I ran into someone at the gym a couple days ago who told me they were doing a 9 day fast, for weight loss. “Really?!” I said. “Tell me more!” Being a fan of fasting so far, I am anxious to hear others’ opinions. “Well, its really hard!” she exclaimed. “I only get to eat three shakes and one salad a day for the first three days, and then I can add protein on days 4-9. I am really tired today and my energy is so low, and I am only on Day 2!”
First of all, this is not fasting, at least not the way I think about it. Three shakes and a salad with dressing would be somewhere around 800-900 calories. That may be a reduction for this person but it certainly is not an obvious way to achieve any of the benefits of fasting. (see my previous post on benefits) Fasting for weight loss is an iffy thing if you feel you are going on an extreme Diet that is not allowing you to sustain the benefits after your fast has ended.
This conversation made me mad for this person because they were getting lousy advice. My hope in sharing my experience is to illuminate the practice and expose the charlatans who want to trick and trap you into feeling like you fail, time and time again. Oops, almost ranting there….
So, my 7 day Fast. On this fast, I continued to take the vitamins that I normally take, but drank only water and two packs of ketone supplements (Keto OS) each day, about 90 calories total. Here are my condensed day to day notes if you’re interested, prefaced by my conclusions.
- It has been a week since the fast ended and my weight has settled into 180-181.
- My need for food has lessened and I am super conscious of my emotional eating. I continue to lose weight between fast periods.
- It would not have been as easy if I wasn’t taking Keto OS. It was just enough of an external energy source to keep me up, focused and energized. I was burning ketones hard the whole time and have stayed in nutritional ketosis more easily since.
- It really drove home how much hunger is a mental thing. If I was able to have just water and ketones for 7 days with no real side effects or hunger signals, doesn’t that make sense? And, I was only “hungry” on Day 7 because I knew it was the end! I had exactly the same experience on Day 5 when I did the 5 Day fast in March.
- I liked it but I think the benefits of a 7 day fast are no greater than a 5 day fast. In addition, 7 days is tough for anyone who is social. I totally see making a fast part of my approach to health and to move my journey along!
- Next up, Alternate Day Fasting. I will, of course, let you know how that went!
I really would love to hear if you fast and what your experience has been!
Daily notes (if you are interested in the minutiae):
Day 1 of 7: Weight 186.2. Lots of carbs last night❤. Was hungry and restless. Looking forward to the fast! First time doing a 7 day. Goals: workout x4., incorporate some bone broth , document.
Day 2 of 7: 183.4. Bit of a headache this am. I think its a day 2 thing.. having some Kreme with my coffee this am and a motrin. Worked out yesterday, little walk today. Maybe paint the bathroom. Keeping busy on day 2 seems to get me over the hump i think. Took 6 hours to paint the bathroom! Will be shoulder sore tomorrow:(
Day 3 of 7: 182.7. Yup, awful sleep last night, shoulders so sore. I think i will have the same breakfast as yesterday… Kreme and a motrin! Good energy tho for so little sleep! Today will be clean my bathroom, upstairs and start to tackle my closet.
Not hungry but restless.
Day 4 of 7: 181.5. Feel better from soreness today but think I will take a body day off. Had a cup of bone broth last night as well as half pack of keto in my tea, good sleeps! Plus it was clean sheets and room night! ❤️
Day 5 of 7: 179.8. Omg, under 180 for the first time in almost my whole adult life. I think I was 165 when I got married but that wasn’t a normal weight for me. And I ballooned up shortly after. Wow.
Day 6 of 7: 178.8. I can see how this not eating could become addictive. Not that hard, the weight just flies off although some will come back on. I actually slept last night, so good. That has been the hardest thing about this I think. And yesterday and today, this is a much more mental game. I woke up hungry…no, not hungry…my stomach isn’t growling, the hunger pangs aren’t there, I’m fully fat adapted. But mentally wanting food. My breath is unimaginably awful, my mouth is so bored. I just miss the process of eating. So much so that I am trying to talk myself into ending this tomorrow or even today.
Day 7 of 7: 178.1 almost there! Took melatonin last night, haven’t done that in forever, but the lack of sleep is making me nuts. I’m not sure how much it helped:( I am a little nauseous and dizzy this am. That could be the drugs still, but I am happy this is day 7! Had a massage yesterday, so good. Went car shopping!
Day 1 post fast: 178.2
Broke the fast last night with a bite at the Blake in Canmore. Meh. But Jens birthday celebration.
Day 2 post fast: 180.2. Had about 1000 cals yesterday, so some water weight is expected.
Day 3: 182.1. Tons of food last night at the party. Not unexpected numbers that will fall off again today. Interesting that I continued to snack last night when i was so full, and really noticed it. Even this morning, I feel full, I don’t like it. Why would I ignore the fullness? Why would tortilla chips, so high in carbs, be the thing I reached for? Reward? Cheat? Sabotage? I will be thinking about that today. If the fast taught me anything, it was that I do not need the amount of food I used to eat. I like feeling thinner.
Day 4: 183.1 out for two meals yesterday, Social week. Ugh. Today will be back on plan with far less carb.