Body fat: 26.3%
Sleep: 7hrs 3min
BP: 126/72 @64bpm
My friend Marie who lives in the Basque country contacted me a few days ago, and told me about an extended fast she did whilst in an elite German medical clinic. She said that on day 12 of her 17 day fast, her energy returned, as did her clarity of thought.
Well that’s what’s happened to me.
Yesterday I did the strongest bike ride I’ve done for ages – 40mins/15.5kms/485cals. The figures weren’t as good as I was doing two weeks ago, but they’re the strongest this week.
Overall I’m feeling good – very good. Clear-headed, solid. I feel like I could go another 14 days, easy. It seems like I’ve passed through some kind of barrier, and I’m now in open waters.
Stats: I dropped 0.6kg in the past 24hrs, my percentage body fat strangely is remaining stubbornly constant, my resting heart rate has gone up a bit, and my blood pressure remains low, which for me is an achievement because I have hypertension.
The feeling of hunger is still no longer an issue, however the idea of food taunts me. Jennifer made a beautiful fried rice with chicken and cabbage last night for dinner, then sat beside me and ate it. I would have loved to have had some, but of course that wasn’t possible. But the idea of tucking into a bowl of that beautiful fried rice was very tempting.
Yesterday I learned that an important meeting I had scheduled in Sydney on Thursday has been brought forward to Tuesday morning. Early. We live in Mudgee, four hours drive away, so that means we’ll have to drive to Sydney Monday afternoon.
Monday is day#14 of my fast, and I’m not going to do the tricky drive whilst fasting, so I’ve decided to break my fast on Monday at lunch time. This will cut short my 14 day fast by half a day. I don’t see it as a big deal – I’ve done what I set out to do. Sometimes life intercedes in the best laid plans.
Now for more from the esteemed Dr Jason Fung, from his book The Complete Guide to Fasting. It’s an excerpt that continues on about autophagy, which for me the most important aspect of fasting –
For people with chronic inflammatory and/or neurological conditions, fasting can help accelerate autophagy and the body’s clearing-out of old, damaged tissue. The body engages in “housecleaning” all the time, but when it gets a break from the constant digestion of large amounts of food, it may be able to focus more energy on repair and restoration.
This is why the strongest stimulus to autophagy currently known is fasting, and why fasting alone, unique among diets, stimulates autophagy—simple caloric restriction or dieting isn’t enough. By eating constantly, from the time we wake up to the time we sleep, we prevent the activation of autophagy’s cleansing pathways.
Simply put, fasting cleanses the body of unhealthy or unnecessary cellular debris. This is the reason longer fasts were often called cleanses or detoxifications. At the same time, fasting also stimulates growth hormone, which signals the production of some new snazzy cell parts, giving our bodies a complete renovation.
Since it triggers both the breakdown of old cellular parts and the creation of new ones, fasting may be considered one of the most potent anti-aging methods in existence. Autophagy also plays an important role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of amyloid beta (Aß) proteins in the brain, and it’s believed that these accumulations eventually destroy the synaptic connections in the memory and cognition areas.
Normally, clumps of Aß protein are removed by autophagy: the brain cell activates the autophagosome, the cell’s internal garbage truck, which engulfs the Aß protein targeted for removal and excretes it, so it can be removed by the blood and recycled into other protein or turned into glucose, depending upon the body’s needs. But in Alzheimer’s disease, autophagy is impaired and the Aß protein remains inside the brain cell, where eventual buildup will result in the clinical syndromes of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cancer is yet another disease that may be a result of disordered autophagy. We’re learning that mTOR plays a role in cancer biology, and mTOR inhibitors have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of various cancers. Fasting’s role in inhibiting mTOR, thereby stimulating autophagy, provides an interesting opportunity to prevent cancer’s development.
Indeed, some leading scientists, such as Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a professor of biology at Boston College, have proposed a yearly seven-day water-only fast for this very reason.