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Thread: 60+ hour fasting, good or bad? page

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    mrsj111's Avatar
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    60+ hour fasting, good or bad?

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    So i've been experimenting a little bit with fasting recently after two of my friends told me about how much its benefited them. i started out with some little 16ish hour fasts, basically skipping dinner and eating the next morning, then to two 36 hour fasts, which i found very easy. and now im in the middle of a 60 hour fast. the last food i had was thursday night, its mid day saturday now. ive been reading mixed ideas on if fasting over about the 48 hour mark is good or not, and i basically want to decide if i should break the fast tonight(making it 48 hours) or hold out till tomorrow morning (making it around 60)

    the past couple fasts ive done were more for health reasons and to try it out and see how i felt.

    this one is more of an experiment id say, ive read a 60 hour water fast is a great way to detox, so i guess health reasons too. but i also want to loose some weight, weight loss is probably the biggest goal i want to get from this. I've been exercising a lot, eating a lot, definitely getting strong and feeling good, but getting on the bulky side. and i need to be a bit leaner and lighter for my sport, (race motorcycles, bulky heavy isnt good) and need to be as light as possible by monday as im doing a bit of setup work starting next week so i need my weight to be close to what it'll be later in the year.

    so i figured this is a great opportunity to loose weight AND experiment with fasting. but i've been reading about people gaining weight after longer fasts. which i do not want to happen, i plan to go back to my regular diet after this so dont want to gain back what ive lost, i want to keep it off. i know some muscle loss is a risk past 48 hours, which im really not concerned with, i've got plenty of muscle as it is.

    anyone have some advice? from a purely weight loss standpoint is 60 hours a safe bet?

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    Ariel C. McGlothin's Avatar
    Ariel C. McGlothin is offline Senior Member
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    I think the answer to your question depends a lot on you, and how your body happens to handle fasting. As I have a good bit of person experience with fasting, I can share my experience and maybe you will find some of it helpful to you.

    I've been practicing intermittent fasting for 15+ years, long before I'd ever heard about it, just due to my schedule and not feeling a great need to eat set amounts at set times. So I'd guess that my body is pretty good at burning fat. I've also done multiple 1-11 day long fasts. Some with just water and some drinking juice and tea. I usually feel pretty hungry for the first two or three days, and then the hunger feeling pretty much goes away. On day eleven of the one 11 day fast I've done, that hungry feeling came back quite strongly which is why I ended that one there. I did not have that experience with the previous 10 day fast I'd done, but I wasn't quite as lean then so that may had made the difference.

    I usually look and feel a little leaner, but don't loose much weight. Maybe 2-8 pounds depending on the length of the fast, but that's kind of hard for me to measure as my weight normally fluctuates around in a 7ish pound range on a normal day to day basis. The very first time I did a really long fast (10 days) I might have noticed a slight weight gain afterwards, but I'm not even sure about that, again due to my normal fluctuation in weight. But most of the time, I jump right back into eating like a horse, which I've certainly heard is not recommended, but has never seemed to be a problem for me. And stay at the lower weight for a little bit, then gradually return to my normal weight. I'm female, 5'8", and weigh about 130 lbs. if I pick the middle of my normal weight range. So I'm not trying to loose weight and returning to normal is fine for me. If I wanted to keep it off I think it would be a bit hard, but may not be if you think you have weight to loose in the first place. I don't really know.

    Loosing muscle mass I haven't really noticed. When doing crossfit the whole way through a long fast I tend to loose some endurance, but I don't know if it's really loosing muscle as the day I start eating again, it seems to go back to normal. But I am a woman and we usually have more body fat hanging around, so a man may start to burn muscle more rapidly?

    Hopefully some part of that you can find helpful, but I do think everyone's body is different. My opinion would be that if you're feeling fine now, 60 hours is going to be fine for you, but that is just my opinion. Good luck! And I'd be interested to hear what you decide and how it worked out for you sometime.
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    JoanieL's Avatar
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    As long as you're hydrated, 60 hours is a blip (two and a half days) in a lifespan. It's not going to kill you, it's probably going to give you a sense of empowerment, and not to worry because man has gone over 60 hours without food for a number of reasons. Whether drought or concentration camp, humankind survives a couple of days without food.

