Fasting? Your crazy, your die! Eat a burger Mike.
The responses I get when people realise I complete intermediate fasting on a daily basis. 16 hours fast and 8 hours for all sorts of fun reasons that I won’t get into on this blog, but this blog isn’t about a 16 hour fast and if you are interested here is some studies HERE and HERE for benefits of short term fasting. This post is about a 7 day water fast. I wanted to specifically document what happens in a 7 day water fast and let you all know that it is or isn’t as bad as what it may seem.
What is a water fast?
It really is exactly that. For a desired time you only drink water (some people believe black coffee is ok). It is not something that should be completed with no experience and not something to be done without alerting either a doctor or a loved one. I have completed a 2 day water fast before and completing 16 hours daily puts me into the… i’ll just let my wife know… oh and you lot (although in theory I am not posting this until after).
There have been studies of individuals going over a year for weight loss purposes, so going 7 days shouldn’t be dramatic. Most people have enough reserves both fat and nutrients to last several weeks. It is merely a mindset that stops us, addiction i.e dopamine levels and an evolutionary thought process to consume if food becomes available. Lets be honest…. we all over consume and going without food for a short time isn’t going to push you near death.
Why am I doing this?
So a friend of mine challedged me to a Half Iron man. For this I need 6 months of training but I needed to loose another 5kg of bodyfat for my other goals! I had two choices. I either hit the calorie restriction for the next 10 weeks while potentially loosing muscle and not gaining as much strengh that I needed for my event or I hit it HARD and get the weight off fast…. and do a a fast. The benefits I will expect from this are
– Quick fat loss
– Limited muscle loss
– Higher metabolic rate.
This way I can start straight back into my training as soon as I am complete.
I prefer to ensure I have a body full of nutrients and high fat content. If you eat meat this is a lot easier. I do not so I ensured I had a complete 2 days eating whatever fatty things I wanted to ensure I didn’t have problems with sugar crashes at work.
During the fast I will consume around 3 litres of water a day. Thats really it. Oh and I may have a morning coffee on my 2 days of work as hungry Mike is one thing but CRANKY Mike… that may make me loose clients.
My Initial weigh in 80.80 kg and around 16% bodyfat. This means 13.32 kg of body fat. To get to 11% bodyfat I need to loose 31% of my bodyfat or 5kg. Based on my calculations I should loose very small amounts in the first 2 days and then roughly 700g a day of fat. Therefore I SHOULD only need to fast for 7 days….
Benefits of Water Fasting?
I won’t say the benefits of water fasting are endless but there seems to be a growing number of new studies showing X and Y and mostly this is due to a water fast relaxing your digestion system and therefore allowing your liver to catch up if it has a backlog and at a cellular level your body gets to reduce inflammation.
- Reduce oxidation stress and inflammation at a cellular level
- Fat loss (excluding the short term of muscle loss) – a zero calorie diet means your body goes into starvation mode and will restrict a bunch of functions to compensate. However, you will run out of glucose stores and then your body within 16-24 hours will move from glucose to protein to fat very quickly when you eat zero. Once you are in thie keto stasis your body will continue to consume body fat until you break the fast. Studies have shown 0.9kg of fat per day. Although I would theorize more like 0.3kg per day once your system empties.
- Self peace – No real studies on this but there is a lot of self anecdotal evidence for self realisation and inner peace through fasting. There is a reason why most religions around the world have led to regular fasting.
- Delay aging – As your cells get time to repair, reduce stress and reduce inflammation it allows the body to self heal and therefore no wear out as easy. Studies are starting to show up to 30% increase in lifespan with regular fasting. Look out vampires!
- Starving Cancers – At the time of writing this I can not find this specific study however it is mentioned HERE.
- In theory growth hormones go through the roof but I won’t be resistance training this time around.
There is too many studies to quote and no real websites bringing it all together just yet but I am sure we will see some great publications in the near future. I am not a scientist and do not fancy collating for hours. I just wanted to put your mind at ease that 3, 7, 365 day fasts are happening and benefits are looking good.
