The night before - Monday 28th Jan 2019
I've prepped my bone broth, and got in a stock of sparkling water, and I've just finished my last meal for 5 days this evening. I won't eat again until the evening of Saturday 2nd February 2019. I am attempting my first extended fast. I have been fasting once or twice a week for 24 hours for some months now. And I do see the benefits and have decided to take it one step further for research and to feel the apparent health benefits.
For those who have not ever heard of an extended fast, have a little watch of this by Dr Eric Berg . He is a known name in the states and has a clinic and written or co-written many books on Keto, Intermittent Fasting and Prolonged Fasting. It will help with you have a little understanding of the process before you continue to read.
Day 1 - Tuesday 29th Jan 2019
I've woken up to a black coffee. And packed my bone broth in my work bag. These are all I'll be consuming for the next 5 days as I start my first extended/prolonged fast. As you may already know, I've been reading up a lot over the last few years on fasting, and intermittent fasting myself once or twice a week for 24 hrs for about 5 months now. And alongside a clean low carb high fat (LCHF) diet, can see and feel physical benefits.
The first week of intermittent fasting when I first did it last year, I lost 2 inches around my waist. Which obviously wasn't just weight loss as it doesn't happen that quick. It was a reduction in inflammation and water retention. These I didn't even know I had! I went from 31 inch waist to 29 inches, and that stayed off till this day.
I have finally managed now to come off my colon cleansing tablets I have been on for around 15 years now, as I suffered bad constipation due to a 'complex' or 'spastic' colon. But now in these last 3 weeks I am totally off them and going daily. Which for me is a miracle! Thanks to LCHF diet, and intermittent fasting. I can only think that giving my digestive pathway a rest every now and then, and an abundance of vegetables and good fats has helped everything along.
I do feel good after a 24 hr fast. And have found I have more control over my eating and my occasional over eating. I no longer feel the need to ever binge. I now only eat 3 meals a day too, as I now believe 5- 6 meals is unnecessary. And your digestive system needs rest, and so does those insulin levels. Keeping insulin constantly elevated with meal after meal isn't how our bodies intended to work. We are made to feed then famine since our cavemen ancestors. We grow fat when food is in abundance, to live off of it when it isn't. Nowadays we spend our lives in a constant state of storage, and not then balancing it out by emptying the stores. So we can easily store more and more fat, when the 'feed and famine' isn't balanced or equalled.
So, first full day. I feel excited and ready for this. I am expecting a rocky road. I have only told one person (my bestie) so far who I know will support me. As fasting is a taboo subject for most. I'm sitting on the train right now, heading for a days work in London, been up since 5.30 am. Stomachs already growling a little. But I'm already used to ignoring that, as it will pass. And it does.
I like being the one in control of my hunger. I dictate when I eat, not the food or meal times that I have routinely fixed in my head . And nor the food companies, who tell us to eat, snack, eat, snack, eat, snack......which obviously makes their profits grow along with everyone's waistlines!
My main reason for fasting is the cleansing of the body. Clearing unused and old cells and proteins floating around waiting to develop into something more sinister in later years. And to grow some fresh new ones, which it has been proven to do.
Claims on line and by fasting health clinics and researchers believe it can reverse Type 2 Diabetes, slow down progression of Alzheimer's, reverse MS, and even get rid of cancerous cells. There is a huge amount of fasting research to read up on nowadays, with some amazing stories out there happening.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! - Autophagy starts to happen at around the 36th hour and continues. The definition of autophagy is 'consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in fasting and certain diseases' and 'destruction of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the cell'.
The process of fasting-induced autophagy was recently the focus of extensive research, so I thought I would do my own research. As I always like to do. Bearing in mind, my final conclusion may not come for some years! As the main benefits are way ahead in the future!
Here's the recipe I used for my Bone Broth. A natural vitamin and mineral supplement that I will have once a day for its nutrients.
