About Bill Bennett

I am an Australian based producer and director of feature films and documentaries.

Fast – day#6 / I should be eating pancakes!

Weight: 78.6
Body fat: 25.5%
BMI: 25.2
RHR: 56bpm
Sleep: 7hrs 15min
BP: 153/80 @61bpm

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It’s Sunday morning here in Australia and I should be eating pancakes!
Blueberry pancakes.
Thick buttery blueberry pancakes.
Whaaaa.
Instead, my Sunday morning breakfast consists of 2 x double espressos only.

My stats today are interesting. I’ve dropped 1.0kg again in the last 24hrs. I didn’t have any bone broth during the past 24hrs. Just water, tea and coffee. My RHR (Resting Heart Rate) has come down to 56bpm. My BMI (25.2) is now hovering just about normal. (Normal is 24.9 and below). My BP (blood pressure) though is up.

How am I feeling?
Not hungry.
A bit lightheaded.
A bit ordinary – to be honest.
I’ve yet to get to that energy boost and clarity of thinking that evidently comes with an extended fast. But then again, I’m only on day#6.

Eight more days to go.

I usually do 60mins on my bike on a Sunday but his morning I didn’t feel I had the energy to go a full hour, so I dropped it down to 40mins.

I’ve been getting some blowback from my family, and from some people on social media, about this endeavour, so I thought I would reference the expert. Here, according to Dr Jason Fung, author of The Complete Guide to Fasting, are some of the benefits of fasting:

Fasting’s most obvious benefit is weight loss. However, there are a myriad of benefits beyond this, many of which were widely known before the modern era. 

It was once common for people to fast for a certain period of time for health benefits. These fasting periods were often called “cleanses,” “detoxifications,” or “purifications,” and people believed that they would clear their bodies of toxins and rejuvenate themselves. They were more correct than they knew. 

Fasting: 

  • Improves mental clarity and concentration 
  • Induces weight and body fat loss 
  • Lowers blood sugar levels 
  • Improves insulin sensitivity 
  • Increases energy 
  • Improves fat-burning 
  • Lowers blood cholesterol 
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease 
  • Extends life 
  • Reverses the aging process 
  • Decreases inflammation

Fast – day#5 / Hmmmm ~

Weight: 79.6
Body fat: 25.8%
BMI: 25.4
RHR: 57bpm
Sleep: 7hrs 20min (4hrs31+2hrs49)
BP: 127/69 @64bpm

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Day#5 and I’ve put on some weight.
0.4kgs
How did that happen?

Well, last night I had some beef broth. According to Dr Fung, beef broth is permissible on an extended fast – not that 5 days is necessarily yet an extended fast. But I batched up some broth following the recipe in his book – The Complete Guide to Fasting.

About 1kg of beef bones – I used neck bones, without any real meat on them, mainly bones and marrow. Then some celery, some carrots, an onion, and some leeks. And Himalayan salt. I boiled it down and had two cups – about 250ml each. It was broth only, no solids at all.

I had the broth not because I felt hungry, but because I am writing an original screenplay at the moment and I need absolute acuity of thought, and I found yesterday I was a bit fuzzy-minded. I was hoping the nutrients in the broth might fix that. I wasn’t expecting to put on weight!

Anyway, what’s interesting is that whilst I put on 0.4kgs of weight (when really I should have lost about 1kg of weight,) my body fat percentage has come down quite a bit – from 27.7% when I started to 25.8% today.

No broth today – only tea.

Saturday here so I mowed the lawn, which constituted my exercise for the day. Took me 1hr20mins. Felt good and strong. Listening to Eric Clapton might have helped.

I’m no longer feeling any hunger at all – I miss food now for the ritual of meals, and the companionship that comes with it.

So here’s another myth that Dr Fung busts regarding fasting: fasting makes you burn protein…

One persistent myth of fasting is that it burns muscle, that our body, if we’re not eating, will immediately start using our muscles as an energy source. This does not actually happen. The human body evolved to survive periods of fasting. We store food energy as body fat and use this as fuel when food is not available. 

Muscle, on the other hand, is preserved until body fat becomes so low that the body has no choice but to turn to muscle. This will only happen when body fat is at less than 4 percent. (For comparison, elite male marathon runners carry approximately 8 percent body fat and female marathoners slightly more.) 

