20 day fast, AKA WTF was I thinking?

(A Very Hungry Bunny) #82

Yeah I’m in a small town this week. I guess I should check at the market, but I’ll just wait til I can make it myself.


You might also like Bill Bryson’s The History of Everything’. Also Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World’.
I haven’t read Cosmos for ages but it sure is engrossing.

(Tim W) #84

Great books Peter, I enjoy anything by both authors. I read Bryson’s “Walk in the Woods” in a night, he’s such an enjoyable read.

(Tim W) #85

I founds some chicken feet at walmart last week, used them and beef bones from kroger to slow cook my broth in a slow cooker for two days, cooked the hell out of those things and have a nice layer of fat on top with lots of gelatin in the broth, my wife thinks it tastes nasty but it doesn’t bother me in the least.

(Tim W) #86

I have, it’s an interesting concept.


I love me some chicken broth made from chicken feet. Yum!

(Tim W) #88

A quick update:

Did not sleep well Thursday night, stupid cat in the window made sure of that.

That left me very tired and cranky all day Friday (day 18) which makes it a great time to remind everyone how important sleep is, especially when doing something like this, you gotta get your sleep!

I spent Friday reading and doing inside stuff and taking a walk of 3 miles or so. My hunger level was 10/10, energy was 2/10, a little higher after the walk but not by much. I had some bone broth in the afternoon to ensure I’d have enough strength to make it through to Monday.

Slept ok last night but woke at 0400 and tossed and turned (as did the wife), it’s funny how we can never manage to stay asleep on the mornings we could sleep in.

I started out today (day 19) tired and not much energy but after getting outside and moving some piles of sand and a few hundred pavers my energy perked up and I was able to move around for several hours without issue. Hunger is 8/10, watching kid eat dinner isn’t easy but it is what it is. Lesson learned, when fasting, when you are just too tired to do anything, try moving around and getting the blood flowing, you might find you are able to stay busy and that’s helpful too, it keeps your mind of what you are doing.

So, I’m always cold, I’m almost always hungry, I’ve had food dreams the last few nights and, if I’m not busy working in the yard or reading an engrossing book, I think about food, thankfully I’m almost done with this. I’ve had some up days, some down days but at no point have I felt like there was no way to finish this out, the suck factor has climbed to 10/10 a few times but, overall, it’s been manageable.

One more “full day” to go, technically, 2100 Sunday night is the “end” of day 20 but I’m waiting to eat until Monday. I’m going to start the morning with butter and heavy cream in coffee, a few hours later I’ll have a boiled egg and slice of bacon, then I’ll wait for a few hours before having anything else. If all goes well dinner will be steak and eggs and a nice big spinach salad.

Day 20, here we come! Good night all!

(Tim W) #89

Day 21 of 20. I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with some heavy cream and 2 TSP of kerry gold butter. I am done. I looked at my wife last night and said that I might go longer, she said “oh no, you are eating…”.

The last few days I’ve been short tempered (but who wouldn’t be when your contractor keeps showing up randomly and takes 2 hours to do a 30 minute job? If this guy wasn’t so cheap…).

I’ve also been freezing cold, it’s in the high 70s here, but I’m cold all the time, energy level is in the pits unless I’m constantly moving, then it picks up and stays ok while moving but as soon as I sit down, I could sit all day, something I never do unless I’m sick.

So, I’m taking it slow and easing into eating today, I made the goal of 20 days and I will have this to look back on when times are tough, what could be harder than this in life? (I know, many/many/many things, but what will I run into in my future that might top this? I’m a privileged white male in a capitalist society enjoying decent financial status, how rough is my life gonna get…).

I still have lots of lipomas on my body and they are too deep to really get a good measure on (maybe a future scan followed by a 7 day fast, then another scan, who knows…) but, the process of doing without and learning to live without, that was one of my main goals, I re-learned many of the lessons I’ve learned before:

  • We don’t have to eat every 20 minutes to prevent death, we can miss a few meals, no matter what the fast food companies/grocery stores/supplement manufacturers would have us believe

  • Food is energy, we should consider it energy first, then, maybe pleasure, but it should be de-coupled from Love, from reward, from joy. Yes, it’s AWESOME to sit down and have a meal as a family but the purpose of that meal is the family time, not the food. We’ve attached too much meaning to that piece of cake at a birthday party, the smiles on the kids faces because they are running around in the sunshine, that’s the value, not the cheetos/juice boxes/bullshit we hand out.