Bone Broth Recipe -
Roast the bones for 30 mins on 180 degrees. Cool and then add them to the water and cider vinegar. Let them soak for 15 minutes and the vinegar help draw the minerals and collagen from the bones.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Pressure cook for 4 hours, or slow cook for 24 hours.
Drain the fluid from the bones and veg, store in a tub to cool as soon as possible. Sit in cold water to chill faster, then get it in the fridge.
When it cools, skim off the fat from the top. I keep this and use it as butter after the fast as it is very tasty and full of goodness.
The broth will last in the fridge for 7 -10 days, or put into ice cubes and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Day 2 - Weds 30th Jan 2019
Today I'm up after sleeping well. Early rise again at 05.30 am for a 145 mile drive to work today up north to start for 9.00 am. Over night bag packed too as I'm up there for 2 days. Black coffee and water had and off I trot. Snow is supposed to be coming. Could be a long drive.
The only fluids I will consume this week are -
Still or Sparkling water - I must stay hydrated. I'll have 3-4 litres of water a day.
Coffee - Black no sugar, milk or sweetener. Coffee is a natural antioxidant. So this can help with the cleaning process, and give me a little more energy. Even if it taste pretty rank just as is. But when it's all you can have, you sort of get used to it.
Bone Broth - Why? Because its full of natural vitamins and especially minerals. Rather than taking a multi vitamin and mineral tablet like some faster's like to do, a good home made bone broth gives you the minerals your body needs to help stay healthy, and replenish mineral supplies during the fast. A lot of vitamins can be stored in the body and used when required, or produced by the body. But minerals can't. So the bone broth is to ensure to get the minerals you need. Have a read here of my page all aboutVitamins and minerals.
Your probably thinking, what about your muscle? Well, with all my intermittent fasting, I have lost no muscle whatsoever, I have increased my muscle mass in fact. Even on my 3 meals a day. Our body will not eat into muscle as fuel, until the fat has gone. That's why fat is stored. So I continue to train whenever I fast, so not to loose my muscle. As lack of stimulation is what looses muscle. Not intermittent fasting.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! Human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of protein hormone that is central to many aspects of your health. It is a key hormone is involved in growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength. Several studies have found that fasting could actually increase HGH. On this list of 11 ways of how to increase your HGH levels, it includes fasting. And quote 'One study found that three days into a fast, HGH levels increased by over 300%. After one week of fasting, they had increased by a massive 1,250%. Other studies have found similar effects, with double or triple HGH levels after just 2–3 days of fasting'.
So, yet another reason for me to tinker with some extended fasting.
Below is the legend that is Dr Jason Fung, the Author of The Complete Book of Fasting and The Obesity Code, and creator of the first Diabetes reversal clinic The IDM Program in the US, talking on fasting, low carb eating and why fasting doesn't cause muscle loss. It's an hour long watch, but he covers a lot of ground.
I have now passed my longest fast to date, which was 48 hrs. I haven't found it too difficult as I have been busy, have had a little practice at it, and am super up for the challenge. The second day is supposed to be the worst. And I have felt a little glazed over with tiredness later in the day, but I have been up and working since 5.30 am, and driven for miles, then trained a load of techie Yorkshire-men in an telecoms classroom all day. So not surprised really.
I'm intrigued in how I will feel tomorrow. As most reports say all hunger starts to go as your body adapts to being fed on your own super-fuel. Your own body fat.
So sat in my hotel room, with still no reported snow. (Thank goodness.!) I'll sign off and catch up with you tomorrow.
Day 3 - Thursday 31st Jan 2019
I woke up in my hotel this morning at 6 am...totally starving! So much for day 2 being the worst! Knowing and seeing that breakfast had been laid out for me in the hotel buffet, that I clearly won't touch probably isn't helping. However I found a guzzle of some sparkling water seen to settle things down and got back to sleep for an hour. Quenching your thirst often takes away hunger pangs, as does sparkling water.