If we did not preserve muscle and burn fat instead when no food is available, we would not have survived very long as a species. Almost all mammals have this same ability. Real-world studies of fasting show that the concern over muscle loss is largely misplaced. Alternate-day fasting over seventy days decreased body weight by 6 percent, but fat mass decreased by 11.4 percent and lean mass (muscle and bone) did not change at all.  

During fasting, the body switches from burning sugar (carbohydrates) to fat for energy. Protein is spared. At baseline, eating normally, energy comes from a mix of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. As you start fasting, the body increases carbohydrate oxidation. This is just a fancy way of saying that it is burning sugar, in the form of glycogen, for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours after you stop eating, until it runs out of glycogen. 

With no more sugar to burn, the body switches to burning fat. Fat oxidation increases as carbohydrate oxidation decreases toward zero. At the same time, protein oxidation—that is, burning protein, such as muscle, for fuel—actually decreases. The normal protein breakdown of around seventy-five grams per day falls to fifteen to twenty grams per day during fasting. Rather than burning muscle during fasting, we start conserving muscle. Much of the amino acids that are broken down during regular turnover of cells are reabsorbed into new proteins. 

Fast – day#4 / things are slowing ~

Weight: 79.2kgs
Body fat: 27.0%
BMI: 25.3
HRH: 57bpm
Sleep: 5hrs 44mins
BP: 124/74 @78bpm

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So the weight loss is slowing, as expected. I lost only 1.0kg over the past 24hr period, and I put that down to: 1) most of the “easy” calories have now dropped off, and 2) I didn’t do my exercise yesterday. I have one, sometimes two days off a week. According to the monitor on the bike, I use around 550-650 cals per 40mins bike session – not sure how accurate that is.

That said, I’ve now dropped 4kgs in 3 days.

I woke up early – 5:30am, and started working by 6am. Had my two double espressos. I didn’t feel hungry, however if Jennifer had put some thick buttered toast with vegemite in front of me, I would have found it hard to resist!

Other than feeling a bit weary from not enough sleep (5hrs44mins), I’m actually doing ok. I wrote till about midday, then did my exercise – 40 mins on the bike, 17.4km, 584cals. I found the 2nd 20 mins really tough going. A week ago, before I began the fast, I did 40mins, 19.1kms, 673cals. Today I just didn’t have the energy to push myself.

Interestingly though, I did the whole session averaging a heart rate of 126bpm, which is 82% of my Maximum Heart Rate. I hit a high of 142bpm, which is 93% of my MHR. So I was well and truly into my aerobic zone.

It’s interesting how my fast is affecting the rest of the family, and the family’s routine. By rest of the family, I mean Jennifer and our eldest son Henry, who’s currently staying with us. Both Henry and Jennifer are good cooks – but more than that, they enjoy cooking. For them it’s a creative endeavour, but it’s also an expression of love.

I’m very fortunate!

Without me eating though, the routine of meals has been shattered. So too the routine of cooking. I never realised how important this was to the dynamic of family life. Of an evening we would all sit around the dinner table and talk – about all sorts of things. Politics. What’s happened in the news that day. Books we’re reading, or have read, or want to read. Shows we’ve seen. What we liked, what we didn’t. We’d discuss the mechanics of storytelling.

Henry would bring us up to date with the latest stuff on Reddit that’s caught his attention. Or detail story points from highly cerebral sci-fi or fantasy novels that he’s read. Our dinner conversations are invariably wide ranging and intense at times! An important part of the day, when we come together as a family unit.

That’s not happening while I fast. Nor is that time in the afternoon when Jennifer, and Henry, prepare the meals for dinner. That used to be a time of activity and creativity and fun. That’s dead time now. I never realised how important the socialisation of eating really is to me. Now Jennifer walks around the house with Autobiography of a Yogi or one of the I Am Presence books playing loudly on Audible on her iPad.

Here now is another extract from Dr Jason Fung’s book, The Complete Guide to Fasting. Here he busts a myth that fasting puts you into “starvation mode.”

“Starvation mode” is the mysterious bogeyman always raised to scare us away from missing even a single meal. Why is it so bad to skip a meal? Let’s get some perspective here. Assuming we eat three meals per day, over one year, that’s a little over a thousand meals. To think that fasting for one day, skipping three meals of the one thousand, will somehow cause irreparable harm is simply absurd. 

