Upgrading My Fasting Routine

A great book for those of you interested in learning about the benefits of and ins and outs of fasting.

I never really stopped intermittent fasting. I’ve done IF for the last 7 years. I settled into an 8-hour eating window and 16 hours of fasting. The problem is that over the last few years the hubby and I just did a lot of damage in that 8-hour window. Although I’m still trying to figure out which direction to take my diet – low carb, keto, carnivore or P:E – I’ve decided I want to push myself on the fasting front.

After a morning binge of Dr. Jason Fung videos, I dusted off the good doctor’s The Complete Guide to Fasting.  I have to say: I love the grids of his fasting protocols. Visually, it’s a great way to show what a 24-, 36- or 42-hour fasting routine looks like.

This week I’m starting the 24-hour fasting protocol. I’m still doing the 16 fasting and 8 hour eating window, but every other day I’m only eating dinner. Today is a fasting day. That means my last meal was last night’s dinner, which I finished eating at 7:00 p.m. My first meal today will start at 7:00 p.m. – 24 hours later.

The only thing I’m allowing myself is water, herbal tea, and one coffee with 1 tbsp. of cream during my fasting hours. Now, I know that some of you are asking: How can you have cream on a fast? Good question! And I have two answers for you.

First, I’m following Jason Fung’s liquid guidelines. That cream is adding so little to my total caloric intake – 50g – it’s too little to matter. Second, my ultimate goal is to eliminate coffee from my diet. I’m drinking one cup a day. That’s down from five cups! I expect to be coffee free within a week or two.

Fasting Isn’t Starvation
There are real benefits if fasting is done right. Clearly, fasting can help with weight loss by helping me get into ketosis. But if I don’t eat right, I’ll stop burning fat.

Fasting is so much more powerful than fat loss. I’m combining fasting with my diet to help boost my energy levels, banish brain fog, reduce inflammation, and improve both leptin and insulin resistance. Once I’ve removed coffee from the diet, fasting will help stimulate autophagy – the body’s process for cleaning out damaged cells and regenerating healthier cells.

I’m finding the 24-hour fast easy to slide into after doing IF for years.  In fact, Jason Fung uses the 36- or 42-hour fasting protocol with his patients for better results. My plan is to move to 36-hour fasting 3 times a week in February before moving to the 42-hour protocol in March.

Of course, life happens. Family get-togethers, dinner with friends, special occasions… Heck, my birthday is this week – on a fasting day no less! Fasting doesn’t mean I become a hermit. I can still enjoy my life. In fact, it makes sense to fast after a feast.

Disclaimer: Fasting isn’t for everyone. There are people who shouldn’t even try fasting, including children, pregnant women and people with eating disorders.  If you are thinking about trying a fast, check in with your doctor first, especially if you are taking any medications. I’m not a doctor and this article is just to let you know what I am trying in regard to my health. It is not medical advice.





Day 4 of My 7-Day Fasting Challenge

Day 4 of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge is winding down, and I am a bundle of energy. I’ve been running around my house going from chore to chore for about 10 hours. I took a “quick” break for social media and 30 minutes later I start crashing.

No problem.

I just moved to the next project. BAM! Energy levels come roaring back.

As for hunger, well, I’m just have no interest in food. Oh sure there were a few small rumbles, but they went a way as fast as they came. Heck, I was working in my kitchen about 5 feet from my refrigerator and I had no urge to eat.

My hunger is just gone. Sweet!

Checking Ketosis
Right before bed I decided to test my ketone levels. I just had too. I used two different strips — one I got from CVS and another that was sent to me by One Health to test. I’ll do a review of One Health’s ketone strips next week. However, I say they have one immediate advantage over the ones I currently use — length! When you have to pass the sticks through a urine stream, having a long stick is awesome.

Anyway, last night the strips showed that I was excreting trace amounts of ketones. By morning the strips showed I was releasing small amounts (1.5 mmol/L). A few hours later the amount increased to “moderate” levels or 4.0 mmol/L.

