A simple blog with my experiences
Please note: this is an old blog article from 2016 with my first extended fast. Today I do a lot of things differently. Still, there is some beneficial information and some shared experiences that can be useful to know.
Although I tried the Animal Diet in 1998 (the original intermittent fasting diet) and began to incorporate 24 to 36 hours fasts in 2008, I haven’t done any fast lasting longer than 36 hours. While I’ve read thousands of pages on fasting and have corresponded with several people who have done 5, 7 and 10-day fasts, for me personally, this is new territory. In this “blog” I will document every day to give you an idea of what to expect if you’d venture on your own fast. Also, it might help you out to make your own journey easier.
Day 1: Saturday, November 19, 2016
I had my last meal on Friday evening at 7 pm. Usually I have a morning coffee, but this morning all I had was about a liter of water and a few grams of sea salt.
At about 9 am a mild headache surfaced, which by all probability was from the lack of coffee (caffeine). I guess I have a mild addiction to caffeine from drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day. So, I guess this 7-day fast is as a good opportunity as ever to clean that out of my system as well.
Since I also felt a bit drained, I did some deep meditation while listening to Theta (4-7.9 Hz) sound waves (by Centerpointe’s Holosync). After 30 minutes, I felt a lot better and had more energy, although the headache remained.
The headache passed away at about 4.30 pm and at the same time I got “super energized”. I fed my dog and took him for a 60 minutes evening walk and then sat down to write this little summary.
So, what will this 7-day fast consist of? Only water? Yeah, pretty much. I will add in electrolytes to help my cells stay as hydrated and efficient as possible. And we know that a good electrolyte balance is crucial to feeling good, energized, and avoiding brain fog. They are important for muscle function, managing the acidity of you blood (pH), and keeping your cells hydrated. Of all the electrolytes, sodium (as in salt) is most important.
When your sodium levels drop below normal, your body responds by limiting blood flow to the extremities and you get cold feet and hands. Even though your body can recycle sodium, on longer fasts it can get too low and then you start getting cramps and dizziness from low blood pressure. Low sodium is one of the causes to the really bad “fasting flu” some people experience (also on restricted ketogenic diets).
Low electrolyte levels will also make your muscles even more flat and it will make you feel weak.
As for electrolytes, it will look something like this on a daily basis:
- 3 to 5 grams of sodium from sea salt or Himalayan salt, taken in the morning and evening
- About 1 gram of magnesium (organic) 30 minutes before bed
- A supplement with ample amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride.
- If needed, an additional potassium supplement.
- Probably some water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and the various Vitamin B – except for folic acid which blocks the pathways that useful folate (methylfolate) would normally use. With those pathways blocked, your body can’t use folate even if you’re getting lots of it in your diet and supplements. Folate should only be provided in its organic form by consuming vegetables, never as an artificial ‘folic acid’ supplement.
That is all. 5 to 6 liters of water a day and some electrolytes. No food prep, no sitting down to eat and no food bills for the next 10 days. It’s actually a liberating feeling.
And no, I haven’t felt any hunger at all. Probably because I was already in ketosis when I started my fast. But I do suspect that I will feel some hunger on occasion once I’m in “starvation mode”.
Day 2: Sunday, November 20, 2016
Woke up about 6:10 am and felt really energized and full. No hunger or cravings. Actually, the thought of food seemed anything but appealing.
My sleep was good. I did wake up at 1.30 am as I had to pee. But all in all, I got 7 hours and 50 minutes, of which 1 h and 32 minutes was registered as deep sleep. Resting heart rate at 42 beats per minute, one of my lowest recordings this month (it was 48 last night).
As I usually do, I have some salt water and then I walk my wolfdog. During my walk, I experienced some muscle fatigue. The feeling can best be described as what you could experience after a hard and draining workout – a bit weak, and a bit fatigued. That however, went away during the forenoon and I felt perfectly fine at noon and during our second walk.
Aside from feeling a bit weak during the morning walk, I’ve felt really good today. Not a single moment of hunger. And this evening I passed the 48-hour mark. I’ve now been in a fasted state longer than I ever have before. And so far, it’s been a breeze. Probably because I switched to the ketogenic diet a week ago, and already was in pretty deep ketosis as I started my 10-day fast.
As for water during the day, I drink about 4.5 to 6 liters of ice water, as I prefer my water as cold as possible – and I really enjoy to chew on ice cubes. 🙂
I spent a few hours on the phone today and at times it felt like my brain was racing – as when you “overdose” on caffeine or ephedrine. Pretty funny as I haven’t touched caffeine since Friday morning. Luckily no withdrawal headaches today.
I also tried the game Killing Floor 2 and was on top in pretty much every game. In other words, my level of focus and my reflexes are still unaffected.
