Fasting for 90 Hours: What I Learned & What I Would Do Differently

image of fasting benefitsI went 90 hours without eating. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I would have never guessed that my body would feel so amazing without physically eating food since Monday night, but it does! I’m kind in awe of myself in a “you’re quite the badass” kind of way. Ha!

Today marks Day 70 of doing Keto and Intermittent Fasting without cheating. Not even once. I’ve been so committed to this new way of life and eating, but I think it’s also because of just how easy it is to follow. Another major plus is that I just feel great! Forget the scale, I feel amazing on the inside. More energy, better sleep, more alert, and more!

The whole reason I embarked on a fast is because I hit that dreaded plateau on the scale. I’ve actually been super good about the scale and not using it to gage where I’m at (and my worth, if I’m being honest). I’ve been going by my clothes and can tell a difference, so I know something is disappearing somewhere.

I was looking back to see the weight that was lost in March, April, and May. Out of a total of 26.4 pounds gone, only two of those pounds came off in May… and that kind of bummed me out, so I went to Dr. Berg’s YouTube channel. (If you are doing Keto, Intermittent Fasting, or just want to understand how your body works, you need to know and follow Dr. Berg. He is amazing and the videos are super short and will keep your attention. Plus, he has this great soothing voice that you will soon begin to love.)

I went to his channel so that I could learn more about a plateau and to see what I could do differently to break it and that’s where I learned about “prolonged fasting”. Fasting is a term that I’m familiar with, but have never done… well, in a healthy way. If we are talking about starving and not eating, then count me in for that. Prolonged Fasting was a completely new term for me and it was super interesting when I learned about the benefits of doing a prolonged fast. I decided that day that I would start a prolonged fast right then (it was still early enough that I hadn’t had lunch so it worked out perfectly).

My initial goal was to go 24 hours. Seemed easy enough. I read just how important electrolytes and sea salt are to consume in water while fasting, so I went to Walgreens, got some electrolyte water and added my Celtic sea salt to it. I drank it throughout the day and felt great. Never once was I hungry. I didn’t feel tired mid-day. I tend to yawn a lot during the day (not sure why), but I didn’t. I had energy and felt really wonderful!

So naturally I changed my mind about the 24 hour fast and decided to keep going. 24 hours turned ultimately into 90 hours and without one word of a lie, I probably could have kept going past 90 hours. It was just that time of the month for me and at 90 hours I felt a bit tired and weak.

Throughout the whole fasting time, I told myself that if my body felt tired, weak, dizzy, even super hungry that I would eat. And that’s the really cool part: I felt great the whole time. I slept amazing – one night even got 3:33 hrs of deep sleep. My body got tired around 9:30pm and when I woke up I felt refreshed. And y’all, that never happens!

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

I feel like I stumbled on the holy grail of healthiness when I searched for “breaking a plateau”. In the past, fasting never appealed to me for a couple of reasons: 1. I never bothered to research the benefits of fasting and 2. It seemed like I would just be starving my body.

I learned just how important it is to build up your reserves in your body prior to fasting and that a fast should happen about 6-8 weeks after you have already been doing Intermittent Fasting. My reserves were built up and I’ve been doing IF since March 25, 2019 so I considered myself a great candidate! And honestly, I believe that’s why I felt so great the entire time. I had already built up a reserve of my body burning fat from following Keto, so it was prepared to still continue to do that. (If I had been consuming sugar and other junk, I am sure that I would have felt terrible and dizzy and a bunch of other bad symptoms.) I heard something interesting about fasting: You aren’t starving yourself because when done right, your body is still eating the stored fat. You just aren’t physically eating.

There are probably a million benefits from fasting, but here’s twelve really cool benefits that come from following a fast:

  1. Stimulates fat burning
  2. Improves energy levels
  3. Decreases inflammation
  4. Takes stress off of digestive system
  5. Stimulates cellular autophagy
  6. Enhances mental health
  7. Increases mitochondria
  8. Decreases tumor growth
  9. Increases antioxidants
  10. Improves insulin sensitivity
  11. Reduces chronic disease risk
  12. Stimulates the development of stem cells

When you fast your body basically goes into repair mode. It fixes and makes better the things that need help. It literally blows my mind just how amazing fasting is and what it can do for one’s body.

Another topic that came up in my research of fasting was just how important it is to pick the right foods when you do begin to eat again. I had absolutely no idea that this was a thing and I thought that you just go straight into eating how you did before (assuming it was a healthy diet). Boy was I wrong!

How to Break a Fast and Avoid Refeeding Syndrome

There is a science behind how a person breaks a fast and it needs to be followed so that the refeeding syndrome does not occur. Refeeding Syndrome happens when a person reintroduces food to their body too quickly and in a big quantity. When this happens, it can throw off your electrolytes, leading to severe complications that can be fatal.

