Body fat: 26.5%
Sleep: 6hrs 4min
BP: 110/68 @64bpm
I woke up this morning with no real desire to eat – to break my fast. Although I must, soon, because later I have to drive to Sydney – a 4hr drive – and I don’t want to do that drive whilst still fasting. I wouldn’t necessarily trust my judgement.
It’s been a fascinating experiment, and if you read on I detail what I’ve learned and how it will change the way I’ll approach food, and eating, from now on.
Throughout the fast I’ve dropped nearly 9kgs. That’s almost 20lbs in two weeks. I’m the lowest weight I’ve been in over ten years. And I feel great. I feel as though my body has done a major detox and reboot. I feel alert and strong and full of optimism.
I think the health benefits of this fast are, and will be, incalculable.
I have to admit there were times when I didn’t think I’d make it through. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but then again it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. I could, if circumstances allowed, easily go for another 14 days.
Why wouldn’t I? Because the whole exercise has really disrupted the family routine. My wife Jennifer, and my eldest son Henry, are good cooks – more than that, they regard cooking as a creative endeavour, and they enjoy preparing meals, then sitting down and sharing those meals with me. (aren’t I a lucky fella?!)
That hasn’t happened these past 14 days.
I miss that.
I miss the community of it – the talking, the laughing, the swapping of stories and things that we’ve picked up from podcasts or news sites or from the books we’re reading. None of that has happened this past fortnight.
Henry has cooked for himself and eaten alone. Jennifer has cooked for herself and eaten alone. There’s been none of the conviviality that goes hand-in-hand with the sharing of a good meal. That energy has been lost. I look forward to it returning now that this fast is finishing.
How to break the fast?
I have to be very careful. It would be inadvisable to have solids of any kind, so what Jennifer and I have decided is to break it with an avocado drizzled with apple cider vinegar, with Himalayan salt and some pepper – then later in the day vegetable soup – celery and broccoli. That should ease me into the digestive cycle again.
The one thing I’m determined to do is not to go back to my old habits. I’ve brought my weight down to where I believe it should be – 75kgs and under. That’s the weight I remember as a younger man being my ideal weight. I’d like actually to get it down to 73kgs and will work towards that.
Basically though, there’s no point going through this past 14days if, in a month’s time, I’m back to where I was when I started. I have to learn lessons from this. One of the reasons I undertook this fast was to regain control of my mind, my thoughts, and I’ve done that. I can’t from this point on be once again governed by the randomness of my actions.
Which means I have to give serious thought as to how I move forward from this point on. What changes I’m going to make in my diet. Here’s what I know so far –
- I’m cutting sugar from my diet, entirely.
- I’m cutting dairy from my diet, entirely.
- I’m cutting fruit from my diet, entirely.
- I’ll reduce my carbohydrates to a minimum.
- I’ll reduce alcohol to a bare minimum, if not entirely.
- I’ll eat more fish.
- I’ll eat more salads, nuts and seeds, and fresh vegetables.
- I’ll restrict my red meat consumption to about 2-3 times a month.
- No more roast potatoes, no more chips, no more pasta or noodles.
- I’ll limit rice to brown rice only.
- No more coffee for the foreseeable future. (I’ll see how long that lasts!)
- I’ll do intermittent fasting in some form, not sure what yet.
- From now on, I’ll eat mindfully, not randomly.
So what have I learned from the last 14 days?
- If you can get past day 3 of a fast, you feel no hunger. It’s still difficult from then on, but hunger ceases to be an issue.
- After day 12 you seem to break through a barrier and you feel stronger and clearer in your thinking. After that, continuing the fast for however long is not a problem.
- Using beef broth or chicken broth didn’t work for me. I did it for two days and I put on weight and felt nauseous.
- Don’t do an extended fast if you’re operating heavy machinery.
- After about a week I developed an aversion to coffee – and I love coffee.
- Autophagy – the process of cell rejuvenation associated with fasting, is a game-changer for me. It’s the reason I would look at incorporating some kind of fasting routine into my life from now on. (see posts day#11 and day#12 for info on autophagy.)
- The social ritual of sharing food with others is very important to me. I missed that.
- I’ve proven to myself that if I set my mind to something, I can do it. I really had no problem with my son or Jennifer cooking or eating around me. I’d vowed not to eat for 14 days and it was as simple as that. I would have disappointed myself if I’d broken that vow. I probably would have disappointed others as well.
IF YOU WANT TO UNDERTAKE A FAST ~
If you now want to undertake a fast, here’s what I advise you to do:
- Read up on all the legitimate medical literature on fasting, like Dr. Fung’s book and others, and really do your homework. Don’t rely on fringe or quack advice – be advised by the science. Get this wrong and it could have serious consequences for you.
- If you’re on medication check in with your doctor first.
- Take it slow. Start out with a 2 day fast – for instance, have Friday dinner be your last meal until breakfast Monday. See how that goes. I’ve done multiple fasts in the past, the longest prior to this being 6 days. That gave me some degree of foreknowledge as to what I’d be facing.
- Plan your fast so that you’re not doing anything physically taxing or requiring you to be super-alert. You’ll probably feel listless and a bit foggy-headed. If you’re doing a long drive, or you’re having an important business meeting, it’s best you’re not fasting.
- Expect to be hungry – very hungry. Remember, the hunger pangs don’t really leave you until day 3 or day 4 of a fast.
- If you’re finding it really tough have some miso soup or broth. Be kind to yourself. This isn’t an exercise in self-mutilation.
- Weigh yourself regularly. I’ve found that checking your weight is kind of like a validation of how you’re going. It gives you a sense of achievement. It’s like a pat on the back – an attaboy!
- Break your fast carefully. I remember I once broke a 4 day fast with roast duck. I was sick for a week!
I’m posting before and after shots of myself below. I’ve tried to match angle and light, to give an accurate comparison. I don’t know about you but I think I look better in the before shot!
I also post a screen shot from my FitBit app that recorded the weight loss in graph form.
After all that I’ve been through, would I do it again? Yes I would, but I’d probably next look at doing a 28 day fast. I’m serious. But then again, I’m crazy…