20 day fast, AKA WTF was I thinking?

(Tim W) #1

After doing IF for over a year and extended fasts of up to 15 days, it’s time to do one more long fast, this will be my longest and I don’t plan to do it again to be honest (anything this long…). We’ve been eating keto all year and will continue to the WOE, most likely forever.

I’m fasting for 20 days, first 5 will be black coffee, water, keto aid only. After that I’ll add bone broth, coconut oil, and/or HWC. I might not add those the fats in, it’s dependent on how I’m feeling and proceeding.

My wife is joining me, she’ll shoot for 30 days (she has more stores to draw from).

My purpose is:

  • Prove I can do this, pushing the boundaries to what will probably be my limit, coming from a Stoic point of view I’m just reminding myself that I can survive on very little subsistence
  • Autophagy- continue to reduce size of lipomas and other unseen internal benefits

Luckily for me, work stress is low now, the temps are just right (not cold outside…) and there is a lull in what’s going on in general, makes it a great time.


Good fasting to both you and your wife. Will be following your journey so please keep posting.

(Linda Culbreth) #3

You two go and encourage each other! Awesome!

(Tim W) #4

Thanks for the encouragement.

Wife is feeling rough, she had a stressful day at work (we have learned that can make a huge difference when fasting).

It was a good day on my end, the only time I experienced any hunger was at my “normal” eating time (have gotten into “too much” of an eating routine?).

I love being able to come on this forum and have a good conversation about this/get feedback, so few places we do openly discuss such “extreme” health interventions.

Good night to all!


Wow, best wishes, let us know how it goes for both of you.
It certainly a plus to have your spouse in the game with you!


What inspires you to do a longer fast like this? Do you find it works better or is easier in some way than fasting a few days here and there?

(Robert Carpenter) #7

In minute 28 of this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9Aw0P7GjHE&t=1831s) Jason Fung interview he mentions that ANY protein will turn off autophagy - he specifically mentions bone broth. So, if you want to get autophagy, you should skip the bone broth.

(Tim W) #8

One million percent true! When I first started this process she was NOT on board, but, over time, she saw that I didn’t pass out and die after going 24, then 48, then 72 (and so on) hours without food and she started to try it herself. I’m a lucky husband!

(Tim W) #9

Good question Darcy.

We started our journey fasting rather than eating keto. We found that fasting for 2-3 days resulted in 2-3 really crappy days of carb flu/keto flu but, once we got to day 4-5 we were fine and could go longer. So, we decided that if we were going to “pay the up front costs” we might as well fast for as long as we safely could to maximize fat loss and increase autophagy.

Now that we eat keto full time the first 2-3 days are not so bad (but they can still suck at times!) but we still find it easier to block out a week here or there or, for this fast, find a nice open period where not much else is going on and really push the boundaries to see how long we can safely go. My wife wants to lose another 70 pounds so I support the longer fasts as she really seems to respond well to them. We were both pre-type II before starting this and fasting really makes a difference in almost all health aspects, she’s off the metformin and I’ve never been healthier, especially now that I’ve quit carb-loading for running (running on fat now!).

This will be my longest fast, I doubt I’ll do more than a 5 or 7 day period after this. I will say this, Fung/Ramos talk about fasting being a muscle and I agree. I had gotten “too routine” about my eating habits and that made yesterday tough, at one point my “hunger” was an 8/10 (right at the point I normally ate each day). After this fast, I’m going to re-feed 7 to 10 days and then we are going to make it a routine to do one 24 hour fast each week just to keep the “muscle” active.

(Tim W) #10

Thanks for the link Rob!

I’m in a tricky spot. I want to fast on coffee and water alone to maximize autophagy BUT I’m also under 15% body fat (5’ 11" about 165 pounds) so I can hit a point where my energy drops to zero and I just feel like hell. I’ve been fasting and playing with the protocols for over a year and have a pretty good feel for when it’s just temporary discomfort or might be something to be concerned about.

Since I don’t want to lose muscle definition/lean mass but want to support the wife in staying the path I add in the fats and such to make life bearable for me, it’s a trade off but I’m sure I still get some benefits, if nothing else, just the mental “win” of breaking eating habits and building confidence that “if I can do this… what can’t I do?”.


The way we adapt to fasting better the more we do it - it gives one the impression that maybe we are meant to live in cycles of fasting and feasting, doesn’t it? :wink:

Wow congrats on 15% body fat and running on fat, and I can tell you from experience how great it is to have the support of your husband on this journey, so great job on being there for your wife!

I have only done a handful of fasts, but I am finding I like the ones that go longer than a few days best because I get to see some impressive results in weight loss and blood glucose lowering. I also enjoy the energy and mental clarity that I have while fasting, and which does not stick around for me when eating keto because I am still so diabetic. Most of all though I don’t like to transition between fasting and eating because my body doesn’t adjust well (GI). That does seem to improve a little with each fast though, as long as I don’t let too much time go by between fasts.

