Note, there is a more up to date version of this post here.
Here are my notes after not eating for a week.
The idea is to fast for 7 days every 3 months of the year. Eat nothing and drink only water – and some green tea if you get really bored.
It’s a cellular cull, a sugar withdrawal game, an immune system reboot and a journey in dematerialisation.
A stoic quest! (-:
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight … / done a 7 day fast?”
- Well… it’s a challenge.
- You want to reboot your immune system – or at least wake it up. Make your body generate some new white blood cells which are sharp enough to identify cancer cells and kill them.
- You want to give your body a break from running on glucose.
- You want to starve any (pre) cancer cells in your body. Cancer cells run on glucose.
- Detox included. No alcohol or any other bad stuff for a week.
- Reset hormone levels / reset insulin resistance.
- Lowers bad cholesterol.
- Fasting stimulates the release of growth hormones.
- Fat loss and visible abs.
- Food tastes amazing afterwards.
Easy. Don’t eat anything and just drink water. Have a bit of green tea if you get bored.
Prepare. Do some intermittent fasting (IF) in the weeks before. Do a few 18 hour fasts. Then a few 24 hour fasts. You probably want to do a 3 day fast then a 5 day, then a 7 day fast. Some people do 20 day fasts – but that’s a bit extreme for me.
It takes 4-6 weeks for your body to get used to this – it gets efficient at running on fat over six weeks. Read about ketosis and IF.
I would NOT suggest you just switch from a high carb diet to fasting in a day. This is a 6 week project not an overnight thing.
Plan your week. You probably don’t want to do this on a very stressful or travelling week.
You want to get into a mild ketosis state before the fast. Do some low carb / keto eating in the day(s) before. This makes the transition easier.
Try and keep to 1-3 millimolar/l ketone levels.
Notes and Tips
Ketones are anti-catabolic and your body releases growth hormones when you are in ketosis.
It’s a pretty productive time. You will realise how much time food and eating consumes. You might need to go on a few lunchtime walks, not to get too bored.
There can be some negative things for some people: brain fog, back pain, heart racing, bad sleep. A lot of this is probably your brain going through sugar withdrawal. I did not experience this stuff – I’ve been experimenting with this for about 4 months now.
Your underwater breath hold time will increase. Try it. Very cool how you can spend more time underwater.
It’s cheap. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are free.
You might feel a bit of a high on day two/three, this is the ketones.
Some people will react a bit weirdly when you tell them you are not eating for a week. Just don’t tell some people.
Don’t go to gym. You probably want to take it easy with the exercise. I went to gym in my fast – just to see what weights I could lift. Pretty similar, but maybe 80% of the regular weight. If you are not eating protein it does not make sense to go to gym. Your body does not have anything to repair your muscles with after weight training. A few chilled walks or swims are probably enough.
Start eating at a slow pace after the fast – maybe start with a smoothie or something easy to digest.
Does fasting really kill cancer cells? Nope it’s not that simple, but it gives them a hard time. It radically slows their growth. The real kicker is that you reboot your immune system and your white new blood cells identify and kill the cancel cells. That’s the theory.
You want to keep sugar out of your regular diet – you can’t just eat lots of sugar for three months and then do a 7 day fast to fix things.
“Fasting for four days causes stem cells to awake from their normal dormant state, and start regenerating. Researchers discovered this practice destroyed damaged and older cells, and caused new cells to be born, effectively renewing the immune system. This is the first time any natural intervention has ever been shown to trigger this self-renewal.” — from this article
- Is this safe?
Yeah, you can probably go 30 days without food. Don’t stress… but, I’m not a doctor – make sure you are in good health before trying this.
- Can I take MCT oil while fasting?
Yeah, if you must. Not needed.
- Can I take BCAAs while fasting?
No, BCAAs will help prevent muscle loss, but the glutamine in most BCCA mixes is a bad idea. There is some research that shows cancer cells like glutamine.
- How often should I do this?
Four times a year. Every 12th week. Add it to your calendar.
- How much fat will I lose?
Depending on your base metabolic rate, probably about 2kg. Not as much as you might think. A kilogram of fat contains 7700 calories. If your base metabolic rate is 2000 calories per day you can lose about 260g of fat per day – a bit more if you are more active. Take a few long walks.
- What do I do when I get hungry?
Drinks some green tea or go for a walk.
I went from 84kg to 80kg over the days I fasted. Probably a lot of water loss.
You should notice some fat loss… this photo was on day four:
Listen to this podcast.
Here are a few more of my Health Hacking posts.
Have fun, crazy kids.
UPDATE 2015-11-16: Here is what I would suggest:
Friday: carb / pizza day. Saturday: low carb. Sunday: zero carbs, start the fast at 18:00.
Mon-Thu: fasting. Friday: fast till 18:00. Enjoy the weekend.
This gives you 5 days of fasting – with at least 4 days in a ketosis state. Should do the job for the health and immune system benefits. Obviously you can keep going.
UPDATE 2015-11-19: It’s important to make sure you are in a state of mild ketosis before you start the fast so you don’t have to worry about your body converting muscle mass into glucose. The whole point of this fast is to get glucose out of your blood for a prolonged time.
Gluconeogenesis involves the construction of new glucose molecules from amino acids harvested from the breakdown of protein primarily found in muscle. While this adds needed glucose to the system, it does so at the cost of muscle breakdown, something less than favorable for a starving hunter-gatherer.
But human physiology offers one more pathway to provide vital fuel to the demanding brain during times of scarcity. When food is no longer available, after about 3 days, the liver begins to use body fat to create chemicals called ketones. One ketone in particular, beta hydroxybutyrate (beta-HBA), actually serves as a highly efficient fuel source for the human brain, allowing humans to function cognitively for extended periods during food scarcity.
Our unique ability to power our brains using this alternative fuel source helps reduce our dependence on gluconeogenesis and therefore spares amino acids, and the muscles from which they are derived. Reducing muscle breakdown provides obvious advantages for the hungry Homo sapien in search of food. — from this article