5-day water fast - that turned into 10 days
I will be doing a 5-day water fast for the next 5 days. This means no food, caffeine, drugs, etc. I will log each day in upcoming articles which you will be able to read. (10 part series I decided to extend)
If you had told me a year or two ago that fasting was healthy I would have laughed at you. At the time, I was powerlifting some pretty heavy weight, benching more than twice my size and squatting 3X my weight. Fasting sounded absurd to me. But once I found out that I had a torn rotator cuff as well as 2 degenerative disks in my neck my outlook on things changed. I went from wanting to be a gorilla in the gym, to focusing on health instead. It took that as well as a guest on one of my 120+ podcasts that I have done to introduce me to fasting and how it makes sense.
Humans didn't evolve having access to refrigerators, restaurants, supermarkets, pantries, and food in boxes. If they got hungry they went and found food, they had to expel calories to find calories. It was a never ending struggle, which you would understand if you tried living in the woods for even a day or two without any modern weaponry like guns. Anybody can take a gun into the woods to kill things to eat, but take your gun away and you would struggle trying to find food. American Indians developed traps both in water and on land to catch animals, and they created tools like bow and arrows. When times were tough, whether it was poor weather or it was competition from other tribes reducing the amount of food to find, they did not do well.
Fast forward to today and if you get hungry you simply walk to your fridge or drive to a restaurant and you can eat anything you want. In the mood for a steak? Go to a steakhouse. Want a lobster? Go to a seafood place. We are bombarded with food advertising everywhere; billboards, commercials on tv, all designed to keep us craving food all the time. Most of us have never gone to bed hungry, think about how ludicrous that is. If we get hungry we say “I'm starving, let's go get something to eat.” In reality you aren't starving at all, your brain is just telling you it wants something, and you want that dopamine rush from biting into that donut or pizza.
We eat every 2-3 hours because well, that is what we were always taught to do. In addition, we eat so many sugary foods, processed foods, and foods very high in fat because they taste good and we are addicted to them. Our brains run on glycogen today, so we constantly want to eat something which gives us an insulin boost, and our bodies then go into storage mode. We obviously eat way more than we should and we don't even come close to burning off what we take in because it is so easy to acquire that food. This is why diabetes has skyrocketed in the USA. We treat food like a treat, even our pets are fat and sick because we reward them with treats when they are good. When I walk to my kitchen my dog follows me, her brain is telling her that I am getting food, so she will want a piece of that too.
Who is more deficient of nutrition?
- A: The rich American who eats 4000 calories a day with no exercise, with a huge gut?
- B: The starving African child who eats not even 300 calories a day and is skin and bones?
The answer is they both are deficient. The difference is the American is going to take a lot of prescription drugs and have surgeries to prolong their life while the African child will die much younger.
The bottom line is we eat too much!
Starving and fasting is not the same thing, and I will explain how to do it the correct way later in this article. But right now I want to explain the benefits from fasting so you can understand.
The first obvious benefit is destroying cancer cells. Cancer will not survive in your body without being fed, and if you stop eating food and especially sugar you will starve cancer cells that may be developing. Now I am not saying that someone who has cancer spread already will magically cure cancer by fasting, but I am saying everyone reading this probably has some cancer cells in their body that are in low numbers. Fasting will reduce and prevent them from growing.
Autophagy is a process of cleaning out bad cell matter that has been built up in the body. It not only helps with cancer, but it also can increase lifespan (anti-aging), make you look and feel younger, help protect you from brain degeneration, and help heal up lingering injuries and inflammation. If you are over 30 or 40, you know what I am talking about when I say injuries seem to heal slower, and you can't seem to shake off annoying injuries. Fasting will help with this.
The big one that will make fitness enthusiasts excited is fasting will improve insulin sensitivity. This means it will be easier for you to lose weight even if you eat junk food down the road and your body won't be as prone to store fat after meals.
