Fasting 1, 2, 3

Jacob's 72-hour fasting adventure 

I started this fasting adventure with a goal of 3-4 days of a water-only fast. After researching during the first day and looking in my fridge as to how much food I need to eat before my holiday travels I decided on finishing after 72 hours. This was the first time I’ve officially fasted and it was a big test of my willpower.

To my surprise, I loved it. As I didn’t know what to expect, I started out overanalyzing all my thoughts, feelings, & energy. Thinking I was smart to conduct the fast over the weekend, I had made plans to occupy my day. But not nearly enough. Little did I know how much time I spent cooking and eating throughout the day.

The toughest parts were the times of boredom and the desire to chew something. I made a big mistake on day 2 chewing a piece of gum … do not chew gum during a fast. It not only is a few calories breaking your fast, but man does it make your stomach grumble loud. My discipline was tested when I smelled popcorn at the movies, seeing friends eat/drink out at dinner and bars, while I baked veggies and cookies, and every 10 minutes as I walked past a fully stocked pantry.

"Discipline is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST" - Abraham Lincoln

I walked around town averaging 10k steps/day and went to the gym twice, but only lifted weights once. I was a bit cautious as this was my first fast and didn’t want to overextend myself. Per Tools of Titans, I added a little BCAAs to my water mix to ensure no muscle loss (beware, raw BCAA’s taste like crap). My weight did not drop much as I was 151 lb on 3rd day and normally hover around 155-158 lb. While at the gym I finished with a sauna session achieving 130bpm with no issues. My resting heart rate remained normal around 45-50 bpm. Interesting note: look at my BPM on the 17th (right now as I write this). Post meal my heart rate has increased in order to metabolize the food I ate, particularly the cookie. 

As far as mental clarity, it got better with each day of fasting. The first day didn’t feel any different. The second day was a slight improvement. The third day I felt an energy and focus like I was on Adderall or something similar. If I would continue into a 4, 5, 6+ day fast, I think the mental effect would be very similar ... but that's for a later experiment. 

Proving my fasting ketosis are ketone urine strips. Here's a quick ketosis definition: energy coming from metabolizing ketones/fat versus glucose/sugars. For a 5 min keto explanation video see here. I officially hit fasting ketosis around 20-24 hours. Once in ketosis, I maintained full ketosis up to the 72-hour mark. The only slight drop was noticed after my workout on the second day. Although, I still registered as “in ketosis” it was a noticeable drop in ketone bodies measured.

Ketones (mMol) over Fasting Time (Hours)

1.5 - 3 = Healthy Nutritional Ketosis; >3 = Healthy Fasting Ketosis

Would I do this again? Hell yes. Although I'm currently bloated due to overeating my celebratory meal detailed below, I plan to incorporate it quarterly into my life. The benefits for health of gut, DNA, cell, brain and the focus it brings are amazing. I’ll probably try during a work week next time to ensure I’m busy the whole day.

Despite people thinking you’re going to die on day one, it's actually way easier than I anticipated. Hunger on day 3 was minimal to none. That may be due to my already low-carb high-fat diet (near ketosis) that suppresses hunger cravings. 

Below I list a full diary as well as some notes to help you succeed in a 3-4 day fast. Let me know what worked for you or what could help me out my next go around. 

Keys to success

  • Pack your calendar with things to do
    • Have a book to read, work to do, emails to write, laundry, errands to run, cleaning, anything to buy the free time and distract yourself
  • Have water handy everywhere you go
    • Day 1 and 2 add some sea/Himalayan salt to your water (or mineral water)
      • .5 - 1 tsp per glass of water
      • Helps with potential headaches, dizziness, fatigue, cramps sometimes called keto flu
  • Make your last meals very low-carb and high-fat
    • Helps minimize cravings
  • Don't chew gum, it will make your stomach grumble
  • Consult Tim Ferriss's guide in Tools of Titans when interviewing Dom D'agostino, the leading keto expert

