5 Day Water Fast

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.

Day 1:

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.

Day 2:

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.

Day 3:

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.

Day 4:

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

Final Thoughts:

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.