-As a society (in the US) we are too fixated on food and the odds are against us. There is so much money being spent on getting us to eat, and then more being spent of helping us lose the weight that we gain from eating the wrong crap, and then more on the meds and supplements etc. When you are “outside looking in” it’s so clear, when you are a fish in the water, you don’t know you’re in the water. Clearing the mind of simple glucose and the insulin spikes makes it easier to think and see the challenges against healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle.

-We can live/exercise/thrive on a lot fewer calories than we think. We don’t have to fast to enjoy the benefits of low insulin and lowered insulin response, I think we can go hyper-low calories and enjoy some of the same benefits without metabolic slow-down, but it’s a VERY thin line, where it lies, I’m not sure, maybe that’s the next experiment, how low can I keep calories, and be able to exercise in the manner I like, and not get depressed and not be cold all the time, and not lower metabolism… the next frontier! I am considering fasting for 3-5 days and then running a 32 mile race next February. I’ve ran that distance before, after a 12 hour fast, and ate nothing during the run, maybe this time I push the boundary harder.

Ok, I’ve got blabber mouth, I didn’t sleep well last night so I’m all over the place… sorry if this was rambling. Time for a second cup of coffee, then out to cut the grass!

(Liz ) #90

Congratulations on your achievement! I’ve really enjoyed following your progress through this challenge. Love your ramblings too lol. I look forward to your next experiments and wish you well!

(Doug) #91

Good job, Biff. :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree - this is an interesting area to look at. I bet it varies, person to person, but have seen good results with many people at 800 or less calories per day.

(Adrienne P.) #92

I just joined today and skimmed through your fasting experience. Lots of good information in there. Good job for staying with it so long!

(Tim W) #93

Thanks everyone, been outside moving bricks again today, almost done with the patio, it’s a little easier to move around now that I’m eating.

(Justin Traer) #94

Phinney does say that but in one of the videos on Youtube he states that obese people seem to be spared from lean body mass loss during extended fasts.

He didn’t want to elaborate any further as it would have been speculation on his part.

(Monica Dritschel) #95

Hi! It’s amazing that you’ve done this! I am just about to embark upon a 21 day fast. I’ve done a 14 day fast before and felt so good! I have Crohn’s disease and bulimia and it seemed to really help both those symptoms, I just wish I’d worked on the issues surrounding the bulimia while fasting asnow it’s come back with a vegnance and is really making the inflammation from crohns much worse. I’m hoping to do a little bit of working out in the beginning too and try and get plenty of rest as I’ll be working 3 days a week. I’m not sure if I should take magnesium and zinc and havdbnne broth…would you recommend supplements while fasting? Do you have any tips that helped you get through the initial days too?:slight_smile:

(Tim W) #96

Good questions.

Supplements while fasting, I absolutely would take them. I wouldn’t do anything “new” like add something you have not been taking before but, if you are using something regularly, I’d continue to take it during the fast, things like zinc, mag, sodium, potassium (be careful with potassium, know your “dose”).

You have to do what works for you, I found that zinc/mag/pot/fish oil every day kept the cramps at bay and seemed to have a positive impact on overall health. I also had a keto aid daily, salt on the tongue several times a day and lots of water. I took the supplements with my coffee, that seemed to reduce the gastro distress that some items can cause when fasting and taking all of that on a truly empty stomach.

Bone broth- if it works for you and helps you continue the fast, I used it every fourth or fifth day as needed.

Tips to get through the initial days:

  • Ensure that you eat lots of fats in the days before the fast
  • Have a good support system, my wife and I fast together, making it much easier
  • Know you why, why are you fasting? Write it down, refer to it
  • Know that it gets easier, if you are in good health (more on that in a minute) then fasting will often get easier sometime after day 3 or so, it varies from person to person when you “get over the hump” but it truly does get easier in many cases

Now, the elephant in the room. If you have an eating disorder, does it make sense to play with this protocol? I’d be hesitant to suggest it. If one of my kids/friends/co-workers suggested something like this and I knew they had an eating disorder, I’d suggest they stay away from fasting until they gain control of that issue.

Are you seeing anyone about that?

(Monica Dritschel) #97

Thankyou for all your tips! Yeah I’ll try taking the supplements with coffee and salt under the tounge-I didn’t do that last time which may have been why I felt a bit dizzy sometimes. I know my current state of health from crohns is not at all good and this is the primary reason while I’m doing this. I believe bulimia is a primarily a habit as well as a coping mechanism and having time and space away from food to reflect on what the emotions and triggers are for the behaviour could really help. I’ve been to see multiple people about the bulimia but I still haven’t been able to break the habit. The only time I’ve cone close is when I completed my 14 day fast previously. I’m a bmi of 24.5 so I felt as though I would be safe enough to try fasting to try and feel physically better as well as having a fresh start at life! It would be great to be able to do this with someone else but I’ve found a fasting hypnosis on YouTube which seems to really help me to keep going as well as the support on these forums! I know it does get better once you break through the initial days, the cravings for food really do go away. I’m up for this challenge, I really think it’s something worth trying and that fasting can do miricles for your body and mind! I’ll let you know how I get on, thanks for getting in touch :slight_smile:

(Richard Hanson) #98

Hi Ron,

Thanks for your informative post.