Using Ketosis To Protect Cells
So I am fat burning mode and loving it. The added benefit is that ketones protect our cells from cancer. In his presentation at the 2017 Low Carb Down Under conference, Dr. Gary Fettke talks about how things like protein and fatty acids serve as building blocks for cancer (glucose is the fuel), but are not readily available. So Cancer basically poaches them from nearby cells.

That’s where ketones come in. When you are burning fat for fuel instead of glucose, the ketone bodies act to protect healthy cells. So not only does it stop cancer from stealing from healthy cells, ketones also starves cancer cells. Pretty Awesome.

Check out the video for yourself.

 


7-Day Fasting Challenge: Day 3

Yay! Three fasting days down, just 4 more to go.  And I’m feeling awesome! Day 3 was easier than Day 2 by far. My energy returned. And that ravenous feeling I had the day before disappeared.

Like Day 1, I stayed busy all day. So there were no stray thoughts about food. I was just too busy to eat. And today I was lifting lots of heavy boxes and home office equipment. I may have missed my workout on Tuesday, but I had plenty of resistance training today.

I will add that I got very hungry after I was done with all the heavy lifting. That was expected and I just rewarded myself with a tall glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  That’s the way i role on a fast!

I did have two little hiccups. The first appeared in the form of a minor headache. Since I’d had to get up twice last night to go to the bathroom, I knew I lost a little too much sodium. A nice cup of bone broth with about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt fixed me up in about 20 minutes.

The second happened around 6:00 p.m. That’s when the husband cooked his dinner. I went up stairs, thinking of the phrase “out of sight out of mind.” Well, that doesn’t really work when it comes to smell. Wow, that was a tough one. But I prevailed.

Opps! Forgot About Measuring Burning Fat?
During an extended fast it can take between 2 to 3 days before you reach full ketosis. Ketosis is a natural state where your body is almost completely fueled by fat. Normally on Day 1 of my fast I would track my ketone levels (ketones are small fuel molecules, produced in the liver from your body fat). However with all the excitement with my mom’s unexpected hospital visit, I completely forgot to measure my ketones. Ugh!

Well better late than never. Tomorrow morning I’ll start tracking my ketone levels. I’m using the urine sticks (you basically pass the stick through your urine stream).  Besides getting a reading first thing in the morning, I plan to also test my ketone levels after having my morning coffee and afternoon bone broth.

I’m just curious to see the effects both have on my fat burning.

Day 4 is coming up next and my biggest challenge is I’ll be home, working 10 feet away from my refrigerator. Here boredom is the enemy.

But between cleaning the basement, picking out a new kitchen sink, counter top as well as the color we’re painting our cabinets, I’m thinking I’ll have a pretty busy day.


7-Day Fasting Challenge: Day 2

Today was rough. I had no energy and just wanted to sleep. I ended up canceling the morning workout with my trainer. My gas tank was on empty. That was probably a good decision.  Why?

Right on time, they Day 2 hunger pangs started at noon and seemed to never let up.

When I do extended fasts, Day 2 is always the hardest. I assume it’s because my body is basically crossing The Rubicon — switching from glucose to fat burning. I attempted 7-day fasts before and it’s always Day 2 that made me cry uncle (and eat a steak).  Which is why I like to stay super busy.

For Day 2 I planned to paint the trim in my living room as a way to take my mind off the fact I’m not eating. However, that fickle finger of fate stepped in.

Instead I checked on mom and to be there for her first in-home physical therapy session. Mom’s recover is way more important than home decorating and stomach rumbling. Still, other than sitting in a chair and asking a couple of questions, I wasn’t terribly busy.

Which means my body did it’s best to break me.

I didn’t give in. Despite feeling exhausted, ravenous…and cranky.