    While I totally believe that finding a healthy diet that is nutritious and non-poisonous is the answer to much of what ails many people, a fast to zap a few pounds, or even to just feel empowerment is fine. From what I've read, I believe fasts are good for you. Not everyone will agree.
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    A long fast once every 4~8 weeks might be a worthwhile hormetic but I wouldn't do it more frequently than that due to circadian stress. Digestion is one of our strongest day/night signals--stuff like cortisol and thyroid hormone get wacky when we confuse them. By contrast 16~20 hour fasts can safely be done daily, and might even be ideal.

    There is no need for "detox" if the diet is nontoxic. If a fast produces sudden benefits we should scrutinize our regular foods.

    I would not expect lasting fat loss. Energy homeostasis is not so easily thwarted and will retaliate over the following days. IME a nutrition or activity habit needs to be at least weekly to impact BF% and I wouldn't recommend a long fast that frequently. My biggest impacts always came come from unsexy daily details like more walking and less snacking.
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    Minimal: soy, refined proteins, sugar, liquid carbohydrate, grains, refined oils, peanuts

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    Heyo Jay's Avatar
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    it definitely depends on hoow you feel. but people have gone longer than that and can do it just fine.

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    well made it to 60 hours, couldnt sleep well last night, only got like 4 hours, just plain didnt feel tired. had a handful of blueberries and already feeling better. I found it pretty easy to stick to those two days of fasting, easier than restricting calories. now the goal is to not gain all that weight back, and then some over the holidays.
    i think the 16-24 hour, maybe 36 hour fasting is more for me though. it just takes too much commitment to make it a multi day thing. just not eating for half a day or one day is no problem though.

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    TheyCallMeLazarus's Avatar
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    I do 36 hours pretty commonly, and by that I mean about once a month, but I never saw the value in going much past that.....the goal of a fast is to be able to produce caloric deficit, without the body having time to slow everything down in response. In my experience, past about 36 hours I start to feel my body adjust to it, and this is not really the point. I feel the extremities stay cold, lose a lot of my (now legendary) cold tolerance, have little energy, listless.....seeing as my normal state is a Tasmanian devil-like ball of energy that believes anything above 30 degrees is T-shirt weather, this is an alarming way for me to feel.

    My pattern is to do a long fast with a pretty strong LISS workout on the tail end, whether hiking, snowshoeing, or a lot of outdoor house work. After this is done, I eat a huge meal with as much protein as I can handle mixed with starches to refill glycogen, which at that point is completely wiped out. I will usually only eat that big meal that day though.....next day is a 16-18 hour fast (my norm), often with as low cal as I can go with the willpower.

    This produces 4 days that, once I calculate it out, give me a huge deficit.

    Day 1: Eat breakfast for once, but keep it low cal. My go to is about 8 eggs and black coffee = 800 cal, top end....start fast
    Day 2: No food until late dinner, usually about 7pm after 2-3 hour LISS work (36 hours after breakfast). Eat a ton, but all protein = 2200 cal, - 700 cal for the workout
    Day 3: Normal fast, BAS + waldorf tuna salad is my go to = 1300 cal.

    Total calories over those 3 days = about 3600
    Normal maintenance cals over those days => 2700 a day x 3 days = 8100

    My point is that overall deficit, WITH consideration of your body's response to it, produces a better result. In this regimen, there is not such a prolonged purely glucacon-run metabolic state with all of its adjustment corollaries. This pattern is important to almost any meal timing regimen, such as a 5 to 1 severe calorie cutting stretch followed by one "cheat day" where you eat whatever you want.....I did that for 3 months, eating steak or tuna salads twice a day with a protein shake 5 days in a row, then my eat whatever day, and it got me down to almost 6%BF (and was incredibly miserable, BTW). Throw in change-ups and you will get better cut.

    As for the mental aspects, that's all up to you
    Last edited by TheyCallMeLazarus; 12-22-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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    mrsj111's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheyCallMeLazarus View Post
    I do 36 hours pretty commonly, and by that I mean about once a month, but I never saw the value in going much past that.....the goal of a fast is to be able to produce caloric deficit, without the body having time to slow everything down in response. In my experience, past about 36 hours I start to feel my body adjust to it, and this is not really the point. I feel the extremities stay cold, lose a lot of my (now legendary) cold tolerance, have little energy, listless.....seeing as my normal state is a Tasmanian devil-like ball of energy that believes anything above 30 degrees is T-shirt weather, this is an alarming way for me to feel.

