As a teenager I once went on a 7 day fast, only drinking water from the Saturday until the Friday evening. My friend joined me for the last day and by the end of that one day he was going on as if he’d been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights:) Fortunately we were young and healthy, because not knowing any better we broke the fast by having a huge steak and chips meal at a steak range!!! From what I’ve read lately, breaking your fast in the wrong way (big piece of red meat is definitely the wrong way!!) could be fatal, especially on a longer fast.
30-odd years later I clocked in at 150kgs not too long ago and found it difficult to believe that I ever had the discipline to make it through a 7 day water fast. But I’ve been reading a lot about fasting for the past 2 years and I honestly believe there are a lot of health benefits to be had from doing a longer fast of water only.
I’ve attempted fasting a few times this year and the longest I’ve gone without food has been 68 hours. That was eating at 8pm on a Sunday and then nothing until 4pm on Wednesday. I’ve also done a number of 44 hour fasts, again stopping at 8pm and then eating around 4pm 2 days later. So these are “fails” because on each of these occasions I had intended to go on a much longer fast, ideally aiming for 21 days. However, they are small successes in that hey, I went for 2-3 days without food each time. Hoping those have prepared my body for a longer fast.
At it again
Well yesterday I started a fast again, but being the highly-disciplined stoic that I am, when I decided to take my kids to see the latest Jumanji movie at 4pm, the fast came to an abrupt end right there because I didn’t want to sit in the cinema without popcorn and fizzy (and a packet of Maltezers). Normally I would have stopped right there, but this time I decided to not let that little hiccup stop me. So I haven’t eaten since I came out of the cinema yesterday and it’s now 1pm the next day. Pretty keen to push through and see if I can make it past that mystical 4th day. They say the hunger goes away after 4 days.
Warnings, disclaimers and stuff
Just for the record, I have no medical training and you really should not do anything because I did it. For example, the whole idea of stopping a fast and then starting up again immediately is frowned upon, for one thing because during the first few days your body supposedly uses more muscle than fat for energy and that includes stuff like your heart muscle. On the other hand, I’ve recently read about a lot of people who swear by only eating once every 24 hours and that seems to resonate with me, so after this fast I intend to stick to that or a similar intermittent fasting regime.
First few days of fasting
Anyway, all the above is just a bit of background. The reason I decided to write this blog post is… well honestly, it’s because I almost had something to eat just now!!! I walked into the kitchen heading for the fridge when I thought: why are you going to eat now, you’re not hungry! And it’s true, even though I haven’t eaten anything today and only ate during a 1-hour window yesterday, I am still not physically hungry. Keep in mind that I am a big guy with LOTS OF RESERVES!! I assume someone smaller than me might very well be physically hungry by now. I wouldn’t say that I’m not hungry… my stomach is doing a bit of growling as I sit here, but it’s nothing that a few gulps of water can’t cure.
Anyway, my point is that I almost ate just before sitting down to write this article because I was bored! And I think for me eating is most often linked to emotions, much, much more so than actually being hungry.
When I’m bored, I eat.
When I’m upset, I eat.
When I’m happy or want to celebrate something, I eat.
Now that I’ve sat down to write this article, done something constructive and focused my attention back on the fact that I’m fasting, I don’t feel the desire to eat anymore. Oh, and I gulped down a good bit of water.
Think I need to find myself a chain to lock my fridge, just as a visual reminder that I can get water from the tap and don’t need to open the fridge at all and then come update this article as to why I want to eat before unlocking it…
[Arnold Swhatshisname voice] I’ll be back…
The Hopeless Fisherman at his best
If you’re reading this article because you’re interested in fasting and don’t know why I call myself the Hopeless Fisherman, well it’s because I tend to do stupid things that get me into trouble – like not properly attaching an electric motor to the back of my kayak and then having the propeller whizzing past my thigh at high speed and similar little mishaps. And sometimes I’m not even on the kayak, like now when the kayak’s fishfinder battery was standing on top of the microwave, which is on top of the fridge when I threw the chain over the fidge… Turns out you don’t want to throw a steel chain over a 12V battery’s terminals!!! Heard that electrocution sound, saw smoke rising from above the microwave and for a moment the chain was stuck to the battery. Guess I need a new battery now!!
Oh well, now it’s done – my fridge is behind lock and chain 🙂
Notice the black and red wire hanging from above the microwave on top of the fridge? that be the fish finder charger.
Of course I have the key to the padlock, but this is just a visual reminder that I don’t want to eat. I’ll keep updating this article as I feel like eating and hopefully don’t.
For the record, I’m not starving my kids by locking up the fridge… they live with my ex, so I’m alone in this house and can do these types of crazies.
