4 days with no food, planning for my first extended water fast.

Empty plate photograph

Fasting is an ancient tradition for many and has been well-documented via the intermittent fasting circle for several years, now various people in the health and wellness industry have been studying and releasing information on longer fasts, extended fasts which are anything over 3 days long, there are bloggers and vloggers who have written about their experiences with these kinds of extended fasts and I’ve been wanting to try one for a while now.

I chose to fast as I was interested in the mind over body aspect of the challenge, that was when I wrote the challenge down on my list, lately, I’ve been more interested in the health benefits and the more I learn about fasting the more this seems to be the main focus.
My health recently has been deteriorating faster than I would like it too if I’m being generous.
With two young children, two businesses to run and a new passion to chase I find that energy is my one big concern these days, falling asleep in the middle of the day for an hour or two and shoving chocolate into my face is not how I should be running my own ship. Add in dangerous levels of coffee consumption on previous digestive issues and basically, I’m a mess in desperate need of a jump start and that is what I’m hoping this fast will be.
Also, I have my mother’s birthday party and a holiday in Europe coming up fast and I feel like crap instead of energized and excited.

As usually I wanted to find several books on the subject, join some communities so that I could ask my questions and watch some videos so that I had an idea of what I was getting into, this wasn’t the case as I quickly realised that I had to do the fast very soon or leave if for much later, in the end, I had less than a week to get to know all about extended fasting.

In the end, the time that I had to research was less than I would have hoped for as I only had a small window of time in which to start and complete the challenge so I was forced to go minimalistic in regards to my research.
I chose the book “The Complete Guide to Fasting”
by Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore because it seemed to be the most recent and most concise book on the subject of fasting that I could find on Amazon or online, a few clicks later and I had my kindle version ready on my tablet and I started reading as fast as I could.

Photograph of book from tablet
The Complete Guide To Fasting by Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore.

To complement the reading I also read several blogs on fasting by Mark Scissons who is my go-to guy for nutritional advice, it’s not Mark’s fault that I don’t always his advice.
With these two resources together I felt that I had enough information to tackle the fast.

I learned that you could fast for far longer than most people expected in fact it seems that as long as you have a pound or two of fat on you, you can fast indefinitely until the reserves are depleted, the book mentioned that most athletes have around 8% body fat and you can even fast at that level, I’m sure that I am currently way higher than that.

In fact there was a Scottish man named Angus Barbieri who was so sick of being obese that he wandered into the local medical centre and announced that he would fast until he got down to his ideal weight 180 pounds, when he started he weighed 456 pounds and when he had finished he only weighed, in total he fasted for 382 days that’s a year and change with no food and just a daily vitamin with yeast, it kind of makes my challenge look a little week but I can not personally imagine going longer than one day with food and there is a part of me that simply thinks that it isn’t possible and I’m sure many people who have never fasted for religious reasons would also say that they thought that it was impossible.

On a water fast you can lose around ½ a pound per day once the excess water weight comes off, I worked out that I am 70 pounds heavier than my ideal weight which is 160 pounds for my age and height, that means if I were to fast for 140 days I would achieve my ideal weight, almost guaranteed (I think), I would obviously need to eat a low carb diet most days to offset holiday and celebration feasting but it would be very interesting if I could literally calculate down to the very date that I would be able to get down to my ideal weight, that seems pretty motivating to me rather than the vague notions of tradition dieting and hoping and praying for the weight to go away, right now I don’t have an extended fasting plan, however, I hope that towards the end of the fast I will have one in place.

Based on the fact that I wasn’t going to die I decided that a water fast would be fine, however, I know from experience that I get pretty severe caffeine withdrawal symptoms so I will be allowing myself some black coffee and green tea on my fasting days and nothing else.
I wanted to get into ketosis before I began the long four days so I decided that I would spend one week doing a smaller one day and two day fasts first whilst eating a low carb diet to put my body into a state of ketosis so that the fast would feel more like slipping into something familiar rather than jumping head first into an ice-cold lake.
I created a meal plan for the leading-in week and pinned it on my board so that I just had to follow what I’d planned on those days to get me into ketosis and start the ball rolling.

Photograph of meal plan for fasting
A full plan for my pre fast meals and short water fasting periods

My wife wanted to join me and instead of a water fast she will be eating 600 or fewer calories on my fast days for the leading week but will potentially not be joining me for the four days fast, I had to base my meals around poultry and fish as she is currently not eating red meat.
This seemed tricky at first but after banging my head off my desk for a few minutes I came up with a few good ideas. (it always works)

A small note, I will stop the fast if I become unwell during the four day period due to lack of food.

Due to the stricter deadline for this the challenge I have already started as of today, I am one day into my leading week, so the start date was the 2nd and the main fast starts on the 9th and lasts until the 12 or 13th, my mother’s birthday party happens to be the 14th and I’ll be travelling on the 13th to see her with my family, hence the deadline and the rush this time around.
There is no fear of refeeding syndrome from what I’ve read so far as it tends to only happen if the person is undernourished and has been fasting for longer than two weeks, but I think the term is starved for two weeks not fasting as the two are quite different since I’ve read “The Complete Guide to Fasting.”

I will be posting daily updates to my facebook page, I suggest that you come and join me if you’re interested in seeing my progress.

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