    My pattern is to do a long fast with a pretty strong LISS workout on the tail end, whether hiking, snowshoeing, or a lot of outdoor house work. After this is done, I eat a huge meal with as much protein as I can handle mixed with starches to refill glycogen, which at that point is completely wiped out. I will usually only eat that big meal that day though.....next day is a 16-18 hour fast (my norm), often with as low cal as I can go with the willpower.

    This produces 4 days that, once I calculate it out, give me a huge deficit.

    Day 1: Eat breakfast for once, but keep it low cal. My go to is about 8 eggs and black coffee = 800 cal, top end....start fast
    Day 2: No food until late dinner, usually about 7pm after 2-3 hour LISS work (36 hours after breakfast). Eat a ton, but all protein = 2200 cal, - 700 cal for the workout
    Day 3: Normal fast, BAS + waldorf tuna salad is my go to = 1300 cal.

    Total calories over those 3 days = about 3600
    Normal maintenance cals over those days => 2700 a day x 3 days = 8100

    My point is that overall deficit, WITH consideration of your body's response to it, produces a better result. In this regimen, there is not such a prolonged purely glucacon-run metabolic state with all of its adjustment corollaries. This pattern is important to almost any meal timing regimen, such as a 5 to 1 severe calorie cutting stretch followed by one "cheat day" where you eat whatever you want.....I did that for 3 months, eating steak or tuna salads twice a day with a protein shake 5 days in a row, then my eat whatever day, and it got me down to almost 6%BF (and was incredibly miserable, BTW). Throw in change-ups and you will get better cut.

    As for the mental aspects, that's all up to you

    Yeah I definitely get what you mean when you say you can feel your body slowing down past 36 hours. Didn't like that feeling at all. I didn't get to the point of feeling cold anywhere. I have my room temp. Right in the borderline of being too cold for me and felt the same as always last night.

    My second 36 hour fast was after a big party we've been planning for months, so I went way overboard, just stuffed down an insane amount of cookies and desserts. Felt like crap that night and half the next day. But after the 36 hours I felt great and didn't seem to gain any weight. It's a nice little "reset" if you need it I guess.

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    Artemis67's Avatar
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    I'm losing weight, but I don't make that my primary focus anymore. I focus on overall health, and let the weight issue take care of itself. Otherwise, I'll just make myself crazy. I'll know I've lost more weight when my pants fall off. Until then? Meh.

    That said, I do 18/6 IF every day, which I absolutely love, and will probably just do it forever. But once a month I'll do a longer fast--anywhere from 40-72 hours. Usually around 40-48 hours. It almost always starts when I realize that I'm just not hungry, don't really want to eat, and in fact feel kind of gross and "overfed." So I just don't eat until I'm truly hungry again. I don't plan how long it will be; I just wait for true hunger to return, then eat whatever I'm hungry for (usually a big hunk o' meat). Then, the next day, I go back to 18/6 IF.

    I have to admit that I hate the word "detox." Whenever I've asked people, "What exact toxins are present in your body that you need to detox from? What is the mechanism behind this fast/cleanse/purge/dubious herbal remedy that will allow that to happen?" Either I get a vague answer, or I get a bunch of New Age woo. But, that said, there are health advantages to giving your body a break for a couple of days so it can divert existing energy into cleanup and repair work, rather than digesting and assimilating more food. So I like to think of fasting as "housekeeping" which doesn't carry the negative (and spurious) connotations of "detox." My body cleans out its fridge, takes out the trash and recycling, and gets caught up on the laundry, rather than busting out the respirators and hazmat suits and the 55-gallon biohazard drums.

    As for weight loss, yeah, it can help. But my caveat would be not to make yourself go on frequent fasts just to lose weight. It's easy to get burned out if you're forcing it, and in my own experience it leaves me more susceptible to bingeing. Anyone who is trying to lose weight wants that shit gone NOW (I sure do!), and slow-but-steady seems like such a drag. But there's only so much you can do to speed things up before it snaps back in your face. So my advice is to use fasting as the useful tool it is, without overusing it.

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