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Fasting: I find it easier to "not eat" than to "eat less"

 
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I don't think intermittent fasting will make your poo black.  Black sticky poo can be from bleeding of the stomach or intestine.  Black poo with a more normal texture can be from iron supplements, or other things you ate.

It's pretty easy to check for the presence of heme in stool - I think any primary care doctor can do it.  
 
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I have done a 23 day water fast and a 29 day water fast. Im an iron worker with a physical job and I put in lots of overtime. After the 4th day of fasting, its smooth sailing. Energy and mental clarity happens when you switch over into ketosis. Fasting is one of the best things I have ever discovered. I feel and sleep sooooo much better when Im not packing around extra weight (plus all the bennies that come with a long fast) Now I just do a 5 day every month (during one work week) Sometimes I skip a month. The only downside I noticed when fasting is getting lightheaded for a few secs if I stand up too fast.

I love eating keto but since the woman is always getting ahold of free sources of food and is always bring boxes of it home ..... its hard to eat that way. We have a very large supply of food that has to be rotated and used.
 
Julia Winter
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It's interesting to me that you say it gets easier after the 4th day of fasting, but then you say that you are choosing to fast 5 days each month.

Sounds like maximal willpower required!

I still have not gone more than 2 days without eating.  I've gained a few pounds over the holidays so I'm thinking I should do something. . . .

My work is not physically demanding but it is mentally demanding, so I've been nervous to try going days without eating while I'm working.  On the other hand, it's much easier for me to fast on work days because I'm busy and away from food (other than the omnipresent candy and frequent treats - I'm doing pretty well with those).
 
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Very interesting thread. Im far from being a expert on diet or nutrition but one thing I’ve noticed as a immigrant is how much food is consumed in this country in general. We ate very small portions of everything even for years after immigrating and we were always hungry. But as I’ve become Americanized I’ve gotten many of the ailments that others suffer from. We started eating a lot of bread to bulk up our meals. Craving sweet things was common for me.
 I’m going to try the intermittent diets because brain fog, eczema, inflammation, acid reflux, fatigue has been a long term issue. I’ve been rather lazy about diet management. Poverty and illness also lends itself to a poor diet to some degree. But Im very interested in starting out with intermittent fasting and then a longer juice fast. When I found some good bone broth I felt extremely good. I got it at a farm where they were making it. I cannot afford to buy it so might try and make it.
In the thread I didn’t see mention of seasonal weight gain. I tend to gain in Winter and loose in Summer. This seems intuitive and natural.
 
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Due to life circumstances about 4 days a week I don't eat anything until 5 or 530 pm. The rest of the day I am fueled by 20 oz of coffee with 1/2 n 1/2 that I make at about 7 am.
The other three days of the week I don't eat before 2 or 3.
This has been my pattern for 2 months or so and I've been feeling great mentally and my digestion is doing better than it was after the holiday garbage diet
 
Julia Winter
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Yes, weight gain in the winter is pretty normal and natural.  This winter I gained some weight and now in this spring of COVID-19 I'm thinking that a few (less than 10) extra pounds of fat might be worth having in case I get sick.  (I've heard that extreme fatigue and loss of appetite can be part of the illness, and of course if you are intubated you aren't eating!)
 
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I have carefully read this thread from the beginning. You have done a most excellent job of staying on top of it Julia!

I do wonder what happened with Timothy's experiment into vitamin A poisoning as I am curious. I have also read about the Gerson Miracle Diet and that is supposed to help cure cancer and it involves very copious amounts of vitamin A.

I have a decent amount of experience fasting, but not with IF. I started with many health problems, the main things being that I have a hormonal disease known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (P.C.O.S. or sometimes P.S.O.S.) which went undetected for a long time as I started having severe pains at 11 years old and no one thought to check for that, they told me it was all in my head, and my left leg was irreversibly damaged when I was hit by a car at 18. With these two issues at their peak, I got to where I was wearing a size 28W in US jean sizes, though I have never been one to ever stand wearing my pants tightly. I like breathing too much.... I have lost nearly half my body weight, but still have very far to go. Having tried nearly every reasonable diet there is, as well as healthy eating. My metabolism is so small that even working many hours every day on my farm and only eating the food I have raised with my own hands, I would still gain weight without periodic long fasts. So far, fasting is the only way I have found to really lose weight.

Though I meet with SO much resistance and outrage from family and friends when I go on long fasts. I have done mine with doctor supervision at first, then more on my own. I was always hungry during the fasts but after the 4th or 5th day it becomes easier for me because I know it is dangerous for me to throw anything new at my digestive system. As an example, even if I am tempted to have my coffee with a bit of whole milk I know better because if I haven't had any dairy for 4-5 days it would be dangerous to introduce it too quickly.

