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A journal of my 36-hour fast

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

I try to do a big fast (over 24 hours) every three or four months. I think the longest I have managed is 48 hours, but for me that takes some planning due to the physical nature of my job.

So, I decided that I would start on Friday night as Saturday is my day off. We had been down to Portsmouth to visit our aunt during the day and we stopped and had a meal in the pub at 5pm, but I was still hungry when I got home. I finished off the last few yummy home-made salted caramel protein balls that were in the fridge, which means my last food was eaten about 8:30pm. But as I am not sure I started the clock at 9pm on Friday evening.

Why do a fast? Well for me I discovered that it helps to reactivate “Autophagy” “Self-devouring” this is the consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process, part of our immune response. It helps to wake up the waste disposal systems in your body. Our cells die and are replaced, but they also have to be removed from the body or recycled (did you know that parts of our mitochondria are recycled!) and these processes can get sluggish over time, so fasting can help the body to have a good clear out. Also, the body doesn’t have to focus on digesting, it gets some time off, so you let the organs involved in digestion have a rest, allowing them to do those little admin jobs that they don’t have time to do when they are eating all the time. Your stomach gets to fully empty, your intestines rest, your liver gets a break from generating/releasing bile and many other tasks, there are no new internal toxins to deal with as we haven’t eaten, so the body can work on getting rid of some of the older toxins.

Fasting isn’t for everyone, and I would certainly not recommend jumping straight in and doing a big fast. You might want to consider just doing an overnight fast. So, if you finish your last meal at 7pm, and you skip breakfast and go straight to lunch at 12, you have managed a 15 hour fast. This is how I started and have gradually built up to 48 hours. But be aware I try to eat as clean as I can too.

Do not have a big heavy meal after you have finished the fast, it needs to be light and easy to digest. Not too much fat, protein or carbs.

So, it’s 2pm and I have just started this journal. I have only done 15 hours without food, most of that was sleeping. I am only drinking water at the moment, I am sipping it regularly so that I don’t get too thirsty, I was aware that my lips felt a bit dry as I was writing this, so I have just got up and had some more water. I am adding some Celtic Sea Salt to every glass, so that I am still getting valuable minerals whilst fasting. Doing this can reduce some of the side effects you get from fasting. I have just investigated the symptoms and this is the list I have found:

  • Headaches and light-headedness

  • Hunger and cravings

  • Digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea and bloating

  • Nausea

  • Irritability, mood changes and poor concentration

  • Fatigue and low energy

  • sleep disturbance

  • dehydration

It’s 6pm and I am hungry, keep walking past the banana’s and I can smell them, trying to entice me to eat them, but I can do this, if only I hadn’t eaten the protein balls last night, I would be at 24 hours now.

I’m at 9pm, we are watching TV and my husband is eating oranges, the smell is divine, my mouth is watering and I am sitting here with a glass of lightly salted water. I’ve hit 24 hours. I reckon another 10 hours will take me to breaking my fast. I plan to get up at 7am and start with a glass of water with apple cider vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar is good for re-awakening the stomach, it gets the stomach acid flowing and helps the gall bladder which in turn aids your body’s digestion of fat.

As I will only be doing a 34 hour fast, my next actions will be to start with either a hot home-made stock, which is currently defrosting or suggestions show that a light avocado salad would be good and easy to digest.

So, my plan to get up at 7am failed, I rolled over and went back to sleep and woke up at 9am. I started with a glass of water with apple cider vinegar (about 1 tbsp) but it was a bit of a shock to the system and I couldn’t finish it, so I got a glass of salted water and sipped that. But the apple cider vinegar woke up my stomach and I needed to eat. (Note to myself, don’t think my stomach acids need activating, so avoid apple cider vinegar next time, this is a note to show you that you might be different, try it and see what happens). Next, I had a glass of hot stock. This was nice and I allowed it to settle whilst I rested. But my feelings of hunger were intense, so I had to have a banana. I needed something light as I had a yoga class to teach at 10am, and the banana was just enough to keep me going. But as soon as I got home from the class, I had a bowl of fruit: blueberries, banana, with some ground flaxseeds, ground nuts, some kefir probiotic sour cream. That hit the spot. Hunger has been satiated!

I fasted for 36 hours, I woke up hungry and had to eat. I thought about trying to go for 48 hours, but it wasn’t right for me today, not to say it wouldn’t be right for you. I can hear you asking, well did you lose any weight? I don’t know I didn’t weigh myself but weight isn’t an issue for me I weight 130 pounds (9st 4lb or 59.5Kg) and this gives me a BMI of 21, which puts me in the centre of the normal range. As I said before I don’t fast for weight loss, I fast to help autophagy and my immune system. There are hundreds of guides on fasting, I reviewed a few and have listed them below.

This is just my opinion on fasting, you must consult a doctor before starting any form of fasting, all conditions are impacted differently by fasting, even your medication can be impacted. If you have blood pressure issues, then salt water may be an issue for you. Don’t start a fast without doing your homework.

These are interesting guides to subjects discussed above.

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