I had the usual discussion today with people I was with about 'going into starvation mode' and 'your body eating into your muscle'.
Our bodies are built to survive on our own body fat when food isn't around. This is how we have survived through the millennia and through those cavemen days. Fat is stored in feasting times, for when there is a famine. Only when I have minimal fat left will it start to eat into my organs and muscles. And I've got plenty of fat as a supply till I get to 'starvation mode'!.
Think about this - I have 26.9% Body fat right now. That equates to 19.8 kg of fat, or 43 lbs of fat. In each 1lb of fat there are 3500 calories. So 43 x 3500 = 150.500 calories in my body that can be burnt as fuel. Plenty of fuel!
I could also look at it like this - I don't want to go below 20% body fat off season. So, I only actually have 6.9% body fat that I can use as fuel. Which equates to just under 6 kgs or 13.2 lbs. So 13.2 x 3500 = a mere 46,200 calories to burn as fuel.
I would have to fast for about 25.5 days to loose this many calories, presuming I burnt off 1800 calories a day! So, plenty of fat to use as fuel for these mere 5 days.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! The other benefit of prolonged fasting is the anti-ageing effect it can have, by means of the rebuilding of stem cells. Stem cells are cells hanging around in the body waiting to be used by any organ or cell in the body. So when a cell fails for some reason, stem cells get called to the failed cell location to replace that broken cell with a brand new one. So they help fight off diseases and maintain healthy tissues. As we get older, these cells diminish and aren't as stocked up as they were, so become less and less available to replace the broken ones.
Research has shown that when fasting beyond a certain period, new stem cells begin to form, and become available again to fix what is needed in the body. So then growing a bigger pool of new stem cells to continue their job of repairing what needs fixing.
Below are the results of some fasting stem cell research. A group of mice were used in this example. The left picture was the non-fasted after 24 hrs, and the right were the fasted bunch. New stem cell regrowth was clearly apparent.
For researchers, this is exciting news, as seems to look like fasting could fix some diseases. And tests and clinics are already claiming that fasting reverses diabetes, MS (Multiple sclerosis), and other auto-immune illnesses. All by simply not eating for a period of time. Every now and then. And, the treatment of not eating, is free. (The main reason why pharmaceutical companies don't want to invest in fasting research, as they will make no money out of it!)
So, back to me. I'd probably say that today was the hardest so far. But I am going to do some cardio as I have time to fit a session in between work. Back home now, but off to Reading in the morning. (Still no snow)
I haven't been for a poo since I started the fast, but this is perfectly normal as I understand. So, i'll wait and see (and hope) things will move when I get back to food.
I am also getting some high breathalyser reading for acetone ketones, which means I am in full blown ketosis using purely my body fat as no fat fuels from else where are going in. Anything above 0.00 on the meter below is ketosis, a this reading is pretty high.
Day 4 - Friday 1st Feb 2019
Well I have found it tough today. But I did get a little stressed. And knowing me, I tend to want to eat when I am stressed. Today the snow came....
And I had a 85 mile journey to work to be there for 9 am, so up at 5 am for a long slow drive to Reading. These sort of drives always stress me, and knowing you've gotta get home too. Although that was a bit easier in the afternoon.
At work, when I got to today's location they were all eating hot bacon sandwiches which smelt to die for which hung around for most of the day. And at this site there was a strong smell of caramel in the loo! And, all day I wanted bacon sandwiches and something with caramel on it!
So, over 5 hours of snow driving, a days work and today was gym and cardio day too which I dashed over to Xercise4Less for (warmer than my normal gym Atlas). But I felt like I had slowed down today. Like I was doing everything in slow motion. And was lethargic. Strange as most reports on prolonged fasts report bursts of energy. I suppose I am normally full of beans and rarely get tired until bed time, so I'm guessing even more energy pushing it a bit when running on empty! But I also think my day had something to do with it.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! Another reason I am doing this long fast is for replenishing my mitochondria. Doing this will slow down the ageing process, and should give you more energy.