I have a food addiction as well, and sometimes that pushes me off track on my longer fasts before my initial goal for that fast. I find that on the vegetable juice fasts (which I feel is important, while I think fresh pressed fruit juices make an excellent treat and can bring a lot of vitamins and minerals into our diet, I think they should not be a major diet component because that is a bunch of sugar to be having!) or bone broth fasts I feel much healthier and more vigorous, I get better weight loss results on just water and because I still have a lot of weight to drop, the convenience of just water sometimes works better. (Like if travelling, or under heavy workloads because water takes practically no time to prepare and can almost always be found at zero cost, I just keep a water bottle with a filter on it with me.)

Since you have not exceeded 2 days, and because of the mentally demanding aspect of your job, it may be best to do one of your 2 day fasts on say Thursday through Friday and then extend it through the weekend and see how you feel on Monday. (This is assuming a Mon-Fri work week) though the fasts are harder for you on the weekend, it may be best to get through what many of us experience as the worst part of it on the weekend so you would be clear headed for work.

For my part, this thread has motivated me to try intermittent fasting. I would love an option less severe than going months at a time without eating, especially if I find something that helps me maintain my current weight loss easier. I have managed to keep over 200lbs off this way but it has been an ongoing challenge for nearly 20 years now.... and even after so long, I am not to where I want to be with my health. I focus on my weight because I like metrics and because the lower my weight goes the less hormonal imbalance I experience and less weight on my injured leg helps it significantly. However, how your clothes are fitting is a most excellent metric.

Finally, I just wanted to say that you guys have been extremely motivational and persistent in your endeavours towards better health! I think everyone is different and we need to do what works for us as individuals. And it is hard to find that without individuals brave enough like you guys to document what is working well for them and checking with others to see what is working for them as well. Thank you so much and stay safe all! =)
 
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This lady has done alternate day fasting for years. She looks and sounds great.  



I use fasting for all the reasons already stated: fights cancer, keeps off weight, anti-diabetes, focus, energy, etc.  I fast every day until lunch.  What people eat for breakfast is almost universally terrible for you, and I'm busy.  I also don't eat until dinner one day a week.  In the winter, I fast a couple of times at least. Usually one two day, and for the other,  I fast for the first two days, then follow the Valter Longo fasting mimicking diet, but I don't buy all of his packaged stuff. I just do it myself with the same stuff. One small veg dish per day  I find that if I don't fast, I get sick.  What happens when I get the flu? I have no hunger and I fast.  :)     I hardly get sick anymore.  Getting to hunger helps your body dissolve the virus in the GI tract.    I also make anti-viral herb glycerites and dried herbs and decoctions in the winter.  It helps longevity.

John S
PDX OR
 
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It really doesn’t matter what method you use: OMAD, 18:6, keto, CICO, 5:2, paleo, Atkins, Mediterranean, 400 cal, and anything else. All these diets have been around for decades. At the end of the day it’s about what is *sustainable* for you long-term to prevent you over-consuming calories.

If you’re fasting or doing OMAD then the hardest part I envisage is getting enough daily protein and nutrients in a single meal. Without enough protein and nutrients you’ll become weak and tired and will probably abandon the diet. People need roughly 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight, which is roughly half a kilo (1 lb.) of chicken/beef. There’s protein in bread, pasta, some vegetables etc. but not much.
 
John Suavecito
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Most Americans endanger their health by getting way too much protein. Cancer, obesity and diabetes rates skyrocket.  If you eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, protein is not a concern.  Broccoli and spinach, for example have lots of protein. So do nuts and beans.

I agree that almost every one of the diets are improvements on the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Finding the one that you will actually do is key, like exercise.  The one you actually do is the best one.  Enjoyment and fitting them into your schedule are a big part of that.

John S
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Tim Kivi
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Cancer, obesity and diabetes are unrelated to protein.

Modern western diets are reliant on refined carbohydrates, fat and sugar. These are the highest calorie foods available. They’re also low in protein,  so if people are getting adequate daily protein from them then they’re consuming far too many calories, leading to problems like you mentioned.
 
John Suavecito
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I am not sure how to respond to your bold statement.  Do you ever listen to doctors talk about nutrition? There is an enormous quantity of carefully done research that has results in exact opposition to what you are saying.  Most Americans eat meat several times a day.Suggested amounts of protein are vastlly exceeded by the average American.  If you are eating a lot of meat, you are eating a lot of fat.  I agree that most Americans are eating way too many calories.  They don't eat too many carbs like fruits, mushrooms, and vegetables.  Most Americans don't eat any fresh vegetables in a given day.  I listen to many health podcasts, and even the keto/paleo doctors, like Mercola, Perlmutter and Hyman disagree with you.

nutritionfacts.org
https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/eating-healthy-walter-willett
John Douillard healthspa.net
food revolution

 
Tim Kivi
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- Lean white meat and seafood don’t have any fat at all.

- Red meat is recommended at around 600 grams (almost one and a half lbs.) a week. More could be carcinogenic and not recommended.

- I looked at your link and it’s the same as what they say in Australia: a healthy varied diet is roughly half vegetables with a quarter serve of carbs and a quarter of protein, plus a few small extras. Trying to eat 2-3 plates of that plus extras like fruit and dairy in one sitting can be difficult if sticking to OMAD. If people reduce it because it’s too hard to eat that much in one go then they risk other problems like muscle loss and fatigue. What I’ve been saying accords with mainstream science.
 
