August 05th, 2022
I began adding up the hours and days I have fasted since I began fasting last April. I've incorporated regular fasting into my lifestyle at this point; a most excellent, positive change!
From the last week of April, 2020 through the end of September this year, I've fasted a total of 7,680 hours, a total of 320 days! This is 61% of the time. I've been fasting steadily for the past 18 months, and plan to continue. These are not always 24-hour long fasts: some are as short as 16 hours, and the longest was last August for 25 days. I've also completed several week-long fasts. And of course, there are days I didn't fast.
At this point, as I've "exercised my fasting muscle" and it's gotten stronger:
Overall, I'm very happy with my fasting progress with the major accomplishment of making this part of my lifestyle-- it's now a permanent part of my lifestyle! I can't imagine going back to eating 3 times each day, eating prior to noon, or not incorporating longer fasts into my weekly, monthly, and seasonal healthy lifestyle.
5-day Fast Results
I began a 5-day fast Monday evening, ending today at 11:30am. Overall, I felt good, had plenty of energy, and wasn't overwhelmed by hunger.
The big hunger pains dissipated by Day 2. I had teensy-weensy headaches when I awoke on Day 3-4, but they quickly disappeared after I got out of bed. I didn't feel weak or tired. I slept well, although sleep decreased from 8.5 to 7 hours over the course of the week; I kept waking around 5.
With the massive and overwhelming amount of stress I've had last week and this week, the fasting really helped me manage my anxiety: I felt calm even though I was anxious, was able to gain a foothold on reality instead of allowing fearful thoughts to carry me over the edge, and I was able to look at the situation I was dealing with more rationally. If I wasn't fasting, I believe I would have ended up in--and remained-- in a state of overreaction.
My refeed included bone broth at 11:30, followed by Greek yoghurt and probiotics in the form of Betain HCl with pepsin and gentian root. As a result, I felt no digestive discomfort, despite the fact that my GI system was in "off" mode for 5 days.
I lost 6.5 pounds, comprised of about 70% fat loss, 20% water, and 10% muscle, according to my fancy scale.
After dinner, I will start another 5-day fast, ending next Thursday. Then I will switch to 72-hour fasts for the remainder of the week and the week following. This way, I won't hit a stall and my body will become metabolically adaptable; i.e., continue fat-burning rather than hit a plateau. After these three weeks, I'll shift to varying my fasts over the next two weeks with one 72, one 42, one 24, and one 18 each week. These extended fasts give me the same benefits of a longer 3-week fast, but less challenging and easier to complete. The 5-day fasts allow me to eat twice during a 10-day period (fast 5 days, eat on Day 5, then fast another 5 and eat on Day 10). With the 72-hour fasts, I am eating every third day. When I begin a variable schedule, I'll have 3 eating days during the week. Fasting will be easier since I'll be able to eat at 1-3 times each week over the course of this 6-week plan. I'll decide on a plan for the last two weeks of this 8-week fasting regimen based on results from the previous 6 weeks; at that point I'll determine if I need to do another series of 5-day fasts, or mix it up with a 5-day followed by 72-42-24 variable fast. Although the long fast I completed last year (25 days) was extremely beneficial, that length is too stressful right now. The 5-days and variable fasts feel doable, achievable, and in the end, I feel successful!
Progress Stats Week 1
"I loved, I was loved, my health was good, I had a great deal of money, and I spent it, I was happy and I confessed it to myself."
Day 4 - Woke up with a bit of a headache, although I slept well. I've been feeling well and my energy level is stable. I felt a bit tired yesterday, but still did QiGong practice for 20 mins. and 12 mins. of strength routine. Havingprepped for the EF with a fat fast for 4 days prior to the fast (except Wednesday night when I met with friends and had wine and some other carbs), I was set up to transition into the fast rather easily. For the first three days of the Extended Fast, I used fasting aides, and will continue as needed. This method has what has made my EFs successful in the past. I start out taking in around 600 kcals each day, and less than 5 carbs, and that dwindles over the first week to 200 kcals and less than 3 carbs.
Since starting the fast Thursday (Weds. night officially:
Day 4 - Woke up with a bit of a headache, although I slept well. I've been feeling well and my energy level is stable. I felt a bit tired yesterday, but still did QiGong practice for 20 mins. and 12 mins. of strength routine. Having fat fasted for 4 days prior to the fast (except Wednesday night when I met with friends and had wine and some other carbs), I was set up to transition into the fast rather easily. For the first three days of the Extended Fast, I used fasting aides, and will continue as needed. This method has what has made my EFs successful in the past. I start out taking in around 600 kcals each day, and less than 5 carbs, and that dwindles over the first week to 200 kcals and less than 3 carbs.
