I decided a couple days ago to kick things up a notch and did my very first 36-hour water fast. I stopped eating 10pm on the Saturday night and only ate again at 10 am on Monday. It was surprisingly a lot easier than I’d thought it would be. Sure, I got some hunger pangs, but they weren´t constant – they came and went in waves. The worst were between 3 and 4pm. I drank about 2-3 litres of water in total throughout the day and even had some liquorice tea (just top make sure my BP didn´t drop too low). Yesterday (which was Monday) I ate normally – including lots of veg and fruit smoothies) from 10am to 10pm. Then at 10pm I stopped eating and am once again water fasting.
I noticed that at 10am yesterday morning I wasn´t that hungry, but because it was my first fast I decided to end as planned at 36 hours and go longer this time. It’s now 8:30pm – this time I’m aiming for 40 hours, which means the water fast will finish tomorrow afternoon at 2pm.
Why am I doing this? Well, as strange as it seems water fasting is NOT about reducing calories, it’s about dropping insulin levels and encouraging a process known as autophagy. Dr Fung, author of The Obesity Code (awesome book!) explains here how fasting can activate this process.
I have been intermittent fasting for about 2 months now – roughly 16-18 hours’ fasting with a 6 to 8 hour ‘feeding’ window’. Although it’s been easy to maintain and I’d imagine I could happily continue doing this, from what I’ve recently discovered, autophagy only peaks during a water fast past the 24 hour mark. However, a water fast lasting more than 48 hours isn´t necessarily more beneficial, as autophagy seems to level off after that. This to me is great news, as it makes it more doable in the long run. I don´t see myself water fasting 4 days at a time (at least not at this point in time). This information has led me to my current ‘experiment’:
- 36 hour water fast: Sat 10pm – Mon 10am
- 12 hour ‘feeding’ window: Mon 10am – Mon 10pm
- 40 hour water fast (where I currently am) : Mon 10pm- Wed 2pm
- 10 hour ‘feeding window’: Wed 2pm – Wed 8pm
I have managed to continue exercising during this period, in fact I seem to have more energy in the mornings fasting, so that’s been great. I am possibly sleeping a little more, this afternoon I had a 1,5 nap which I don´t normally need as I sleep 9 hours’ a night. Even though I have battled a little to fall alseep, the dreams have been intense.
I’ll check back in tomorrow with my an update 🙂