for a few weeks (mainly beer!) and see how quick we can jump back into ketosis after a cheat day. Anyone have any experience in this realm?

Results of the five day fast:

Me:
Size of lipomas: very hard to tell if there is any difference, probably going to have to do 15 or more days to really get an impact here?

Weight: Wasn't fasting for weight loss but I dropped 10 pounds

Waist: Lost one inch on the waist, I'd estimate I went from 12% to 9% body fat (based on stomach definition, pants falling off etc.)

Fasted blood sugar: 90- this was today, after working out, after being fasted for 140 hours or so, before coffee, I actually thought it might be lower but the fact that it wasn't is good in my mind, my body was still "making" blood sugar for me to use as fuel but it was still well within the healthy range.

Wife:
Weight: Lost 10 pounds

Waist: Lost two inches on waist

Fasted blood sugar: 100 (she's had higher blood sugar for some time, due to excess weight)

So, on to the next challenge, another five day fast in two weeks and then the 15 day fast in feb. I'd do it before then but I've got a race mid feb. I'm here to tell you I felt so good today that if I'd been having more electrolytes during this process, I think it would have been even MORE painless. This stuff really does get "easier" with practice.


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Posting to follow. Love all the updates and the constant details! So much information that I had never considered - may have some reading to do.
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mxt0133

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@informsea  - Replied to your original question a day or two ago but the internet swallowed it up.

I didn't feel any different after eating the banana.  After getting home from work I had a light dinner and worked out.  I have been skipping breakfast since I ended my fast and no longer snack in between meals.

Do you know why you were getting the cramps and what is your solution to prevent them? 


Going to read up on some of the book recommendations and do another fast next month during the holidays.  This stuff if seriously making me reconsider my overall diet and eating habits.  I think I have the topic for one of my personal goals for next year.  This year was stopping alcohol and lowering sugar intake.  I guess I'll continue the health theme onto the new year.


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Posting to follow.

I currently practice intermittent fasting (~16 hours per day), and low carb / ketogenic dieting.  However, I am looking to further optimize my fasting duration and intervals.  My main reservation with longer fasting periods is muscle loss.  That being said, I have been inspired to start a 40hr fast tomorrow. 

How did you decide on the 5 and 15 fasting duration periods?  Do you have any good references to scientific studies on different fasting durations / frequency?

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We are going to use Sundays as cheat days for a few weeks (mainly beer!) and see how quick we can jump back into ketosis after a cheat day. Anyone have any experience in this realm?


I recommend that you go 4 weeks without any cheat days and then slowly re-introduce foods one-at-a-time.  After I did this personally, I gained a much better understanding of how different foods were negatively impacting my health.  Since then, I have avoided all grains (including beer), as it became clear that the damage being done to my body was really not worth it.  I no longer have any desire for these types of foods and drinks. 

Dulcimina

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D-

10 pounds after a 3 day fast? That's awesome. Are you getting close to your goal weight?

Your food selections sound awesome, my mouth is watering reading that. Funny how clarity came the next day, that might be something to compare to the next time you fast (if you plan to try again in the future).

For me, I've just passed 72 hours. I didn't sleep well last night but still woke up with good energy levels. I ran six miles (slightly slower pace than normal) and have felt pretty good all day. I've had a few waves of hunger but no worse than 4/10 and my mind has been clear enough to study and memorize formulas for a cert.

The hardest part has been reading a book on primal diet/eating and reading all about food.

Two days to go.

