At 5:21 pm after finishing up a delicious steak with side salad, I decided to embark upon my second 36+ hour fast for the month. I say 36+ as my previous fasting window lasted 38 hours. This was due to the fact that I wanted to finish up my morning workout before breaking the fast. Given 6 am would’ve been 36 hours in a fasted state (and I workout during that time), I broke my fast at 8 am.
16:8 fasting – as I’ve intermittent fasted numerous times for 16 hours straight (I used to think this was sooo hard to do, and now it’s a “breeze”), I figured I’d shoot for a 24 fasting window, and ended up lasting much longer than I had anticipated. A work friend helped guide me through this extended fast (which was extremely helpful) as he has been extended fasting for a while now. I am in constant wonder of the wealth of knowledge he possesses on the topic and overall health/well being. One thing he introduced me to during our conversations around fasting was Atophagy. According to Wikipedia, “Autophagy (or autophagocytosis; from the Ancient Greek αὐτόφαγος, autóphagos, meaning “self-devouring” and κύτος, kýtos, meaning “hollow”) is the natural, conserved degradation of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components through a lysosome-dependent regulated mechanism. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Although initially characterized as a primordial degradation pathway induced to protect against starvation, it has become increasingly clear that autophagy also plays a major role in the homeostasis of non-starved cells. Defects in autophagy have been linked to various human diseases, including neurodegeneration and cancer, and interest in modulating autophagy as a potential treatment for these diseases has grown rapidly”. From the literature I’ve reviewed, Atophagy kicks in between 24 – 48 hours of a fast so my ultimate goal is to eventually last 48 hours (although I’ll settle for 36+ as well).
I consumed a small amount of celtic sea salt first thing in the morning before working out, to help keep my electrolytes up. Also consumed a small amount of apple cider vinegar, which I hear helps stabilize blood sugars. I was a bit nervous about over exerting while fasting (those of you who know me know I can be a bit intense in the gym!). Initially, my workouts consisted of lighter weightlifting and cardio; as being it the first time fasting for that long period of time (I do typically work out in a fasted state (simply meaning I do not eat before the gym first thing in the morning), I had no clue what to expect and also didn’t want to faceplant in the gym. To my surprise and delight, my workouts were fine; energy levels were ok and I didn’t feel light headed at all.
How did I feel overall? Great! After the hunger pains subside, that temptation to eat dissipates – keeping busy is so so important, as fasting is more of a mental challenge than anything, and the hunger feelings do subside as time progresses. I now use a 16:8 or 18:6 fast some days to help reset myself when I find I’m eating when I’m not really hungry (like at 7 pm watching Netflix!?), or when I’m just picking at crap. A variety of herbal teas throughout the day and water with some sea salt to keep electrolytes up is all I need to coast. On occasion, if need be, I’ll have a black coffee or cream of earl grey for a little caffeine boost if I feel like I’m a bit sluggish. I find if I have my last meal at 6, it’s easy then to coast til 10 am before breaking the fast the next morning. Once I come out of a fast, I’m more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth; mindful eating if you will.
What I did especially notice was that my body loved the break from digestion. I often struggle with bloat, gas and overall discomfort when I eat. Sometimes a food will trigger me but I can’t really figure out what it is. Fasting gives my body some time to reset and “calm down”. I really do think it’s a practice we all should incorporate into our lives.
An interesting watch is an episode of a TV series “Limitless” with Chris Hemsworth, where he fasts for 4 days under the supervision of physician Peter Attia (Peter has some amazing podcasts worth listening). Interview embedded below between Chris and Peter reflecting upon Limitless, discussing fasting at the 6:22 mark.
Reach out if you have any questions or info to share!
Happy Fasting 🙂