Weight loss, fat loss, and metabolism
You will lose a lot of water weight during a fast. In addition, you will lose fat, some muscle and strength. This is a given. You need to accept this before you attempt to fast. If your goals are just to be a gorilla in the gym doing a lot of weight or gaining lots of size, then in the short term obviously fasting isn't going to help you.
Also, if you JUST want to lose weight then fasting isn't the long term solution, you will just gain it back if you go back to eating the way you were eating before.
It is true that you down-regulate your metabolism during a fast, but it is NOT true that it is permanent. Your metabolism will bounce right back when you come off your fast. This is why you will gain a lot of weight back quickly when you stop fasting. For me, on my last fast, I lost about 8 pounds in 5 days, but I gained 4 pounds back within 2 days after I stopped. I kept my diet and training on point and since then I actually weigh LESS than I did after fasting. If you go back to eating crap and being lazy, you will just gain everything back and maybe more. So make a decision now what you want to do long term. Fasting can be a good way to train your body and mind to treat food differently and can lead to long term success with fat loss.
I am not interested in organized religion at all and do not consider myself a person who is 'religious' but I am spiritual. Being spiritual is important and going through a fasting experience as I have already, puts your mind in a spiritual mode. You start feeling grateful for what you have and appreciate the food you eat. Our ancestors understood how important animals were, and they knew to only kill what they were going to eat so there would be more food left for their children and grandchildren.
If you live in the USA, in your city or county, it is likely that around 20% of children go to bed hungry every night. The number is higher in other countries around the world but you get the point. Being grateful in life for your wife, family, home, food, whatever it may be is important. You will never be happy unless you give thanks for what you have. During your fasting, you will notice a greater appreciation for food, it will change the way you view eating as well. You will eat food more for health benefits rather than pleasure.
Who shouldn't fast?
If you have addictions to caffeine, sugar, nicotine, rec drugs, Rx drugs, etc. then fasting isn't for you yet. You will suffer from a lot of withdrawals in a fast. There was a guy who went on the survival show "Naked and Afraid" who was a smoker and did not last long in a calorie starved environment because he had such bad nicotine withdrawal problems.
If you are very underweight or overweight I also do not recommend fasting.
Get your existing issues taken care of before you complicate things by doing a fast. You should have all your ducks in a row before fasting, be healthy, and be in some sort of good shape in my humble opinion.
Fasting side effects
You can follow along my log to see what kind of side effects I will be dealing with. The first 2 days are the hardest, by day 3 it gets easier when it comes to the hunger. Feeling an empty stomach will make it difficult to sleep, and you will be waking up a lot to pee. You will notice your tongue turns white and you break out with acne on your body due to the detoxing. The other side effect i expect to get again is poor smell especially from the arm pits and breathe caused by the detoxing.
How I am fasting safely?
There is a difference between fasting and starving your body. Fasting is safe if done CORRECTLY. As humans, we can survive (even if you are skinny) 3 weeks without food. If you are fat it will be longer. So, anyone who tells you going just 5 days without food is dangerous is ignorant.
When it comes to water though, you must drink water or you will be in trouble within 2 days or so. When you fast, you will not be restoring your glycogen reserves, so your fat/water cells will be severely dehydrated and you will be peeing a lot. You must drink a lot of water during your fast to restore this. I also plan on being a hermit, staying indoors in the A/C a lot, and with any sort of outdoor activity I will be easy on myself. Don't go mow the lawn during a fast or do a 5 mile run in 90F weather.
I will still work out at the gym, but everything will be a de-load where I am doing 50% less than usual both with reps, sets, and amount of weight. In addition, I will do cardio but it will be swimming and light walks instead of running. BE SMART!
As humans, we also need minerals during a fast. This is why I will be taking some potassium, magnesium, salt, and calcium during my fast. Minerals can be found in water, but I will also supplement these minerals and use a greens powder and some pure coconut water (no sugar added). Because of these additions, I will be getting in under 60 calories a day in total.
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10 Parts of my Water Fast
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