Be like Gandhi- Don't Eat
I have done an overview of intermittent fasting/TRE, the next step is obviously discussing fasting for multiple days. A common misnomer is that you have to fast for days on end to be healthy. If you are happy with your TRE window, feel good, and are not interested in going down that rabbit hole further there is no need to. There are several other unbelievable blogs on this site that should scratch your itch. Some of the more common reactions to finding out someone is on a three day fast are laughing, shock, followed by a WAIT!?!?!? WHAT!?!?!?! YOUR NOT EATING!?!? FOR HOW LONG!?!?!?! I find it quite amusing and gives family, friends, and people at work something to talk about. The first thing to look at when your are doing anything is why? Why are you consciously not taking in calories for days on end? What is the benefit? The benefits are a lot like an 8 hour eating window with everything just magnified. Autophagy (cleaning up mutated cells) goes through the roof, your body has multiple days now to go through, clean up, and get rid of bad cells not helping you. The roadwork analogy still applies, except with multiple days the body can do A LOT of road work. Just like with TRE insulin gets under control and lowers. When insulin is low your body will burn fat as its main fuel source. Any human being can go a very long time without eating because of the fat in your body. Growth hormone spikes so you can go ahead and throw away that Ray Lewis deer antler spray. Stem cell production on the re-feed is insane and that is a HUGE benefit. Your organs shrink while doing a multi-day fast, you get rid of all the those cells not doing their job effectively. When you re-feed properly... boom your organs are almost reborn and grow back bigger, stronger, and healthier. There are several other benefits but I'm just giving the main pillars. Now the egotistical muscle heads will say, "Can't lose my muscle bro." Is it true you are going to lose muscle during a multi-day, without question. Gluconeogenesis does in fact take place, All that fancy word means is your body breaks down your amino acids to make glucose for energy. The human body is an incredible thing and when you think about evolution, would it be smart for your body to waste muscle mass? No you would want to conserve lean muscle because you are going to need it when you are killing that woolly mammoth on day 4 of not eating. Just like with autophagy the small amount of muscle you are losing is the old, mutated, fugly muscle proteins. In comparison your organs will come back bigger, stronger, and fresher as the same thing happens with muscle on the re-feed, you will think you hopped on a cycle of D-Bol bro. We have gone over the benefits and debunked some myths about fasting, now how do you get started? Easy don't eat, boom mic drop, just joking.
The same steps apply in my opinion:
1. Obtain a good 8 hour eating window that your body has adapted to
2. Start with a 24 hour fast, I like to do dinner to dinner (try every other week or a couple times a month)
3. From 24 hours go with what you are feeling, do a 36 or a 48 hour once or twice
4. After that try a 3-5 day fast and you are there.
That is how I would go about it now looking back, how did I do it originally?
1. Got my eating window to 8 hours felt good
2. Started doing a 24 hour fast dinner to dinner once a week
3. Went right into a 4 day fast, didn't go well:
- I did not hydrate enough, HYDRATE especially on a multi-day. Your body loses a ton of water.
- I kept thinking about food and those delicious thoughts did not help my cravings.
- When I did my re-feed my second meal was steak and eggs not good, not good.
Now I do a 4 or 5 day fast three times a year. No specific time New Years obviously, one in the spring around Memorial Day. The last fast is right after Labor Day start the school year fresh. Yours can be whenever you want. I do the fasts during the work week because for me I am busy at work and don't think about food. When I am home that is when the hunger pangs hit, I drink water and do not sit in the room for dinner in fear of gnawing an arm off. Every time gets a little easier, I will take an electrolyte supplement for the dehydration and to make sure I have enough energy at work. I also take a binder after 24 hours because some toxins your body won't expel without a binder like activated charcoal. The re-feed is super important. I didn't do real research my first time and it caused some pain and probably did not get all the benefits out of the fasts because of it. However long your fast is divide it in half and that should be when you cook up that ribeye and eggs. Start with bone broth and smoothies. Next step are soups duh, then slowly start incorporating easily digestible foods. I cap my fasts to 4 or 5 days because I want to eat real food pretty quickly. I think it is great for anyone and strongly recommend it. You learn a lot about yourself. I can't fully trust someone who doesn't drink a little and can't fully respect someone who hasn't done a self imposed 24 hour fast. HYDRATE, push through the pangs.
Dr. Fung and Dr. Longo have extensive websites and protocols being that they are the experts on the subject. I will be glad to help you and answer any questions you may have. I can be reached at email@example.com.