I include prolonged fasting as part of my routine not to starve or lose weight but the opposite grows physically and mentally. but why through fasting?
After reading multiple books, listening to 100’s of podcasts, and training from high achievers from all domains, few things are common in everyone’s habits. Positive thinking, meditation, making habits a lifestyle, optimism, Fasting, Mastermind alliance (Coaching & Mentorship), physical activity, book reading, life enrichers, purpose-driven(Strong WHY). I keep striving every day to learn and improve in all these areas by educating myself to understand the WHY, WHAT, and HOW.
So What is Fasting ?
Fasting is the willful refrainment from eating. In a physiological context, fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten for a certain period. so don’t confuse it with starving (suffering or dying from hunger).
Fasting is not something new; it is part of our evolution. It is what helped us survive millions of years through harsh environments and weather. It has been practiced throughout history almost by every religion in the world. They may name it with different names or tag it with spiritual practices but It is part of every culture and wellbeing.
The discipline of fasting helps you break out the world’s routine, personal limitations, and cultural dogmas. With fasting the journey begins inwards, you will observe both your mental and physical strength and weaknesses.
One thing we all can agree on is we eat more than what we need, to be healthy. Instead of eating to live we behave as if we are living to eat is controlled by food (Cravings).
If your goal is to lose weight don’t take this as a shortcut, learn how to include intermediate fasting in your daily routine which is healthy and sustainable. Prolonged fasting (over 24hrs) serves a different purpose, let’s dive deep.
Remember Prolonged fasting Its not a sprint, it’s a marathon, it requires preparation, practice, and patience !!!
Autophagy (auto: self, phage: eat)
The single most important reason to practice prolonged fasting is to trigger Autophagy.
Autophagy is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism through which the body can remove the dysfunctional cells and recycle parts of them toward cellular repair and cleaning, in simple words Hard Reset to our body. The basic idea behind autophagy is that in the absence of external sources of food, the body begins to eat itself (auto: self, phage: eat), destroying and recycling its damaged cell bits and proteins, so that new and healthy versions can be built. Body’s inbuild antiaging mechanism.
This is not some new discovery this is the underlying reason for all the cultural prolonged fasting rituals, you may recall the symbol ouroboros or Uroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its tail. The ouroboros is often interpreted as a symbol for eternal cyclic renewal or a cycle of life, death, and rebirth. All in One. just in the past decade the western world and scientific community started recognizing its importance and hence the craze of Intermediate fasting, Keto diet, Ketosis, prolonged fasting.
What happens during Fasting ?
After fasting for about 16-20 hours, liver glycogen (100-150 grams) will be empty. This revs up fat oxidation and makes the liver produce ketone bodies, which are fatty acid molecules manufactured from the adipose tissue or dietary fat intake. As the fast continues, blood sugar levels and insulin drop, glucagon and ketone concentration increase, eventually leading to the body entering a state of ‘nutritional ketosis.’ It’s an altered metabolic state, that shifts the body to use free fatty acids and ketones as its primary fuel source, as opposed to glucose.
In simple words, once you run out of your temporary fuel (Carbohydrates / Sugars) which we keep refilling every day in various forms at various times. unlike machines, we all are miracles (one which cant be created except by itself) that don’t stop operating we thrive and function better on our backup fuel Fat (Ketones). which can last for an average human being for months or around 30,000cal+ given we are hydrated.
Lets understand the timeline of prolonged fasting :
Day 1 – Hour 0 +:
You will start confident with a smile , eat good food as your last meal before you begin your fast and see if you can reduce your carbs and sugars in that meal, remeber our goal is to trigger Autophagy as quick as possible. remeber this is not a race make sure you are preapred with right nutriton and all resources required.
paln your days well I did from thu afternoon to monday evening it worked out for me, you know what works best for you but remeber you are fighting againt the routines and circadian rhythm of human clock.
- Feels energetic and exited
- need to just overcome the first meal timing , sleep should kickin and you will reach easy to next stage
Day 1 – Hour 12 + :
- There is a spike in Growth hormone .
- HGH is an anti-aging hormone
- promotes fat burn,
- muscle growth,
- healing joints
- protien synthesis.
- Blood sugar regulation.
because of this, endurance athletes (like me ) will love training in a fasted state. the only way you can sustain energy for 30+ miles through ketosis i.e burining fat.
Day 1 – Hour 18+ :
Your sugar levels start dropping, will feel dizzy and unstable, you are emotionally on a rollercoaster ride.
- You will develop autophagy. the self-healing mechanism
- Recycling old and damaged proteins as well as microbes
- Decreased amyloid plaquing.
- Reduces inflammation and blood sugar levels.
Day 2 – Hour 24+ :
The drama day – hunger declares war in body, where most people give up. The toughest part of the diet. Keep going for 30mins walks, being active once your body depletes all the left glycogen reserves slowly the hunger fades, you may not feel the need to eat for the rest of the fast. your body runs on ketones.