I find myself contemplating someday doing a longer fast, maybe two weeks up to 30 days even. Psychologically I was struggling doing a recent 7-day fast, so I think I’ll have to work up to longer ones. Then again, it might be better to just jump in and do it. Going on a long fast is attractive because I have been getting so discouraged watching my sugar swing back up again when I resume eating. I am wondering if I could get the sugar down and keep it down if I stuck with the fast for a long duration. It is something I’m going to bounce off of my new doctor that I will meet with the first time next week - assuming she’s open to fasting at all, and I think she will be, as a functional medical doc.

I am curious what your refeeding process looks like, if you don’t mind sharing what/how much you eat and drink, timing etc.

(Gabe) #12

Unlike many people on these forums, I am unconvinced about the benefits of extended fasts. Stephen Phinney has said on numerous occasions that the research shows that beyond 48 hours, you’re losing substantial lean body mass and cutting your basal metabolic rate.

As such, I do practise intermittent fasting, and intend to do a 48 hour fast soon, but beyond that, I have decided not to aspire to longer fasts.

If you decide to go ahead and do this, stay safe.


(Robert Carpenter) #13

I think the general message from Jason Fung on fasting at that low body fat % is “do not fast” but I encourage you to research further his exact message. Also, look up “refeeding syndrome” - this seems to be something that can be a problem for someone that does a significant fast starting out at a low body fat level.

(Tim W) #14

Thanks to all for your point of views and info.

I’m not gonna say I’m an expert at this but I have done extensive reading of books and peer reviewed medical studies, along with watching a great many hours of youtube videos, taking notes and learning what I can of the science behind this practice. From what I can tell, the body of knowledge is very limited and will probably stay that way since the general public is “scared” of fasting and there is so much money “on the other side” (selling us food/kitchen equipment/athletic gear and supplements etc…).

As with most things of this nature, a book, a video, a study, a certified personal trainer, a dietitian etc can’t tell me, with 100% certainty will and will not work for me. You hear it all the time in the area of nutrition/diet/exercise, you have to experiment and see what works for you.

Case in point, the Fung video listed earlier, great stuff and Fung says in the video that he doesn’t do longer fasts because they don’t fit into his life and he’s at a goal weight, he says the only reason he could think of doing a long fast if you are at goal weight is for the challenge, one of my motivations (I’ve consumed A LOT of Fung’s media, to the point that his verbal ticks [you know] have become annoying, still have massive respect for his POV).

As for Phinney, I’m aware of the “controversy” created by his statements but the way I understand it is that he’s said you COULD lose lean tissue but I agree with many who feel Phinney is being overly cautious (and I have a great deal of respect for Phinney as well).

Thanks again for the comments and feedback, I welcome them and enjoy the back and forth on this forum, it’s not facebook shouting wars and people getting overly emotional, very refreshing! Keep calm and fast on!

(Tim W) #15

Great point and, I think, pretty good support for the efficacy of the protocol. The fact that fasting works so well for some of us does seem to indicate an evolutionary point of origin.

I understand your thoughts and feelings on the process, it is an emotional one as well (wife is NOT having a good day at work and just having started the fast plus having the extra cortisol, it can be an emotional roller coaster, especially in the first few days, things seem to level out for her around day 4-5).

As for insulin control, from what I understand you’ll get a great deal of value from a 3 day fast, with 70% of the total insulin drop coming in the first 24 hours so I’d suggest folks don’t beat themselves up if not ready to push past any fasting goal. Do what works for you, if you can hit 3 days and get results, that’s great, it’s about what works for you, not about comparing numbers to others


I don’t discuss drinking on that post but I don’t really do anything special that day. I only drink water/black coffee/lacroix/keto aid 95% of the time anyway so I don’t have to change any gears on re-feeding day. I do stay away from alcohol for a week or so post fast, no reason to dump it on a body that’s in the re-building process.

(Ethan) #16

I agree. I don’t drink alcohol anyway, so there is nothing to worry about there. On fasting days, I drink only black coffee, water, and carbonated water (la croix, san pellegrino, perrier, etc.). I have emergency bone broth, too, but I haven’t needed it this time so far. I take a multivitamin and my regular medications. I stay away from any artificial sweeteners. Refeeding is always a concern though…will I overheat? Should I overeat?

(Doug) #17

Biff, yeah - there is some contradictory stuff out there. I’ve read all of Dr. Fung’s blogs, and sometimes he will project in ways that seem logical, but without concrete studies or demonstrated hard science. Not saying he’s wrong, not at all - just that once in a while it’s like something has to be taken on faith. That the body is usually reluctant to burn lean tissue makes sense to me, but I wish there would be a large (enough) scale study done where a lot of people would fast, and the before-and-after lean body mass would be tabulated.


It would be fun to fast as part of a study. As fun as fasting can be anyway.

(Ethan) #19

Sadly, As Dr. Fung says, they won’t let him do the study


Hahahahaha, “…that I didn’t pass out and die…”, this is so common isn’t it?
You are indeed blessed to have her working this with you, fare well ketonians!