Today I've got some fasting questions and answers for you from Instagram last week, plus I'll tell you about my 5-day fast results!
UPDATE: Here's a newer post where my friend and blog assistant, Susan, shares about her experience with fasting even though she has adrenal fatigue — hint, she's finally feeling better!
~Here's how my 5-day fast went:
I told you guys recently that I was doing a 5-day bone broth fast with Kent and my sister Terri, too. Check out that post for why in the world I would do that. 🙂
We planned to start after Sunday's meal, but Terri was beginning after Saturday dinner so Kent and I just decided to get the show on the road and start then too. I'm glad we did because she and I talked every day — it was really nice having someone else going through the exact same thing at the same time.
- It wasn't terrible (except for a painful twist on the 4th day).
- I lost 7.5# but now a week later I'm only down 1.5# and that's just normal fluctuation — thankfully I knew not to expect this to be a long-term weight loss. (Moving forward with more 24-hour intermittent fasts should help that though, along with more keto-ish meals and less cheats!)
- Best of all: my stomach shrunk so I get full faster now and can only eat about half what I used to, plus I definitely have less sugar cravings, this actually works!
- Also, hopefully the unseen cellular changes happened to prevent chronic disease that they talked a lot about here.
It was surprisingly easy for the first 3 days. Terri and I would be on the phone and find ourselves talking about Keto recipes and then one of us would say, “New topic!” So food really sounded good, but I didn't actually feel hungry. Think about it, do very many of us even know what that feels like?! It's weird that you can not eat for a few days and feel so normal.
My journal on the morning of day 3 said this: “Okay this is gettin' real now. Terri and I agree that the hunger really hit this afternoon — my stomach actually FEELS empty now, and it doesn't help that the kids are in the kitchen cooking something that smells really good! This is when my prayers can get powerful, and it's also probably where the real health benefits are starting to kick in…”
My energy was good, I shoveled the whole driveway on a heavy snowy day here in Michigan and things were going fine.
Bone broth or water-only?
I had planned to drink 2-3 cups of bone broth daily but only ended up having 2 cups the whole 5 days (along with 2 cups of coffee, 1 cup of tea, and otherwise just a lot of water). The reason is because part-way through the week I read more about broth during a fast, saying that a “clean fast” (water only) is better unless you're new to fasting and need the broth to get you through periods of hunger or other unpleasant symptoms like a headache.
After the 3rd day my back started hurting.
It could partly be from the shoveling but mostly I think it's because I sat so much more than normal that week. I'd had a bunch of planned leftovers for the kids just so I wouldn't have to be in the kitchen much, and to keep my mind off food I was in my office getting extra work done on the computer.
So that night I was popping my homeopathics all night long and trying different remedies. They'd work for a while then I'd wake up again and need more. I was all worked up about it because as much as I detest Motrin, I was afraid I was going to have to eat something so I could take a couple if it didn't get better. (You're not supposed to take it on an empty stomach.)
I didn't want to have to break my fast early over this!
The 4th day I couldn't sit to work at all (which ticked me off because I had all this extra time to get stuff done!), so I tried standing, but even that was bothering me, and I also had a headache. Besides the homeopathics, I took a magnesium bath that helped a lot, and that was when I had another cup of bone broth hoping the extra minerals would make a difference. It did help the headache but my lower back muscle pain was at 5-6 out of 10. After I'd take more remedies and it'd go to a 2-3 I'd try sitting again, it was up and down. That night was horrible, there wasn't a comfortable position no matter how I tried. I still didn't break though, no food or Motrin yet…
The next day it got worse.
After the bad night I woke up not only with my back really hurting, but overall wasn't feeling good after 4 1/2 days of no food. My back pain flared even more and now with nausea when I'd drink more water. I tried the mushroom tea, which I think helped a little. A nap with the heating pad was SO nice and took the pain totally away for one wonderful hour, and then it came back worse, with pain radiating to my arms and legs. Yes, for those of you who are homeopathy geeks like I am, I did try the correct homeopathic remedy for that, even in a 1M, but it wasn't working and more heat didn't work this time either. The pain was at a 7 now and felt just like back labor! By now I realized I was going to have to break my fast a half-day early so I could take 2 Motrin just to get the anti-inflammatory effects. I was so excited for this big dinner I wanted to make for my family after all these days, and I couldn't do that with back pain.
I knew I'd have to start off slow…
So I just had a handful of these lovely keto snacks with some ranch dip and wow did they taste good. Then I took the Motrin and also tried ice on my back, which worked really well together so I could make our big dinner without pain, yay! I've been fine ever since too. We just don't appreciate living without pain until we DO hurt, right?
What I really missed even more than the food
It’s amazing how much extra time there is when I’m not in the kitchen cooking, but I like cooking. I also really missed the family time over meals and even the time prepping with the kids as they’d help me chop or just chat with me as I'd prepare a big meal. Not to mention all six of us sitting around the table eating together as a family…
Food is so intertwined into family moments and I missed that a lot.