John Suavecito
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I have no problem with you believing that what you said in your earlier message (Cancer, obesity and diabetes are unrelated to protein.) is in line with mainstream science. Your last post actually was in line with mainstream science, if you believe that you are required to OMAD.  I have done OMAD like this, and I enjoyed it. It was mostly for financial reasons.  An all you can eat buffet during the day while traveling is pretty cheap eats.  I did sit and eat for an hour or more each time.  Didn't bother me at all.  

Mainstream science in now way requires one to OMAD.   I just don't want others reading this

"Cancer, obesity and diabetes are unrelated to protein. "

and thinking it is mainstream science, or backed by research.

Likewise, if someone says, "YOu can't fast for even one day or you'll die/suffer terrible health problems".  I wouldn't leave it up unchallenged, because then people will read it  and many will think it's true.  

John S
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John Suavecito wrote:Do you ever listen to doctors talk about nutrition?



(Sorry to just jump into the discussion -please forgive)

Stopped long ago.

MDs are trained to cure diseases and lesions. The diagnose and then prescribe, either medications or interventions. In short, they are trained to make sick people healthy. Nutrition is about making healthy (aka, disease-free and lesion-free) people more healthy. The average doctor has no idea about that. If you want to understand your body, go talk to a biochemist. IMO in the area of nutrition, they are the least considered professionals yet are the only ones that accually understand on a molecular level what is going on and how living organisms are regulated.

all the best! :)
 
John Suavecito
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I think you've got a good point of view, Lukas Rohrbach.
It takes the average doctor 17 years to catch up to the newest research.
I mostly listen to MDs that also became Naturopathic doctors, or chiropractors or Osteopathic physicians.  Like a good movie critic,
if you've been listening to them for awhile, you get the sense of if they really know what they're talking about.  If they are really creating
solutions or if they're just putting in their time, buying their condo in Maui and going to the country club.  So much of the current Big Pharma/hospital
industry is really a disease profit system rather than a health care system.  For example, if you ask them about fasting, most have no idea.
They might say, "That sounds dangerous".  They're more concerned about liability, than they are interested in the health potential.  Is it the doctor's fault
exclusively? I say no.  It's the system.  They only give the doctor 8 minutes to talk to the patient. What's the fastest way in and out? Write a prescription.
I liked the title of a book I heard about recently: "Doctor Yourself".
John S
PDX OR
 
Aimee Hall
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John Suavecito wrote:This lady has done alternate day fasting for years. She looks and sounds great.  



I also make anti-viral herb glycerites and dried herbs and decoctions in the winter.  It helps longevity.

John S
PDX OR



Do you happen to have more information on this John? I am a few weeks in on my trying intermittent fasting instead of pure fasting and I have not gained any weight, or lost any weight which I am alright with. I do not find it to be difficult to do at all, and so far it does not seem to induce the endless nagging that fasting does from those around me. So in my book it is an all around win. Thanks for the updates and useful information in this thread!
 
John Suavecito
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The research I've seen is very positive.  I have heard that it is a good idea to ease into it.  I was terrified at first.  THen I just didn't eat until lunch, then til dinner.  Then a whole day.  There is a guy named David Jockers who is a doctor of chiropractic, I think who has done summits on it.  I would also look for a doctor named Edward Group, who has a lot of great information on it.
John S
PDX OR
 
Julia Winter
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Update:  I'm 5 months in to the COVID-19 weirdness, and still limiting my intake until 6pm.  I've been doing this for what, 20 months?  Started on January 1st, 2019.

On workdays I have coffee with half'n'half when I get a chance (one, maybe two cups), a latte' with probably 12oz of whole milk and 4 shots of espresso at 1pm, and no solids until 6pm.  I share an office (I share a bizarre giant side-by-side desk, actually) and it doesn't bother me that my office mate is eating lunch nearby while I'm just having the latte.  Really.  

I typically have a snack at 6pm (nuts, dried shitake mushrooms, dried cheese are all things I have in my desk) while I'm working on charts, and then dinner with my family closer to 8pm these summer days.  I'm not all that good about stopping at 9pm - it varies.  

On other days I don't have any coffee, just the latte' and I still wait until 1pm.  I may have water or tea prior to 1pm.  I may have a snack at 6pm or I may just wait for dinner with my family.  I have dessert if there is any - I don't try to limit intake in any way.

I was able to regain maybe 8 pounds between March and July.  In July I did a few 2 day fasts and lost some of it again.  I am not exercising like I should, not even close.  I can't really say why - I think it's stress.  Still, limiting my intake until after 6pm has been a really useful strategy for me.  I don't get hungry until 5pm, and even then, it's not ridiculous.  I never count calories, or fat grams, or anything else.  I eat anything I want.
 