The idea of “starvation mode” refers to the notion that our metabolism decreases severely and our bodies “shut down” in response to fasting. We can test this notion by looking at the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which measures the amount of energy that our body burns in order to function normally—to keep the lungs breathing, brain functioning, heart pumping, kidneys, liver, and digestive system all working, and so on. Most of the calories we spend each day are not used for exercise but for these basic functions. 

The BMR is not a fixed number but actually increases or decreases up to 40 percent in response to many variables. For example, I never seemed to get cold as a teenager. Even skiing in -22°F weather, I stayed warm. My BMR was high—I was burning a lot of calories to keep my body temperature up. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that I no longer endure the cold so well. I also eat far less than I did as a teenager. My BMR has gotten lower, so I no longer burn as many calories on basic body functions. 

This is what most people mean when they say that metabolism slows down with age, and it contributes to the well-known tendency of older “snowbirds” from the Northeast and Canada to retire in warm places like Florida and Arizona. Daily caloric reduction has been well documented to cause a dramatic reduction in BMR. 

In studies with a baseline daily calorie consumption of approximately 2500 calories per day, reducing calories consumed to approximately 1500 calories a day for a long stretch of time will result in a 25 to 30 percent reduction in BMR. On the other hand, overfeeding studies, where subjects are asked to deliberately eat more than they normally do, causes an increase in BMR. Reduced metabolism makes us generally cold, tired, hungry, and less energetic—our bodies are essentially conserving energy by not burning calories to keep us warm and moving. 

From a weight standpoint, reduced metabolism is a double curse. First, we feel lousy while dieting. Even worse, because we’re burning fewer calories per day, it’s both harder to lose weight and much easier to gain weight back after we’ve lost it. This is the main problem with most caloric-reduction diets. 

Suppose you normally eat 2000 calories a day and cut back to only 1500. Your body cannot run a deficit indefinitely—it will eventually run out of fat to burn—so it plans ahead and decreases your energy expenditure. The end result is a decreased BMR. This has been proven repeatedly by experiments over the last century. Because of this well-known “starvation mode” effect of daily caloric restriction, many people assume that fasting will result in a similar but more severe decrease in BMR. 

Luckily, this does not happen. If short-term fasting dropped our metabolism, humans as a species would not likely have survived. Consider the situation of repeated feast/famine cycles. During long winters back in the Paleolithic era, there were many days where no food was available. After the first episode, you would be severely weakened as your metabolism falls. After several repeated episodes, you would be so weak that you would be unable to hunt or gather food, making you even weaker. 

This is a vicious cycle that the human species would not have survived. Our bodies do not shut down in response to short-term fasting. In fact, metabolism revs up, not down, during fasting. This makes sense from a survival standpoint. If we do not eat, our bodies use our stored energy as fuel so that we can find more food. 

Humans have not evolved to require three meals a day, every day. When food intake goes to zero (fasting), our body obviously cannot take BMR down to zero—we have to burn some calories just to stay alive. Instead, hormones allow the body to switch energy sources from food to body fat. After all, that is precisely why we carry body fat—to be used for food when no food is available. It’s not there for looks. By “feeding” on our own fat, we significantly increase the availability of “food,” and this is matched by an increase in energy expenditure. 

Henry batched up this as a meal for himself last night. Chicken and rice and broccoli – it was hard to sit at the same table!
day 4 of fast. day 4 without shaving too!

Fast – day#3

Weight: 80.2
Body fat: 26.6%
BMI: 25.6
RHR: 58bpm
Sleep: 7hrs 21min
BP: 124/76 @77bpm

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I’ve decided to only post once a day – at the end of my day. I figure you don’t need to get two of these posts a day. Given the quality of my writing and my deteriorating mind and manners, one post a day is more than sufficient.

I’ve now lost exactly 3kgs in two days. That’s about on par for me, based on previous fasts I’ve done. I usually drop off that much in the first couple of days. It’ll slow up soon.

More importantly my BMI (25.6 this morning) is edging closer from Overweight (BMI above 25) to Normal weight (below 25). The way I’m going I should be below 25 by the end of the week. Interestingly, my blood pressure has come down quite a bit. It was high yesterday – it’s normal today. As I say, I have a pre-disposition to high blood pressure.

Even though according to the sleep app I had more than 7hrs sleep last night, I felt tired this morning on waking. I know the sleep app registers you’re “sleeping” when you’re just lying still in bed. I did a lot of that in the middle of the night last night.