~Here's what Kent said about his 5-day fast:
He normally does a 24-hour fast 3 days a week. Why 3 days a week? Because I mentioned once a year or so ago about how good it is for us, especially because of the strong Alzheimers gene in his family, so he decided to do it and I don't think he's missed a day since. He's so SO disciplined that he just decides to do something and does it. That's admirable usually, but sometimes he just makes me crazy! He planned to just have water for his 5-day fast, and otherwise said he was only feasting on Jesus all week. (Holy Communion.) He did a 3-day fast at least a couple of other times and didn't have any issues with this 5-day fast until the last day. He said he was shaving and suddenly felt really light-headed, his face went white, and he had to sit down for a few minutes. “It felt like a really bad hangover without the headache.” He probably should've eaten, but he rested for a few minutes, drank some water, and then was fine. However, he also concluded that 5 days may be a bit much, and maybe 4 days would be best in the future.
~Here's what my sister said about her fasting experience:
“So, I did my first 5 day fast. I've done 48 hours before and have done Intermittent Fasting for over a year, so thought, ‘I can do this', and I did! The first day, no problem, on the second day in the afternoon I had a bad headache so drank a cup of bone broth and it took it right away. I was kind of bummed because I was trying to do a just-water fast, but oh well, still no food! Third day, not bad, fourth day I almost caved about 4 p.m., but my husband talked me out of it! He told me I was so close, and I'm happy he did. But I was so very happy on the last day that I made it, then I ate a couple hours before I should have. It was by far the the hardest mental challenge I've ever done, but also empowering. I can't say I was starving, but I just REALLY wanted to eat! I will still do 24 or 36 hour fasts in the future and might even try a 5 day fast again knowing all the benefits. My advice to you though: try doing the smaller fasts first and work up to longer if you're just starting to fast.”
I read somewhere that Mercola said 4 days is his sweet spot.
I’d say all 3 of us found the same to be true. I do plan to do it again now and then, mostly for those unseen cellular benefits and the way it cuts cravings.
Fasting Questions and Answers:
Last week on Instagram I asked if you wondered anything about my 5-day fast, so today I'm posting all of the fasting questions and answers here (a few I already answered above)…
- What if we want to do a bone broth fast and can't get bone broth?
You can just drink water until you get some — it's super easy to make though, just get some meat at the store with bones! (Here's how to make bone broth OR get it here if you don't want to make your own.)
- How do you avoid being cranky as #%*!! ?? I’ve made it one and a half days on a juice fast—never longer. It’s hell.
I'm not sure, but I think this happens from a mineral deficiency if you're not drinking enough water OR if the water you're drinking is from a reverse osmosis unit, so it has no minerals in it. (Read more: Why we ditched RO water and what we got instead.) Thankfully I didn't feel this way.
By the way, a juice fast is very different than the kind of fast I'm talking about here. Juices have sugar and that wouldn't be a true fast. Read more about juicing here: Is Juicing Good for You?
- Did you do a pre-fast where you cut back on food a few days before? I only drank shakes for 3 days prior to starting and have no addiction to coffees or food so I don't seem to be struggling like most people talk about.
I've been doing intermittent fasting for a year or two, maybe much longer actually because I rarely eat breakfast. (And people said all those years that skipping breakfast was a no-no, I'm glad I didn't listen to them and instead listened to my body, which said that it wasn't hungry!) So maybe that helped some?
- Is there a particular book or doctor that you think knows the best on Keto Diet? I see a lot of claims of “I’ve got the real Keto diet” by docs.
Here's my favorite: The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung — I refer back to this book a lot!
- Do you recommend any type of fasting for nursing moms?
No, for sure not. Right now enjoy that babe in your arms and eat lots of healthy fats, pastured meats, etc. The day will come when you can try fasts.
- What was the hardest part?
When the kids would cook something that smelled wonderful! Otherwise it's just a bummer that my back went bad. (See above.)
- Did you change other things about your lifestyle during the days to make it?
Mostly I just made sure the kids had plenty of leftovers ready to heat up so I didn't have to cook them anything, which I knew would be difficult. (I could've done it though, I've done it before and “offered it up“/prayed more!) Then I got extra work done to distract myself. Until my back issues anyway…
- Were you able to maintain a normal level of activity and energy? Or did you feel weak?
Surprisingly yes, besides a few stomach growls (not as many as you'd think) I felt really normal. It was odd! Until that last day. THEN I felt weak and just icky.
- Do you think it affected your metabolism? Do you feel any better afterward?
I feel normal afterward, BUT I definitely notice that I'm full faster and I have less cravings too!
- Many of you who are considering fasting also follow the Keto Diet, some more strict than others. One note about keto diets and fat that I just learned and wanted to share because it's pretty huge if you're trying to lose weight:
You know how people use the abbreviation “LCHF”? And that means low carb high fat, right? Wellllll………. if your body is already HF, then all you really need is the LC! Because the more fat you eat, the less of a need your body has to tap into its stored fat to use for fuel. So to burn body fat, Amy Berger says we don't need to CUT fat necessarily (I'll never EVER go lowfat, no way, we need those healthy fats!), but we don't need to go overboard ADDING extra fats in as many think, darn. Learn more from Amy here.
If you try a long fast, let us know how it goes!
More you might like:
- Interesting article: Does coffee break your fast? Spoiler: no it doesn't as long as you drink it without cream or sugar. Thankfully I like it black, but even Dr. Fung says if you need a splash of cream to keep you on the fast, to go ahead and do it.