Our body is made up of trillions of different cells and organisms that keep us ticking over, and mitochondria's are but one of them. The mitochondria play a critical role in cellular ageing and overall cell longevity. They literally make your body sustain itself by converting calories, sunlight, and oxygen into energy.
Sometimes mitochondria may go bad or grow old and the act of fasting have been found to clear out the old, and replenish with new. So having new mitochondria cells for the body to use means more energy supply to the body, and more assistance in cellular ageing.
Have a listen to Dr Rhona Patrick explaining the role of these energy cells and fasting
My ketones are super high today. My body has no glycogen store now at all, and is running totally off my body fat, which it is turning into ketones. And these ketones are in abundance from my ketones reader.
Still no poo. Surprisingly sleeping well too. Tomorrow is a Saturday, the final day. Weekend days I always expect to be tough as weekends are a little bit of enjoy life time for me. But I can look forward to eating something light tomorrow evening, and I can't wait for a bullet proof coffee!
Day 5 - Saturday 2nd Feb 2019
I have woken up excited. Not sure whether its a fasting euphoria, or I'm excited about eating tonight? Probably a bit of both! I also jumped on my stepper for 45 mins whilst watching a bit of Escape to the Chateaux (love Dick and Angel!) and didn't feel whacked at all, just felt normal. And a little revitalised after. I do think my lethargy over the last 2 days have been due to early mornings and long stressful drives, with long working days. Today being a day off work feels totally different.
As well as my job as a technical telecoms trainer where I get to travel all over the world, my body building and my nutritional studies, I am also a carer for my mother who has advanced Alzheimer's and Dementia. Between me and my eldest sister we work shifts in trying to get to her daily. And take care of most of her general needs, although we do also have additional help from external carers. And I'm off to see her today.
In watching her getting worse and worse over the years, I often wondered what caused it and if it could be prevented? And after reading and researching I now believe it could of been prevented. This did have something to do with usng food and diet as medicine. Just like all the other epidemics that have happened over the last 50 years, as I've mentioned before, Diabetes, Obesity, MS, Fibromyalgia, Allergies, Asthma, Parkinson's and even Cancer. All these have become a massive problem. All rising massively in the number of cases, since the health authorities told us to eat High Carb, low fat diets in 1977. Now these diseases are being treated around the world with Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) diets....and fasting.
There is a great book to read called Genius Foods by Max Lugervere that goes through his findings after his mother also developed Alzheimer's. It's a great read.
Fasting Benefit Alert!! So, with all the information also telling me about how fasting can regrow your brain, and particularly the memory area, and how living off ketones (your brains favourite fuel, after all its made of 60% fat !) intermittently as a lifestyle is believed to stop the development of Alzheimer's. Count me in!! I couldn't bear going through what my Mum is!
Here's a couple of videos. The first was created for the Muslim community, as they (and many other religions) encourage regular fasting for the cleansing and brain enhancing. Plato and many philosophers all stated that hey fast to get brain clarity and ideas. The second is an interview with Dr Valter Longo talking about his research into fasting and Alzheimer's.
There is also the obvious benefits of weight loss if that is what you also require. During fasting you loose weight fast, and it is pure body fat. As you will see at the end of this blog from my stats.
If this blog is tempting you into trying a fast. I would advise you to research some more and read up on it. And not to go straight to a prolonged fast. I've been intermittent fasting for sometime now. From 16 hrs, to 24 hours, to 36 hours and then to these 5 days over the last year. Also I would advise you NOT to fast if you are any of the following -
1. You have Diabetes Type 1
2. You are under 20% body fat (women) or under 14% body fat (men) or have any eating disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia
3. You are on medication that requires you to eat.
4. You are pregnant.
5. You are breast feeding.
Tonight I look forward to some smoked salmon, avocados and scrambled eggs. And a bullet proof coffee with my lovely raw milk from my local farm, coconut oil and raw honey. I can't wait!