Tim, sorry I haven't been checking in.  I've gained about half of it back, fluctuating between 141-142.6 pounds now that I'm eating regularly again. 

infromsea

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@informsea  - Replied to your original question a day or two ago but the internet swallowed it up.
I didn't feel any different after eating the banana.  After getting home from work I had a light dinner and worked out.  I have been skipping breakfast since I ended my fast and no longer snack in between meals.
Do you know why you were getting the cramps and what is your solution to prevent them? 
Going to read up on some of the book recommendations and do another fast next month during the holidays.  This stuff if seriously making me reconsider my overall diet and eating habits.  I think I have the topic for one of my personal goals for next year.  This year was stopping alcohol and lowering sugar intake.  I guess I'll continue the health theme onto the new year.


mxt-
I asked about the banana because of the high fructose content in it. I love bananas but I found that they almost single handedly kept me from losing weight for a period of time, I know it's crazy and many would tell me I'm wrong but with a very consistent/healthy/low sugar/lower carb/high vegetable diet, I hit a weight loss plateau. I was eating a banana a day in a protein smoothie, once I removed it, my weight continued to drop.

- The way your are "laddering up" your meal skipping/snack skipping/fasting is the same way we did it. Its funny, I actually went down the fasting path when trying to figure out why I was tired first thing in the morning, I was considering eating MORE carbs first thing in the morning, I didn't know if I needed to eat a piece of toast the second I woke up or what. That took me down a meal timing/carb timing route, then down the intermittent fasting path, so on and so on.

- I'm pretty sure the cramps were due to a lack of electrolytes. Last five day fast I consumed water/coffee/monster energy drinks (been fighting an addiction to them) and working out a little bit, no cramps. This five day fast it was water/coffee/sparkling water/vitamin D and nothing else, no monsters/energy shots/sugar free gum etc. but an increase in exercise. I think the exercise necessitated more electrolytes that I was not getting.

- My solution to prevent them, funny you ask. When getting ready to break my fast last Saturday, I was making a spinach salad (my preferred method of coming off a long fast) and I reached into the fridge to grab the pickles and that got me to thinking, what about drinking pickle juice on a fast? Saturday morning I drank salt water early to stop the cramps and headache, I don't see why a drink of pickle juice a morning (while on a long fast) would hurt. I'm going to do some research on that and I'll update my results after the next fast.

Doing other research on the cramps/exhaustion that some experience when fasting, sodium/electrolyte control seems to be the culprit. I have some pink Himalayan sea salt in my amazon cart but, I'm going to see what the thinking is on pickle juice before I go that route (make my own "electrolyte drink" using HSS and such....).

- I'll add another book to the list of recommendations, I read Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Eric Westman last Friday (and now I won't shut up about Keto and my wife is ready to choke me out....).

It made since to read this and the concepts make since. Since are in ketosis while fasting (and I feel so damn good by day 4-5) why not try to extend that through other diet manipulations because let's face it, fasting is a wonderful thing but, eventually, we all gotta eat... (Just not as soon/as often as we are all told/lead to believe...).

I find it hard to argue against keto if one finds fasting enjoyable/beneficial.

Lots more to follow on that.

- You mention fasting during the holidays, how long are you going to go for? I love the stomping alcohol and sugar intake goals. In my house, we struggle with sugar. Have you read any of the many books on that subject?



 


infromsea

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Tim, sorry I haven't been checking in.  I've gained about half of it back, fluctuating between 141-142.6 pounds now that I'm eating regularly again.

I've been distracted the last few days too, been meaning to write up and post a summary of last week, working that later today.

Are you satisfied with that, having put back 1/2 of your loss (most of water??).

My wife and I see similar results depending on how we eat post fast. Last time, we fasted five days, ate "normal" for a few, then went to insane town for thanksgiving weekend. We ate copious amounts of food/sweets and drank beer daily, wiping out all "losses" from the fast BUT, after the smoke cleared, were did not gain wait from the nearly four days of total diet freedom.

After this fast, we've been eating keto (except for some beers last night). We'll see how we react that and I'll report in later this week maybe.

Dulcimina

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I'm fine with it. You prepared me well in your original post so I wasn't shocked when it came back:

Quote
We’ve been fasting for six months, primarily intermittent (going 18-24 hours without a meal) but had worked up to three days before attempting the five day fast. In our experience, you will likely see weight loss but, if you are not weight stable prior to fasting (your weight is not going up or down for 3-6 months) then you may not maximize the weight loss benefit. If you are gaining weight on a regular basis, you may put all of your fast-lost weight right back on post fast. I would not recommend fasting as a weight loss mechanism, unless you are in good control of your diet and are weight stable.

