Somehow I managed to survive this near impossible feat. Actually, it was easier than I anticipated. For the record, this week I’ve been told I’m crazy more than normal. Not sure why but I didn’t see that coming.
I find it quite sad the reaction I get when I recommend to somebody that implement intermittent fasting in their life. I legitimately think that they think they will die if they skip a few meals. What a sad reality.
Their reaction paints an interesting picture and informs us of an important issue. We have become grossly dependent on food. Of course, we have to depend on food. After all, we need nutrients to survive.
But, we Americans, have evolved. We’ve out-grown the whole eating for function thing. Food is so available to us that we don’t even worry eating foods with nutrients our bodies actually need. We decide to consume things that make us feel good and taste even better.
[If this feels like an internet bitch session, it is! But, it’s mostly directed at me and my hedonistic tendencies, I just can’t control sometimes. If you feel that my words apply to you, well… you know what they say about shoes, right?]
It seems that everything revolves around food. We schedule activities around meal times. We meet people for lunch or dinner. Food, food, food.
I don’t think it’s any secret that we consume far more food than we actually need. But, recommend somebody do a short-term fast and they go crazy.
It is no secret that I’ve dabbled with fasting over the last 6 years. Intermittent fasting has been a huge game changer in my life and I’ve written on this extensively. Scope out the following articles for more on that!
Intermittent Fasting – Fitness Myths Debunked [Most Popular]
My previous fasting record had been a meager 40 hours. This would annihilate that previous record and truly test my gumption.
I’m not telling you to do things, as I do. That would not go over well. All I’m asking is that you open your mind and think about some things.
[Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I don’t pretend to be one on the internet. This or any other article on my website or shared by me is NOT to be taken as medical advice. If you choose to experiment with extended fasting, it is recommended that you do so under medical supervision. Nick LaToof nor his affiliates is not responsible for any harm induced by replicating anything in this, or any other article. With that being said, enjoy!]
Barriers to Entry
Of course, fasting or the abstinence of food, is not a fun thing to do. After all, we plan everything around food. I learned that we even enjoy the very act of eating, which I missed the most during this extended fast.
Strange, I know.
I’d be lying to you if I said that it was easy. It was not. It wasn’t very much fun either. I deemed that it was necessary on many fronts. Of which, I’ll get to shortly. But, I think it’s important to address the barriers to entry first.
- Metabolism Slows
This is completely false. This is a the same argument many put up against intermittent fasting. I debunk this and many other myths in this article.
- Muscle Loss
You won’t lose nearly as much muscle as you think. Once in a state of ketosis (which happens in long term fasting and not necessarily with shorter, intermittent fasting approaches), you’re body is very protein (i.e. muscle sparing).
- Low Energy
Your physical energy will be drained a bit but mentally you’ll be sharp as a tack. Unless, you choose to drive across country, like I did. (Don’t recommend)
Everyone needs to answer this for themselves but I will share with you some of the benefits. For me, I needed to cleanse the body, not only physically but mentally as well.
If you’re tired of reading, TAKE A BREAK! This article isn’t going anywhere. Just kidding, here’s a video but seriously, take a break if you need to.
- The Best Cleanse You’ll Ever Do
Please don’t buy into any of those juice cleanses or detox teas. Your body is naturally designed to detox. Think about it.You lungs purify the air before it’s distributed throughout the body.You kidneys filter your blood.Your intestines absorb the nutrients your body needs while preparing the waste for disposal.I discuss this further in this article here: “Cleanses: Why They’re Bullshit and What You Should Actually Do” (I enjoy long subtitles)
- Detachment From Food
I had developed a very poor relationship with food, something I feel many Americans face. Food became a source of reward and enjoyment, rather than a source of fuel. I felt crappy and found myself in a vicious cycle.
You probably hear this on a daily basis: “I’m hungry.”For most of us in the civilized world, we’re incredibly blessed to be able to say that and know that we’re never that far from our next meal. We abuse this phrase. More often than not, “I’m hungry” means “I’m bored.”I can’t speak for everyone so I’ll just speak for myself and my experiences (which I relentlessly stick to!)I’ve never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from. I’ve been blessed to more than enough food at any given time. It would shameful and inconsiderate for me to ever say, and I have said this, “I’m hungry.”Do I even know what it’s like to be truly hungry??Maybe I have some slight stomach discomfort, but I wouldn’t dare argue that it stems from an absolute hunger.[Hunger is the body’s necessity for food. Appetite is a learned behavior that we often misinterpret from food.]
Perhaps, if I subjected myself to real hunger, I would better be able to appreciate the food available to me. I’ve certainly taken for-granted that I’ve never had to go without.
I just want to live in such a way that I appreciate what’s around me. I’ve travelled so much that I often don’t even realize what’s near me. I’d like to have better awareness.
