Karim's Extended Fast Tracker - come along for the ride

(Karim Wassef) #942

A couple of things that have helped me …

Salt - I literally have a small bag of salt and I dab my finger into it and put that in my mouth… yes, even in public…

ACV shots - I’ve been taking straight ACV shots (1/2 shots) and I feel almost immediate relief.

(Karim Wassef) #943

Ok… some interesting observations comparing last year to this year!

I didn’t capture fat and muscle separately last year so all I have is fat vs. non-fat. Still, it is useful I think.

So I started at a lower weight and fat level and lost at a slightly higher rate (both fat and non-fat).

But here’s the interesting part… I plotted the data on two different scales so the lines can start at the same point. The scales are the same though so the lines are still comparable…

First, I notice that the non-fat loss this year is lower. This may be due to starting at a higher fat content to begin with? It may also be a function of lower stress (much happier this year)? Or it could just be adaptation since this is now my third fast over 10 days…

Second, the fat loss rate is comparable even though I’ve been feeling a lot more discomfort. I expected better but I guess this is consistent…

Third (and most important) is that both fat and non-fat loss rate reduced significantly after two weeks (right about this point). My suspicion is that my metabolic rate shifted down to minimize the loss right around then. I do remember feeling a lot more lethargic and tired on my third week… eventually getting to the point where I stopped at 19 days.

This may have also been a matter of hitting a particular fat level, not the duration of the fast. It happened around 34lbs of fat or 20% bf. I’m currently at 40lbs (22.4%) so I probably have another 6lbs of fat in me before I hit that wall again.

Curiously, the scale actually indicated a fat mass INCREASE for the first time in that fast which can only be the result of increased water retention. This lasted for three days before it finally gave up and purged the fluid. I wonder what would have happened if I had continued for another week…

To those so inclined - take a look at the results and let me know what you see!

(Karim Wassef) #944

Also thought that my ketone ramp this year was slower but the data actually shows that it’s faster. This is where memory fails and data wins…

(Karim Wassef) #945

Day 13 final

GKI of 0.35 … I think that’s a personal record … and I do feel better

(Mary) #946

Hi Karim,

I’ve been following along on your journey and, as many others here have stated, am fascinated by the amount of data you’re keeping track of. It’s definitely the most helpful record of an extended fast that I’ve ever seen.

“How do I tap into my internal reserves when my biology is either unwilling or incapable of doing so?”

This is the big question I’m struggling with and it’s driving me insane. If insulin is the driver of fat storage (and release) then how do I get it low enough so that my body can actually use my stored fat? Heaven knows I’ve got enough of it :smile:. The only thing I can come up with (after a year of strict keto with almost no weight loss) is to fast until my body cries “uncle” and has to use my damn fat in order to survive. I’m on day 7 and have lost about 10 lbs (didn’t weigh until day 3) so perhaps this is the answer. I’ve done 6 days before but am now in uncharted territory. We’ll see what happens.

Thank you again for sharing your detailed records with us.


(PJ) #947

Mary @Countdown2020 are you on any medications? What do you drink? Sometimes people eat keto but there are other things driving insulin up and the result is not much if any weight loss.

(PJ) #948

Karim I like the multiple graphs small and close together - what program are you using for that?

(Mary) #949

Hi PJ,
No, no drinking or meds. I think it’s just a case of extreme hyperinsulinemia from a lifetime of food abuse. Anyway, I woke up this morning and felt physically satisfied for the very first time, like I’d eaten a meal. I suspect this might be the illusive fat adaptation…

(Karim Wassef) #950

Day 14 - two weeks fasted! Woot!

I woke up feeling better today. No hunger or distress. I think I feel better on day 14 than I did on day 7. It takes time for my body to accept and cope but it eventually does. Lost another pound so that’s 22lbs in 2 weeks with 14lbs of fat and 2.5lbs of muscle with the rest being water and waste (so much water and waste)… :smiley:

I do feel better in the 170s. My clothes fit better and I can workout a lot easier if not harder. On the same scale, the fat loss is clearly 5x that of muscle loss and that is also encouraging. In fact, the muscle loss looks almost flat in comparison.

I also do believe that having friends and family around is important in minimizing my symptoms (mimicking depression). My view is that food does provide an opportunity to enjoy life. It’s not necessary but it does stimulate the brain positively. In the case of carbs, it’s a downright drug, but even keto foods are a source of pleasure.

Even OMAD keto was a pleasure (I love my fats). While I travel for work, I lose out on the pleasure I get from family too. So that’s two source of pleasure lost. I enjoy my work, but life is more. I do get pleasure from learning and scientific exploration - so this forum and my data analytics are actually really important to me and key to my success.

Ok - compared to last year:

I’m now at the exact same fat and non-fat loss rate as last year…

The non-fat chart shows that I’m doing a little better but it’s in the noise at this point. I was using Leucine supplementation last year and that may have accelerated my non-fat loss?

The results are overall encouraging… I have more confidence now that I can get to by 21 day target.