How are you measuring lipomas and how much loss would you expect to see? Would it make sense to have them measured before and after the long fast by ultrasound?

infromsea

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Posting to follow.

I currently practice intermittent fasting (~16 hours per day), and low carb / ketogenic dieting.  However, I am looking to further optimize my fasting duration and intervals.  My main reservation with longer fasting periods is muscle loss.  That being said, I have been inspired to start a 40hr fast tomorrow. 

How did you decide on the 5 and 15 fasting duration periods?  Do you have any good references to scientific studies on different fasting durations / frequency?

Cottonswab-
-You are on a similar path to the one we took to fasting, started by skipping breakfast, then days of eating, so on and so on. It's been a real eye opener to see this "side" of diet/nutrition/exercise.

-You should not lose muscle on a fast. The body will break down old cells/junk cells (autophagy) and use it to maintain your muscle/joints etc. etc. etc. If you lose muscle (especially on anything shorter than 40 days or so...) you might have a hormonal imbalance or other issue that might make fasting a bad idea anyway.

-This is one of those things that seems to make sense, don't eat, the body will catabolize ANYTHING including muscle BUT, when you really mull it over, it doesn't hold up from an evolutionary standpoint. If we started losing muscle within a few days of a fast, we would not lose the ability to chase/kill/eat the food we needed to break the fast. Now, if we drop to 3-4% body fat, maybe you start to catabolize muscle but for most of us, it's not an issue. Dr. Jason Fung covers this is the complete guide to fasting. One of the co-authors actually had a scan done and found that he GAINED muscle during a fast.

From my own experience, I have dropped weight and gotten more "cut" during a fast, my lifts have not been compromised (I don't lift heavy, moderate weights with higher repetitions because I focus on strength endurance rather than hypertrophy/bulking). I have zero indication that I've lost any muscle through fasting, in theory, we might put more on due to the increase in human growth hormone (HGH) while fasting. It makes sense, if you are living in a cave and you are out "working out" by running after a dinosaur for dinner, the body might support that effort, releasing endorphins, testosterone, adrenaline and HGH (among other things). By exercising, we simulate that effort and reap the benefits.

Eat stop eat and leangains are great sites for this topic.

-Deciding on a duration and frequency protocol, it has been through trial and error.

Like I said, we "laddered up" into this process. We started by cutting sugars and simple carbs (we don't do white carbs etc. anyway) and then moved into very low carb, and then in and out of that protocol for a time. Once I got interested in IF (it seemed sooooo crazy initially) we started skipping breakfast etc.

We continued to develop our protocol, extending our fasts a little bit at a time. Skip breakfast, then breakfast and lunch, then do 24 hours (oh my god, we'll die!) then 48 hours (insane!) then, the big one, 72 hours (call the psychologist, they've LOST it!). We did those at random intervals, interspersed around vacation/trips/holidays/work luncheons etc. eventually we did two or three 72 hours periods and we found that welt like CRAP day 1-2 and started feeling pretty good day 3, and then we ATE! We'd do a 24 hour one week, wait a week, do a 48 hour, wait a week, do a 72 hour etc.

The problem is that we were eating carbs (not crazy amounts but some) and sugar (bowl of ice cream Sunday night, a cliff bar here and there) in between sessions (oh, and drinking beer). Which leads me to believe that we were entering a nutritional ketosis state on day three, and then jumping right out. So, why do all the "work" of getting into keto to only "enjoy" it for one day? That's why we decided to try a five day fast period. We wanted to go longer but, due to work luncheons, the wife's holiday baking weekend, and the holidays coming up, we decided on the five day period, for now. We'll do a 15 day fast in February after I complete a foot race I'm training for.

Short answer, we just settled on 5-15 days due to other considerations/lifestyle factors. I can't support those exact durations for any particular reason.