Mean weight decreased from 85.4 ± 18.8 kg to 79.7 ± 18.2 kg accompanied by systolic/diastolic blood pressure (BP) reduction of -16.2 mm Hg (95% CI: -9.1; -23.3 mm Hg) and -6.0 mm Hg (95% CI: -1.8; -10.3 mm Hg), each p < 0.001 and p = 0.005. Fasting led to marked decreases of levels of LDL-cholesterol, leptin, and insulin and increases of levels of adiponectin, leptin receptors, and resistin. Fasting-induced mood enhancement was reflected by decreased anxiety, depression, fatigue, and improved vigor. Patients with MetS showed some greater changes in B P, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, adiponectin, leptin, and sleep quality. Fasting was well-tolerated.
Our results point to marked beneficial responses to 7-day modified fasting and a potential role in the prevention of the MetS. Randomized trials with longer observation periods should test the clinical effectiveness of fasting in metabolic diseases.
So lets begin…
I always like to start my fasts at around 7pm. The reason I do this is your body seems to do cycle of hunger based on factors of glucose and certain hormonal responses. I find these times to be:
4 hours – sugar crash
12 hours – Cortisol
16-24 hours – Glucose runs out
32 hours – Ketos are a go
36-38 hours – Metabolic rate starts to increase to tell you to go hunt
So starting your fast at 7pm means you are asleep at the 4 hour and 32 hour mark with a good level of energy being given at 12 and 36 hours (when you wake up in the morning). This only leaves the not so nice 16-24 hour period i.e the afternoon of Day 1 and the first night.
4 hour in
Going to sleep a little late… not a big deal. Glass of Water.
12 hours in
I am on the road. I weigh 80.8kg and I drive 177km to work and I grabbed a black coffee on the way. All rather normal at this point.
Weight: 80.80 kg
20 hours in
I have really only just started noticing my hunger. My vision is starting to become a little bit blurry (due to my workload mind you) and my attention seems to be distracting towards all the smells of food in the office. I leave work in two hours and I am looking forward to getting out and going to see the kids eat their food ….
Do I feel weak? not really. I could easily go for a run or swim but I want to take it calm and not run out of glucose too quickly (I want to leave work and be at home for that time)
24 hours in
Whoohooo day 1, driving home after 24 hours of no food is a little bit frustrating then anything else. Vision is still good and I am ALERT like crazy. Body wants me to hunt I think…. at BP most likely.
28 hours in
bed time…. hungry. Not fun. Grumpy more then anything.
36 hours in
Woke up more hungry then normal and a little bit uncomfortable tbh. Didn’t get the greatest sleep.
48 hours in
horrible day. Don’t expect to get much done on this day. I ended up not working and doing some tiling instead… which didn’t go so well.
Weight: 78.40 kg
54 hours in
how am I meant to sleep! up until 1am and not happy.
60 hours in
woke up and not so hungry. Although I could really do with a smoothie or a full english brecky. Went for a nice walk with the family. Not so bad anymore.
72 hours. 3 days. I made it.
Officially my longest fast to date. Not feeling too bad. Hopefully I get a good sleep tonight and rock into day 4. Weight 77.90. Looks like we are on track. Assuming 1kg of non fat, thats around 2kg of fat down which estimates me at another 4 days to go which would be 7 funny enough
Weight: 77.90 kg
Something clicked today. I felt this strange rush of energy and warmth. Still can’t get up quickly and no way I am going for a run!
Weight: 76.85 kg
Back to work today after only getting 5 hours sleep… just couldn’t rest my mind last night. Coffee or two in the morning. Had a good day, nothing out of the norm apart from smelling all the curries in the kitchen.
Weight: 76.02 kg
OK today was the day. 138 hours into my fast and it became dangerous to my professionalism 🙂 I wasn’t coherent and couldn’t seem to think clearly enough to be valuable to my client. So I broke the fast at 2 pm today with a plum and a bag of nuts. I will consume tuna and mayo upon my return as I intend to stay in ketosis.
Weight: 76.02 kg < This was strange. Did I drink too much water today?
Yes yes I know….. I didn’t take the same photo in the same photo in the same light wearing the same clothes. but it’s me… just without some extra fat (mostly in my bum… as driving to work now is uncomfortable)
What a glorious day 🙂
Ok I am slowly upping calories. Around 1k calories per day roughly and keeping to 20g of net carbs. I will skip updating this for a while but over the next few days I will be leading up to the following daily intake to see where the weight levels off to: