Just another of my whims :)! Fasting has always fascinated me. I practiced intermittent fasting for a very long time and am well familiar with the benefits of it. However, I wasn’t quite convinced of what good longer fasting could do to you. Last week, I came across a Facebook post in a popular community, where someone asked exactly the same question. The post received numerous responses, mostly from people like me, who thought it’s a ridiculous idea. But the thought somehow stuck with me. I did some internet searches and got curious of what impact this might have on the body. And what better way to find that out than test it on your own body :D. It will be more interesting as I am a movement teacher. As such, I need to continue my workouts and teach 4 classes a day. My hypothesis is this should be a good thing. The constant workouts will make sure that I do not lose muscle mass and most of the nutrition would be taken from the stored fat. Additionally, doing exercises tend to kill my hunger. So, I decided to start my fast after my dinner on 3rd Feb. I also wanted to write this blog to keep account of what I feel as the days go by. So here you go. I will keep updating this blog.
Day 1: 4th Feb 2019
Weight: 80 kg
Body fat: 21%
Water content: 55%
Muscle Mass: 48%
My wife and I got together with some friends yesterday and went out for a big lunch in a Syrian restaurant. That was the biggest meal of the day. For dinner I just had a couple of fruits as I did not feel like anything more. I finished my dinner at 19:30 on 3rd Feb. If everything goes well, I would eat my next meal on 10th Feb at 19:30 again. Sounds scary, but at the same time, I am super curious to find out what might happen to me mentally and physically. I warned my wife of mood swings, hormonal imbalances, mid-life crisis, or however my body might end up responding to starvation. I am writing this in the morning of 4th Feb, 13 hours after I began my fast.
As of now, nothing has kicked in yet. It’s probably because I am not used to eating breakfasts. I am sure I will have a huge hunger during lunch that would probably continue for the next couple of days. I expect the hunger to come and go in waves, lowering down my blood sugar level and probably making me feel somewhat light-headed. But I am also hoping that my body would start digging into those stubborn fat from the 3rd or 4th day onward, which should bring back the blood sugar level to normal, killing my hunger eventually. Hopefully, all these are not wishful thinking :D! Another 155 hours to go!
Day 2: 5th Feb 2019
Weight: 78.5 kg (lost 1.5 kg) Body fat: 18.3% (lost 2.7 %) Water content: 57% (gained 2%) Muscle Mass: 44.2% (lost 3.8%)
Yesterday was tough. I did some Qi Gong right before lunchtime. During the lunchtime, I was rather missing the act of eating and tasting food than hunger itself. I would interpret that as my body clock telling me that it’s time to eat. That made me wonder how often we eat because we are used to eating at a certain time, but not really hungry – the result being over-consumption of food. A couple of hours after the lunchtime, I started feeling this huge emptiness inside me. My throat had been feeling super dry, despite drinking a lot of water. Additionally, I had a light headache. Every time I saw food somewhere I had this overwhelming urge to eat. I looked away. All of these were expected reactions. So no panic (yet ?)! I took a nap in the afternoon. Did some mobility training and got ready to teach the two evening classes. During the classes I did workout a bit together with my students and that felt good. After the workout, I gave some reiki to one of my students and surprisingly, I felt the energy to be stronger. My hands were super warm and sensitive. I could feel micro-movements under the palm. My student also felt huge flashes of warmth flowing through her body.
However, right after, my headache intensified to a constant pain on my temples. Apparently this could be caused due to two reasons (I ruled out dehydration as I have been drinking more than 5 litres a day):
- Sudden reduction of sugar in the body, Hypoglycemia, resulting in withdrawal symptoms.
- Sudden reduction of carbs, Low Carb Flu, leading to withdrawal symptoms.
As of now, this headache had been the biggest pain. Whatever be the cause, I’m positive that it would pass. If it doesn’t go by tomorrow, I will try to consume a bit of salt. Interestingly though, if I could isolate the rest of the body from the head (theoretically), the rest of the body actually felt very light, strong and healthy. There is a slight discomfort in my tummy, but I wouldn’t call that hunger anymore.
As of now, I will keep pushing. Very curious to see how this will manifest over the next days ?. 37 hours done, another 131 hours to go!
Day 3: 6th Feb 2019
Weight: 76.6 kg (lost 3.4 kg) Body fat: 16.4% (lost 4.6%) Water content: 69.6% (gained 14.6%) Muscle Mass: 42.8% (lost 5.2%)
Survived another day ?! The whole of yesterday was a roller coaster ride with a number of different sensations bombarding my body. The headache continued for the most part of the day – slightly milder though. I was getting a bit dizzy from time to time, when I was about to get up after sitting a long time. This is mainly due to the lack of salt and I learnt I need to do my movements slowly. However, I continued with the regular morning exercises. In the afternoon though, I started getting very cold – shivering every now and then. It wouldn’t go doesn’t matter how many layers I put on top of me. When food is broken down in the body, it creates heat. However, during fasting, there isn’t any food resource available and hence the shivering. I figured the best way to warm my body up was to workout. So I worked out a lot ? – kick boxed on a heavy bag and jumped on a skipping rope. Funny thing was, while I was working out, my headache was disappearing temporarily.
Later in the evening, I was really feeling like crap, drained out of energy, fatigued and nauseous. However, when my students came over, I decided to workout with them. Did some yoga, light wrestling and mobility sessions. I sweated quite a bit, was able to think clearly and I felt great again. Sadly, as my body started to cool down, the light headache returned.
I realised that I was starting to get into ketosis when I felt some of the symptoms – bad breath, fatigue, massive body fat loss. Ketosis is a state of the body when it finds a new fuel source as it no longer can rely on a ready source of energy like food. The liver releases ketones which fuel the brain. In this mode, the body attacks the stored fat in the body and the most of the long-term health benefits of fasting actually kicks in (weight loss, lack of appetite, increased memory, cognition, preventing certain types of cancerous cells from developing, preventing heart diseases, decreases inflammation, better sleep, helping kidney functions, increasing endurance and the list goes on). Many people have asked me why am I doing this. So these are the reasons ?.
I am hoping to get into full ketosis anytime soon. That’s when I would have increased energy, sharper focus and generally feel great again – may be even euphoric ?! Also, the body fat loss percentage should either stay stable or increase more and the muscle mass reduction should decrease.
That being said, I will continue to the 4th day. 62 hours done, another 106 hours to go!
Day 4: 7th Feb 2019
Weight: 75.5 kg (lost 4.5 kg) Body fat: 13.7% (lost 7.3%) Water content: 70.2% (gained 15.2%) Muscle Mass: 43.1% (lost 4.9%)
Yeah!!! I feel great today ?! Loads of energy. Seems I am finally into full ketosis. The whole of yesterday was pretty dull though. I was totally drained out of energy and did not feel like doing anything whatsoever. I felt nauseous and disoriented due to super low blood sugar. I think the magic started happening since last evening. I felt a difference in energy while working out and the energy level stayed high all the time. I had a hard time falling asleep due to that. I even woke up early this morning after 5 hours of sleep and did not feel tired. I was more thirsty than the last days though and drank more than a litre during my sleep. That explains the huge hike in the water content in my body. I also felt a lot of warmth and massive amount of tightness in my stomach – it doesn’t feel flabby anymore. It was probably the fat being burnt in my system creating all the heat. The body fat percentage kept on reducing at a steady pace and I even gained a bit of muscle mass compared to yesterday. This is a confirmation that my body isn’t eating the muscles anymore, but getting the nutrition from the fat. As the body found a new source of nutrient, my blood sugar level has gone back to normal, and hence the high energy. Also, ketones generated in the liver is being fed to the brain; so my headache disappeared. As long as I continue fasting, I am expecting to continue burning more fat without losing muscle mass.
Until yesterday, fasting had been a struggle and super painful, physically and emotionally. But today I feel so good that I feel that the next 3 days will be like a breeze?. 86 hours done, another 82 hours to go!
Day 5: 8th Feb 2019
Weight: 74.9 kg (lost 5.1 kg) Body fat: 13.3% (lost 7.7%) Water content: 70.5% (gained 15.5%) Muscle Mass: 43.2% (lost 4.8%)
Most of yesterday went great. I worked out a lot. Yoga during lunch, some workouts with sword in the afternoon and a bit of wrestling in the evening. Towards the evening though I felt some uneasiness in my stomach. It was quite warm from the inside and seemed a bit acidic. Searching on the internet revealed that it could be due to drinking too much of water at once. When you water-fast you need to drink a lot of water, but it should be consumed in small sips over time. If you drink a lot in one go, the stomach thinks that it is full and releases acid to digest the “food”. The problem is there is no food and hence you start feeling acidic. But I slept well and woke up very early today after about 7 hours of sleep. I felt quite fresh – not hungry, not tired. There is however still a bit of uneasiness in the stomach though. I hope it would go away soon.
As per my statistics, I still kept on losing weight. I also lost a bit more body fat, but it seems that the curve is flattening gradually. Water content is fairly steady, which is a good thing. The muscle mass started going up, although very slowly. I do not expect it to go any majorly high until I start consuming food again.
That being said, as I have been this far, there is no turning back ?. 111 hours done, another 57 hours to go!