Aimee Hall
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That is really great news Julia. I have done the every day intermittent fast where I skip eating one day then eat during a 6 hour window the next,etc. I have stopped gaining weight but I know much of my problem is the stress. I know everyone is super stressed because of this virus and it is understandable. I still do not lose any weight this way but then I have a hormonal condition which I was told would make it exceptionally difficult for me to lose weight. It has however made my weight gain crawl.

After I am done testing some recipes I will be embarking on my usual annual water fast and get my weight back down. It is torture for me but a necessity. The food every other day is not so bad, obviously I miss it but I can hold out knowing I get to eat and I do not glut myself when I can eat. I try to stick to a whole foods diet as I firmly believe that is what has kept me from having all of the health issues literally every other person in my family has.

You are doing great to keep such good track of things. Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing your progress. It is inspiring.

John and others doing this, I hope it is going well for you too! Any progress updates? Stay safe and healthy all!
 
John Suavecito
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One aspect of achieving hunger is that when you have strong stomach acid, it is much more effective at killing germs that want to enter your body, such as covid 19.   I think of it as another bonus of any kind of fasting.  I think that we have become so accustomed to eating all day every day that we have forgotten that hunger has a purpose. In India and China, they are very purposeful about this timing.   They might say don't drink water right before a meal. It will dilute your stomach acid.  Drink room temperature water 30 minutes after your meal.  We eat, then digest, then assimilate the nutrients into our body, then excrete what we don't need.  Each has a time and a sequence.  I think that we would be healthier if we respected some of these traditional ways.
John S
PDX OR
 
Julia Winter
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Two months later, I'm coming up on two years of eating one (solid) meal a day.  I still find this to be a good strategy.

However, I have gained weight - I think due to the COVID situation.  I've been told that some people who are tracking calories in and out carefully have found they are gaining weight lately, just from the stress.

I'm just wearing scrubs at work these days, so I don't know what size of non-stretchy work pants I'm in right now.  (I kind of don't want to know.)  

Yesterday I ate a bunch of nuts and then some beef jerky staying late at work and when I got home we weren't having an organized meal (this is very unusual) so I just decided I would skip eating any more.  My stomach actually growled this morning, but I can't say I was suffering from hunger, more like I just noted the noise.

I still haven't gone more than 2 days without eating.  I think I would have to set up a retreat where I get away from my family to do a longer fast.  It's hard to skip that many meals, as we make a point of having a good dinner together every night (our kids are in 9th and 12th grades this year).
 
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It is good that overall this is working for you Julia. The stress from Covid is having an astronomically negative effect on people's health from stress alone.

I will be going on a three day fast starting tomorrow. Because of my PCOS my metabolism seems to be so low that I always gain weight slowly even on the healthiest of regimes. While it is very hard for me to watch my friends and family eat (especially since I am the cook even when fasting!) what I often do is make myself a very nice tea or some bone broth to go with those meals. Or if doing water only (as I tend to do mostly now.) then I will sit down with a nice big fancy glass of ice water, usually solid so it gives the appearance that I am feasting in my own way. It was a bit awkward for us all at first but then my family members have become accustomed to it for the most part. They will still hound me to eat, but I have gotten good at changing subjects. =D I can start talking about plants and what all needs done in the garden and they magically come up with other conversation quickly. Please stay safe and best of luck!
 
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Oh wow, Aimee - I'm impressed! I'm fine with watching people eat during the day, but I haven't gotten to the point where I can sit at the table during my usual eating window and not eat.

I have often cooked during my fast time, and it's annoying not to taste, but I've always started tasting at 6pm.  (Lately, I've started stuffing myself at 6pm, that's why I'm gaining weight, I think!)
 
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Here's a very recent article showing new evidence that fasting is required to see the longevity, etc benefits that have been experimentally associated with caloric reduction. Just reducing "calories" generally increases frailty and has no effect on lifespan:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-10-fasting-required-full-benefit-calorie.html

To another point here: in my experience, eating a teaspoon or more of carbohydrates tends to end the metabolic state of fasting. I take a little cacao, raw milk and maple syrup in my (gently warmed cold brewed) coffee, and that seems to be OK.

Many people can also take a little bit (<30g) of pure animal protein, especially first thing in the morning (recommended for women who fast to avoid problems synthesizing essential hormones).
 
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That's really interesting.  I do think it's good for you to put your metabolism through its paces, so to speak.  If you never move into fat-burning mode and keep living on glycogen/glucose the whole ketogenesis system gets sclerotic, I would think.

I did regain weight during COVID, so I had to change my rules a bit.  These days I'm no longer having a latte' with 12oz of milk for lunch.  I'm just having coffee with half-n-half in the late morning, and drinking more hot drinks, which could include tea with a bit of half-n-half through the day.  I've sort of set up a habit of walking a mile at 15% grade on the treadmill every morning.  

(I say sort of because I just finished a week of being "on-call" and I stopped walking on the treadmill because I had to go to the hospital before clinic and see newborns.)

A great idea I got from a colleague is sugar-free gum.  Her tip is if your chubby kid asks you for a snack and you don't think they need a snack, give them some sugar free gum.  Your kid is happy because you gave them candy, but there aren't that many calories and it's actually good for your teeth.  