End of Day 1
Right, so the last few hours have been a bit more difficult. I mean I’m calling this day 1, but I lost over 1kg yesterday while only eating during 1 hour of the day, so it’s not like some of my reserves weren’t used up yesterday. Anyway, day 1 or day 1.5, either way, I’m taking a bit of strain.
I’ve had a slight headache since I went to Bunnings around 1pm (it’s 8:20pm now). An unusual headache, bit of tingling almost like a non-painful migraine. Nothing serious and I suspect that might be caffeine withdrawal…
I’ve also got a little bit of burning around the sides of my stomach and some bloating. Guessing that’s a bit of stomach acid with nothing to digest?
Also I’ve got a bit of burning on my skin – comes and goes. On my arms and face and upper back/neck.
Guess there’s a lot happening in my body at the moment, so I’ll keep watching these things, but nothing to worry about yet.
I have IBS and all kinds of stomach/gut issues and I usually go to the loo multiple times per day. So far today I haven’t had a single stool… Quite relaxing actually 🙂
Biggest thing is the mental struggle. I went for a walk just now and as I walked past McDonalds I wondered what I can do to hide that I’ve been fasting and just pretend nothing happened. “Fortunately” I posted this article and I linked to it from the Kayak Fishing Forum I frequent, so I’ve got some accountability – even if it’s just the thought of some guys already having seen this article and having a laugh at my foolishness. But hey, it’s working for now. I’m my own boss and can do what I want to, but posting this article and putting the lock and chain on my fridge are just reminders that I don’t want to eat.
Lastly I suspect I’m going to have a hard time sleeping tonight. My mind feels strangely alert and I doubt it’s going to switch off when I hit the sack. It’s New Year’s Eve, so there’ll be lots of noise outside also.
I know it’s mostly water at the start, but interesting to watch my weight anyhow.
Monday (Today): 145.1kgs
Considering that I did eat some snacks during the movie on Saturday, that’s quite a bit for 2 days.
I went to the loo at 11pm last night and finally made a deposit at the porcelain bank. My nose certainly was not impressed! Had another go this morning… Unfortunately I’ve had my gall bladder removed and I’m not sure how that’s going to work out on a longer fast, hopefully my whole digestive system shuts down for a rest and stops dumping gall into my gut as well.
Certainly having all kinds of thoughts along the lines of : “hey, you’ve done well. You can stop now and eat something.”
3:47pm: It’s getting tough now!! Certainly struggling to convince myself not to cave in and eat something.
Maybe not the wisest thing to do on a water fast: I got up at 2:15am this morning and went fishing with a friend until 9:00am. Got home at 10 and slept through until 12. Bit of rock/boulder climbing involved and lots of sun. I weighed myself at 2:30am when I weighed in at 143.9kgs, which is kind of what I expected today going on previous days. But then I weighed myself again at 10:00am and the scale’s showing 142,9kgs!!! I had water with me, but come to think of it, I probably didn’t drink much of it.
So far today has been easy, although it seems my difficult time is 3-5pm every day.
Right… not going well today! I’ve been thinking what to do with my 15yo son and everything I come up with involves food! And now I’ve been thinking I should end this nonsense because, 15yo son or not, I want food! But that’s not what I really want, long term what’s best for me is to keep on with this fast… Guess I’ll stick with it a bit longer.
Almost caved in yesterday!! But I stuck it out and I’m glad for it.
Alright, I’ve ended my fast. Today is Day 7 and I started eating some watered down soup last night. I didn’t stop for hunger or food cravings or such. My dad died from heart-related issues when he was 4 years younger than I am now and I do have some heart issue (I think it’s called Left ventricular hypertrophy) and on top of that I also have hypochondria as is often found in people with Asperger’s Syndrome such as myself. So on Thursday afternoon I became aware of shooting pains in my chest (not too intense) and by Friday/last night I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In truth, I’ve had these pains before and I’ve been told by more than one doctor that it’s not my heart, but last night I couldn’t convince myself of that. Anyhow, I stopped the fast last night and I feel that 6-7 days is long enough to be considered a great success. Weighed myself this morning and I’m 138.3kgs, 9.7kgs lighter than exactly a week ago. Expecting to pick up 2-3kgs over the next few days as my body recovers that initial water loss. I’m seeing my GP on Monday and will discuss the chest pains with him then to be better prepared for that on my next fast. And yes, I am planning to do this again, maybe in a month’s time or so. In the meantime my challenge is not to fall back to my old habits, so I’ll start a new blog post about my post-fasting weeks.
Day 0: 148.0kgs (I ate during a 1 hour window from 4-5pm this day)
Day 1: 146.9kgs
Day 2: 145.1kgs
Day 3: 143.9kgs
Day 4: 142.0kgs ???
Day 5: 140.8kgs
Day 6: 139.8kgs
Day 7: 138.3kgs