I will say, once I start fasting and get into ketosis, I want to extend that period as long as possible. Case in point, this past five day fast, I was working in the yard on day six and I seriously considered extending the fast because I felt so good. I had been DREAMING about the steak I was planning to eat later that day but here I was on day six, giving serious thought to skipping that steak (likely a result of the endorphins/HGH release from running/lifting earlier in the day). I discussed it with the spouse and I chose to eat due to my long training run on Sunday morning.

Essentially, once you put in the "work" of going 24/48/72 hours or more, it just kind of make sense to extend it based on your goals/reason behind fasting in the first place (for me it's autophagy and mental clarity/level of energy, the wife adds weight loss to that list) all other factors considered.

I think the ladder up approach is sensible BUT, once you have your fasting "legs" under you, I'd advice going as long as you want; as long as you have a healthy BMI, are not bulimic/suffering from other eating disorders, and are not at 5% or lower body fat. Just my two cents...

-How is the 40 hour fast going?


 

infromsea

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How are you measuring lipomas and how much loss would you expect to see? Would it make sense to have them measured before and after the long fast by ultrasound?

Currently I'm measuring them through the highly un-scientific method of "hey honey, does this one feel smaller to you?".... :)

I've got many of them (lord knows why, the science is not strong here, maybe from impact damage playing HS football?) in the back of my arms. Before the 15 day, I'm going to count and circle them (or have the wife do it...) and take a photo. Post fast, we'll repeat and do the same.

I have not thought of the ultrasound. I've got to see my doc in a few weeks, I'll ask him about that, thanks for the idea!

SisterX

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Thanks for this thread. I honestly had no idea that I, a few weeks ago, had started intermittent fasting. I just thought of it as "I no longer choose to eat breakfast". I had started while on a trip in October, to save money. I'd stuff myself full at the free hotel breakfast just before they shut it down for the morning, go walk around all day, have an early dinner, then go walk around some more. Very unscientific. Thought it would be miserable, though, and it totally wasn't. So when I got home I decided to keep going. I figured out that the easiest meal for me to skip would be breakfast, so I just cut that out of my day on all weekdays. It's been painless. I used to get hunger pains from not eating if I skipped a meal, but that hasn't happened at all. I also thought that it would be rough to start my day with a bike ride (short - 2.5 miles) on an empty stomach, but that's been really easy too.

I do drink tea with a splash of half and half in it in the mornings after I get to work, but those are my only calories until about noon. And it's fueled in part by the fact that I've found myself getting thirstier, not hungrier, by skipping breakfast.

Now that you've provided some resources about the science behind all of this, I may start trying to do it "more scientifically". I've already been trying to cut out eating after a certain point to make my fasting period a bit longer.

As for what's kept me going, I do feel better overall. I have plenty of energy, haven't noticed any decrease in my work, etc. I have been a bit colder, however, especially before eating. It's weird for me because I usually run a bit hotter than most people, if my cold tolerance is any indication. And despite my mental clarity, I've been doing stuff like making more spelling mistakes when I type. They get corrected, I see them, but my fingers don't seem to want to work as well sometimes. Not sure if that will go away?

I don't see myself doing a longer fast anytime soon. This might seem like a cop-out, but I have a little one and it's easier to get her to eat (which she needs to, she's so skinny) when I eat with her. So I might go further and skip lunch a few days, but I'll definitely be eating dinner when I'm with the kiddo. Hard to say, "Eat your dinner, it's good for you," when Mommy's not eating.

mxt0133

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- You mention fasting during the holidays, how long are you going to go for? I love the stomping alcohol and sugar intake goals. In my house, we struggle with sugar. Have you read any of the many books on that subject?

The book Fat Chance by Robert Lustig* was the final nail in the sugar coffin for me.  I had started to become conscious of all the hidden sugar in our diet through the various nutrition books and documentaries I'm been reading and watching.  However, this one finally put it all together for me.  He has a few Youtube videos that highlight the topic of the book.

That an the book Wheat Belly by William Davis** are the main reference books that motivated me to modify my diet.