You are less likely to snack when you are chewing on gum. I got some natural sugar free gum from Azure Standard and I try to start that at 6pm instead of noshing on nuts.

All of these modifications have stopped the weight gain (I liked to say "I'm such a good eater I can gain weight on one meal a day!") and started to bring it back down.  I'm not all the way down to where I was, but hey, I'm still seeing families in small rooms whose windows don't open, and the unvaccinated parents are the most likely to remove their masks or have "f**k your mask rule" mesh masks (yes, had that yesterday - if I can appreciate your lip liner, that's not a functional mask) so my stress levels are still kinda high.
 
Aimee Hall
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I also have gained weight during covid, I have been working around the clock just to try to pay the bills unfortunately. If I am lucky, I get 5-6 hours of sleep a night, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I am going to have to modify what I do, I want to do really well with the intermittent fasting but I have been feeling bad, and when I feel bad and get hungry enough I make absolutely terrible food choices. It is one of the reasons the longer fasts often work so well for me, because after you are on it enough you have to stick to it.

However, when I get on track, I find the cold brew coffee with milk (almond milk for me now as I am helping support a friend & housemate who is dairy intolerant, but loves dairy and is horribly tempted by even seeing it in the fridge.) doesn't seem to kick me out of a fasting state. And neither does tea without any sweetener added.

Though where I had cut out refined sugar entirely, it has creeped back into my diet. One of the places I work, regularly has ubereats deliver us "treats" to boost moral and they seem to very often be heavy on the sugar. I manage to pass most of them on to my housemates but sometimes we are expected to enjoy them in group video calls too.... Trying to politely decline has seemed to result in even more sweets being thrown my way. It is a bit understandable though, it is a high stress job and I think the "treats" and morning tea together is how everyone copes.

You are doing good to keep working at it Julia! It is absolutely terrible what you are having to deal with, you would think they would be thankful for your help. =(

Your post has also reminded me to start working on it a bit harder, thank you.

Everyone is dealing with stress, and I need to try to remember to not let it also keep taking my health. I am glad your progress is going in the right direction again and I am thankful for the updates on the benefits of fasting.

Staying on top of new scientific understandings of health and healthy eating can be hard to do. You guys are awesome! Good luck, and please all try to stay safe!
 
Julia Winter
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Quick update: I've resumed the morning treadmill habit. I try to walk a mile, once I had to stop prior to a mile because I had stayed up too late the night before.

. . . speaking of which - it's time to sleep!
 
Julia Winter
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Ok, I’m trying a longer fast.  My office manager was fussing at all of us hired pediatricians to use some vacation days earlier in the year, but I’m on call during spring break.  So I took next week off.

Back in late 2018 when I was researching fasting, I read a researcher who said that everyone over the age of 50 should do an extended fast once a year as an anti-cancer strategy. My usual one meal a day plan creates a daily caloric deficit. After 12 hours of fasting, I’ve burned up all my glycogen and I start burning fat.

If I do an extended fast, I develop a protein deficit. When your body is low in protein, and you’re not eating anything, you engage in autophagy. I get this mental image of guys with clipboards walking around and pointing at things, saying “what is this? Is this doing anything? Do we need this? No? OK, we’re taking this.“ People describe losing skin tags on extended fasts. People who lose large amounts of weight by fasting do not require plastic surgery to tighten up their skin. They just seem to shrink. The idea is that the body will munch up little baby cancers during an extended fast.

So, I was planning to take this week off for a staycation.  Then I saw a video message from Amanda Palmer, where she said “I just finished a six day fast, and I feel amazing!“ And that reminded me that an extended fast was some thing I was curious about.

So Wednesday night, three nights ago, was my last meal.  I had about a half cup of beet ginger sauerkraut Thursday night, and last night I had another small serving. I’m having bulletproof coffee in the mornings, and I also made some beet Kvass, so I pour about a half ounce of this deep red salty liquid into a glass and then fill it up with cold water.  I’ve also had some herbal tea.

Last night I watched an episode of the Netflix series “Unwell“ that was about fasting. They were going for drama, so they concentrated on water only fasting. They followed a very overweight and unhealthy woman who did at least a three week fast at a seriously medically supervised fasting place in Santa Rosa California. There was also kind of a crazy place in Costa Rica run by a guy who thought that you can cure absolutely anything, if you fast long enough. One of the most interesting stories was of a man who combined fasting with his chemotherapy . The plan was for six rounds of chemotherapy, but he had a scan after two rounds, and they declared him to be cancer free! It makes sense to me that the stress of fasting will increase the punch of chemotherapy on cancer cells, which are pretty primitive and tend to run on sugar. Anyway, from my research it makes sense to take in salt during a fast, to avoid feeling faint and having headaches.