Exhausted because I didn’t get a good nights sleep. Again, I’m assuming that’s because my body is burning up the last bits of glucose.

Ravenous because, well that’s obvious. I’m fasting.

The crankiness surprised me.  When I’m hungry, apparently I get ticked off easily.  It didn’t help the drive home was horrible. A 10 minute drive took well over 40 minutes. Now I hate sitting in traffic. Today I was apoplectic.

To make things worse, the angrier I got, my hunger increased proportionately. No amount of water could satisfy my stomach.  I suspect that cortisol may have been raging. So I was just making myself hungrier.

Once I realized I was sabotaging my own fast, I started calming down. Sure enough, the hunger became more manageable.

I’m hoping that Day 3 will go a lot smoother than today.


Week Long Fast: Day 1

As you know, I’m a big believer in the healing power of fasting to kick cancer’s sorry ass. Well it’s that time of the year where I do another week-long fast to help shed any pre-cancerous cells.

I’m wrapping up day 1 of my 7-day fast. Although I started the day with a ton of energy, it’s nearly 9:00 pm and I’m exhausted. That’s how I like it.

Normally I’m much more prepared going into a fast. But my mother’s hospitalization saw that I went into the fast by the seat of my pants.

All you can do is roll with it.

This morning, no bone broth. No bullet coffee. No water (UGH!). I just left for mom’s  place. Clearly I forgot about the fast.  So I just sucked it up, picked up black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, and headed over to mom’s to help her out.

Now before you fasting purist out there say anything, I’m not doing a water fast. I’m following Dr. Jason Fung’s guides on extended fasting. However, my fall fast will be water only.

The good news was I stayed busy all day. Meaning not a lot of time to think about the food I wasn’t eating. If you want to fast successfully, keeping busy is the key. Time just flies by. Oh sure the occasional stomach growling wave hits. But when you are busy it’s easy to ride that wave. Besides, it only lasts 10 minutes at a time.

The bad news was I was so busy I forgot to drink enough water.  Thankfully it didn’t lead to a headache. However, the hunger pangs hit when I got the bright idea to make her some chili for the week.

Yep. I cooked on day 1 of my extended fast.

Not too bright. But I didn’t eat one bite…not even to see if it needed seasoning.

All in all, that is pretty awesome.

I’m so ready for Day 2.


The Science Behind LCHF & Fasting

why we get fatLately I’ve had a few questions about fasting and low carb/Keto lifestyle.

  • Should I eat breakfast?
  • How do I know I should fast?
  • Aren’t saturated fats bad for you?
  • Isn’t fasting the same as starving?
  • Won’t eating all that fat cause a heart attack?
  • Why I can eat brown rice or whole grains?

For me, when it comes to reclaiming my health and losing weight, nothing beats a low carb diet combined with intermittent fasting. Unlike the standard Western diet, there is actual science behind the therapeutic benefits of LCHF/Keto and fasting.

I’m not saying LCHF/Keto and fasting works for everyone. But the science for each is rock solid.  For me, understanding the science of why we get fat was key to making better decisions on what to eat AND when to eat.

So for those who are new to, curious or want a primer on LCHF/Keto and fasting I’ve posted a few videos below to help you out.

Also keep in mind to do your own research like I did. For me, the science was compelling so I gave it a try and sure enough LCHF & intermittent fasting worked.  That may not be the situation for you.

Science Behind LCHF/Ketogenic Diets

How LCHF Works

Fasting

Cholesterol & Heart Disease

 


Thinking About Eating Before A Workout? Think Again

An interesting article in the New York Times about the potential benefits of fasting before exercising. I know a lot of bodybuilders and athletes play with timing their meals and workouts. And scientists like Jeff Volek have studied ketogenic diets and athletic performance. Well a new study looks at us regular folks and how when we eat may play a role in lowering insulin levels.

Gee, I wonder where I heard that before?

Anyway, it’s nice that science is starting to put to the test the “benefits” of fasting.