Last week, I embarked on an adventure that seems to have frightened almost everyone I shared story with:
I didn’t eat for 85 hours
I won’t lie, I was a little nervous when I first started, but not as much as everyone else. Most of my work colleagues thought I was going to collapse. Either that, or just keel over dead. Surely, no human being has ever gone this long without food voluntarily?
Man fasts for 382 days – This is a link to the actual pdf case study.
Granted, that guy was in a medically supervised fast. But that medical supervision was the 1973 version. Surely, the 2020 “at home” supervision would be enough for 85 hours? Of course it was.
How I fasted for 85 hours
My longest previous fast was 26 hours. I had been eating one meal a day (OMAD) and work got crazy which pushed back my lunch by a couple of hours. This was more than 3 times my previous record.
The most important thing to remember here is that I didn’t set out to fast for 85 hours. Each day, I evaluated whether or not I really needed to eat based on how I felt.
I also made it ridiculously easy to keep going by making sure I only had to skip one meal. “One meal?” I hear you asking. Yes, just one. I ate my last “meal” at 9pm on a Monday night, right before bed (SINNER!). For the rest of the fast, as long as I could get through the evening without eating, I automatically added 8+ hours to my fast due to sleep. I’d wake up rested and pumped at the extra hours I just added to my fast, so it was easy to get right back into my fasting routine the next day.
How did I get through the rest of the days? There’s a little more to that story.
I’ve been a keto/low-carber in some form or fashion for the last 6 years. This is step one in making fasting easier. If your body is already adapted to burning fat for fuel (whether it’s your own body fat or the fat you eat), you’re in a much better position to start fasting. On top of that, I have been skipping breakfast on most days for the better part of the last 3 years. The one exception being my undying love for generous amounts of heavy cream in my coffee (practically a breakfast). And believe me, it pained me to remove cream from my morning routine. But, in order to protect the integrity of the experiment, it had to be done. So that’s one meal I’m already skipping – no real work required.
What about lunch? The first day, I just drank black coffee and water for lunch. Work was busy enough that I didn’t really have time to dwell on my lack of calories. On day 2 and day 3, I drank organic bone broth from my neighborhood grocery store. An entire quart of the stuff is 160 calories and therefore doesn’t pack enough punch to derail a fast. I was not trying for an 85-hour water-only fast, and bone broth was one of the recommendations in Dr. Jason Fung’s “Complete Guide to Fasting”.
For dinner, I have one wife, two kids and two dogs. Don’t misunderstand. Eating all that would definitely break my fast. I chose not to eat them and instead focused on being a part of the family at nighttime. Walking the dogs, talking to Lauren and the kids, etc. By the time the kids are in bed, it’s 8PM. One hour to go until I pass another 24-hour mark. Lucky for me, Lauren and I spend the last hours of the evening together most nights. Plenty of distraction from food :).
My results of the fast are as follows:
- Weight prior to starting fast: 267lbs
- Weight after 32 hrs fasting: 263lbs
- Weight after 56 hrs fasting: 261lbs
- Weight after 80 hrs fasting: 259lbs
Fortunately or unfortunately, I had to make a trip to NYC on Friday. I wasn’t about to drive all over downtown Manhattan on an empty stomach, so I broke my fast mid morning. For lunch, we ate at a jam-packed Greek restaurant. The meal was mostly meat, but I wasn’t going to deny myself a pita after 85 hours of no eating. We met friends in Fishkill for dinner where I allowed myself to indulge in some Fish and Chips. Totally worth it. Did I mention I have a problem with eating right before bed? Yep. Totally smashed some ice cream right before bed :).
For the rest of the weekend, I ate my normal low-carb fare, but didn’t fast. On Monday, I fasted until 5pm and ate my last meal at, you guessed it, 9pm.
My weight this morning (Tuesday)?: 264.2lbs
That’s a net loss of 2.8lbs. Not bad considering the debauchery that took place over the weekend.
So now, I have to test all this again, but this time without the cheat day. I never planned on making cheat days a regular thing were I to incorporate fasting into my lifestyle. But it’s nice to know that I have an insurance policy I can use for planned cheat days.
I sit here now, a little under 11 hours into my next fast. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll report back next week!