My intermittent fasting (IF) initiative has extended beyond my original one-month plan.* Week #1 is here.
Why more intermittent fasting?
My four-week experiment was informative and I believe there will be more benefits once I establish a routine.
Also, I wanted to balance out refined sugar-laden (and likely other additives) meals shared on patios. While delicious, I could really feel the sugar–the effects were more pronounced as a result of my recent fasts.
I was motivated to have steamed vegetables for balance. Then I did another fast for detoxification purposes, which ended up lasting 38 hours.
I decided to fast for at least 16 hours, but didn’t plan on 38 hours.
What happened during this fast?
Here are updates, starting at 15 hours into the fast:
- Easy so far as I haven’t been genuinely hungry.
- Haven’t noticed any effects. (Is my body more accustomed to fasting now?)
- Had to remind myself a couple of times that I was fasting, and not to eat out of habit.
16 to 18 hours
- My senses are heightened and eyesight sharper.
- Overall feeling of clarity.
Love it. This is my favorite point in a fast, and I know when I’ve reached the 16-hour mark without looking at the time.
19 to 24 hours
- Feeling a bit hungry here and there.
- Bringing my focus back to my purpose when feeling like I want to stop fasting, and the sensation of hunger passes each time.
- Not feeling any cravings.
- Feeling okay overall.
- Deciding to keep going, at each hour mark.
- Applied beeswax lip balm and my senses overload.
- Removed most of the lip balm when the sensations didn’t diminish.
I’ve been using this lip balm for months and barely even noticed any flavor.
Obviously, it contains a few ingredients other than beeswax that I’d never noticed before. Possibly chemicals. (Note to self: research ingredients)
If you’d told me beforehand that my beeswax lip balm would have this effect I’d have been doubtful.
- Feeling less okay, nothing specific.
- Wanting to push to 40 hours. (It’s a nice round number)
- Generalized feeling that I’ve had enough fasting.
- Ended fast.
What did you learn from this fast?
I believe it lasted longer than previous fasts because I’m paying more attention to hydration.
Depsite my hydration efforts, I felt parched for more than a day afterward. I drank more water and had more oils**, but neither helped much.
OMAD (ONE MEAL A DAY)
My 38-hour fast ends with a meal, and then I don’t eat again until 24 hours later.
Something different happens with this meal, even though it’s one I’ve used previously to end fasts:
- The taste of food is intensified and heightened more than ever, and I experience the complexity of each element; the layers and depths of flavor in everything. (These are just whole foods, I’m not adding any seasoning or sauces.)
- Tastes aren’t unpleasant exactly, but I want something simple like saltines or noodles.
- The meal is high in nutrients and appropriate to end a fast, so I want to finish. The portion is small so it shouldn’t be problematic.
- I mix in plain rice to dial down the intensity (even though I was avoiding carbs with this meal).
I almost forgot about this OMAD, which has happened before. My theory is that fasting makes my system more efficient, requiring less food, and I don’t always notice.
Not sure why my body wanted to end the fast but didn’t want whole foods.
After my unplanned 38-hour fast I decide to do a 48-hour fast on purpose (after OMAD), which ends up lasting 49 hours. This is my longest fast to date.
What happened during this fast?
- Haven’t felt hungry or noticed anything to report.
- Having a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with hot water.***
- Having powdered bone broth with a cup of hot water.^
- Having a cup of green tea.^^
- Feeling a bit hungry, but not enough to eat.
- Should be sleeping, feeling tired yet energized.
- Slept well.
- Feeling alert, clear, sharp.
- Not feeling hungry.
- Having a small amount of powdered bone broth in hot water.
- Adding Himalayan salt.^^^
- Feeling energized and relaxed.
- Understanding even more the appeal of recreational fasting.¤
- Feeling a bit parched.
- Having hot water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar + pinch of Himalayan salt.
- Need to be sure to have more liquids.
- Feeling fantastic otherwise, love it.
- Having a cup of diluted green tea with pinch of Himalayan salt.
- Still feeling a bit parched.
- Should drink water but don’t really like it. (Who doesn’t like water? The essence of all life? I don’t understand.)
- Need to figure out liquids to drink in order to last 48 hours.
- Feeling a bit hungry.
- Decide to go for a walk and look into water alternatives.
- Feeling warm and shaky. (Haven’t left yet for walk/grocery store.)
- Having a small amount of powdered bone broth + Himalayan salt in 1/2 cup warm water.
Interesting. I was feeling a bit hungry before, but started feeling warm and shaky as I prepared to go for a walk and to a grocery store. Was this brought on by anticipation of being around food? I already have food around me and can eat anytime. Maybe coincidental. (Are there any coincidences in life?) Since correlation does not equal causation, can’t say for certain.
Bringing a protein bar in case of emergency.