I’m writing a new screenplay at the moment, and night time is my most fertile time for creative thinking. I stayed awake for several hours last night figuring out the next section of my story. I probably had about 4½ – 5hrs sleep.

But now I’ve had my two double espressos so I’m okay!

3PM – Now towards the afternoon of day#3, the hunger is starting to diminish. I’m feeling a bit light-headed but that could be because of the disrupted sleep. A few hours ago I had to go food shopping for Jennifer. I boldly and gallantly walked passed all those yummy foodstuffs that ordinarily I would have grabbed for a big nosh-up later.

Here is the next section of Dr Fung’s book – The Complete Guide to Fasting – that I want to share with you: The five stages of fasting…

The transition from the fed state to the fasted state occurs in several stages, as classically described by George Cahill, one of the leading experts in fasting physiology:

1. Feeding: Blood sugar levels rise as we absorb the incoming food, and insulin levels rise in response to move glucose into cells, which use it for energy. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver or converted to fat.

2. The postabsorptive phase (six to twenty-four hours after beginning fasting): At this point, blood sugar and insulin levels begin to fall. To supply energy, the liver starts to break down glycogen, releasing glucose. Glycogen stores last for approximately twenty-four to thirty-six hours.

3. Gluconeogenesis (twenty-four hours to two days after beginning fasting): At this point, glycogen stores have run out. The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called gluconeogenesis (literally, “making new glucose”). In nondiabetic persons, glucose levels fall but stay within the normal range.

4. Ketosis (two to three days after beginning fasting): Low insulin levels stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy. Triglycerides, the form of fat used for storage, are broken into the glycerol backbone and three fatty acid chains. The glycerol is used for gluconeogenesis, so the amino acids formerly used can be reserved for protein synthesis. The fatty acids are used directly for energy by most tissues of the body, though not the brain.

The body uses fatty acids to produce ketone bodies, which are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and are used by the brain for energy. After four days of fasting, approximately 75 percent of the energy used by the brain is provided by ketones. The two major types of ketones produced are beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate, which can increase over seventyfold during fasting.

5. The protein conservation phase (five days after beginning fasting): High levels of growth hormone maintain muscle mass and lean tissues. The energy for basic metabolism is almost entirely supplied by fatty acids and ketones. Blood glucose is maintained by gluconeogenesis using glycerol. Increased norepinephrine (adrenaline) levels prevent any decrease in metabolic rate. There is a normal amount of protein turnover, but it is not being used for energy. In essence, what we are describing here is the process of switching from burning glucose to burning fat.

Fat is simply the body’s stored food energy. In times of low food availability, stored food is naturally released to fill the void. The body does not “burn muscle” in an effort to feed itself until all the fat stores are used up. One critical point to underscore is that these mechanisms are entirely natural and entirely normal. Periods of low food availability have always been a natural part of human history, and our body evolved mechanisms to adapt to this fact of Paleolithic life. Otherwise, we would not have survived as a species.

There are no adverse health consequences to activating these protocols, except in the case of malnourishment (you should not fast if you’re malnourished, of course, and extreme fasting can cause malnourishment, too). The body is not “shutting down”; it’s merely changing fuel sources, from food to our own fat. It does this with the help of several hormonal adaptations to fasting.

Fast day#2 pt2 / fridge gazing ~

Weight: 81.6
Body fat: 27.1%
BMI: 26.0
RHR: 57bpm
Sleep: 4hrs 57min
BP: 153/84 @54bpm

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So far the hunger pangs haven’t been too bad.

I mean, yes right now I’d love to sit down to a good feed, but that’s not gonna happen so I might as well just get over myself.

Here’s how my day has gone so far:

5am – first double espresso.

6am – second double espresso

9 am – Jennifer has a home-made muffin with her coffee, and I desire it. Unconditionally.

10am – I have a cup of Darjeerling tea. The highlight of my morning so far.

11am – I open the fridge, gaze inside, close the fridge.

11:15am – I open the fridge, gaze inside, close the fridge.

11:30am – I resist the urge to open the fridge. I note this as a form of spiritual growth.

12pm – I hear a thunderstorm coming but realise it’s only my stomach…

6pm – I exercise on my bike. 40mins/18.0kms/582cals

7pm – I have another cup of Darjeerling tea. The highlight of my evening so far.