Blame it on my study of stoic philosophy, if you’d like.
To replicate what I feel like would be most people’s experience going into it, I ate pretty badly a few days leading up to this. Pizza and donuts mostly.
The important thing to note here was that it was a very high carb diet leading into it. I thought that this would make the fast (and detox) a bit more difficult. I feel like most people would enter into a fast this way.
Generally speaking, I entered into the fast in the worse case scenario so it would widely applicable.
I had very little concern for the first two days. I had been here several times before and knew that this wouldn’t be a problem.
I was in uncharted waters, here. I was proud that I had broken my previous record of 40 total hours fasted, which seems pretty weak, in retrospect. I fought off some serious urges during these days, despite not feeling hungry.
(I was surprised at the lack of hunger I experienced throughout the entirety of the fast.)
Days 5 & 6
I would count these as the “home-stretch.” I had made it this far and had every intention of going the distance barring any issues. These days went fairly smoothly. I was tempted as I went in and out of gas stations to use the restroom. I had to forgo my typical Ultra Zero Monster.
I kept an eye on the clock this day, more so than the others. To my surprise, I still didn’t feel hungry. I believe I could’ve longer. How much longer, I don’t really know but several more days for sure.
I think I will break this record, one day. I think a one time 40 day fast may be the longest I attempt. There are a few things I will do differently for my next 7 day fast. The most important will be not traveling across the country.
I think I will find a spot to be alone, with a place to rest, and plenty of room to write and think.
Trip Across the Country
My trip began in Grand Junction, CO. I had been staying here for the last few months. I knew that I would soon be going East and not get back to the West Coast until Jan of 2018.
There was a few things I needed to take care of and a few meetings to set up.
I left Grand Junction around 6:30 PM, after a 90 minute nap. I stopped to sleep just before midnight near St. George, Utah. I began my fast at midnight on Sunday. I went to sleep already having broken my previous fasting record of 40 hours.
I arrived in Los Angeles around 1:30 local time. I took care of a few things there and then headed down to Temecula. I have small storage unit there and needed to grab a few things.
I was probably in SoCal for less than 8 hours. I quickly got back on the 15 Northbound and headed back. I was currently on a book deadline and didn’t have much time to spare. Looking back, this was a tough trip and wasn’t very productive. But, it is what it is.
I got back to Grand Junction on Tuesday around 9 AM. I slept the rest of the morning and promptly went to work writing. I would stay there Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. I would once again leave on Thursday night, this time East bound.
Why the trip East?
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about the next 2-3 years. Shocking to some of you, I’m sure, as the general consensus is that I do everything on a whim.
And maybe it’ll shock you even more to have me say that everything I do is quite thought-out and strategized.
Like Steve Jobs once said, “It’s impossible to connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards.”
I kind of think that this will be the last time I get a chance to head East, at least in my truck. I imagine that I’ll be able to hop a flight over, if I deemed it necessary.
I have fallen in love with the West but it was the East that first captured my heart. I thought it necessary to bid my farewell in person. But, this isn’t goodbye! Much more like, see you later!
Do’s & Do Not’s
- Do NOT Workout
If you’d like to maintain that precious, hard-earned muscle, you better stay out of the weight room, man.
- Do Drink Copious Amounts of Water
This is one thing I didn’t do a very good job of. I was on the road a lot and I hate stopping if I don’t need gas. I did drink a good amount of water but it wasn’t near enough.Water is necessary for the detox process and it was the only thing I consumed during the fast. (More on that in a bit)
- Don’t Eat
Pretty simple, right? The tactics aren’t complicated; it’s the implementation that’s tough!
- Water ONLY
I decided to do water only because I didn’t want any fasting zealots come out of the wood works and say that it’s not technically fasting if I consumed coffee or BCAA’s, etc.There are many variables here but a true water fast may be the best way to completely cleanse the body. Theory: just get out of your bodies way and it’ll do the rest!This means nothing but water. No vitamin/mineral supplements, no coffee or tea, nothing, nada, nichts (German).
- Don’t Eat
Pretty simple but it’s a critical element and can’t be over-stated. I don’t want to take anything for-granted.
I have no intentions of sitting on my fasting high horse. I have no doubt in my mind that I will need to do this again to regain focus on what food means. I’m no better than you if you decide that a seven day fast is too much.
After all, I can only replicate the experiment so much. It would be much more life-like if I were to put myself in a situation with no safety net. (Don’t tempt me)
Bottom line is that fasting has been done since the beginning of humans. Some fast were planned and carried with them deliberate meaning. Other fasts were accidental and completely due to a scarcity of food.
There is a lot of practical uses for short-term fasting. I think it should be used more often. It’ll help the body from all angles: mentally, physically, and spiritually.
If you have questions, please reach out but please keep in mind that I am not a doctor and will not give out medical advice.
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