I’ve been hearing a lot about prolonged fasting on various podcasts I follow. Recently, I discovered The Keto Hacking MD podcast that is hosted by Jimmy Moore featuring Dr. John Limansky. I started with the first episodes covering intermittent and prolonged fasting as biohacks. I was immediately convinced that even I could survive an extended fast. To this point, I’ve only don’t intermittent fasts ranging from 18 to 24 hours. Apparently the autophagic benefits are only gleaned from fasts 3 days or longer.
Although this topic has intrigued me for some time, I was a little fearful of going there. I felt able to brave my own prolonged fast after listening to the data presentation of Jimmy, Dr. L’s, and even
Mrs. L’day fast where they described the experience in addition to their blood glucose (BG), Ketones (K), insulin, and other numbers
Originally, I wanted to start on Monday but I deferred after theMAN asked to have lunch with me. He has been out of town for several days so it seemed like a good idea. The following day was my son’s 20th birthday. He took the day off and was cooking up plans to meet with as many friends as he could since he’s been working nearly every day (across his 3 jobs) for several weeks now. We had tentative dinner plans so it seemed that Wednesday would be the day to jump on board. I wanted to shoot for 3 days, with the option to extend beyond if I was feeling amazing (as Jimmy and Dr. L had described – post
Day 2). The hurdle was the weekend with theMAN as we generally eat dinner together on Friday and Saturday night every weekend.
As it turned out, the availability of YaYa’s friends left lunch as the best available meal for me to share with him. Not only did he want to have lunch with me, he also wanted to bring our oldest dog, Ronin, along for the experience. I tried to nix that idea but ended up caving when my boss said that I could take an extended lunch break. So we all had a lovely lunch on the dog-friendly patio at the restaurant where YaYa works. I wish I’d taken a photo of all of us together as the outing was more precious than I could possibly know.
Once I returned to work, I began thinking about my fast again. If YaYa was going to be busy the rest of the day, I figured that I might as well begin my fast then. In doing so, I would hit the 3 day mark around 12:30 pm Friday which would allow me to enjoy dinner with theMAN (unless I felt compelled to keep going). I set my mind to it and decided not to change the plan unless I had to for physical/health reasons.
Well they say that Day 2 of an extended fast is really the roughest, and that it’s smooth sailing from that point on. Well, Day 2 of my fast was rough for other reasons. On this day, I spent the better part of the day at the vet with Ronin. We ended up having to say goodbye to him and, as you can imagine, not eating was the farthest from my mind.
The sadness occupied my mind well into the night and into the next day. I hardly slept and cried quite a bit.
The morning after (Day 3), I woke with the sort of headache you feel after crying for an extended period of time. I also felt fatigued and emotionally drained but otherwise fine. I would have preferred to take the day off but, since I’d taken off Wednesday, I had to get back to the routine. At yoga, I sought respite in the remote corner of the room. I wanted to avoid having to talk with people about the day prior. My teacher of course, came over to assist periodically and the depth of her assist in the deepest of backbends unleashed a flood of tears. My practice was otherwise lovely; I dedicated it to my dear Ronin. At the office, I tried to redirect the conversation as much as I possibly could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid the conversation running through my head. With no lunch to eat, feeling exceptionally tired from 3 hours of sleep, all I could do was get through the day as best as I could.
By the time I hit the road, it was 5 pm sharp. I don’t know how much was the fast and how much was in dealing with the emotional toll of having put my dog down, but I was completely and utterly spent. I came home and immediately fell asleep on the couch. Our other dog, Simba, lay on the floor near me. I was sure that he knew about his companion’s passing and wondered what it must be like for him.
About two hours later, I forced myself to get up to take young Simba for a walk before the last of daylight had passed. That’s when I noticed that I was feeling rather lightheaded. Simba must have sensed it for he has never stayed at my side so closely. I made it home just fine and checked my glucose and blood pressure. Everything checked out. However I decided to give myself a break and end the fast early (55h). I’d already been through enough.
As for my glucose and ketone levels, they were in a nice range throughout my fast. And although I experienced the lightheadedness, I am pretty certain that it would have passed if I had waited it out. In spite of not hitting the magical time point where autophagy is supposed to be initiated, I do sense that my body benefitted. I felt fantastic the following morning. This was most notable during my yoga practice where I felt strong, more connected to my body, and therefore more able to balance where I often struggle. I look forward to finding out how my body responds after fasting for a full 72 hours. I hope to repeat the biohack very soon.