20 day fast, AKA WTF was I thinking?

(Tim W) #41

Thanks for the reminder Ron! That’s a good point and to be honest, I was behind in my sodium. I’ve taken a couple of hits since earlier today and am nagging my wife to do the same so she doesn’t get behind like she did a few fasting periods ago, she waited too long between sessions of taking her sodium and had to stop fasting for a few days, re-feed, and then start again, with extra sodium, we both know the lesson but can be bad at following the rules that we know work.

(Tim W) #42

Sorry I’m just now getting back to this, been very busy the last few days, that’s a good thing because it’s made the days go by, it’s been rough a few days though, every is great when moving around but runs out kind of quick. I have a theory that fat takes longer to burn/process and when we run out the process of burning the “next” pound in order to re-fill our stores is noticeable and one of the things that makes this tough.

Going forward with my response, a few assumptions/biases/general thoughts:

  1. Studies are flawed in lots of ways, the list can long. I don’t want to get into “your study VS my study” but I still think that that studies are a guideline rather than something to be followed as gospel. For example, a study is written, it is flawed, the abstract is sensationalized so it’s published, the media gets a hold of it and by the time we are reading “sugar is good for you!” (and not taking the time to read the actual study) the data/info/truth is far from clear.
  2. We all suffer from biases and psychological failures, we often seek confirming evidence and once we form an opinion, we find it hard to stray from that. I’ll admit I’m as guilty as this as anyone BUT I try very hard to be open to new ideas (like switching to a keto diet…) and know that I can fool myself easily (Richard Feynman’s quote) but I try to do diligent research and form my own opinions/seek good data/evidence.
  3. Because of the factors above, I maintain that to find out what works for ME I need to do a series of experiments and dial in what I can do, ignore much/most of the “noise” in nutrition/health/fitness and confirm what’s best for me, and realize that it might not be the best thing for my spouse, my kids, my neighbors etc.

That’ said:

Reviewing Phinney’s video, let’s consider a few points:

Phinney discusses 5 peer reviewed studies when making the following points:

  • Zero concerns with a fast up to 16 hours but one or more of the studies he’s referencing involves protein malnourished patients (I get plenty of protein when eating, I feast before going into a fast including consuming protein shakes.)
  • Fasts over 48 hours, body breaks down some protein for gluconegensis, this process increases over 4 days when it levels out over 4 days and slows down to 1/4 pound of LBM per day.

I fasted for 15 days in Mar/April. Taking Phinney’s numbers I would have lost 14 pounds of LBM during that time. Considering that I started that fast at 165 and ended at 153, I don’t think that all 12 pounds were LBM, a good amount was water weight, some of it was surely fat (my pic in earlier post was post 15 day fast…).

Continuing the point above, Phinney says that most healthy human can tolerate this level of LBM (I’d maintain that his numbers are “high” and it’s obvious most healthy folks can tolerate it… look at all those doing it on this forums and others like reddit etc).

  • Phinney states that metabolism goes down due to long fasts, that it will drop 25% within a week or two of total fast. Not sure what study this comes from (I could not find them/got tired of looking) but if it’s from the study involving protein starved patients, how does that apply to me? (lots more issues about studied used in a bit). I personally have not seen this slowdown, it would lead to weight gain when eating “normal keto” post fast. I can easily control my weight post fast, beer causes it to go up, not drinking beer results in maintaining weight. Phinnney says resting metabolism will only go up when sodium is reduced (not sure where this was going). I might do some more digging on this idea in the future.

Now- back to the LBM concept. Phinney is using the studies that discuss nitrogen loss (it’s a proxy for protein loss). One of those studies had 14 patients, 9 obese and 4 non-obese, one was “protein free” (whatever that means). This study of 14 patients can’t be a proxy for every human, it’s a guideline and something to “jump off from” but I refuse to accept that the data from this one study is enough info to ignore my own results and scare anyone from fasting. If I remember correctly, another one of the studies only had 9 patients total, once again, low numbers that have (in my estimate) a very near chance of being a proxy for how my body, with all it’s unique variables, will react to a long term fast. Phinney does say that obest people were relatively protected from the nitrogen loss when fasting, for what that’s worth.

Other notes, he discusses:

  • Re-feeding (be careful)
  • Autophagy- he says it’s an ideological term that he doesn’t put much stock in because we turn over cells daily and he says that he doesn’t know if cleansing (fasting) is any better than keto levels (high) of beta hydroxybuterate but, he doesn’t have a definitive answer. Response: Phinney admit’s he’s not sure and leaves it open. Taking this into account with the information/POV of Jason Fung, Rhonda Patrick and plenty of others, I think there is plenty of evidence and support that autophagy is real. In my own experience, I’ve felt the best in my life 2-4 days post fast (due to creation of new cells/mitochondria once the feeding begins?).

Lastly, having read Art and Science of LC living by Phiney and Volek, they discuss how the average person has over 40K calories available to them (from stored body fat). If our RMR were to run 2K cals, then shouldn’t we be able to go 20 days on that? This doesn’t take into account working out when doing a long term fast but if the idea of “using” that 40K of calories while on a keto diet works, why doesn’t it “work” when fasting?