Continuing citing Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Complete Guide to Fasting, here is what he has to say about the spirituality of fasting…

Fasting is widely practiced for spiritual purposes and remains part of virtually every major religion in the world. Three of the most influential men in the history of the world, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and the Prophet Muhammad all shared a common belief in the healing power of fasting. In spiritual terms, it is often called cleansing or purification, but practically, it amounts to the same thing.

The practice of fasting developed independently among different religions and cultures, not as something that was harmful but as something that was deeply, intrinsically beneficial to the human body and spirit. Fasting is not so much a treatment for illness but a treatment for wellness.

The regular application of fasting helps protect people from illness and keeps them feeling well. In the story of Adam and Eve, the only act that is prohibited in the Garden of Eden is to eat the fruit of one tree, and Eve is tempted by the serpent to betray this trust.

Fasting is thus an act of turning away from temptation and back toward God. In the Bible, Matthew 4:2 states, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”

(I’ll mention here the interesting point that hunger often disappears during extended fasts, which has been noted throughout history.)

In the Christian tradition, fasting and prayer are often methods of cleansing and renewing the soul. Symbolically, believers empty their souls so that they may be ready to receive God. Fasting is not so much about self-denial but about a reaching for spirituality and being able to commune with God and hear his voice.

By fasting, you put your body under submission to the Holy Spirit, humble your soul before the presence of God, and prepare yourself to hear the voice of God.

Buddhist monks are known to abstain from eating after noon, fasting until the next morning. In addition, there may be water-only fasts for days or weeks on end. They fast to quench their human desires, which helps them rise above all desires in order to achieve nirvana and end all suffering. This fits with their core beliefs in moderation and austerity.

Hinduism embraces fasting in the belief that our sins lessen as the body suffers. It is also seen as a method of cultivating control over desires and guiding the mind toward peace: the physical needs of the body are denied for spiritual gains. Certain days of the week are designated for fasting in Hinduism, as are certain days of the month. Fasting is also common at festivals.

Traditional Ayurvedic medicine also ascribes the cause of many illnesses to the accumulation of toxins in the body and prescribes fasting to cleanse these toxins. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. According to the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad said, “The month of Ramadan is a blessed month, a month in which Allah has made fasting obligatory.”

The Prophet Muhammad also encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. Ramadan is the best studied of the fasting periods, but it differs from many fasting protocols in that fluids are forbidden, which results in a period of mild dehydration.

Fast – day#2 pt1 / a great start

Weight: 81.6
Body fat: 27.1%
BMI: 26.0
RHR: 57bpm
Sleep: 4hrs 57min
BP:

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(When possible, I will post twice a day – once in the morning and again later in the arvo. I’ll do my blood pressure in the arvo. I’ll also post info on fasting in the afternoon blog.)

I woke up early (4:30am) feeling refreshed and ready to start work for the day. Yes I felt a bit hungry, but nothing too bothersome.

On weighing myself I noticed that I’d dropped 1.6kg within a 24hr period. This didn’t surprise me – early in a fast the weight tends to drop off quickly.

What was interesting though is that my RHR – my Resting Heart Rate – dropped from 60bpm to 57bpm. It will be fascinating to see how that goes during the fast.

I have included a new marker in my stats – my duration of sleep. I have a FitBit Charge 3, and the sleep app associated with it is fairly accurate. So each day I’ll post how much sleep I’ve had. (I usually have a 20min kip in the afternoon as well.)

Late yesterday I took various vitamins. I will be taking these each day:

  • MultiVitamin (for males 50yrs+)
  • Mega B
  • Vit B12
  • Magnesium
  • Vit D
  • CoQ10
  • DHEA

So now it’s 5am and I’ve had my first (of two) double espressos and I’m ready to start work!

morning double espresso – that’s crema on top, not milk!

Fast – day#1 / here we go!

Weight: 83.2kgs
Body Fat: 27.7%
BMI: 26.6
BP: 141/83 @56bpm
RHR: 60bpm (Resting Heart Rate)
(I’ll be taking these readings at the same time each day, to reduce variables)

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So, I start. And from these figures above, none too soon. I’m heavier than I should be, I’m carrying more fat than I should, and my BMI is above what it should be. It should be below 25. My blood pressure is highish, but I have a genetic pre-disposition to hypertension.

