No, I did not get more tan or change the hue. These were just taken at different times of the day. The first is in natural lighting and the second is artificial.
Disclaimer: I am a pharmacist and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.
I am NOT a medical doctor, nutritionist or registered dietitian. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition advise for the purpose of health or disease nor do I claim to be a doctor or dietitian.
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As you probably presumed from the title, I did not quite make it the whole five days as I had originally intended. I still fasted with my last meal being on a Sunday evening until a meal on Wednesday evening last week. I was asked if I was crazy several times and told “I could never do that!” as well. Well, let me tell you about my experience in case you decide that the health benefits of fasting sound pretty amazing. I’ll get to these shortly. I will also talk about what I found to be the most difficult thing.
I started out Monday morning with some exogenous ketones and some vitamin/mineral powder. After that, I only drank water (with added Himalayan salt occasionally), herbal teas, sparkling mineral water and a cup of black coffee every morning. I completed a medium-intensity lifting session to speed up the depletion of muscle glycogen.
Physically, I felt great. I honestly can say I did not have any dips in energy throughout my fast. In fact, during the last 36 hours or so, my energy was amplified as adrenaline was surging through my body like never before. I could not even drink my whole cup of coffee on Wednesday morning. I could literally feel my heart beating in my chest. Honestly, this was part of the reason I ended it early. I did not think I would be able to sleep Wednesday evening.
Contrary to popular belief, your metabolism does not slow down if you skip breakfast. In fact, metabolic rate is actually increased in short-term fasting. Studies have shown an increase of 3.6% – 10% after 36-48 hours of fasting. Honestly, this makes sense if you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint. Ancestral humans did not have a constant supply of food. Our ancestors actually hunted and gathered food, then typically feasted with large meals. However, when food was not available, the body responded by increasing our adrenaline/noradrenaline (epinephrine/norepinephrine) which increases energy and focus-both ideal for hunting.
Click here to read more about the myths of fasting backed up by science. I couldn’t possibly cover it all, and this blog would be way too long if I tried.
What made me even think about attempting a fast longer than the typical intermittent sixteen hour fast I do nearly every day? As I have mentioned in previous posts, intermittent fasting was the lifestyle change that made me question everything I had ever known about nutrition, exercise, and the way our bodies function. I noticed so many positive impacts on my body and the way I felt, so I have since been curious to learn more about fasting and the science behind it.
This is the original photo I took after implementing intermittent fasting 16:8 about three years ago. I did not change anything in my diet or exercise routine. The only thing I changed was the window of eating. Top photos to bottom: 2 weeks
I bought the book The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day and Extended Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung. I read about his experiences with extended fasting, and it did not take me very long to be convinced to try an extended fast for myself for the experience.
I had already been experiencing a lot of the benefits of daily intermittent fasting: improved mental clarity and concentration, body fat loss and maintenance of a low body fat percentage with ease, increased energy, and decreased inflammation (no longer have to use an inhaler prior to exercise).
Other notable benefits include improved insulin sensitivity (drastically important for type 2 diabetes) which results in lower blood sugar/blood cholesterol levels. It’s also thought to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, extend your life and reverse the aging process.
During my fast, I read about another potential benefit of extended fasting; the potential to induce immune system regeneration. This may have some implications for healthier aging, autoimmune conditions and helping patients receiving chemotherapy whose immune systems are weakened.
- Anyways, I am not going to dig into all of the scientific details or evidence behind the benefits in this post. The purpose of this post is to increase awareness that there may be something you can do to improve your health that you may not have thought of or considered prior to reading this.
Let me just put it this way…What if there was a medication out there that had the potential to provide one, half, or even ALL of the benefits (hypothesized or proven) of fasting? Would you talk to your doctor about prescribing it for you?There are medications prescribed for those purposes and benefits. However, there is definitely not one that can provide all of the potential benefits of fasting. Even if there was, it would surely come with undesirable side effects. Fasting is a natural thing that our bodies have evolved over time to anticipate and handle. In fact, I believe it’s something our bodies need in order to thrive.
Unfortunately, fasting is never going to have the same amount of funding behind it as drugs or the latest medical technology. The reason is obvious. Who makes money off of people not eating? It’s a sad but true reality of the world we live in where our well-being is not a priority over capital gain. I could rant about this for a while, but I’ll end with this summary of my experience.
I fast intermittently nearly every day. I love the way it has improved my mental and physical health, so it is not difficult for me. In fact, eating more frequently is harder for me to do. The extended fast was easier than I anticipated, and I had to end it because of the adrenaline rush I was having. It was also difficult on a social level because I was not able to enjoy dinner with my wife for several nights. I definitely will be doing extended fasts again in the future. However, I believe the fast would be much more therapeutic and less difficult socially if it was part of a weekend retreat in nature.
Strive to thrive,
Please consult with your physician before attempting any fast, especially if you are on any medications. My mission is to empower people with knowledge and increase awareness. I want people to have the confidence to ask more about what they can do to improve their health rather than succumb to a diagnosis they are given or medication they are prescribed.