Repeated extended fasting

(Ethan) #1

Due to a sudden lack of childcare for my not-yet 2-year old for the next two months, I will need to go back to caring for him in the morning and then starting work late so that I work late into the evening. This means I won’t have time for luxuries like sleep. I’ve always felt that I needed less sleep when on an extended fast, so I am planning on doing a 5/2 fasting schedule (fasting on weekdays and eating on weekends only). The hope is that it will reduce how much sleep I need and make it easier for me to go to bed and wake up, both of which I generally struggle with. Has anybody had any experience doing something like this for 8+ weeks?

(Bob M) #2

At one time, I did multiple 36 hour fasts each week, I think Tuesday and Thursday would be fast days. It’s possible to do.

But I take it you’re going to fast for 5 days and eat for 2? That could be very tough. I personally have a difficult time with “reentry” after fasting 4.5 days. To try to pack in a “feasting” in 2 days can be tough.

I tested Dave Feldman’s protocol, where I fasted 4.5 days, then ate high calorie, high fat for 2.5 days. I did it, but man was it tough. And that’s only one week.

And the reason you need less sleep is because your hormones get affected. One week of hormones going wacky is okay, but 8 weeks? I’m not sure that would be beneficial.

Is there no other way to do this?

(Ethan) #3

I’ve been doing 3 40-hour fasts a week as is already. I’ve done many 5- and 7-day fasts before, but just not with so little eating time between.

The goal is to get by on less sleep. We don’t have any coverage for childcare in the morning after the nanny ghosted us and hasn’t responded in 4 days. My younger son will go to preschool starting august 29. Nobody is going to take a short-term nanny gig for 2 months. We had enough trouble before with nanny’s not wanting to be properly paid with a w2 and taxes withheld. We just won’t find somebody willing to take this short-term job, and so the only thing is we do it ourselves. We did it for 18 months earlier and homeschooled the older child at the same time. It wrecked us before. But now my wife and I have to both go into work once a week.

(Bob M) #4

That’s way beyond what I’ve done in the past. The most I’ve done is 36 hours, twice a week.

I do have to say that there is a large danger of overdoing fasting. I know no one discusses this, but I had to stop fasting after a while, as I was getting too cold even with short fasts. To me, that means my basal metabolic rate was decreasing. I wasn’t feasting enough to keep it high.

Something like 3x40 hours/week and then 5 days a week, I personally think this is quite dangerous from a metabolic perspective. Dr. Fung appears to act as if there are no repercussions from fasting like this, but I think he’s wrong.

I have restarted fasting, but I do much, much less fasting than I used to.

While I see that your family situation is tough, I personally would not try 5 days once a month, let alone every week for 8 weeks.

(Joey) #5

I’m with @ctviggen on this. There are many reasons one might refrain from eating. Trying to get by on less sleep doesn’t strike me as a very healthy one.

You will be sleep deprived based on what you’ve described as your (temporary) situation. Then again, having infants in the house is all about sleep deprivation under the best of circumstances :wink:

Depriving your body of nutritional energy will not make things easier. Instead, it is more likely to make it harder for you to function at your best while under extra stress.

My free advice: Eat plenty of fat/protein, stay hydrated, and remember that in about 16 years or so, if all goes well, your son will be living in a place of his own - and all that teenage craziness will be behind you. That’s a better time for extended fasting. :vulcan_salute:

(Ethan) #6

For my broken body, eating keto or carnivore doesn’t work enough to keep insulin resistance down. I struggle to wake up in the morning, especially if working late at night in front of computer screens. I can’t get my body to calm down from the stress and end up staying up until 1 am. Then waking up at 6 is too hard.

(Joey) #7

From your profile it sounds like you’ve made phenomenal progress in turning your metabolic health around, so I won’t profess to have more insight as to what would work best for you.

Stress + poor sleep => cortisol release. Anything you can do to improve the quality of sleep (darker room, eye mask, white noise headphones) and manage stress (meditation, breathing, prayer, yoga) would be constructive.

If you were my brother, I’d be begging you - while continuing to restrict your carbs - not to cut down on sufficient healthy nutritional eating during this time of heightened stress and inadequate sleep. Fasting would not be anything I’d be inclined to recommend.

Best wishes - please keep us posted.


I’d prepare a nice eulogy for your metabolism.