It’s been nearly three weeks when I decided to re-commitment myself. First, spiritually, as I willing attended a local church for the first time in 49 years. Better late then never, right? At the start of the month I signed my son and self up to the local gym, the same one I attended when I lost in excess of 40 pounds following Dr. McDougall and more importantly, Julie Christensen’s Protective Diet. The results? Nothing short of amazing! While I had dabbled in intermittent fasting (IF), I had never accomplished a fast over 16 hours. This was to be a new experience, a new beginning.
I have never followed a Ketogenic Diet, nor do I have any intentions with all the success I’ve experienced since 2011 since changing to a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. Yet fasting is part of this the keto way, Julie even touches on day fasting in her Premium Class Archives. Fasting is a very personal thing but can be accomplished for many different reasons. I chose 48-hours to give me a new beginning, so to speak. Over the last month I’ve made some big changes personally and felt like I needed to kick-start my commitment to myself with future goals in mind.
Why did I fast?
After completing two 50-mile endurance races, I wanted to prove to myself I had the discipline necessary to accomplish this period of time without eating. Running races of this distance takes a trained discipline, especially the later it gets in the race. I continually reinforced my decision, while running, as with fasting I had that “I can do this” mentality and not quit. Hopefully this exercise in discipline will help me in other aspects of my life.
Much of our daily routine revolves around food; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Julie talks about being satiated, as does Dr. McDougall when it comes to our eating habits. However, over the last few years, I’ve fell into a bad habit of eating because it’s there. Fasting isn’t starvation, at any point through my 48-hour journey if I felt any adverse or negative effects, I would have stopped early, in order to come out of my fast. Just three times over the fast did I have a rumble in my stomach. Was I really hungry? Did I really need to answer that rumble? It subsided, as I kept busy and continued to drink fluids.
Since finding God, I felt a need to fast to increase my spirituality, in order to strength prayer. If there is one aspect in my life I need to work on, it’s prayer, as well as seeking God’s guidance in life. There are many passages cited in the Bible, Matthew 4:1-11 tells of Jesus fasting for “forty days and forty nights.” This reason, like all for fasting are very personal, seek your own reasons.
Weight loss was not one of the main reasons for partaking on a 48-hour fast. While that was a side effect it wasn’t a driving factor for my decision, but there are health benefits that come with fasting. After 24-hours, your body begins to use glycogen, which reduces insulin levels. Fasting as shown an to increase metabolism rate increases by a rate of 3.6 to 14 percent. For me, it allowed me to reset and give myself a definitive starting point.
So what happened over 48 hours?
I began fasting last Wednesday, after dinner about 6PM. This seemed to be a good way to start, eat a full dinner followed by sleep a few hours later. This would allow me to get 12 hours into the fast without much effort on my part. Many people have missed a meal or done the better part of a day without eating.
I did supplement my fast with lots of water, as well as black tea and carbonated water. I try to drink two liters of water daily when I am not fasting, as it helps curb hunger. Since I no longer drink coffee, tea is my choice through out the day, while at work. However for this duration of time, water isn’t enough and I supplemented with Nuun Life, these are tablets I use to keep electrolyte levels up when running.
Thursday wouldn’t be much of a challenge but I did have a few activities planned. While at work I waled 4.01 miles around downtown Oakland. This is an activity I have got back to doing in order to help promote an “active” lifestyle while getting 10,000 steps (minimum) in a day. This is also my third weight lifting day. I went to the gym about 23 hours after starting my fast and had a great workout. I did not deviate from my lifting schedule, nor did I increase the amount of weight I was lifting. Once I was done I decided to do 30 minutes of cardio and rode 6.31 miles on a stationary bike, averaging 12.5 mph.
Dinner and breakfast the following morning were a bit more challenging then the previous day. Dinner Thursday evening consisted of two cans of Bubly, flavored water. Thankfully I had to go to bed by 6PM, as I had to get up by 1245AM to start a 12-hour work day. While the evening was relatively “easy” getting up that early is something I won’t adjust to. Getting to work, I started right in on my morning, made an early cup of tea and got my days going. It wasn’t until about 100PM that I had the first rumbling in my abdomen. It was short lived, so I decided to go for a walk to get my mind off food, eating and the rumblings.
I was excited as 6AM Friday morning rolled around, just passing 36 hours as I had an eye on 6PM. One concern I carried was how to safely and effectively to come out of an extended fast. I had done some reading and knew I didn’t want to gorge myself. Much of the information I was finding centered around keto and remaining in that state. While I used what information I could, I decided to mix some apple cider vinegar with lemon, cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. The citric acid helps to promote good enzymes for digestion.
As Friday rolled on, I went through a period, where I did get a bit irritable, as hunger started to creep in again. Water and tea just weren’t cutting it, so I decided to go for another walk that lasted about 34 minutes. It got my mind off food, again but didn’t curb the hunger. I never got to a point where I felt I should stop and never experienced any dizziness. Fatigue had set in, I was tired, but some of that was getting up really early for work, but combined with no food I was feeling sluggish. It was interesting to read that after 24 hours, you body is done burning carbohydrates and starts to burn fat for energy.
The final stretch
As I left work at 130PM, I had picked up a second wind and excited to see the finish line on the horizon. Thankfully I was able to keep busy on the way home, running errands, which kept my mind off food and on what I needed to get done. Opening the front door, I had about 90 minutes left in my fast, so I decided to mix up the ingredients to give myself a bit of time to digest the drink. When choose foods, I ignored the keto foods and looked for foods that were low on the glycemic index. I settled on a simple tostada with shredded lettuce, roasted corn and red pepper, tomato, black beans and some salsa. Overall, I ate less then 500 calories out of the 48-hour fast.
It’s no surprise the most notable statistic was the lose of 3.7 pounds. An interesting figure I found, “48-hour fast once or twice per month will reduce your calorie intake by up to 8,000 calories per month, which can promote weight loss.” As I cited earlier in my experience, weight loss was the primary reason for the 48-hour fast.
Breaking the fast I felt great! Introducing food back into my routine was welcomed but it didn’t take much to feel satiated. Going forward this 48-hour fast has helped to kick-start a 16/8 IF schedule. That means, for 16-hours I fast and have an 8-hour “feeding” window. For me that window opens at 200PM and closes at 1000PM. Those hours may be adjusted going forward. Much of what I learned about IF came from The Leangains Guide. This is a document I used when I started and changed IF to work with my lifestyle.
Overall, I feel this experience was very successful. I feel I achieved goals I set out when I gave some thought to going 48 hours without food. It might not be for everyone, do your own research and draw your own conclusion. Now it’s over to Protective Diet in order to get my eating habits back in line with a healthy lifestyle, one that saw me make unbelievable changes. My PD Testimonial is all I need to see what I can achieve.