It was never so much about weight for me, although I was starting to develop a rubber tire which is going away as i have lowered sugar and refined carbs intake.  I was mostly concerned about preventing chronic health issues like diabetes and heart disease because of family history.  I also wanted more energy to play with my kids but work and parental responsibilities crowded out time for sports and exercise.

It's taken a little over four years to cut out coffee, alcohol, eliminate/lower processed sugar, and significantly lower bread and other refined carbs from my diet.  At first it was a matter of will power which would cause me to fall of the wagon and start back up again.  But slowly it has become a lifestyle choice and I no longer have to exercise any will power to say no to cake at birthdays or have a drink at a bar when hanging out with friends.

Just last night my kids brought me some bubble tea that I initially said no thanks too.  Then I decided to have it to see how my body would react and see if the cravings came back.  Well I went to bed with an upset stomach and feeling groggy, probably because of the insulin spike from all the sugar.  So rather than fire up my craving for sugar it now makes me completely turned off.
 

*https://www.amazon.com/Fat-Chance-Beating-Against-Processed/dp/0142180432
**https://www.amazon.com/Wheat-Belly-Lose-Weight-Health/dp/1609614798

infromsea

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I recommend that you go 4 weeks without any cheat days and then slowly re-introduce foods one-at-a-time.  After I did this personally, I gained a much better understanding of how different foods were negatively impacting my health.  Since then, I have avoided all grains (including beer), as it became clear that the damage being done to my body was really not worth it.  I no longer have any desire for these types of foods and drinks.

Cottonswab-
Thanks for the advice.

We were planning to rock every Sunday "off keto" in order to:
1. Enjoy Beer! (I Like beer... like, a lot)
2. Give our bodies a "break" and take break from the restriction
3. Eat up the "non-keto" foods in our home like beans, some of the grain stuff etc.

I was thinking this might increase our compliance.

It is interesting, we can go 5-6 days without eating but, once we start eating, if I have carbs, I get hungrier and hungrier. I'm learning how to better control urges/hunger/sugar control post fasting.

I was listening to keto talk this morning and they talked about this, how eating carbs causes hormonal impacts that then makes you even hungrier for the next 72 hours or so. Eat more carbs six hours later and you "push out" that 72 hours, on and on. I've been VERY sugar consious for some time but I was eating "healthy grains/carbs" and didn't put it all together, that it's not just sugar, it's carbs of just about any type that make ME (your results will vary!) hungry enough to overeat to ridiculous portions.

For example, we had "thanksgiving lunch" at work the Tuesday before thanksgiving. I had fasted five days the previous week. I waited for all hands to eat lunch and then I dug into the ham and turkey with gusto, even some green beans. After a nice big plate of that, I thought, all hell, what's a little dressing? I had some dressing, then a tiny bit of mac and cheese, and that was ALL she wrote!

From there, we had to visit all of our departments, where I perused each of their left-overs and helped myself, first it was two cupcakes, then onto another location, three cookies, then to another location, a slice of pie, it was a chain effect that I knew was not healthy, but the urge to eat just was NOT satiated, it was only stoked by the sugar/carbs. I think that I've become extremely sensitive to sugar to the point that very little intake sets of a chain reaction that I don't wish to partake in any more.

Hence, the keto. I'm going to see if keeping the carbs down completely will have a better result (not fasting/keto for weight loss mind you but for holistic health benefits).

I can say that fasting last week BROKE all desire for sugar/fake sugar/carbs as a whole. Eating Sat and Sun in a keto fashion (have not 100% broken down our macros, had beer Sun) I have managed to be more in control of "post-fast" sugar/carb cravings.

So, I absolutely see the value of eating all keto all the time, just working into gradually I guess. I'm going to pay close attention to cravings and response to what minor carbs/sugars I do consume. I certainly see a future of all keto, the plan is to get there without feelings of depravity.

Does that make sense?

I'm sorry to turn this into "keto talk" but I'd love to discuss it more with you, anyone else who is interested.