My main point for this fast is protein deprivation. I’m also curious to see how I do on an extended fast. I’m wondering if I could manage to fast and go to work at the same time. I can report that yesterday I did normal things: I rode my bike to the yoga studio and did a rather intense yoga class followed by a restorative yoga class, and then rode back home and I don’t think the fast affected my ability to do those things.

This morning there was a permies staff meeting, and I was *perhaps* a little edgy and irritable. Of course these things start before 7 AM my time, and I hadn’t had any coffee yet, so who can say? Right now, I am frustrated that I still feel pretty darn hungry. Writing this post was a strategy to distract myself! It’s working pretty well.

So, I will try to post again to let y’all know how I am managing with this extended fast. My on call week starts Friday at 7 AM, and I’ll just have to see how I feel with respect to when I want to end the fast.
 
Julia Winter
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OK, here I am, day 7 of the fast.  I had a bit of beet ginger cardamom sauerkraut last night, and I'm planning to have some kale paneer tonight. It looks like I'm down 14 pounds, which corresponds to my experience back when my fancy scale was working (I lost 2-3 pounds of fat every 20 hour fast, and regained it overnight after eating). A lot of people report rapid regain of the weight lost on a one week fast, so we'll have to see how it goes.

Two days ago I went to the farm, and in the late afternoon while I was gathering spent hay to scatter on the muddy cowpath, I felt a little dizzy/lightheaded bending over and getting up.  Yesterday a similar thing happened while gardening in the late afternoon.  I think my stamina is decreased, although it could also be just low blood pressure.  So I've been scheming that *maybe* I could work shortened days through a fasting week.  Generally I feel OK during the day.  Like, I haven't been going on the treadmill, but I've been active. If I took 2.5 hours off each day for a week, that's one PTO day (because our PTO days are 10 hrs).  Maybe 2 hours at the end of the day and 1/2 hour at the start? Just spitballing here. It might be easier the second time.

If my college freshman daughter hadn't come back last night for spring break (she's doing her last final online today) I think I might have extended the fast longer.  I have to say, though, all the reports of it getting "easy" after day 3 seem a bit overblown.  It's true that it doesn't get harder and harder and harder, but I can't say it got easy.  Staying at home with two people (now three) who are preparing and eating food every day has got to make it a little harder.  I think it's good, as an exercise.  I also can't really say that I felt an increase in mental sharpness (many people report this).  I know I'm in ketosis (I have test strips) but I'm not cognizant of a change in my thinking.

One interesting thing is that I've been allowing myself more than my usual 8 hours of sleep (I am a stickler for 8 hours of sleep, I haven't had a cold sore or a bad migraine since I started prioritizing sleep maybe 10-13 years ago) and on the two longer nights, I had a lot of dreams that I remembered. And, fasting figured heavily in all the dreams. I think it's time to wind this down.  My daughter wants my cooking.
 
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I just recently did a 50 hour fast.  It wasn't bad.  The last few hours I was uncomfortable, but not really hungry.  I haven't played with adding things like bulletproof coffee yet, my fasts to this point have been water only.  I do 24 hour fasts 2 or 3 times a week now, but I may try a longer one again soon.
 
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so i am at 24 hours of fasting. I have been feeling fine.  I have mostly been drinking green tea today. Last night i drank nettle, skullcap,chamomile, yarrow tea.

I happen to be one of those people who has stock on hand and who is constantly making it.

In the pot right now is one pig head from butchering on wednesday.  I just had 2 glasses of pig head stock with salt. I am hoping to go til Sunday if i can. I am going to work either Saturday/Sunday so i might break the fast due to working with heavy equipment(sawmill, skidder).

Thanks everyone for contributing to this thread it has been great to read everyone's response.


One interesting thing was when i was in Nepal for 8 months we normally ate at 11am and than at around 5~6pm so in a sense i have already Intermittent fasted before!!
 
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these are interesting observations. yes - salt, broth, totally. and yes its like that, your body does some housecleaning when you do longer fasts. i can almost feel it happen myself. when i hit the point- maybe not the same exact as ketosis, but where my body is running on empty after a while i can sort of feel when it switches into burning off stuff, it really does feel that my stomach starts digesting all the bits and pieces from all the niches and consuming itself.
when i used to do longer fasts, i used to dream of all the things i wasnt eating and extreme, like dreaming of a huge stack of pancakes with all the fixings and a half a stick of butter!

juice fasting is way easier, it feels like not even fasting- same with coffee. of course my coffee is like the hugey cup with tons of cream and sweet, so thats something i try not to do if i fast, or alter it, agave or alternate sweetner - but drinking coffee is like a mini meal.
you all are making me feel bad that i have really let my dieting go -- i suppose i could say my current diet is something like whats called "dirty keto" some junk and sweets not too bad, though, some sugar, high fats, i love avocados and cheese every day these days, lots of meat too which is weird for me.  i've definitely been eating too much bread and i know i shouldnt be but i really enjoy breads and baked goods. IF is sort of my normal eating pattern anyway, but again i wake up and have a meal of huge cup of coffee and that makes me not hungry till evening.
 
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A couple of weeks ago I did a little over a 100 hour fast.  It was just going to be a couple of days, but it turned into four days.