I got a call from my doctor last night. He gave me the results of a blood test I had done late last week. All good. Cholesterol good. Blood sugar good. No nasties. Phew. I put this down to 1) cutting dairy out of my diet altogether. I’ve not eaten dairy now for about the past 12 months, 2) reducing red meat to about 2-3 servings a month, and 3) exercising regularly. I do 40 mins on my bike 5 days a week at moderate to high intensity. On Sundays I do 60mins.

I’ve stopped walking for a while because my knee’s buggered.
Again.

10am – and I’ve just had 2xdouble espressos.
Yes, 2.
No milk, no sugar, of course.
Just pure caffeine.
That’s what I need to start writing.
That might change as the fast progresses.

1pm – I’m hungry. I want lunch.

2pm – Jennifer comes in and asks me if I want an orange juice. No, I say. Do you want some orange juice in a glass of water? No, I say. (my stomach rumbles.) What do you want then, she asks. A cup of Darjeerling tea, thanks. She comes back later with a Yeti flask of Darjeeling tea.

5pm – exercise on my stationary bike. 40mins/17.9kms/631cals.

7pm – dinner / black tea.

So, I want to introduce you to a good book on fasting. It’s written by Dr Jason Fung. He’s a specialist in kidney disease, and regarded as a world expert on fasting. He’s Canadian based, but worked a lot at the Los Angeles Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. HIs book is called, simply: The Complete Guide to FastingHeal your body through Intermittent, Alternate Day and Extended Fasting.

Here’s the Amazon link – The Complete Guide to Fasting Here’s an extract: (and I’ll be posting regular extracts as my fast progresses…)

Starving and fasting should never be confused with each other, and the terms should never be used interchangeably. Fasting and starving live on opposite sides of the world. It is the difference between recreational running and running because a lion is chasing you. Starvation is forced upon you by outside forces. Fasting, on the other hand, may be done for any period of time, from a few hours to months on end. You may begin a fast at any time of your choosing, and you may end a fast at will, too. You can start or stop a fast for any reason, or for no reason at all.

Fasting has no standard duration—since it is merely the absence of eating, anytime that you are not eating, you are technically fasting. For example, you may fast between dinner and breakfast the next day, a period of twelve hours or so. In that sense, fasting should be considered a part of everyday life. Consider the term breakfast. The word refers to the meal that “breaks your fast”—which is done daily. The word itself implicitly acknowledges that fasting, far from being some sort of cruel and unusual punishment, is performed daily, even if only for a short duration. It is not something strange but a part of everyday life.

I’ve sometimes called fasting the “ancient secret” of weight loss. Why? It is certainly an ancient technique, dating thousands of years, as we’ll discuss in Chapter 2. Fasting is as old as humankind, far older than any other dietary technique. But how is fasting a “secret”? Although fasting has been practiced for millennia, it has been largely forgotten as a dietary therapy. There are virtually no books about it. There are few websites dedicated to fasting. There is almost no mention of it in newspapers or magazines. Even its very mention draws stares of incredulity. It is a secret hiding in plain sight.

How did this happen? Through the power of advertising, big food companies have slowly changed how we think of fasting. Instead of being a purifying, healthful tradition, it’s now seen as something to be feared and avoided at all costs. Fasting was extremely bad for business, after all—selling food is difficult if people won’t eat. Slowly but inevitably, fasting has become forbidden. 

Nutritional authorities now allege that even skipping one single meal will have dire health consequences. You must always eat breakfast. You must snack constantly, all day long. You should eat a bedtime snack. You must never, ever miss a meal. These messages are everywhere—on television, in the newspaper, in books. Hearing them over and over again creates the illusion that they are absolutely true and scientifically proven beyond a doubt. The truth is exactly the opposite. There is no correlation whatsoever between constant eating and good health.

If you want to learn more about Dr Fung’s approach to diet and fasting, watch these videos on his website: https://www.dietdoctor.com/authors/dr-jason-fung-m-d

day #1

Tomorrow, I start a 14 day fast ~

Yes, that’s right. 14 days.
By my calculation that’s two weeks.

Maybe rather than say I start a 14 day fast, which indicates I will finish, I should say I undertake a 14 day fast, because that kinda gives me the option to bail out after day 3 if I walk into a pub and order a snitty with chips.

I’ve done fasts before – several 3 and 4 day fasts, two 6 day fasts.
But never 14 days.