Having used an IF/fasting/Keto protocol for over a year now, and having exercised a great deal/and for long periods, while fasted, maybe I’ve acclimated my body and Phinney’s concern about LBM doesn’t apply to me, I’d submit that it won’t apply to everyone, if not a very small portion of the population, as long as you are not truly starving or living on a VERY low calorie diet for long periods, and THEN fasting, then Phinney’s referenced studies/points just don’t convince me.

I hope this makes sense and doesn’t ramble too much. I’m at that point where I can’t sleep that well due to very high ketone levels and, when awake, have a very clear mind but some difficulty with communicating effectively (a little scatter brained/hard to focus at times).

I’ll come back to this and try and clean it up over the next few days.

Cheers to all, six days almost down, only 14 to go!

(Mike Glasbrener) #43

I’ll toss in another thought or two. The way studies are crafted are exceptionally difficult and can really affect the interpretation of those results. I’d be willing to bet that controlling for pre fast macros and caloric intake prior to fast wasn’t well controlled. If you are Keto and fat adapted I bet your body switches to burning body fat quite easily. This is my personal experience. Fasting is quite easy for me for 1 or two days. I’ve never gone longer for social reasons. If you are a carb burner and fast I’d bet the first time you fast you body goes under much more stress scavenging glycogen and once that’s gone it’s trouble. Perhaps those individuals are more predisposed to burning more LBM thsn fat adapted individuals.

Again looking at how studies are crafted and how what they’ve chosen to control may affect the results is really important.

(Tim W) #44

Excellent points! I would agree with you and I’d bet money that fasting after a keto diet and becoming fat adapted is VERY different from fasting after a carb diet.

We started fasting before going keto, it made the first several days (2-3) some of the most miserable days of our lives as we cleared the body of excess glucose, if nothing else, it was much more difficult psychologically.

Great points Mike, thanks for adding to the discussion.

(Bella Tricks) #45

in a ketovangelist podcast i just listened to, Megan Ramos talks about how to find the salt level for you. Upwards of a tsp to a tsp & a half (for short fast) Or 2 tsp and up for EF.
… At 26min 20sec.

7 days down! Go you two!

(Tim W) #46

Good stuff BellaTricks, thanks!

I’m always having to remind myself to keep taking the sodium, we tend to forget when our energy levels are high and then get behind, leading to a crash. Between the sodium and the supplements, you really have to stay ahead of things are a fast can easily go into a spin.

Thanks for the kind words!

Day 8 begins.

(Tim W) #47

Dawn is rising on day 8 (not really, getting a lot of rain here, a tropical depression, nothing like Texas though!). Did not sleep that well last night, this usually happens for a night or two, followed by a night of deep sleep.

Day 7 was spent at work, grocery shopping, working out back on the deck and prepping the yard and home for the wind and rain.

Energy levels were low when not moving, they tend to stay that way now. If we sit down for any period of time we can do mental tasks (we did our taxes after 12 days of fasting last year, seemed to work out…) and just relax, read a book, surf the net etc. But, as soon as we get up, and wait for the head rush to clear (or just stand up and don’t move for 30 seconds) and start moving, the low energy state makes you want to sit down. If we keep moving, we find the energy to keep doing what we are doing, working outside/mowing the grass/exercising etc. This is why Phinney and Volek suggest sodium 30 minutes prior to working out and a long warm up when eating keto, it’s even more important when fasting, to get some sodium and then a nice long warm up before doing any physical activity, and then it’s possible to run/lift weights/rake leaves etc.

Hunger levels have been 1/10 up to 3/10, no higher than that. Sunday I cooked a weeks worth of food for kid, including bacon in the house, burgers and chicken on the grill, it wasn’t easy or pleasant but at no time was I unable to pass up sneaking a bit. We’ve been to a grocery store several times in the past week and bought food for kid, no big deal, no over-purchasing has occurred. Yesterday while working in the yard I smelled someone else baking and someone cooking out, that led to about a 3/10.

I will say this, the food dreams have started, I’ve had one the last couple of nights. In addition, we are at that point when we are reminded of all of the ways food is tied into our society. Watching regular TV (who does that anymore) results in being inundated with food commercials, reading a magazine results in seeing multiple adds for food/snacks/booze etc, you really have to work to isolate yourself from all the food porn and can’t escape it in some ways (buy screws at home depot and you have to ignore the food and soda stand at the checkouts…).

We are holding in there, almost half way! I’m so grateful to have the flexibility in life/work/home/family to do something like this, I realize not everyone has the right situation/circumstances (job flexibility/family support/good health) to do something like this, but, I don’t know that I’d say “don’t do it” to anyone who was healthy enough and had the right situation and support system, it can be a very empowering thing.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

(Tim W) #48

Day 8 is almost over.

I spent the morning working out (indoor warm up and circuit set of weights, not too heavy) followed by housework and admin stuff.

I learned a new lesson, after a period of time (normally day 7-9) I get to a point where just the idea of black coffee makes my mouth feel nasty (acid levels in the stomach?).

