Increasingly I've become hooked on extended fasts. If you read my What is it like to do a 5-day fast? post, you're probably struggling to believe that’s possible. Why am I loving extended fasts right now? Three main reasons:
Becoming a Morning Person!
The energy and mental clarity I have starting around Day 3 on a fast – WOW! I’ve never been a morning person. I was the kind of person who could sleep 10 hours, wake up groggy, and not want to talk to anyone for at least another hour.
When I’m in the fasting flow I wake up before my 7 AM alarm. Sometimes even an hour or two hours before it! WHO AM I?
I’ll also fully own that I’ve become what I describe as a “lite faster” on these fasts. I don’t do water only. I’ll have tea, I’ll have a little coffee (w/cream, 0 cal sweetener, and a little Dutch coco powder), I’ll have broth, even a slice of pickle or an olive every now and again. But it doesn’t seem to dampen the euphoric energy that starts coursing through me.
This week for the first time ever the #1 reason I’m fasting because I want SUPERPOWER!
Increase the POWER
Part of what makes me feel so good on these extended fasts is norepinephrine, but that’s not the only benefit that increases with extending your fasting time. Human growth hormone, ketones, GKI ratio, so many things get significantly improved when you stack day on top of day!
Dr. Boz offers a great course Consistently Keto, which discusses the benefits of 72 hour fasts in her Bonus module. And, in particular she cites an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in these two charts:
In case the charts above don't make sense to you, the TAKEAWAY is: Your Norepinephrine and Human Growth Hormone increase naturally as you go from 0-72 hours fasted!
The Spiritual Connection
I haven’t been religious in many years. Probably “ever” by most people’s standards. I was raised Catholic and confirmed 20 minutes outside of Boston -- just as the church’s pedophilia scandals were breaking.
While I’ve always believed in a higher-power, I haven’t ever felt the need to be affiliated with a church or a particular doctrine. And I’ll use “God,” “The Universe,” “Nature,” etc. almost interchangeably.
I feel like these longer fasts are deepening my connection with _[insert your word of choice here]_. It is hard to articulate or explain, but I love it. And, I hope it continues.
The secret, I think many people who try fasting and don’t stick with it never realize is that fasting gets so much easier the more you do it.
The first time I did a 5-day fast I quit on Day 4, because I felt terrible and was hating it. The second time, I made it through, but it was rough (see experience here: What is it like to do a 5-day fast?). Third time, it was wwaaaaaaayyyyyyyy easier. Fourth, I LOVED it. And, fifth, I started a few days after my fourth, because I couldn’t wait to be back in that place.
If you’re struggling with extended fasting. That's perfectly normal. Take a break, try it again. Make sure you have done your research and are prepared!
And, if you have completed an extended fast, what’s been your experience? Did you love it? Hate it? I’d love to hear about it!