That’s pretty much it for today. See you all tomorrow!
Day 3: Monday, November 21, 2016
Didn’t sleep that well this night. I usually fall asleep within 5 or 7 minutes. Last night it took close to 20 minutes, I woke up 2 times, and my resting heart rate was up to 49. Also, this morning I felt really weak in my body, like my muscles were totally drained. It was not fun to walk with my wolfdog for 45 minutes. However, in the forenoon my energy levels returned and my mid-day walk went pretty well.
That being said, my mind is clear and I’m feeling more creative and productive than in a long time. What about hunger?
Usually, ghrelin (hunger hormone) peaks during day two or three of a fast, and then it declines from there. This is seen in almost everyone who fast – hunger virtually disappear after three to four days into a fast. Luckily, I’ve felt no hunger whatsoever. Only a feeling of “emptiness” in the stomach, but it passed within minutes.
Day 4: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Slept better this night. Resting heart rate still high at 50 beats a minute, but I got more deep sleep than yesterday. Still feeling weak in the mornings and I don’t feel like moving around too much. Also, as I woke up my throat was a little bit clogged and sore – probably from my body detoxifying itself. That did pass within a couple of hours though, and I felt totally fine in the afternoon.
As previous days, my mental energy has been really high. No real dips whatsoever. Just as good as on a ketogenic diet. I do meditate for 20 to 30 minutes a day, but the difference is very noticeable compared to when I have a lot of carbohydrates in my diet (which gives me dips in energy and a little brain fog from time to time).
Thus far, fasting has been pretty easy. I do not like the drained feeling in my body, but my focus, concentration, creativity, and productivity are through the roof, so it’s okay. It’s like my mind is racing all day long, but my body need 4 to 6 hours to catch up. I’m also happy that I don’t feel any hunger at all, not even feeling empty.
Unfortunately I twisted my lower back during the day and I was really stiff in the evening with quite a lot of pain.
Day 5: Wednesday, November 23, 2016
When I write this (about 7 pm), I’ve been without food for exactly 5 days (or 120 hours) – and yes, I’m alive and well. 🙂
I slept better this night. Resting heart rate showed 49 beats per minute, which is still somewhat high for me. But I got about 2h and 50 minutes of deep quality sleep out of the 7.5 hours I slept, which is really good. This morning I also had more energy. My body is adjusting, and my morning walk felt pretty ok. Happy times!
My lower back felt a little better this morning, but it stiffens up as I sit and work, and standing up after an hour or two is difficult. It takes a few minutes of “warming-up” before I can move as usual again. So, it’s slightly better than yesterday, but far from good.
All in all, I’ve had more energy today. My body or muscles haven’t felt as drained as previous days.
Day 6: Thursday, November 24, 2016
Productivity and mental clarity is high. For the last couple of days, I’ve been working on a new book. It’s a collection of the most popular articles from CMN during 2015 and the better half of 2016. The book will feature about 42 of the roughly 100 posted articles in that time-frame. As usual, I do all the work myself, including covers, layout and editing (Adobe InDesign) and all that stuff (it’s actually a lot of fun). As the looks of it, it will be finished by the end of the day.
I’m also re-building my JBC Store at store.bartoll.se by upgrading it to the latest OpenCart and implementing a more efficient Social Login and Check Out process. It should be a breeze to use once its finished.
So yeah, there’s no problem with energy, concentration or focus on a prolonged fast. Actually, I feel more productive when I don’t have to prepare meals and sit down to eat.
Day 7: Friday, November 25, 2016
The last day of this extended fasting trial. Although I have experienced some feeling of weakness and sluggishness in my muscles, I’ve had a lot of energy throughout the 7-day fast. I never felt any kind of brain fog or mental tiredness, only the opposite.
My back is now fine again and even a 1.5 hour walk with my dog felt like a breeze. During this week, I’ve lost about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) in body weight. Since I was on a ketogenic diet before entering the fast, my glycogen stores were not full. Otherwise my weight loss would have been far greater. These 2 kilograms is simply some lost body fat and a little bit of glycogen and water weight – and perhaps a little bit of muscle tissue (very easy to gain back, so who cares considering the health benefits gained?).
In the late afternoon, I had a small portion of cod with steam cooked (almost mushy) vegetables. The reason for “overcooking” the veggies is to make it easier on the digestion. Simply put, when you start eating again, do it gently. No need to chock the system.
I followed up with some mackerel and steamed vegetables about two hours later. And as a “dessert” I had two rows of dark chocolate (80 % cocoa). Tomorrow I’ll resume my ketogenic diet with a little bit of carbs in the evening – as a way to raise calories a bit.