On Wednesday I had the final meal and kicked off what was supposed to be a 5 day fast only consuming water and a couple cups of tea.
The first day of the fast was ok, I didn’t feel hungry per say until the evening. However I did notice that much of my eating patterns were more habitual. Several times on day 1 I found myself opening the refrigerator and cupboards to look for food before a conscious remembering that I wasn’t eating anything that day. It made me wonder just how much of my eating is driven by idleness and habit rather than need. By supper time I had a bit of a craving to eat something but pushed through with some more water.
Near bedtime on day 1 I developed a slight headache, which I figured was due to the low blood glucose.
I woke up on the second day with the headache continuing, but otherwise in good shape. Surprisingly I still didn’t really feel that hungry throughout the day. Lots of water probably helped. Hot water with a squirt of lemon and a pinch of salt was a treat to satisfy the desire to taste something. Though otherwise feeling alert and energetic the whole day, I did get to bed a bit earlier than usual and sleep longer.
On the third day I would say I felt hungry, the smell of food in the house smelled so good, even something like toast, had me salivating. The third day was also when I could tell ketosis was in full effect, my breath smelled like nail polish remover as I exhaled those esters out of my blood stream. I was in full on fat burning mode which was pretty evident by the weight scale as well.
On the morning of the forth day I decided it was enough, I didn’t want to go back to work on Monday only able to think about food, so I cut the fast short by one day. But I was still determined to make it through to the end of the day. I had several days to think about what I was going to have for a first meal and decided on Mac and Cheese with cake for desert. Probably could have gone for something healthier
I had some mild heartburn for a day as I re-adjusted to eating food again, but that was the extent of any negatives associated with this experiment. Overall I felt like not eating any food for 4 days was just no big deal. Mentally I felt perfectly fine, my legs felt slightly lethargic but no more so than a after a short gym workout. I ended up losing 6lbs over 4 days (though weight loss wasn’t a goal). The most important take away for me was the experience itself, and the confidence that I kind of know what to expect if I am ever without access to food for several days.
The reason for my curiosity around fasting in general probably started 20 years ago when I first learned about calorie restriction for longevity. The science has continued to progress and narrow down some of the mechanisms that may be at play, but over the intervening 2 decades there has been more interest regarding this hypothesis. Which makes me think that there’s probably something to it.
I’m still going to do another 3 of these fasts this year as part of my goals for 2017. We’ll see if new lessons come up with more experience then.