- Decreased hunger
- Decreased cravings
- Increased antioxidant reserve
- Increased oxygen
- Better fuel efficiency
- Decreased inflammation
- Gut healing
- Improved cardiovascular function
- Improved cognitive function
Day 3 – Hour 48+ :
You will start seeing the benefits, light stomach high energy levels, and spirit, see if you can go for a walk to get refreshed.
- Stimulate stem cells
- Decreased risk of cancer/tumors
- Make more mitochondria
Day 4 – Hour 72+ :
Only do this very periodically once in 3 months or 6 months and if your body allows you are gained so much by doing this far, listen to your body from this stage and follow it.
- More stimulation of stem cells
- Better immune function
- Protects against malignant tumor growth, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer
- Increases longevity and life-span
Day 5 – Hour 100+ :
I haven’t personally experienced 100+ hours so I can’t comment but from all the research and books I read anything beyond this is of no use for a healthy individual who is doing it for health benefits and should not be done without doctor supervision, at this stage you will start losing your muscles (Protein), break your fast.
- if you are seasoned and used for fasting start with a good solid workout so you can deprive all the glucose of the liver and kickstart ketosis.
- Include exercises at home, brisk walks for 30mins periodically.
- Use smart apps to track and get motivated (Zero – free app)
- Group fasting for sure helps find a partner or accountability groups that help you to go through low moments during the journey.
- Tracking your glucose level and ketones level is recommended so you know in which state you are in. I used personally Urine ketone test strips.
This is the easiest how I ever wrote, all you need to do is keep drinking water stay hydrated, there is a concept called dry fast where you don’t drink water also I haven’t experienced it beyond 40hrs so can’t comment on it. and there are many types of fasting within water fasting
what I recommend from personal experience and material I learned from is to stay in ketosis that is our goal so as long as you are not breaking it you can have anything.
Many people drink lemon water, green tea, black coffee, or zero-calorie drinks, I didn’t find a need to take a lot I had warm water with Himalayan pink salt and lemon in two glasses everyday morning.
A good recommendation is to take electrolytes, Vitamin D, multivitamin, Rodeola, and B12, they won’t break the fast and zero-calorie natural sources of energy and helps you stop depleting from micronutrients which are essential for the functioning of organs. I used them and I feel they made a big difference in my experience.
Lessons Learned from a My 100 Hour Fast Experiment :
For someone who loves numbers, I lost 9lbs weight, depending on your current state you are expected to lose between 8-15lbs which some of it you will gain back soon.
I have tested to have 8+mol/l which indicates the body is in deep ketosis, here are some photos for reference.
This is an experience for sure that exposed my strengths and weaknesses of my body and mind, I was amazed and fascinated by what they are capable of.
A 90min aerobic run after fasting for 90hours, I was just blown away !!!, I have personally worked and performed at 90% during the fast. worked for three days, 4hr workout, and 12hr+ meetings.
In simple words, this 100Hr fast is a question of “Can my body find 12000cal by itself if I don’t provide from outside ?”
for me, it’s the third time of such extreme calorie requirements. last month I did a 100k run where I burned 11000cal in 11hours so this felt very easy but please respect the numbers, remember it takes preparation, practice, and patience.
- Hunger is not you. The feeling you get isn’t a part of yourself, in an objective sense. Instead, it’s simply an urge – a momentary sensation – that occurs due to subjective circumstance – whenever you get dehydrated, bored or reach a certain time window.
- You don’t need to eat so much. Our body has developed many complex mechanisms that allow us to survive periods of caloric abstinence. When food intake drops to a zero, we shift gears into a different metabolic state that poses us with a whole set of new physiological conditions.
- Eating less frequently is more beneficial than doing it more often. For the vast majority of people, intermittent fasting should be a part of their habitual nutritional strategy. It’s an amazing way to empower and bulletproof your health while saving money, time, and mental energy, which you could direct into other more productive and creative channels. The masses eat just because they’re bored.
- If you can fast, you’re GOOD. Once you condition your body and adapt to it, fasting is very easy and enjoyable. The ability to voluntarily abstain from food belongs only to a select few – to those who truly understand the benefits of this practice and have the willpower to rise above their immediate urges to give in to hunger and boredom.
- Periodic abstinence leaves you more nourished afterward. I did not only abstain from calories but also fasted from the other volatile stimuli of modern life. It was supposed to be a time for rest and recovery so that I could charge ahead in life with greater speed. Afterward, my physiology and nervous system had rejuvenated themselves and I was more nourished than before.
I give credits to tons of podcasts, books, and blog posts I read to gain knowledge of how to do it properly, you always have help when you seek. the teacher appears when the student is ready.
In conclusion, I don’t recommend this feat to anyone until your body is ready to take such stress and demand, listen to it as you learned the timelines, see how you can benefit and make it practice once every month.
start small but steady.
If you plan on doing one for your own at any scale come join us in #oneEnergyTogether similar adventures in all areas where Zen meets Spirit.