Day 40: Fasting

Breakfast: BP Coffee
Lunch: Chicken salad with parmesan; ½ avocado
Dinner: Chicken salad; ½ avocado

Exercise: Sprints

I talked about intermittent fasting in my first diary post. When we talk about “intermittent fasting” we’re generally talking about fasts of 14-20 hours, and it can be done everyday.

When people talk about fasting, they are generally referring to fasts of at least 24 hours, and sometimes up to a week or more. I’ve done some 24 hour fasts, and I did one 32 hour fast. I did the 32 hour fast straight after a 24 hour fast i.e. 24 hour fast, meal, then a 32 hour fast, so it probably felt a bit harder than it otherwise would have. There are benefits to longer fasts, above those achieved through shorter intermittent fasts. If you want to know more, go here and here. Or just Google it.

For the 24 hour fasts I usually do a dinner to dinner fast. I skip breakfast and lunch and just eat dinner. On one occasion I did a lunch to lunch fast. That was a bit harder, because I had to go to bed hungry :(. For the 32 hour fast I went from lunch on one day to dinner the next.

I realised a couple of things by fasting.

First and foremost, it’s important to make, and commit to, the decision. By that I mean, once I decided to do a lunch to lunch fast (skip dinner), I didn’t think about it anymore. Even if I was preparing lunch for the next day, I knew that I wasn’t going to eat anything. At one point I had cheese on my fingers, and I was about to lick them, but I realised that if I did that would trigger a hunger response; my body would expect food and I would start salivating. I washed my hands in the sink and didn’t think about it again.

The second point is that I needed to have stuff to do. Stuff outside of the kitchen and away from food. I went to a cafe and wrote material for my blog. I don’t think I would have been able to complete the fasts if I had been sitting at home watching TV and thinking about food. This made me more productive.

In addition I found that hunger usually comes and goes every couple of hours. You feel hunger pangs for 20 mins, then they go for an hour or so. But towards the end of the 32 hour fast the hunger stopped coming and going in waves. Instead it stayed at a constant uncomfortable level. It wasn’t unbearable, just uncomfortable. Part of the reason that it was bearable was the fact that I knew I was purposely fasting. If I had been stuck in the middle of a wilderness, with no food in sight, I probably would have felt worse. But because I had made the decision not to eat, and because I knew that there was food available immediately once the fast was finished, I was more easily able to deal with the discomfort.

Although I’ve done 24+ hour fasts, I’ve always eaten at least one meal during the day. I’ll try to go a full day without eating a meal at some stage.