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Fasting and gaining weight?

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  • Fasting and gaining weight?

    Just curious on what other's thoughts on this are....I've done several 60 hour fasts over the past few weeks. One to two a week. I usually lose 3-4 pounds during these fasts, and gain about a pound back after eating the following day (which I expect, since some of it is water). However, after my most recent 60 hour fast, I weighed myself expecting to have dropped at least 3 pounds, only to find that I actually gained three pounds this time. How is that even possible? Two days of not eating-just drinking water, and I gain 3 pounds? And then again, gained another pound the following day after eating. Any ideas?? Thanks!

  • #2
    Don't do 60 hour fasts.

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    • #3
      Helpful, thanks.

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      • #4
        Any number of things can make you retain more water. Just drinking more water can sometimes cause you to retain more, especially if your sodium intake was elevated. Also, excess cortisol can do it. Maybe the fasts are too long and stressful causing you to make too much cortisol. I've never heard of any health related reason to fast more than about 40 hours (see pklopp's threads from a while back). I don't think it'd be healthy to fast that long on any sort of regular basis.

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        • #5
          On a fast longer than 36 hours, I supplement with unprocessed sea salt~ otherwise my electrolytes get out of whack~ maybe you're having a similar problem?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by yodiewan View Post
            Any number of things can make you retain more water. Just drinking more water can sometimes cause you to retain more, especially if your sodium intake was elevated. Also, excess cortisol can do it. Maybe the fasts are too long and stressful causing you to make too much cortisol. I've never heard of any health related reason to fast more than about 40 hours (see pklopp's threads from a while back). I don't think it'd be healthy to fast that long on any sort of regular basis.
            I considered the cortisol issue, but I'm really not stressed at all during these fasts. And I'm fasting mainly for weight loss, rather than health reasons. Don't plan on doing it long-term, just until I reach a good weight. Although, not sure that's going to happen this route if I'm now gaining.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nady View Post
              On a fast longer than 36 hours, I supplement with unprocessed sea salt~ otherwise my electrolytes get out of whack~ maybe you're having a similar problem?
              Interesting, I'll give that a try...thanks!

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              • #8
                How much of your loss to date has been fat loss and not lean muscle?
                You can't gain fat not eating for 60 hrs. Obviously it's water gain or your cycle.
                Losing fat is not about limiting food to the extent of not eating for 60 hrs but learning how to eat to lose the fat. Then the biggie of learning how to eat to maintain for life.

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                • #9
                  I have gained lbs when fasting. I'm in the early stages of checking this out but I have been reading about the effects of chlorine and flouride in tap water. Since I drink a lot of water, including coffee made with same water (boiling doesn't remove flouride) I am experimenting with drinking mineral water. Do you drink tap water? Maybe try mineral water and see if it helps. I'd be interested to see.

                  Get some flouride-free toothpaste and don't soak in hot baths as it can be absorbed through the skin.
                  Last edited by jo; 01-31-2012, 02:30 AM.
                  My website: http://www.shoppinganywhere.net/

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                  • #10
                    The body is always seeking homeostasis, and sometimes when it is forced to release too much body fat, it will fill those empty fat cells (they only empty; we never lose them) with water. Water weighs more than the lost fat, so the scale can sometimes show an increase.

                    Eventually, the body will be forced to dump that excess water, and the fat loss will show on the scale.

                    That said, I'm not sure that 60-hour fasts are the best way to lose weight because as you get to your weight goal, you should be eating at a level (and in a way) that will enable you to maintain that weight.

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                    • #11
                      I am no expert, but 60 hour fasts seem a bit long to me. Maybe try 24 hours instead? Or no fast and just eating when you like.

                      I like what Nassim Taleb says about natural stressors in his Black Swan book. If you fast for 60 hours it should be because you are on the run, or out hunting and have not made a kill yet. It shouldn't be without a reason, and more than you should mindlessly run on a treadmill for miles without running away from something or trying to catch something.

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                      • #12
                        Martin Berkhan's clients (from Leangains) seem to have great success; he recommends women fast 14 hours a day, as per this interview.
                        29/F
                        5'4.5
                        Highest weight: 220
                        Starting weight: 195
                        Current weight: 179
                        Goal weight: 127

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                        • #13
                          Better Digestion

                          I have known people that gain weight after fasting. One thing nobody has brought up is the fact that your digestion improves after doing that for awhile. Food gets absorbed easier and with less effort. For example, 6 months ago my digestion was shot. I was eating massive amounts of food but not much of it was absorbing. Now i probably eat half of what i did then and am maintaining my weight easily.
                          -Joe

                          http://OptimizedIndividuals.wordpress.com

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                          • #14
                            It’s water. I agree on shortening the fast though especially if you are doing it for weight loss. Maybe a 40 once a week with 20/4 on the other days, and throw in one or two 14/10. Low fat, high protein/carb on heavy work out days (2-3 days/week tops). Low carb, high protein/fat on the rest of the days.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by joej627 View Post
                              I have known people that gain weight after fasting. One thing nobody has brought up is the fact that your digestion improves after doing that for awhile. Food gets absorbed easier and with less effort. For example, 6 months ago my digestion was shot. I was eating massive amounts of food but not much of it was absorbing. Now i probably eat half of what i did then and am maintaining my weight easily.
                              That's really interesting. I think I'm in the case of needing to improve my digestion. It got kinda messed up over the holidays and hasn't been right since. Also, I've been actively trying to gain weight and have had to eat ridiculous amounts of food to do so. How long did you fast to repair your digestion? Any other advice? Thanks.

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