Why 14 days?
To see if I can do it.
And to see what benefits might come from it.

Today is my eldest son’s birthday, and he’s a good cook so he’s cooking us – Jennifer and myself – something of a feast.
I’ll eat up big tonight.
Because it’ll be the last meal for two weeks!
Maybe…

Why am I doing this?

To detox:
To clear my system. I’ve been a bit wayward with my eating habits lately and I need to self correct. Too much sugar. Too much salt. Too much of too much.

To control my mind:
All random eating is because of random thinking. Control your thinking and you control your eating – and other aspects of your life as well.

To set myself a goal:
I’m a very goal oriented person. I learned early from something RM Williams once told me: To Say is To Do. I’ve never forgotten that.

To reset myself, physically:
This past year, thanks to COVID, I’ve spent most of my time writing – hence, sitting. Yes I’ve been doing exercise, either walking or bike, but it’s time to reset myself.

Isn’t it dangerous, fasting for this long?

I don’t know.
I guess I’m going to find out!

What am I going to eat / drink?

This will be a water fast, with sometimes miso soup – broth only – and perhaps sometimes beef bouillon – again, broth only. No solids, no juices, only black tea, green tea, and my requisite double espresso of a morning.

Double espresso?
Are you kidding?
What about the detox, you might ask?
What about my mental health, I might reply…

How will we know how I’m going?

I’m going to post a blog here each day to let you know how I’m going.
I’ll be totally honest. If I sneak a battered sav I’ll tell you.

I’ll discuss how I feel and what I do each day. I’ll post my daily weight, my percentage body fat and my blood pressure. And I’ll use the opportunity to talk about stuff. All sorts of stuff.

I’ll talk about the science of fasting. I’ll talk about the spirituality of fasting. As the days go by I’ll probably become incoherent and rambling and hence more interesting…

I’ll also post a photo of myself each day.
It’ll be interesting to see what physical changes I undergo.

Why am I going public on it?

Why am I going to blog it?
Put myself out there?

Because I want to make it harder for me to pike out. I’ll look a real dickhead if I quit after five days – which I’m perfectly capable of doing.

You’ll be shocked to discover how weak-willed, feeble-minded and craven I can be.
(Those that know me won’t be shocked at all, they’ll only be validated…)

But also, I believe that fasting is a legitimate health tool, if approached the right way. And I’ll be blogging about that too – the medical benefits of fasting.

That said, I will never encourage you to do what I intend to do. Statistically speaking, I believe that of those reading this right now, a very low percentage of you would be as stupid as me.

So that’s it then? You start tomorrow?

Yes, I start tomorrow.
Will I go the full 14 days?
Will I weaken and find myself clawing open a pack of Kettle Salt & Vinegar chips while guzzling down a can of Pepsi Max?
Will I find myself incapable of moving from the couch while watching The Office for the 4th time?
Will I deprive myself of essential nutrients and become a mumbling bumbling idiot – more so than I already am?

These questions and more will be answered over the next 14 days –
Or less…

CAVEAT: If I sense that this fast is doing me harm, or is having any kind of deleterious affects on me, I won’t be stupid or pig-headed, I will bail. Without shame…

What makes you unique?

We’re all unique.

Each and every one of us.

We each have unique skills, aptitudes, likes and dislikes. We each see the world through different eyes.

Yes, we might be tribal about certain stuff – we might find ourselves in accord with others on various issues, or share similar behavioural traits, but none off us is the same.

We’re all unique.

If ever you find yourself confused as to your purpose in life – what path to follow – determine what it is that makes you unique, then follow that path.

We each have something unique to contribute to the world – to humanity. What you contribute will be unique to you.

Revel in your uniqueness.

It’s what makes you you!

End of Year Audit & hopes for 2021

As followers of this blog know, at this time each year I do an audit of what I achieved this past year, pegged against what I said I wanted to achieve – and I set out what I hope to achieve the coming year.

Well, 2020 has been a helluva year.
Talk about a disrupter!

Just think, this time last year the words COVID-19, and Coronavirus and Pfizer weren’t even in our vocabulary – and PPE and self-isolate and N95 and social-distancing were all foreign terms to us.

I’m thankful and grateful that Jennifer and I, and our families, have come through this year safely and without illness. We’ve been fortunate to live in a country that has handled the pandemic in a way that’s been the envy of most other countries – and the stats attest to that – but that’s not to say there hasn’t been a lot of trauma for some along the way.