The last meal I had was on Sunday morning, and it was one bagel with some egg and cheese on it.
Monday morning I had coffee with a little french vanilla creamer (about 60 calories).  Felt fine all day (I do 24 hour fasts all the time).  Didn't sleep well (more because I normally drink beer not because I didn't eat).

Tuesday I had the same coffee with the cream.  Felt a bit "different" not bad, not weak, just not normal if that makes sense.  My job is physical and I lift boxes all day (25,000 - 50,000 lbs per day) and I was able to work at a normal pace without any problems.  Minimal hunger, so even though I was going to have a meal that night I decided against it.

Wednesday I felt good when I woke up.  I wanted to get a bit more serious, so I just had black coffee before work.  When I got to work I felt really good, but I was a bit jittery like I had too much caffeine (I had the normal coffee minus the cream so it wasn't that I had any more coffee/caffeine than usual).  I was in a pretty good mood and had more energy than usual?  The jitters went away after a few hours.  I have to say I haven't felt that good in a long time.   I wasn't hungry so I decided not to eat anything.

Thursday was the same thing as Wednesday.  Black coffee, zero calories.  Felt great.  I get home from work around noon and even though I could have gone longer without eating, I decided not to push my body.  I made a bone broth and had some sweet potato around 4pm.  I was a little worried about digestion because I hadn't ate in so long, but all was well, and nothing negative to report.

I'd like to add that I drank tons of water throughout the days, and also would take a couple of pinches of pink salt every day.  I had heard on a podcast that a lot of times when people start to get to feeling foggy headed it's due to a lack of salt.

I'd also like to says that I've had some swollen joints in my fingers and elbow for the last couple of years.  That swelling pretty much disappeared by the third day.  It was amazing.  Now that I'm eating the same and drinking beer........that swelling has come back unfortunately.  

It was a great experience and I plan on doing it again.  I think ten days would be a good goal for next time!  

The record for fasting is 382 days.  

 
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jordan barton wrote: I am hoping to go til Sunday if i can. I am going to work either Saturday/Sunday so i might break the fast due to working with heavy equipment(sawmill, skidder).



So I went to work today. Let me tell you i sure got a lot done! There was no slow part and my mind was way more active. I was able to problem solve better i found. I worked at the mill from 11am til 7pm none stop and didn't even take a break! If any of you out there are concerned like I was about working while fasting I totally believe it is possible. I felt more productive to be honest.


Today all I have had is water with salt and apple cider vinegar, along with green tea. I was going to have fish sauce with warm water, however I noticed the label said it had 1 gram of sugar so i decided against it.


Lasts nights pig head stock i realize was mostly fat! it sure hit the spot but it also set my fasting back.


When the fast starts working i can taste this metallic taste in my mouth. Almost like it is in my saliva.  Apparently this is ketones being broken down/released. I truly am amazed at my energy levels!

 
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jordan barton wrote:

jordan barton wrote: I am hoping to go til Sunday if i can. I am going to work either Saturday/Sunday so i might break the fast due to working with heavy equipment(sawmill, skidder).



So I went to work today. Let me tell you i sure got a lot done! There was no slow part and my mind was way more active. I was able to problem solve better i found. I worked at the mill from 11am til 7pm none stop and didn't even take a break! If any of you out there are concerned like I was about working while fasting I totally believe it is possible. I felt more productive to be honest.


Today all I have had is water with salt and apple cider vinegar, along with green tea. I was going to have fish sauce with warm water, however I noticed the label said it had 1 gram of sugar so i decided against it.


Lasts nights pig head stock i realize was mostly fat! it sure hit the spot but it also set my fasting back.


When the fast starts working i can taste this metallic taste in my mouth. Almost like it is in my saliva.  Apparently this is ketones being broken down/released. I truly am amazed at my energy levels!



That's awesome.

One of the podcasters I listened to explained it really well.  From an evolutionary/survival perspective it would make no sense to lose energy/be lethargic if one were not to eat for a while.  It would be more likely one couldn't find more food if they got slower.  It would make more sense the body would go into a more active state if it hadn't had food which would give it a greater chance at getting food.  He explained it better, but that's the gist of it.

Oh yeah, and one of the best comments he made was, "Fat, it's not just for looks."  Fat is food, there is a very good reason we store it.  Might as well put it to good use if there's any extra.

 
Julia Winter
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Good to hear about other's experiences!

I ate more than just kale paneer on Thursday.  The family got carry out food from Hoda's (a Lebanese family restaurant) and although I avoided the meat, I had muhumarra, hummus, a little pita bread, some very oily (and delicious) rice, along with the kale paneer (kale, onions, cream, paneer cheese).  I had no ill effects from this at all.  

On Friday the kids and I made pumpkin ravioli with sage cream sauce (like, roasting the squash, making the pasta dough, rolling it out, etc - we ate very late!) and I ate a fair amount of that.  There was just a tiny amount of meat, home cured prosciutto being used as intended - to enhance the breadcrumb topping - as flavor, not protein source.  There was ricotta in the filling and LOTS of eggs in the pasta.