Made it back from the walk and visit to the grocery store.
- Feeling a bit hungry, could eat, but want to get past the willpower exercise of grocery store visit and many prepared food places along my walk. (Pizza, souvlaki, sushi, sandwiches, pad thai, french fries, cheesecake, ice cream, etc and etc.)
- Having small amount of powdered bone broth + Himalayan salt in hot water.
- Store only had organic lemons, not limes, so opted for mineral water instead.¤¤
- Having mineral water; can’t seem to drink enough regular plain water during a fast. More minerals will be beneficial too.
- Reminding myself of my purpose, slowing my breathing, and relaxing.
- Want to make it to 48 hours.
Note: At the grocery store I lingered in the candy section, imagining the tastes. Interesting. I don’t usually care for candy or sugary tastes. I’m guessing this means my body is low on sugar.
(Didn’t give in to the myriad temptations, and didn’t need my emergency protein bar.)
- Feeling less hungry.
- Serenity mostly recalibrated.
- Feeling of hunger mostly gone.
- Feeling amazing sense of clarity, senses heightened, eyesight sharper.
- Lower legs tingling a bit, and hands a bit cold. Not concerned about this, doesn’t feel dangerous.
- Could definitely eat, but feeling of hunger is manageable.
- Love how I’m feeling (aside from hunger), so focussing on lasting 48 hours.
- Taking some of my regular supplements for first time during a fast: Vitamins B, C and D. Avoiding those with carbs or sugars.
- Having glass of mineral water.
- Feeling genuine hunger. Looked at food on hand, considered, lingered.
- What happened? Did the vitamin tablets provoke a hunger response? Did the smell of food cooking nearby activate something? Maybe my body passed some type of threshold.
- Lower legs still tingling and forearms tingling a bit.
- Feeling a bit shaky and light-bodied (as opposed to light-headed).
- Loving the way I’ve been feeling otherwise. Guessing this means it’s doing some good, so summoning my willpower to push to 48 hours.
- Bringing my thoughts back to my purpose, and focus to my breathing. Repeatedly.
- Will sit and rest a little while.
- Feeling shaky, hungry, getting ready to end fast.
- Don’t want to end fast in a state of agitation.
- Shakiness has passed, feeling like I could go longer but not sure I should.
- Feeling okay again.
- Will wait half an hour.
- Sipping mineral water.
- Still feeling okay.
- Feeling of clarity and sharpness still there.
- Tingling in limbs is subsiding.
- Ending fast.
- Could go longer but decided not to because I’ve been on one type of fast or another for the last 5 days (now that I think about it), in addition to several fasts over the last few weeks.
- Food feels like communion, as it does after every fast.
- This time, I feel my blood coursing through my body. I can feel my body at the cellular level.
- Life itself feels miraculous.
- I can’t eat much, as usual post-fast.
Was fasting worth the effort?
Yes. My purpose in beginning fasting was self-mastery (still is), and that alone is worthwhile.
I also love the sensory heightening and overall clarity.
Fasting has brought a different level of awareness of my mind and body. I don’t know of another way this could be achieved.
Any health benefits will be a bonus.¤¤¤
Will you fast again?
Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice and the author is not a medical practitioner. Please consult your health care provider before attempting to fast, to be sure it is safe for you to do so.
*These fasts are called #5 and not “Week #5” because more than a week passed after “Intermittent Fast — Week #4“. They’re grouped together as #5 because they took place within a day or two of each other.
**This is the first time I’ve felt this quality of parched. I didn’t feel thirsty or depleted, but more like I’d been breathing midday summer desert air; as though all moisture had evaporated. Interestingly, I didn’t have a headache or feel weak or dizzy or other symptoms of dehydration. It didn’t feel dangerous so I wasn’t concerned, just curious.
***This is the first time I’ve had apple cider vinegar during a fast. I added it because it helps the immune function, and I don’t want to weaken my immunity with my recent fasts.
^This is the first time I’ve had broth during a fast. Since I’ve done several fasts in the last few weeks, I don’t want my body to become nutrient-deficient.
^^I relaxed my water-only rule because I’ve completed several fasts recently, and continuing water-only would be too restrictive. Especially since I’m new to fasting.
^^^I’m adding Himalayan salt to every liquid I drink to avoid dehydration and electrolyte depletion.
¤I use term “recreational fasting” to indicate fasting for purposes other medical, weight loss or religious/spiritual.
¤¤I’ve found water easier to drink with lime juice added. If you’ve read posts about my previous fasts you’ll know that the taste of lemon juice was too harsh and lime juice was quite good. Also, I try to have organic as much as possible, especially during/following fasts.
¤¤¤Given my experience to date, I’m expecting some type of health benefits. Hence, “Any health benefits will be a bonus” rather than “would be”.