Personally, for Jennifer and myself, it’s been a year that’s forced us to stop and take stock of our lives – to reflect on what’s important and what’s not, to see things with greater clarity, to get rid of unnecessary “noise,” and to be grateful for what we have and empathetic to those that are suffering, in whatever way.

For us, it’s been a year of softening.
And coming together.
Strangely, in a year that’s required separation, stronger bonds and connections have formed.

So in the light of what’s happened this year, it’s now interesting to look back on what I hoped to achieve, and what I did achieve. The number one inhibitor to this year’s workload was that I wasn’t able to travel – but that turned out to be incredibly cathartic.

Liberating.

So, here we go… the audit of what I set out to achieve, and what I actually achieved:

Complete the manuscript of Again, I Die.
Check. I did this. The ms came in at 102K words.

Get Again, I Die published.
Nope. Hasn’t happened as yet. The publishing industry has contracted this year, and a ms that mixes genres (thriller with New Age) has been difficult to place. But it’s a terrific story and well written (ahem, he says humbly), and it will find a home.

Complete production of Fear – the Movie.
Nope, this didn’t happen either. My inability to travel put the stoppers on production. But sometime in March I woke up with a message from my dream state telling me that during this dreadful time of rampant fear I had to be in service, and so I set about creating Facing Fear – The Interviews, a website resource using cutdowns of the interviews I’d gathered for the film.

Over the next several months I worked with my editor, Rishi Shukla, and my web developer Natacha to create the website, which consists of some 27 interviewees from around the world – experts in fear management – with video content all up of nearly 24hrs. Here’s a link should you wish to check it out – Facing Fear – The Interviews

Commence development of a TV series based on my feature film KISS OR KILL.
Done. I’ve written the pilot episode, and detailed treatments for the further 7x58mins episodes.

Commence production of DEFIANT, the feature film based on the true story of a double honour killing in India.
Nope. Not possible to set up a film in India during the time of the Coronavirus.

Get THE WAY, MY WAY cast and financed.
Nope. This is the feature film project based on the adaptation of my bestselling memoir, The Way, My Way – my account of walking the Camino de Santiago. I have Australian theatrical distribution in place, and a US financier and sales agent and Spanish co-producers, but independent feature film production this year has pretty much gone belly-up, because of lack of exhibition – cinemas. So I have shifted my focus to TV, and am currently writing a limited TV series based on the book. The book by the way now has more than 300 five-star reviews on Amazon. Here’s a link if you want to check it out – The Way, My Way.

Write the manuscript for a new book on intuition.
Nup. Didn’t happen. Figured there were enough good books on the subject.

Produce a Masterclass based around the book.
Nup. Didn’t happen because the book didn’t happen.

Get PGS out wider into culture.
Yep, it’s happening. In negotiation with a major US distributor for English speaking territories.

Spend more time meditating.
Kinda. But not enough. I use an app called Insight Timer, that Dr Dean Radin put me onto. And its binaural beats meditation sessions are great.

So – that’s the audit of what I set out to do this year, versus what I actually did do. Overall I spent the year writing, which in the end is what I really love to do.

So, what’s in store for 2021?
Here’s what I hope to achieve:

  • Complete Facing Fear – The Movie.(This will depend on Covid related restrictions, and I don’t know if it will be possible.)
  • Set up KISS OR KILL as a limited TV series.
  • Set up The Way, My Way as a limited TV series.
  • Write the screenplay for an alien-based comedy.
  • Write another novel. (I have several ideas fermenting)

This year has brought about some fundamental changes for me. For starters, I have discovered that I don’t need to travel as much as I used to. Jennifer and I really do enjoy staying at home. My idea of a great day now is to write in the morning, read in the afternoon, and watch some amazing television in the evening. Oh yes, and there’s exercise and meditation and family and cricket and footy – my youngest son has got me following Liverpool, so that fills in the gaps left vacant when the Swannies aren’t playing.

As horrendous as this year has been, for me it’s been a year of realignment and recalibration. As I said in PGS the Movie, to be able to hear your inner voice, your inner wisdom, first you have to stop – and this year has forced me to stop.

I firmly believe that this pandemic is an incredibly powerful agent of change – and that out of the trauma and demolition that is COVID-19, universal consciousness will rise and lead us towards a better way of living on this beautiful planet.