I do think that Dr. Fung was a bit … well overreaching in some of his blog post comments and I love this informational dense graphic.


First, the initial state of the graph appears to be someone eating a SAD diet where the body is utilizing a mix of fuels. If we total the three we are looking at about 2300 kcal/day to 2400 kcal/day. (day -5)

So the main question is this – if you fast for long enough, doesn’t your body start to burn muscle in excess of what it was doing previously in order to produce glucose for the body. Hell, no. Dr. Fung.

This conclusion is not supported by the graph presented. At the initial sate, the body was fed and we can not say if the body was metabolizing exogenous or endogenous protein, or both. At some point, there will be no more exogenous protein as whatever was in the digestive system at the time the fast was initialized will have been depleted. The issue is that in Dr. Fung’s statement, “your body start to burn muscle” should read your “body start to burn protein”. It might well be that the source of that protein was primarily exogenous at the beginning and primarily LBM at the end.

If we interpret this graph as typical of someone who is eating SAD and starts an extended fast, the we can see the spike in carb burning, coresponsing with the utilizaiton of stored glycogen at the start of the fast, followed by a very rapid decline to a basel level of about 50 g/day which is the rate at which the body would produce glucose to fuel the brain after fat adaption, gluconeogenesis. We see a transition form exogenous to endogenous utilization of glucose.

On the protein curve, we also see an initial upswing in protein utilization at day 0. This is consistent with the body temporarily utilizing protein as an emergency source of fuel while fat burning is ramping up.

But anywho, this is a graph of where the energy to power our bodies comes from, from the start of fasting. At time zero, you can see that there is a mix of energy coming from carbs, fat and protein. Within the first day or so of fasting, you can see that the body initially starts by burning carbs (sugar) for energy. However, the body has limited ability to store sugar. So, after the first day, fat burning starts. Dr. Fung.

The graph does not show “where the energy to power our bodies comes from”, it shows what fuels the body was burning for energy. The source of that energy is changing dramatically over time form energy in our diet to energy stored in our body.

What happens to protein? Well, the amount of protein consumed goes down. There is certainly a baseline low level of protein turnover, but my point is that we do not start ramping up protein consumption. We don’t start burning muscle, we start conserving muscle. Dr. Fung.

The data presented in the graph do not support this conclusion. If initially, the source of protein was exogenous, and at the end the source of protein is endogenous then just the opposite is happening, the body is starting to burn LBM, it is starting to burn muscle as it no longer has a dietary source of protein. Yes, the total use of protein as a source of energy is declining over time, but the graph does not show the source of that protein.

I still love this graph, not so much as an attempt to sustain a conclusion that fasting does not result in the loss of LBM, but what is happening when someone stops eating a SAD diet and transitions into a state of ketosis.

Finally, I would note that at the end at day 30, total energy expenditure is about 1300 kcal/day to 1400 kcal/day which is not inconsistent with the view of Dr. Phinney that fasting results in a slowing of metabolism.

I am a big fan of Dr. Fung, but I also think he has a tendency to … overreach a bit in his enthusiasm. This is an example of that behavior and my personal preference is for those who are much more conservative in their conclusions, acting with prudent caution.

Oh … did I say that I love this graphic? I would love to see a similar graphic where the initial state was people eating ketogenic instead of SAD.

Keto for Life!

Best Regards,

(Michael Tranchina) #99

I agree that there may be downsides that offset positives in healthy, lean folks when doing longer fasts…However, Science supports longer fasts for treating chronic disease…

Check out this documentary “The Science of Fasting”:

Autophagy does seems to be more than and ideology…

(Monica Dritschel) #100

wow that really gives me a lot of hope as a sufferer with crohns disease, which is chronic. The refeeding process following a fast though must be equally as important…I felt immense relief from symptoms after a 14 day fast. I hope this 21 day fast will be even an even higher step up in the healing process of this. So far i have had no stomach pain, although i am only on day 1, I’m not sure what the detox symptoms are going to be like further down the line. Thanks so much for posting this :slight_smile:

(Bella Tricks) #101

Hey, i just caught up with your thread. well done.
any further reflections?
This is great. again…well done