My fasting aides include:
In 4 months, I will travel to Shanghai! This time around, I am fully aware of the stresses and challenges I will face and I am determined to be prepared to meet them with strength and resilience: physically, emotionally, psychologically, and on energetic levels! I have created a 3-month plan that will build on the work I am currently doing; continuing my progress toward a full recovery of emotional, physical, and psychic resilience and strength -- actually surpassing past levels so that when I arrive in China, I am at 125%!
I will combat the air pollution, poor water quality, and overall stress with specific physical exercises, acupressure, Qi Gong, Taiji, meditation, and targeted mental practice. My goal is to strengthen my immune system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and emotional and physical resilience; increase physical endurance, strength, energy level; improve cognition; drop the last bit of weight I want to lose; and improve mental focus. Specific actions steps follow the progress chart, below.
(Complete stats in newer post)
* I have decided to complete a series of 7-day fasts over the course of a month or so. I will fast 7 days, then have one day of strict keto refeeding, followed by another 7-day fast, and so on, leading up to 21 to 28 days of total fasting time. This will leave me a llittle less depleted while maintaining benefits of EF, such as autophagy; maximize fat-adaptation, weight loss; and act as a sort of metabolic cross-training to increase or maintain BMR. The 7-day fasts are also a bit easier to complete. Since I've had a year of fasting practice, I've discovered which regimen works best for me (remember: fasting is very individualized and my routine will not be same as yours, nor is it better or worse! :-)). EFs are easier than 42s, and OMAD is easier for me to do consistently than 2MAD).
Catabolism occurs when the body is breaking something down, whereas anabolism is building (think: anabolic steroids). In relation to fasting, perhaps you are referring to autophagy, where the body “eats” waste product or excess tissue (think: fatty tumours, excess skin, moles, etc.)
On a cellular level, autophagy is well-understood, but for humans, scientists can’t dissect live people (yet! LOL) to see autophagy in action; they extrapolate from rat studies. What fasted people have experienced and shared; however, is their own story of autophagy (cancer gone, excess skin gone, etc.). There is no *exact* time frame for autophagy to occur, but most in the field suggest that at least 24 hours of fasting must be completed in order for autophagy to happen; this conclusion is based on water-fasting studies, not on assiste-fasting where fasters use use cream in coffee, bone broth, apple cider vinegar, etc. Autophagy stops when calories are ingested, regardless of calorie source.
When you think of catabolism during fasting, think of autophagy and fat, and improved sensitivity to insulin. Fasting has very, very little decreasing effect on lean muscle mass, since growth hormone release is increased during fasting. This is why you can complete a long water fast — or assisted fast with bone broth, ACV, green tea, etc.) — with little to no muscle mass lost. This has been shown in study after study and is affected by changes in hormones (insulin, growth hormone, and more) that occur during the fasted state. Many long-term fasters (7 days or more) report easy gains in muscle mass because they do weight training while fasting.
All of this is dependent upon the individual, to a degree, and length of fasted state. If you are looking for more empirical evidence, written in an easy-to-grasp manner, I recommend the works of Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Randi Fredricks, and Stephen Harrod Buhner. Good luck, you can do it!
If you are seeking a long-term lifestyle change, to follow after you initially lose the weight you want, add fasting into your keto plan! Begin with a Fat Fast (eggs, bacon, salmon, mackerel, ghee, oil, coffee, tea - no dairy). This will set your body up for an easy transition into Intermittent Fasting (IF).
Following a few days of Fat Fasting, begin fasting for a small amount, say 12 hours. When you do eat, do NOT eat any carbs or sugar (or alcohol, at first), and try to keep dairy low as well. Strive for 50 carbs or less if you need more transition time. Over the next two weeks, reduce carb intake to 20 g. at the most, per day. Be mindful of coffee creamer usage; using green tea and coffee are a great way to make a fast/keto easier and help in weight loss. Bone broth is healthful addition as well.
Continue the 12-hour fasts each day; e.g. 7pm-7am, then increase to 13, 14, 15… up to 18 gradually. After a few weeks of IF and keto, your sugar cravings will diminish, and you can increase your fasting hours to 24, 36, 52. While physical sugar cravings will decrease, you may need to do some internal work and look at the emotional issues that caused overeating in the first place. On average, for each 36-hrs total fasted (at once - not cumulative), men lose .5 kg (1 lb) and women lose .25 kg (.5 lb). If you incorporate healthy keto (whole foods) into IF, not only will you see weight loss, but additional health benefits. Remember, give yourself time to make a long-term change and be kind to yourself! Patience and self-kindness are what helped me change my lifestyle and now I’ve been fasting for nearly one year and eating primarily keto/lchf. I have lost weight and also feel great!
I recommend the following authors for help with keto and fasting for weight loss, health, etc.: Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Randi Fredricks, Stephen Harrod Buhner.
Good luck! You can do it!
Has added fasting to a regimen of healthy eating and exercise for maximizing health and longevity