Many of you have responded to my FB post about my 84 hours fast (It was 84 hours, I got it wrong on the FB image) asking for more details. So, here I go!
First- a little technical clarification, a “water fast” is NOT fasting without drinking water. It is a fast where you only drink water and do not eat anything. This term is used to differentiate it from other less restrictive diets that involve some form of food. For example, the “juice fast” is a diet where you only drink fruit juices and no solid food.
In my water fast, I made sure that I drank lots of water along with occasional cups of green tea and herbal teas.
This is a slightly longish read but I hope you bear with me because I do not want to end up giving anyone the impression that was some kind of a quick fix method.
A Little Background
February 2016 - With a long effort of exercise and diet control, I reached my body weight from around 90 kg to a final weight of 77 kg. Bought pants of 34 inches waist size!
March 2016 - I had to go for a surgery of my right shoulder to correct a rotator cuff tear (RCT). It was followed by 3 weeks of home rest and another 3 months wearing a shoulder brace. Watched a whole lot of downloaded TV serials. Ended up at about 95 kg body weight.
Not able to work out using shoulders, did a lot of walking in 2016. You can see my older blog entries below for details of my roughly 1700+ kms. of walking. With a lot of effort, reached a body weight of 84 kg around March 2017.
Loss of Focus
This was followed by a period of about 6 months when I lost all focus on my health, workouts and diet.
Fasting sugar levels hovering around 110 to 115.
Weight up to 97 kg.
That rang the alarm bells in my head and I started with renewed focus on November 1st to get back control of my weight and health.
Some more of my Older History
One August 12th, 2009, I was diagnosed with diabetes with a fasting blood sugar level of 480! Went on insulin for about two weeks. Began a regimen of about 4 medications after that.
With a lot of focus on exercise and diet, I stopped all medications in December 2012.
From January 1st, 2013, I have been able to maintain my diabetes reversal with no medications.
What did I learn during this? Our Indian doctors are all wrong on diabetes. Most of them will tell you it is impossible to leave medications for diabetes once you start. “Once a diabetic, always a diabetic” is a famous slogan for Indian doctors.
I simply read a lot on “diabetes reversal”, followed a strict diet and did a lot of exercise.
Became skeptical of doctors.
After that I have advised many people on controlling sugar through diet and exercise and seen good results when they complied.
Experiments in Fasting
I used to be shit scared of fasting. The first time I tried a full day fast (24 hours) was around October 2016 and I was surprised I did not die!
After that I tried 36 hours fasts on many occasions. I would have dinner on Day 0 at around 8 PM and stop after that. Day 1 would be fasting day with only water and green tea or dilute black coffee (strong black coffee can be tough on an empty stomach). I would break my fast on Day 2 at 8 AM with a normal breakfast.
I started doing these 36 hour fasts about once or twice a month comfortably.
My present quest
I started on November 1st with what is known as a “restricted period fasting”. The idea is to eat only in a fixed window of time each day and fast for the remaining time.
For example, if you choose to go for an 8-16 pattern, you eat in a window of 8 hours and fast for the rest of the time. Since, November 1st 2017, I eat between 8 AM and 4 PM only. Complete fasting (or water fasting) with only water and green tea after that. This fits in well with my daily gym workout from 6-8 AM. I come back and have a heavy breakfast. Lunch is very light - usually a salad or a bowl of curd.
Which 8 hour eating window to choose? You are free to choose your own 8 hour window based on your work schedules and lifestyle. But the eating window should remain fixed.
There are other increasingly extreme variations of this fasting pattern.
6-18 where you eat for only 6 hours and fast for 18 hours.
4-20 where you eat for only 4 hours and fast for 20 hours.
The Warrior diet where you only eat one BIG meal and fast for the rest fo the 24 hours.
The 8-16 is the easiest one for beginners.
I have interspersed this 8-16 pattern with an occasional 36 hours fast. Particularly, after a good family feast or dinner party where I end up overeating.
With this I have managed to drop to 93 kg by end of November 2017. I am working with a comfortable target rate of 3 to 4 kg per month because I really want to get down to 70 kg by next year sometime. I have dropped 5 kg per month in the past but it is tough to maintain. I hope to be below 90 kg by end of December 2017.
Why the 84 hour fast?
I have been reading up a lot and watching a lot of YouTube on long period fasting. In particular, I recommend the videos by Dr. Jason Fung. He has successfully incorporated fasting into his treatment procedures. I have ordered two of his books and once I get them I will share his thoughts in this blog.
What does Dr. Fung tell?
 The dynamics of a long term fast are very different from the short ones (e.g., 8-16 fasting). The effects on insulin levels, human growth hormone and other parameters are different in a longer fast.
 The human body is designed for a “hunter-gatherer” mode of living in which long periods of fasting were inevitable and posed no ill effects on health.
 Do not believe the myths on long term fasting.
My 84 hour fast
Had a light dinner on Wednesday, 6th December. Planned a 60 hour fast.
7th December morning - Went to gym for a heavy workout of 2 hours. One hours weights plus one hour cycling.
7th December evening - I was feeling a little down on energy.
8th December - Did a small workout of 30 minutes at home. Felt full of energy for entire day.
9th December - Did a small workout of 30 minutes at home. Decided to extend the fast from 60 hours to 84 hours. Felt full of energy for entire day. No issues at all.
10th December - 8 AM - Broke my fast with a bowl of cut fruits that I had prepared the previous day.
I will continue my 8-16 pattern for the time being with occasional 36 hours fasts thrown in when needed (after big parties!).
Want to try a longer fast of 7 to 10 days around March 2018.
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Thanks for reading!
Wishing you all the best in all your ventures and adventures!