I’ve read that you should significantly keep your calories anywhere between 20-50% when reintroducing food back into your diet and for every 3 days of fasting, you should reintroduce your food slowly by two days. For example, if you fast for 3 days, you should allow 1 day of slow caloric eating and then return to a healthy diet on the following day. If you’ve fasted for 5 days, you should take two slow days reintroducing your food and return to your healthy diet on the 3rd day.

Tips for Breaking your Fast

The first day after you break your fast, you want to go easy on your body and digestive system. It’s a good idea to consume liquid foods, like bone broth, green juices, fermented drinks, and severely steamed veggies (think baby food consistency). This all helps to reintroduce your body to food while going easy on how your body processes it. It’s a good idea to stay away from meats because that is harder for your body to digest.

The next day you can up it a little bit. Raw veggies, 1/4 – 1/2 avocado, coconut fats, 1 egg, handful of nuts, small salad, olive oil, and olives are great for this day.  You want to be mindful about what you are eating and make sure that your body doesn’t go into overload with the food.

Dr. Berg suggests introducing something small first, waiting 30 minutes, and then introducing something else just to see how your body reacts. I followed this approach and my body seemed okay with everything I ate, at least on the first day.

How I Broke my 90-hour Fast:

Day 1:  First, I started with a cup of organic chicken bone broth. I was surprised that there really wasn’t a flavor to it, but it went down easily and I felt fine after consuming the cup.

image of green juiceI waited 30 minutes and then made myself some green juice (celery, kale spinach, collard greens, radicchio, mustard greens, and chard). I threw in some pickle juice (fermented juice) for good measure, hoping that it would make the drink just a little more enjoyable (it did not). I mixed everything up in the blender and then was all ready to drink the thickest green drink I’ve ever had. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good. It was so thick that the ice I put in it (to make it colder) just stayed floating on the top. If you go this route, I’d recommend using a food processor and making sure that your drink is really liquified.

For dinner, I had some mashed cauliflower with salt and pepper and added a little bit of organic raw cheddar cheese to flavor it up some. It was delicious and my favorite meal of the day. For “dessert” I had some apple cider vinegar. I mixed 2 tablespoons of ACV, 8oz of water, and 2 drops of organic liquid stevia in the flavor of English toffee. See what I did there by calling it dessert, it was like a caramel apple. Insert laugh here. It was really yummy though and I was surprised… or just really hungry! (If you’re a little nervous about gagging from drinking apple cider vinegar, don’t be! Try it with the liquid stevia and it takes the vinegar flavor right out!)

Day 2: I was at the movies so this was a little harder. I packed some almonds and some olives to sneak into the movies to eat. I felt okay after eating them, but felt extremely full. I think next time I will save the nuts for when I’m eating my normal diet. It felt too heavy for me and felt like it just sat in my stomach. I also had a glass of Fit Vine Chardonnay, which I think was a bad idea too. Almonds and chardonnay should be saved for many days after a fast, not for breaking it. Oh well, live and learn, right? I thought the chardonnay would be okay since I technically could have returned to eating a healthy diet on this day, but how I felt after was a different story.

About 7 hours later, I felt hungry, so I heated up my leftover mashed cauliflower and had my apple cider vinegar drink. Right after eating I felt sick to my stomach. TMI, but I couldn’t decide if I had to go to the bathroom or if I needed to throw up. You know that feeling? It’s the absolute worst! This lasted for about 4 hours of feeling sick. I’m not sure what happened – maybe I shouldn’t have eaten or maybe it was a coincidence. All I know is that it was a bad feeling with a stomach cramp and weakness.

Day 3: Today is day 3 and I have not eaten yet. I woke up feeling fine, no more stomach cramps, so that’s a positive. I don’t necessarily feel hungry, but I’m also a little nervous to eat since I have to be at the baseball field for two games later today. I can’t think of anything worse than being outside in extreme heat and running to the bathroom over and over. I think I will take it easy today as far as food goes by having an avocado, an egg, and some greens in the form of a salad (no more thick green juice for this girl).

Final Thoughts on Fasting

I loved how I felt while fasting. Aside from the health benefits, I loved having mental clarity and energy. I loved waking up and feeling refreshed. I loved that my body was tired around the same time every night and that I slept so well. I loved that I was calm and my patience level was great. I even noticed that my period was a lot lighter in every way possible. I felt all-around so awesome and that feeling is addicting! I will definitely add fasting to my diet, but haven’t decided if I will try for every other month, quarterly, or what.

I know I did it this time around to break a plateau, but I feel like I stumbled onto something that is so amazing and that will continue to change my life for the better. I’m so excited about my new outlook on it.

And if you’re wondering about that plateau, I could not get out of the 180’s to save my life and today I am currently at 174.0 lbs! Not only did the fast break my plateau, but it’s helped me to crush it and more!!!

If you’ve fasted, I would love to hear your comments about it below. If you haven’t, I hope that I gave you some good insight to at least be intrigued and that you will do your research to see if fasting is a good idea for you and your body.

Happy Fasting & Health to you!

 

 

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