And here it is..ooof yes!
Now here's what happened. I ate this about 6 pm. And thoroughly enjoyed it. This evening I felt elated. I ran around the place getting chores done, I felt...euphoric. The cleanse had made me feel great. I had booked a ticket to the cinema this evening and went to watch 'Vice' around 9 pm (2 hours of my life I will never get back!) In the cinema I had a fuzzy nice sensation all over my body and couldn't sit still in the chair as I felt like I needed to move. I simply felt great, and excited about....nothing really.
The next day I felt energised. Still eating small amounts. I definitely feel revitalised and feeling high on life. Cheesy I know! But I am already planning on doing one a month, as I feel great!
When I come back to this blog it will be in a weeks time after a re-feed week. Meals will be light. After not eating for a week and resting my digestive system, intestines and organs, I don't want to shock them with a feast. That could be detrimental to the process. Ease food back in, keeping it clean, light and fresh over the beginning of next week then building them up, topping up my empty glycogen stores and getting back to normal. I will gain back some of the weight loss as the first foods I eat will refill my empty glycogen tank. As that what the body does, my muscles and liver will fill again. And then will start being used as fuel again.
A week later - Saturday 9th Feb 2019
So, here I am a week later. Glycogen storage full and no ketosis readings. So, did I lose weight? Did I lose muscle? Did I lose body fat? The results were as follows -
So, this is exactly what I hoped for.
At the end of the fast the reading shows a weight loss of 4.1 KG (9lbs) in 5 days. This was of course not true weight loss. Most of this is what I call fake weight loss. Notice I had lost what looks like 2 KG of muscle mass. But remember, glycogen is stored in the liver and in muscle, so when you empty your glycogen stores, your muscle mass will drop. This will return when you start eating as the glycogen will automatically refill to once again be used as your bodies first choice of fuel.
This is also why at the end of any diet you gain weight sometimes quickly once you eat normally again.
The end of the fast also shows my body fat has dropped 1.5%. And I have kept myself well hydrated during the fast as my water % is still looking good.
Then I had to fill my glycogen stores again to see the real results, hence waiting a week. Then the first and last result will both be with full muscles and a truer comparison.
And there you can see no muscle loss whatsoever. Muscle returned to normal once glycogen was filled again. So 5 days of not eating didn't gnaw away at my muscles. And put my body in 'starvation' mode. It clearly used the fat fuel as it should, as our body's are made to do.
I lost 1 KG or 2.2 lbs. Which was 1% pure body fat as you can see my only reduction was body fat. This to me as for weight loss shows a perfect result.
I only ever expected to loose half a pound a day, as I was only burning off around 1800 calories a day (remember 3500 calories equates to a 1 lb of fat). So I had a realistic goal in my head of weight loss of half a pound a day and with a hope for it to be all body fat loss, which is what I have exactly achieved. Fasting does only encourage fat loss and not muscle.
So, the benefits I found were -
- Pure Fat loss - without slowing my metabolism like long low calorie diets do.
- Replenished Mitochondria to look forward to based on research.
- Brain regrowth to look forward to based on research.
- A great feeling of euphoria and of feeling cleansed after fast
- Stem Cell cleansing and regeneration to look forward to based on research, delaying the ageing process.
- Higher GH levels, over time to help me to grow more muscle as a training athlete.
- Helps with hormone regulation with hormones such as Insulin (blood sugar stabilisation, Ghrelin (hunger hormone, helps you control your own hunger levels) and Leptin (you satiety hormone, helps you control when you feel full) I feel more in control of my hunger and eating, and feel hungry less often.
- Gives your body a rest. Your organs, brain and digestive system has a break, which help reduce any inflammation that may have developed from being stressed.
So, all in all, a good result. And a practice I intend to continue with.
I hope your enjoyed my blog, and until the next time.......