Fasting Diaries

Ride to Shuangchun

Fasting has long been something I considered to be a little crazy. Thoughts of Gandhi and martyrs suffering for their cause usually come to mind.

But as it turns out, fasting is not just good for trying to promote your cause. There are numerous health benefits too.

This article on fasting (the first in a series) is all about how fasting is actually a very natural thing.

And specifically, it works very well for weight loss. Comparing people who fasted to lose weight to those who simply counted calories, the fasters kept their weight off more consistently than the calorie counters. Of the calorie counters, approximately 80% eventually put all the weight back on.

I was particularly inspired by the Scotsman who simply stopped eating for 382 days, having very little besides water and vitamins. At the end of the fast and during doctors visits along the way he showed no adverse signs to his non-intake of food.

So on I went with my current testing. I’ll now document my own fasts as they come along as a reference.

Fast 1 – 62 Hours

Duration: 62 hours
Date: Sun 0:00 – Wed 16:00 (don’t remember dates)

As my first venture into fasting, this was just dipping my toes in the water.

I was very surprised that I managed to last that long, but it did get me inspired to try something even longer.

Fast 2 – 8 Days

Duration: 8 days
Date: Sun, Mar 13, 2012 @ 22:00 – Mon, Mar 21, 2012 @ 22:00
Starting Weight: 83kg
Finishing Weight: 78kg
Method: Straight out no food. Had 1 sports drink for each of the first 5 days, but then dropped that too.
Notes: Felt low on energy after day 4. Might be due to lack of exercise and my classes that I usually ride to (22km there and back) were cancelled. Next time try keep the strength training, but forgo long distance riding.

This was the proving point. I didn’t document it very well and am writing up about it after the event.

At the time I just went for it.

This was about surviving. That sounds worse than it really is, but it wasn’t so bad. I was amazed about how concerned people became about my health. Like serious stuff was going to happen.

A few weeks after this my weight was back at 80kg, which was probably to do with having food in my belly and more water in my system or something like that.

Fast 3 – 3.5 Days

Duration: 3.5 days
Date: Sun, Mar 13, 2012 @ 23:59 – Thurs, Mar 17, 2012 @ 13:00
Day 0 (Sun eve): 81.5kg
Day 1 (Mon morn): 80.5kg
Day 2 (Tue morn): 80kg
Day 3 (Wed morn): 79kg
Day 4 (Thurs morn): 78kg (broke fast at lunch)
Finishing Weight: ???
Method: Straight out no food. Just water. Retain daily cycling and body-weight training.

Notes: That cannot all be fat loss. My theory is that after all this bout my weight should rise to about 80.5kg or so. I’ll keep calories down as well moving forward.

The heat has gotten intense. On Thursday morning I was sweating profusely on the way to work. In fact I was sweating gallons just after dropping Christopher off at school. I think that combining the stress of fasting with the stress of the heat on my body is not ideal. I was feeling pretty weak on the way to work in the morning.

I drank 1.5 liters of water on Thursday morning. Went for a bodyweight training session before lunch, then broke fast with a mega-salad plus steak.

Looking at how I ate on the Thursday at lunch I need to prepare my meals before I am hungry, perhaps in the morning, especially if I want to keep calories down. I ended up nibbling on a few too many nuts and a bit too much beef jerky before actually plowing into my lunch proper.

I’ve started separating snack foods like nuts, beef jerky, raisins (for kids) and dried mangoes (for kids) into small portions.

I have a natural (but bad) tendency to often finish off a packet of whatever, rather than putting it away. I’ll go and buy some small containers too, rather than wasting tons of small plastic bags for this.

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