Building up to longer fasts

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    Building up to longer fasts

    I would like to build up to 42hr fasts 3 times a week. Currently I am only able to accomplish 22 hours a day (some days, my body is comfortable with 18hrs).

    If I go longer, I start getting shaky. It almost feels like after a hard workout, where your legs want to give in.

    I know the key is to build up slowly, but my issue is also time. I can't just go from 24hrs straight to 36hrs, or from 36hrs to 42hrs, I need to do an inbetween too. The problem is the inbetweens will have me breaking the fast in the middle of the night, or other "odd hours".

    Do you have any advice for me to build my body's tolerance up?

    thanks all

    --- EDIT: please disregard, I misread the question, see comment below ----

    Hi Nevetharine how many times have you attempted a longer fast? Sometimes it's just not a good time, especially for women due to the hormonal changes throughout a month. I do 48hrs fasts once a month and a few times I had to restart it because I got a bad headache or I was too weak and shaky to do anything. And then a week later it was perfectly fine and smooth. Another good way to get ready is to cut out sugar and, towards the fast, even fruit to avoid a sugar crash and see how you do. I just completed a 72hr fast by doing just that and I barely felt it at all. Normally I have ups and down around meal times but this time around it was a breeze.

    If you are fasting together with someone else that can also help to keep the spirits up. We will soon open a Fasting Room in the Hive for anyone who wants to join regular 24hr (once a week) and 48hr (once a month) fasts. We've been doing trial runs in the workshops for the past 6 months to make sure it works as intended and is safe.

    I hope this helps! Perhaps others can offer more tips, too.


      That long seems very unhealthy. Everything I’ve read about fasting says the most is 24 hours.


        Originally posted by Mithion View Post
        That long seems very unhealthy. Everything I’ve read about fasting says the most is 24 hours.
        This is a schedule that Dr Jason Fung uses in his clinics. If I were to do 20:4, like on the warrior diet, daily, it would roughly be the equal amount of hours in total as fasting for 42hrs 3 times a week.

        So it's really the same amount of total hours. Just divided differently. Not dangerous at all. In fact, more healing takes place the longer you go. And you start to feel better the longer you go. The body just needs to build up tolerance, as it did to fasting 20hrs every day.


          neilarey I've tried doing 36hrs 5 times in total I think. The first time I made it to 30hrs, but then I felt really bad. Heart pounding and nauseous and all that. So I ate and it went away. I ignored the shakyness on that one - told myself it was adrenaline. (Honestly I didn't know if it was or not - probably, just not the good kind I was expecting )

          Since then I haven't been able to get near that goal.

          I'm wondering if salt may have something to do with it as well? My body doesn't hold on to salt very well, and I drink A LOT of water when I fast (plus exercise). I've started adding SOLE (saturated salt water) to my water when I drink it, maybe I need to add more.

          I also notice on nights when I tried a longer fast, I start getting restless leg syndrome. That, for me is caused by electrolytes and I sleep better once I've taken a Potassium pill.


            Fasting that long is pretty safe, but please don't use Fung as a source. That man is full of bullshit and listening to any one of his lectures he majorly contradicts himself within the first ten minutes. His books are no different.

            Energy-wise there is no general downside to fasting, the body will simply take from the glycogen stores and the fat stores.
            Protein-wise it's trickier, because our body does require protein every day, otherwise it will take protein from the muscles. But only two days will have such a small effect that it's not noticeable. But having that cumulate is not something you might want to provoke.
            When it comes to vitamins a two-day fast isn't really a problem, but some B-vitamins should be refilled on the day before and after the fast, because we can't really store them.
            Minerals I don't know, to be honest. I don't know how long our magnesium, potassium and calcium stores last. But picking a water rich in minerals can alleviate that.

            Attempting several long fasts in a short amount of time runs the risk of your stores not being refilled. You don't want to cannibalise your muscles, because you're not getting enough protein on a daily average. But just eating a bunch in one day to balance out several fast days won't work either, there is a certain upper limit to how much protein we can actually use as protein per day, the rest gets turned into energy and is thus wasted.


              --- EDIT: please disregard, I misread the question, see comment below ----

              Have you tried bone broth fasts? We have a group of about 50 people (18 of them on site) and we've done group fasting in real time, just so we can monitor every stage. Some people needed to do bone broth fasts first. I believe Damer even recorded his experience somewhere in one of his articles on the web. For most of the participants it was completely new. Everyone responds differently but the one thing we noticed is pretty much the same for everyone is the meal timing. So if it was nearing someone's meal time it was unbearable to do anything or think about anything else. It's roughly a 2-hour window. Then you stabilize and you are perfectly fine to go on.. until your next window that is. Almost everyone participating in our trials reported this.

              So, if you start your fast late in the evening and by morning the next day you feel fine but you normally have lunch at about 2PM - that's when you are going to feel the worst. That's the hardest point in every 24hr segment, depending on how many times a day you normally eat you will have two or three. Our bodies expect food at certain times. Some people never have breakfast and they never miss it, their bodies are used to it. Then others can never miss breakfast or they are miserable all morning. Then if they skip breakfast a few times, their need for it will diminish. I am guessing it's due to the enzyme release in the body that happens before every meal, around the time we eat every day and the body habituates but studies also show that we have a certain periodicity in the way our body functions which is based on the circadian clock and cellular processes and it is slightly different for each person so it is not a straightforward thing. Have you tried starting your fast at a different time? I am familiar with doctor Fung's work but I don't know how he does things - does he have set times for when you begin? Perhaps changing times can help.