Day 6: 9th Feb 2019
Weight: 74.5 kg (lost 5.5 kg) Body fat: 9.9% (lost 11.1%) Water content: 70.7% (gained 15.7%) Muscle Mass: 43.3% (lost 4.7%)
Almost there and still alive. The update’s coming a bit later today as I have been in an amazing Budokon workshop.
Now here’s the update since my last post. Did more yoga and more sword workouts yesterday. It was fun, but got quite exhausted. The acidity in the stomach went away since I resumed drinking little sips of water rather than greedy, monster gulps ?. As on Fridays, I only teach half day, I decided to take a break from workouts in the evening. Just went home, watched some movie and went to sleep. One bad habit that I had before I started my fasting was to eat junk on Fridays – read pizza, burger, lasagne, etc. Interestingly, my slightly longer term body clock still remembered it and I was craving for pizza like crazy all evening. But I managed to beat that craving ?.
Digging deeper in the numbers – Weight kept reducing still. This is the lowest that I have been in the last 20 years, may be more. Huge drop in the body fat compared to the other days. I measured my tummy, and that’s were I lost the most. I would give that credit to all the workouts that I have been doing relentlessly. The water content is slightly higher, but not majorly different from yesterday. Muscle mass is still stable and gaining very slowly. My deduction from all of these would be: My fats’s burning like crazy due to the exercises, a small chunk of the nutrition is being fed to my muscles and hence my muscle mass is slowly picking up.
One more day to go. 140 hours done, 28 hours to go ?!
Day 7: 10th Feb 2019
Weight: 73.5 kg (lost 6.5 kg) Body fat: 8.5% (lost 12.5%) Water content: 71.3% (gained 16.3%) Muscle Mass: 43.6% (lost 4.4%)
Last day of fasting ?! I feel good. For whatever reason, I wasn’t able to sleep much last night though. I felt fully awake and energised all night long. Then at about 3 am I woke up and started working on my website.
Yesterday was a great day though. The empty feeling in my stomach was very high. So I initially decided to not workout much. But then, we were hosting Kevin’s workshop in our studio. It was meant to start with a meditation. I thought I could join that. But then the session was led so nicely that I did not feel like dropping out and I continued through the workshop. I was exhausted in the end, but it was great ?!
Later in the evening, I went to a local grocery store buying all the veggies that I have been craving for. I plan to steam all of them to the extent they almost melt in the mouth and add some salt and pepper to it. I know it might sound very dull, but for whatever reason, I am craving for it ? and will break my fast with that.
The numbers still look consistent. Lost another kilo since yesterday. The body fat also went down a bit, but not as much as the previous day. Water content steadily keeps going up and I see a slightly higher bump in the muscle mass compared to the last days.
Btw, some folks told me that they would be curious to know what happens after I break the fast – how long does it take my body to get back in shape, does it go back to the same form as before, if I would do some long-term changes to my diet, etc. So I will continue the blog for another week with all the details. 158 hours completed, and another 10 hours go to!
Day 7: 10th Feb 2019 (Second update 30 mins before fast break)
Weight: 73.2 kg (lost 6.8 kg) Body fat: 8.4% (lost 12.6%) Water content: 71.5% (gained 16.5%) Muscle Mass: 43.7% (lost 4.3%)
I just wanted to have my last measurements before I break my fast, literally 30 mins before eating! Very slight changes in the numbers. However, for the next 1-2 weeks I expect the numbers to start changing the other way round. I should see an increase in weight in roughly 2 days from now. Water content should decrease, mainly because I’ve been drinking 5-7 litres everyday. When I consume food, I would need less water than that. Muscle mass should continue increasing, hopefully at a slightly higher pace, but I do not expect to have a big jump until I start introducing protein to my diet. This will probably happen by the end of this week or early next week. It may be earlier, if my body responds to veggies and fruits positively. Furthermore, I would try to stick to a diet comprising of veggies, fruits and protein as an attempt to keep my body fat low – basically lower the carbohydrate consumption to minimum. Let’s see if that works ?.
167.5 hours done, 30 mins to go ?!! Next update tomorrow morning.
Day 8: 11th Feb 2019
Weight: 73.4 kg (lost 6.6 kg) Body fat: 8.4% (lost 12.6%) Water content: 70.1% (gained 15.1%) Muscle Mass: 43.6% (lost 4.4%)
The food was sooooo good last night
?!! It’s impossible to perceive how delicious steamed veggies could taste after a long fast. Every taste bud was relishing every single bite. It seemed that fasting had reset my tongue completely. I basically just steamed cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes until they all got so soft, that they could melt in the mouth.
Additionally, I made a juice out of mandarins and diluted it with a lot of water. However, after the first couple of bites, I felt full, probably because my stomach and intestines have shrunk. The photo on the left is me after the very first bite – it was a broccoli ?.