Day 0 (Thursday)

  • Intake
    • Finished last meal at 8 pm
    • 4 eggs, avocado, broccoli, hummus, low-carb pumpkin pie
  • Activities
    • Went to bed at 11 pm
  • Ketosis
    • Didn’t test

Day 1 (Friday)

  • Hunger pains 3/10 (my worst day)
    • Already on a low carb diet I assume helps hunger pains
  • Activities
    • Woke up at 7 am
    • Work emails, researched fasting, little reading, saw Star Wars: the last Jedi
    • Stayed out until midnight hanging with friends at bars, drinking water at bars isn’t bad unless your friends are sloppy drunks :)
  • Intake
    • Water, water, water … around 100oz (recommended body weight/2 in oz)
    • Replaced morning coffee with hot water and sea salt mixture
    • Had a 12oz black coffee during the movie
    • Had second hot water and sea salt mixture before bed
  • Ketosis
    • Fasting ketosis around 20-24 hours into fast

Day 2 (Saturday)

  • Hunger pains 2/10
    • Only hunger pains were in the morning (probably expecting my typical giant weekend breakfasts)
  • Activities
    • Woke up at 8 am
    • Full home cleaning
    • Baked veggies for after fast complete (food was going to spoil :)) 
    • Worked out shoulders and full sauna session
      • 80% effort during the workout
      • Felt completely normal, no fatigue
      • Watched movies, read, wrote, design
    • Went to bed at 10:30 pm
  • Intake
    • 100oz water
    • 1 glass of hot water with salt
    • Supplemented intra-workout to not lose muscle mass
      • 7g Scivation XTEND RAW BCAA’s
      • 2tbsp SportsResearch MCT Oil
    • Chewed 1 piece of spearmint five gum
      • Did this without thinking, but I highly recommend NOT chewing gum, made hunger grumbles increase and there are sugars and calories in gum. This was my biggest mistake of the fast.
  • Ketosis
    • All day ketosis, but noticed drop after workout

Day 3 (Sunday)

  • Hunger pains 1/10
    • Again morning hunger grumbles expecting big breakfast
    • Not sure if less hunger or I grew acclimated
  • Activities
    • Woke up at 7 am
    • Ran errands, read, wrote, packed for holiday travel
    • Baked Xmas low-carb gingerbread cookies
    • Prepped for victory meal
  • Intake
    • 90oz water
  • Ketosis
    • All day full ketosis

Day 3+ (Sunday 8 pm)

  • Hunger 0/10
    • Ate a “normal” big meal I’d guess around 1200 calories
    • Stomach is full
  • Activities
    • Eating
    • Netflix
    • Writing this
  • Intake
    • Gingerbread cookie as a reward
    • Consumed baked vegetable medley (Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli covered in avocado oil and spices)
    • Snacked on grass-fed beef, guacamole, beans, and raw cheddar
    • Water 
    • Went to bed at 11 pm
  • Ketosis
    • Still in full ketosis 3 hours after eating
    • The morning after meal may affect ketosis, will update upon testing tomorrow morning
    • UPDATE 12/18/2017: ketone measurements at full fasting ketosis levels after completing fast, eating and sleeping (see chart above)

Lessons learned

  • Health pack your first couple meals after breaking your fast
    • I ate healthy the first night, followed by a good morning. The next day I ate very spicy peppers. I'd suggest waiting a week until you thrill seak with flavor and heat! My intestines are a'burnin.
  • Don't be afraid to work out
    • I held back during my fast by not working out daily (my normal routine) and holding back on effort when I did. While I'm sure this was an okay caution. It is not needed. Make sure you have enough water and get those activity/exercise/move rings closed!
  • Sleep is your friend
    • During my three days, I got in around 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. That is good, but make this time a 'sleep vacation'. I'm guessing you're behind on sleep as is, so to conquer your boredom: sleep more!

UPDATE 12/19/2017