Friday night I developed really bad heartburn. Like bad enough that when I rolled from my side to my back, there was the constant burning pain of the lower half of my esophagus and then an extra OW when the esophagus flattened on to itself.  Most of Saturday I had some pain in my "chest." I had to work all day and when I came home around 4:30pm I drank baking soda in water since I didn't have any Alka Seltzer (and from my very faint memory of tasting Alka Seltzer, that's basically what it is.)

Saturday night I ate a ridiculously large steak from our farm, mushrooms, a lot of roasted brussels sprouts with peppers, and had more than my usual one glass of wine. For dessert I had a Swedish cardamom cream/almond paste bun made by my younger kid, who made friends in Sweden during the lockdown.  I think I had two glasses of wine, but that was enough to make me woozy (I don't drink much). When I woke in the early morning I had a pretty terrible headache, and only then realized I hadn't done my usual thing of force drinking mass quantities of water before sleeping. Seriously, this was the first hangover of my life. Most of a hangover is dehydration. I drank two glasses of water, took two Excedrin and was able to fall asleep.  When I woke about an hour later, the headache was gone.  Thank goodness!

So, I may try an antacid after my first significant meal following an extended fast.  I think 10 days sounds like a good goal for next time.  
 
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I love seeing the updates in this thread! Thank you so much.

With time I have found that there is no "normal" to my fasts. Typically, I am always hungry, just always. Whether I am intermittent fasting, long juice fasting, water fasting, or eating what and when I want.

However, since for me it is always a constant struggle to deal with losing weight and managing my PCOS I have found that after a while of eating normally or intermittent fasting, I am just.... tired of food. Even food I know is terrific and normally love. So I go on an extended fast at that point.

My last extended fast was a low sugar vegetable juice fast (such as kale, cucumber, celery. Though I did add in up to a half of a beet root per 2L pitcher of juice because of how many nutrients they have) in which I drank coffee with almond milk one 16oz mug per day, various tea, lots and lots of water, and if I felt bad I would have a cup of bone broth. I also took select vitamins like iron because I am anaemic.

I started this fast on April 5th and started working my way off of the fast on April 17th. I lost 19.6lbs in that time and after completely ending the fast I put almost 9lbs back on within a few days and weight has been stable since then. I did come off of the fast earlier than intended because my kidneys were being sore and I have been unable to find a doctor in Australia to assist in monitoring my extended fasts and family members were very stressed because of genetic predisposition to kidney issues in my family.

Though a few things seem to be mostly consistent with my fasts, I am always able to work normally but I am more tired than normal. I tend to have very vivid dreams of my favourite foods and like someone else mentioned they will be huge mega versions (like an entire swimming pool sized lasagna), and I am ravenously hungry after about 8-12 hours without eating until I do eat. Even if the fasts go for months. Overall I find the just water fasts to be easier, very simple rules to follow, no question on if it is -allowed- or not but I tend to feel worse and get more dizzy and tired. And no matter how slowly I reintroduce foods, if it has been more than 5-6 days it upsets my digestive tract greatly.

I have spoken with a doctor though, who has suggested I try a very low energy diet of 500-600 calories a day comprised primarily of protein and non-starchy vegetables. The diet is intended to keep one in ketosis long term without losing as much muscle mass. The science behind it I have read does seem sound, though because I cannot help it, I have gotten the doctor to agree to allow me to put my own spin on it. Their diet has meal replacement shakes with ingredients I do not approve of such a artificial sweeteners, and they allow an unlimited amount of sugar-free jell-o (jelly to the Aussies out there) which I have also ruled out. Instead I will take an extra real food derived organic multi-vitamin. And I will be combining this with the intermittent fasting I am accustomed to, instead of having the 4-6 suggested mini meals per day. I plan to start Monday and will try to let you guys know how this works for me.

All of my blood tests were run, and my family has a very strong history of being morbidly obese, having high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney failure, and many other health issues. While I do have PCOS and tend to always feel crappy because of injuries sustained when being hit by a car when I was 18, other than being slightly anaemic (despite being on a very high dose iron supplement), all my numbers other than weight all numbers are completely perfect.

A second job I picked up 8 months ago has been stressing me out significantly though, and I am up almost 70lbs from what had become my new normal because I have been stress eating like mad. Every time one of the patients I works with passes away, I cave and stress eat and this happens several times a week. If I do good, I eat nuts, if it is really bad and I had gotten way too attached, I go for something worse like a no refined sugar mug cake, or even something with processed sugar which is not like me. So, my biggest hope is that trying this new way of eating will get me out of this stress eating rut if nothing else.

Have any of you tried the very low energy diet (VLED)? What were your experiences?

I also want to thank the whole Permies community. It is one of the few places I feel free to actually be me without any reservation because everyone is just so accepting and open. You guys make my life better, even when I do not have time to post. You keep me inspired and thinking. Thank you all for that SO much!

 
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