In any case, I was curious as to how my stomach would respond. Other than just feeling overly full, nothing major happened. It just seemed that I am taking a lot longer to digest the food. I slept a lot better than the last days. This was surprising because I normally find it difficult to sleep with a full stomach.
I took another set of measurements this morning. The weight already started going up gradually. The body fat remained constant, meaning the body stopped taking nutrition from the stored fat. The water content reduced, as was expected. Lost just a tiny bit of muscle mass. That was probably because, I literally did not move yesterday. I decided to take an absolute break from all exercises.
The plan is to stick to veggies and fruits for the next couple of days and then very slowly start introducing protein to my diet.
Day 9: 12th Feb 2019
Weight: 73.7 kg (lost 6.3 kg) Body fat: 8.9% (lost 12.1%) Water content: 71.1% (gained 16.1%) Muscle Mass: 43.6% (lost 4.4%)
Yesterday was great. Led one morning yoga class, practiced sword for two hours, followed by one more hour of yoga. I skipped my breakfast as I used to do before. During lunch, I wasn’t hungry. So I decided to wait until I get hungry, which happened a couple of hours later than usual time. I ate more steamed veggies, which tasted equally great! Moving on, there were two more classes in the afternoon, in one of which I wrestled with a student, burning quite a lot of energy. It was fun.
There is something that I decided to work on. I won’t eat because it’s time to eat. Instead, I would eat when I am hungry. I believe that this is one of the biggest problems that we have when it comes to our personal nutrition. Because of our habits, our body is not able to differentiate anymore between “it’s time to eat” and “I’m really hungry”. We eat because it’s time to eat – it’s the body clock telling us to eat even if there is food in our stomach still being digested. That does not necessarily mean that we are hungry. After fasting, I feel that I am able to distinguish between the two and I am committed to ignore the body clock and listen to my stomach.
My weight seems to be going up at a steady pace. I aim to keep it around 78 kg. Body fat has also increased slightly. Surprisingly, water content had gone up again and the muscle mass is stable.
Today I plan to go for a total fruit diet – not juice. Let’s see how my stomach takes it.
Day 10: 13th Feb 2019
Weight: 73.6 kg (lost 6.4 kg)
Body fat: 8.9% (lost 12.1%)
Water content: 71.3% (gained 16.3%)
Muscle Mass: 43.6% (lost 4.4%)
I pooped yesterday, 3 times ?! That was the moment that I was dreading somewhat as it’s a sure shot proof if my digestive systems are functioning properly. It seems that everything is fine ?.
As always, I worked out as normal. A couple of hours of hours of sword practice, some mobility training and yoga. Energy level is high and no tiredness whatsoever.
Also, I introduced solid fruits to my diet yesterday. The entire day, I ate two mandarins, two apples and some dry fruits. I am also trying to keep my water consumption high. The plan is to start introducing high-protein food to my diet in small quantities. I was initially planning to do it next week, but it feels that my body is ready for it. Once I do it, I would expect my muscle mass to start going up finally.
Day 11: 14th Feb 2019
Weight: 74.4 kg (lost 5.6 kg)
Body fat: 8.9% (lost 12.1%)
Water content: 70.8% (gained 15.5%)
Muscle Mass: 43.4% (lost 4.4%)
Happy Valentines Day, everyone ?! Hope either you have or will soon find that one special person whom you could keep annoying for the rest of your life ?.
I had a good day yesterday. I had a chicken salad for lunch. It tasted super juicy and delicious. My stomach didn’t complain. So it seems that everything is on the right track. Workout-wise, again some more sword fighting, taichi in the morning, followed by yoga and mobility in the evening. For dinner I just ate two clementines. That felt like enough.
The weight increased a bit and the body fat remained constant. The muscle mass remained more or less stable.
Day 12: 15th Feb 2019
Weight: 73.9 kg (lost 6.1 kg)
Body fat: 9.1% (lost 11.9%)
Water content: 70.5% (gained 15.8%)
Muscle Mass: 43.5% (lost 4.5%)
The numbers still look pretty stable. I expected the weight to go up at a slightly quicker pace though. But then, although I am consuming a bit of protein, I am mostly on a fruit diet and absolutely out of carb. In any case, I feel strong and healthy ?.
I am afraid this post entry would have to be the last one. That’s because I have a family emergency and I have to head back to India for a week. I will not have the means to continue measuring the same way as I have been doing until now. This will also mess up my diet as Indian food is generally high on carb. So it might be interesting to see the change once I am back. May be, I will do one last post, just because of curiosity ?.
Here’s a quick chart to be able to see the progress visually.