              I am not a medical professional and nutrition is not my area of expertise (we have registered dietitians we run everything by) but I have personally done fasting a lot in my life and I can honestly say the benefits are amazing. I did my first fast when I was 17 (that's 16 years ago). My longest fast ever was 7 days and it changed my life, possibly even saved it. I was an unhealthy teenager who couldn't drink anything but coke and eat anything without sugar in it before that. I didn't know what broccoli tasted like and my whole menu was toast with jam and butter with some chocolate before and after. Fasting has completely reset my body and my taste buds.

              I don't follow fads, I try and see what works and what has the most benefits but I also understand that fasting is not everyone's cup of tea. It's not for everyone and I respect that. Some people do one meal a day, others micromeal all day, some do CICO others do KETO - it's a personal choice. Nutrition is an area where we know absolutely nothing for certain at the moment. We've spent the entire 2018 at DAREBEE researching nutrition and digging deep (we have access to university research that is not available to the public). It was a disheartening experience since after everything and all the hours we've put in, it all still came down to "Everyone is different, everyone responds differently". There is just no easy way to research any of this and pretty much everything we believed to be true about nutrition is currently being questioned - the entire industry is built on questionable data, over-generalizations and assumptions.

              So... we do what works for us. We try, we test, if it doesn't work - we move on. There is no one out there with the absolute truth on the subject. We just have to make sure we stay safe whatever we do and listen to our bodies.
              I hope this is helpful in some way


                My 1st Yoga teacher would recommend fasting for a day each week, and practice mindful eating. I get up around 5am and have Yoga at 9am, get home around 11am then eat, often a good salad.

                I should try some fasting as part of my Yoga.

                I have done a juice fast for 5 days.


                  neilarey I want to do longer fasts specifically for the health benefits. Dr Fung has a few protocols which he advises his patients to do. They all have type 2 diabetes mind you, so severe insulin resistance.

                  16hr fast,
                  OMAD (one meal a day)

                  Then the longer ones are 36hrs 3 times a week. So from 7pm Sunday night to 7am Tuesday morning for instance...

                  Or 42hrs 3x a week. So 7pm Sunday evening to lunch time on Tuesday.

                  Then he does occational 7 day, and 14 day fasts. But this is under medical supervision so he doesn't recommend that for "at-home".

                  I haven't done bone broth fasts, mainly because I think making the bone broth will be expensive for me. But Fung also mentions that he allows bone broth specifically for the salt. So, I'm thinking if I just keep the salt up during the fast it should have the same effect? But I think I'm still drinking too much water for it to make a difference.

                  I also still exercise during fasting. Darebee HIIT - so I'm expending a lot of energy and losing a lot of salt in that time, because sweat fest.

                  I do notice the fast is easier if I don't work out as intensily. But I don't want to "waste away" just because I'm fasting. And I enjoy HIIT for the mood-boosting benefits.


                    Oh and I'm totally looking forward to the group fasts neilarey


                      Nevetharine I completely agree with Noen up there (especially about Dr. Fung). I did daily fasting for years (18/6 was my normal window) and one of the big things I learned is that different people do different fasts and respond differently. Personally I can't fast much past 20 hours or I start trying to kill anyone who looks at me but I do great with anything shorter than that. I know people who will go 48 hours without issue and then jump back to regular eating (10/14 ranges) but can't handle daily fasting of 16/8 and the like. With fasting you really need to listen to what your body is telling you and go with what feels natural. If you are having to force the issue there might be a reason not to do it or at least explore other areas and come back to it at a later time.

                      I would also recommend (or not I'm a numbers guy so I enjoy it) tracking your calories per week since you have such large fasting windows it would be really easy to not eat enough in such a short time period. If I'm reading your opening statement correctly you would be doing a 2 day fast followed by 1 day of refeed and then repeat (please correct me if I'm wrong). With this you would need to eat nearly 3 days worth of calories in one day and that would be a chore.


                        Originally posted by Nevetharine View Post
                        I want to do longer fasts specifically for the health benefits.
                        You are using fasting programs designed for severely obese Type 2 diabetics. They do not have the same risk/benefit assessment for healthy people as they do for obese diabetics. Just like taking metformin isn't healthy for everybody, it's only good for diabetics.

                        So even disregarding whether or not Dr. Fung's strategies are any good, I sincerely beg you to keep in mind that for someone who's life and limb is threatened by obesity and diabetes, muscle loss and micronutrient deficiencies will be a totally acceptable detriment that is not even worth mentioning in most cases (especially since many people there take supplements anyway), compared to the benefit of their insulin resistance returning to normal and their weight lowering. Also keep in mind that if his patients are indeed drinking bone broth, then they're getting significantly more protein than on a complete fast.

                        We humans are built to endure fasts with minimum damage, but that doesn't mean there are no detriments (and I don't mean anything less than 24 h here, I'm talking about repeated several-day fasts within a short period of time).


                          Nevetharine this is an interesting discussion you have started and very recently we ran a piece on intermittent fasting and its benefits that is backed by some of the latest research. If I understand your post correctly you are suggesting building up to "42hr fasts 3 times a week." which seems extreme unless there is a real medical reason. Fasting, like exercise is all about energy modulation in the body. Going to extremes without a specific reason or a sustainable goal does more harm than good. Ideally in everything we do we want to reach a state of chemical and neurobiological balance in the body.


                            Oh, I am terribly sorry Nevetharine I am afraid I misread your question.
                            Please disregard my previous advice. For some reason I misread it and I thought you wanted to do a one-off 36hr fasts, not a regular 36hr fasts. Why do you want to fast so much? At this point you'll be barely eating at all. Extended regular fasts are only done under medical supervision and only in critical cases. There are no health benefits to them for someone with normal weight, or even someone overweight.

                            Perhaps you would reconsider and do a one-off ones instead? They are a lot safer and they do have health benefits.


                              Okay then. I suppose that's all good. Guess I'll stick to 20 hours a day then.