Back before Christmas I decided to do a little extended fasting.
I followed a water fast for fifty hours.
What’s a water fast?
It’s where you consume ONLY WATER for a certain period of time.
No food, no supplements, no coffee… nothing but WATER.
Most people think this is crazy.
In fact, nearly everyone I mentioned this to said I was crazy and that they couldn’t even imagine going without food.
And that’s the damn problem!
People believe they are starving if they haven’t eaten within the last two hours.
No, you’re not starving… You won’t even starve over the next TWO DAYS.
People need to get over themselves and realize most of their bad habits come from a complete lack of discipline in their lives.
You’re not going to die if you exercise some restraint and refuse to eat for a few hours.
In survival circles, you’ll hear about “The Rule of Three.”
You can survive:
- 3 minutes without oxygen
- 3 days without water
- 3 weeks without food
This is an oversimplification and depends on many variables, but it’s a good guideline.
That means if you can survive three weeks or more without food, then going three days without food is NOTHING.
It’s easy, if you’re mentally strong…
Not eating food is actually easier than eating food.
There’s no acquisition or prep time. There’s no time or effort spent stuffing your face. And there’s much less time spent in the bathroom.
Back when I was cutting weight, I would follow a 24-hour fast every Sunday. And it was easy.
With intermittent fasting, I was able cut weight while eating damn near anything I wanted on a Saturday as long as I followed it up with a 24-hour fast going into Sunday.
You see, the secret to extended fasting is to have plenty of food before you begin the fast.
Even when I was dieting, I would go out to a buffet and stuff my face on Saturdays as my cheat meal. I’d have my final bite around 8 or 9 PM.
Then I just had to make it to 8 or 9 PM the following night.
I would be so full from the food on Saturday that I wouldn’t even have the urge to eat until around 5 PM Sunday. And then I only had to resist hunger for a few more hours.
24-hours is simple. It’s easy.
I’ll admit, once you go beyond 24-hours you can get into some uncomfortable territory.
This is conquered through will.
All you have to do is refuse to eat.
Consume nothing with calories.
That’s all it takes to fast.
How Did A 50-Hour Fast Feel?
The mental clarity that comes with extended fasting is incredible.
I turned into an ABSOLUTE MACHINE.
Writing content for the new business? Bam, done.
Designing routines for clients? Bam, done.
The to-do list that’s been growing for weeks? Bam, done.
Those trivial tasks I never want to do? Bam, done.
I had a glass of water next to me at all times. Staying properly hydrated contributed to the mental clarity and helped to stave off any hunger.
(When you think you’re hungry, you’re usually just thirsty. Drink some water and you most likely won’t be hungry anymore.)
Other than that, how did everything feel?
The first 24 hours were a breeze. Pretty much zero hunger. Spent thirty minutes in the sauna and took a three mile walk down by the river. Everything felt fantastic by bedtime.
After 36 hours, I woke up to very little hunger. Spent thirty minutes in the sauna, but it was much more challenging. I went for another three mile walk and energy was good the entire time.
Around 40 hours in, all of my extremities began to feel cold. This continued to increase throughout the day, regardless of how many layers of clothing I put on. I started wearing two layers of socks, two pairs of sweatpants, an undershirt, a t-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt, a hoodie, AND a beanie… but I could not warm up, even when sitting in front of the heater.
Around 45 hours in, I felt a small headache that progressively got worse. Water did not help. I’m assuming this was the withdrawals from the lack of caffeine and carbohydrates.
Around 47 hours in, my legs felt super achy, especially near my calves and knees. It felt like my legs were eating themselves.
At 49 hours, I had extreme cravings for red meat, sushi, burritos, and burgers…
And at 50 hours, I decided to break the fast.
The decision didn’t come lightly, and it was primarily from the bone-chilling cold and pain in my legs. My hands and feet felt like ice.
Considering all of this, extended fasting doesn’t really become challenging until 40 hours or so.
I believe my inability to heat up would have been greatly improved had this fast not taken place in the dead of winter. I’ll be doing another one in a few months to see how warmer weather changes the equation.
My Takeaways From Extended Fasting
#1 — Start your fast late in the evening, after a large meal. This helps you get through the first 24 hours without much of a challenge.
#2 — Stay hydrated. This staves off any cravings and helps improve your mental clarity and focus.
#3 — Stay busy. Work on something important to keep your mind focused on the task at hand, and not hunger.
#4 — Get plenty of sleep. You’ll be able to ignore hunger for longer and allow your body to heal itself.
#5 — Avoid fasting during cold weather if your extremities easily get cold.
And that’s it.
Extended fasting is effective.
I felt great during my 50-hour fast. My mental clarity and focus was incredible.
I actually enjoyed most of it, until the bone-chilling cold set in…
I even lost a few pounds of fat. My muscles were flat during the fast, but everything popped again when I broke it with a carb-heavy meal… I got my goddamn burrito.
Yet the dopamine fast was the hardest requirement of all…
But that’s a story for another day.
If you’ve never tried extended fasting, test it out and see what you think.
Fasting has many health benefits, but I like to look at it from another angle…
How can you expect to be prepared for war, if you don’t know what it’s like to go hungry for days on end?
Reframe the task at hand.
It’s not a fast. It’s a training exercise. A competition.
A competition of what?
A competition of WILL.
Demons & Destiny
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