So I had some starbucks cold brew, black (we get it cheap at the military commissary and buy quite a bit of it) with a splash of pure peppermint extract. Yes, the bucks has some calories (about 10 per serving) and yes, the peppermint has a few more (less than .05 per serving) but yes, that shit was GOOD!

When you are fasting and just need SOMETHING to provide some flavor, give this a try, might want to stay away from the glycerin based extracts, from what I can surmise, they have about 7 carbs per serving where the glycerol based do not. I was about to use a maple extract for the flavor before I decided to check, glad I did, not that the 7 cals would have ruined my efforts but I don’t want to cut any corners.

I promised SO that I’d consume some HWC or bone broth at this point if I felt like rolled dog shit but, to be honest, I feel so good (HGH and adrenaline release from work out) I’m not going down that road just yet. I’ll keep chill and fast on for as long as I can without those, although I REALLY want some damn HWC in my morning Joe, it will wait, it will wait…

Goodnight to all!

(Fallili) #49

Nice, Biff. It’s great to read your comments each day.


Just chiming in to give you some encouragement. Eight days, nine days, they will come and go. I wonder what you may be thinking of, beyond food, and if you are looking inward or outward more? A philosophical question really, but I feel that fasting can lead me down that sort of road.

There are so many things to do in life, to learn, to aid another, to educate and create…many ways to focus on anything besides nutrition and gastronomic musings.

Best wishes to you as you continue on your adventure!

(Tim W) #51

Excellent question Helewisa. I try to live a stoic life and this process greatly contributes to that. It’s been bad weather here so I’ve been posting a lot, otherwise I’d be outside working in my yard/on a deck addition or exercising/hiking in the local area a lot more than I have been these last few days. In addition, I’ve been reading a great deal and working on a few side jobs for my post military employment. I am very blessed in that my relief is at work and I have a lot of freedom, I take advantage of it.

Thanks for the kind words!


Thanks for the answer!
Reading and getting projects accomplished works for me as well, and certainly, the freedom to choose what and when to do what you want to is fantastic. It sounds like you are well situated to work on this EF ;-D

(Tim W) #53

As a pretty severe introvert who can become a misanthrope from time to time, I’m extremely well situated for it :smile:

I am very blessed in that I’m at a time and place where I can focus on things other than work, allowing me to spend more time at home (I’m practically a stay at home dad and I LOVE IT!). After several stressful years (about 8 in a row as a matter of fact) in the military, the down time is relaxing, fasting, meditation, practicing guitar and reading books like there is no tomorrow all serve to reduce built up stress, increase energy levels and prepare me for the next season of life. I might not attempt something as “out there” as a 20 day fast if I wasn’t in this place, especially since it’s not for weight loss.

My spouse (who has decided to try and push out to 38 days or so, she thought I’d say no, I surprised her by saying to give it a shot but she’d better keep her sodium and supplements going and not get behind) goes to work daily and she experiences swings caused by the cortisol and other factors, I think I’ve had it a little easier considering I’ve been able to stay home for most of this process.

Sorry to ramble on, waiting for it to dry up outside before getting to business. I find that these high keytones make me “chatty”.

Have a fine fine Navy day!

(Doug) #54

‘Turn to,’ Biff and keep 'er going…

(Jason) #55

Will you be doing this fast under medical supervision? I ask, because everything I have read has recommended this. Sorry if you posted the answer to this question in the comments, but I only skimmed through.

(Tim W) #57

(Forgot to post as reply to SouthFLJay vs reply to entire post…)

Technically, no, I’m not being supervised by a doc.

On the other hand, my wife is a medical assistant with over 12 years in that field, she is my medical supervision. :smile:

I have been fasting in one for or another (started with IF) for more than a year and would consider myself fairly experienced at this. I’ve done over 10 3+ day fasts and up to 15 days and have a good feel for danger signs etc.

(Tim W) #58

It’s been a long day, nearly half way!

I got up and went for a run, and then the paver guy showed up so I moved dirt with him for several hours. My thighs are toast so I had some bone broth to help recover. I’ve got that deep ache that tells me they are gonna protest tomorrow!

Wife is doing great, her energy is ok, hunger for both of us is low (especially for me after that nice bowl of broth, still, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be but it served it’s purpose).

On to day 10.


I wager 20 quatloos your legs are pretty good tomorrow. :slight_smile:

(Kimberly) #60

Very impressed sailor! Been fun to listen along!

(Tim W) #61

Thanks to all for the comments and Peter you would win the bet,my legs were pretty good today, I’m sure the mag bath I took last night helped.

Today was a long day, I started moving dirt at 0800 and didn’t stop till 1200. Took an hour break and then back to the yard until just about an hour ago.

No bone broth or such today, for most of the day I’ve felt like I could go on like this for an indefinite period of time. At this point, I may push the 20 day mark, since this is designed to be my longest, probably for life…

If my energy level stays this high and my hunger stays this low, who knows. I actually cooked steak/burgers/chicken and dogs for kiddo tonight, cut the steaks up and put it all away for future meals, didn’t even lick a finger with juice on it…

Day 10 comes to a close, half way (maybe?).