(Karim Wassef) #951

Congratz on breaking your previous record! It’s an outstanding achievement.

I think low insulin is one key of the puzzle but I don’t think it’s enough. There are other factors that are involved in accessing body fat and we’re just now starting to figure that out.

The body usually lowers metabolic rate to economize. This is one big hurdle - so mild exercise should stimulate this.

My biggest historical hurdle was stress. Cortisol drives the body to convert its own muscle or lean mass into glucose via gluconeogenesis… the wasting of lean mass reduces metabolic rate even further. It’s like the body is fighting back against using fat until it’s in real dire circumstances.

Another one is access to the body fat. Whether it’s mobilizing it through the lymphatic system or accessing it through the vascular system.

My personal view is that the key hormone to understand is glucagon and it’s rarely talked about. If I could drive research, I would look at each and every action, inaction, food, fasting regiment, or nutrient that increases the release of glucagon. We talk a lot about reducing insulin, but I can’t find enough content on increasing glucagon quickly and aggressively.

We’re all on the health journey together… thanks for sharing yours! :smiley:

(Karim Wassef) #952

I use excel and I modify it as I like.

(Mary) #953

Thanks Kariim,

Yes, exercise is definitely on the mild side - I walk 3-5 km daily and pretty slowly as the sidewalks are icy. But it feels good to get outside and breathe the air. I’m sure you’re right about the body lowering it’s metabolic rate - I find I’m cold quite often but am unsure if that’s not just because of the cold snap we’re having. Will let you know next week :grin:

One thing I’m doing which seems to be surprisingly effective is “talking” to my body - when I get hunger pangs (fewer, now that I’m 8 days in) I gently suggest that it look to my fat stores for energy. Believe it or not, it works!

Interesting on the glucagon. I’m sure that if you can’t find the studies, they’re not there to be found - yet. I’ll just keep on fasting :slightly_smiling_face:

By the way, why 21 days? You haven’t got a lot of body fat so I can see why you wouldn’t want to go longer, but I’m curious about the timing.


(Karim Wassef) #954

Each year, I try to beat my historic best. Last year, I made it to 19 days. This year, I plan to beat it even if by a modest margin. Last year, I started at 193lbs and this year I’m starting at 201lbs so technically I should be able to go for 8 days longer, not just 2. So I really should have set the target to 27 days…

If I can go longer, I would but I’m not sure I’m ready to a 4 week fast just yet. :smiley:

Also, if I do, next year’s target would have to be greater than that. I’ll probably keep going until I get to 56 days (8 weeks). That’s my ultimate annual goal. If I can get there, I’ll probably stop and make it an annual event. Once I have enough data, I’ll figure out what my appropriate starting weight should be and plan for it accordingly - basically building up sufficient body fat before the fast to be able to sustain the longer fasts. I don’t prescribe to the idea that body fat is bad, but I do believe that the process of building it could be. I’ve been able to build up body fat very slowly by exceeding my metabolic rate with fats and protein. It’s adipose fat which is protective.

I’ll continue to measure to make sure I’m healthy but the target of 8 weeks is where I expect I can extract the most benefits of annual autophagy for longevity. Why 8 weeks? I don’t have an answer for that just yet, but it’s my balancing point between extreme and insufficient. :smiley:

I expect it’ll take me a decade to get there, if I can ever get there.

(Karim Wassef) #955

Day 14 final

(Mary) #956

Ah, I see. At 56 days, you should expect to lose 28 lbs of fat and according to Richard’s formula, you’d only be able to access 1500 cals/day (assuming you carry 22 lbs of “essential” fat). Will you supplement fat?

(Karim Wassef) #957

No. I think my lean weight is ~ 160lbs at my current muscle mass. If I gain more muscle that would go up.

If I start at 210lbs each year, I should have enough to sustain me for 8 weeks. That’s based on my current data. I’ll continue to collect more data though.

I will basically safely fatten up each year to prep. I’ll use the bulking time to build as much muscle as possible too :smiley:

(Mary) #958

It’s a rather odd idea (fattening in order to fast) but absolutely brilliant to enable a person to do a long fast annually in order to avoid disease.

Hopefully, this forum will still be around in 10 years so we can follow along :grin:

(Karim Wassef) #959

Our ancestors did it and so do many animals today. Our biology and physiology is not much different.

Most bodybuilders use bulking and shredding to gain size and retain fitness so it’s not that strange in modern times either. I’m just not afraid of the fat. I think it’s a normal and natural process that can be used in the interest of health and longevity. It just can’t be heavily oxidative.

I believe that there’s a very specific role that insulin plays in building muscle and a safe adipose layer that is protective. But very high insulin and glucose is highly oxidative and that’s what carbs do…

(Mary) #960

Makes sense - thank you for the detailed info.

(PJ) #961

My problem this year seems to be that it’s easy to fast, and it’s easy to be a fairly lowcal keto (not on purpose), but it’s hard as hell for me to eat a lot (= “enough”) when I should. You’d think fasting would be harder than feasting, go figure.