Monday, June 1, 2020

My 72 Hour Water Only Fast: No Food, Just H20

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting has more recently come to the attention of most people, thanks to televised work by Dr Micheal Mosley and the 5:2™ diet. The evidence being that, one can eat normally five days out of seven (though still controlling calorie intake) and on the other two days, cut calories down to 1/4 the normal amount, eg 500 kcals for the ladies and 600 kcals per day for guys, on Thursday and a Sunday for example. The evidence shows benefits such as:

  • Changing the function of cells, genes and hormones: Reducing insulin levels. Increasing growth hormone and improving cellular repair 
  • Fat loss 
  • Reduced risk of Type II diabetes 
  • Reduced oxidative stress and inflammation in the body 
  • Improved heart health 
  • Prevention of cancer 
  • Prevention of Alzheimers 
  • Increased longevity 

What is the 72 Hour (water only) fast?

Basically a hardcore version of the popular 5:2™ fast, whereby you only consume water (and pink Himalayan salt-to help replenish electrolytes) and that’s it.  No tea.  No coffee.  No fish or coconut oil, just good old salt and water for 72 hours.

Nutrition and therapy researchers promote fasting to reboot your immune system due to stem cell based regeneration. As your body has no more incoming glucose (from carbs), it needs to break down your body fat and create ketones, an alternative form of energy.

Ketones can get a negative ‘wrap’ and are often portrayed as the dangerous, as they are associated with diabetes (but thats more to do ketoacidosis).  But ketosis it is actually a natural and harmless substance produced by your body.

If you’ve heard of the ‘Atkins diet’, you’ll likely be familiar with using ketones instead of glucose for ‘fuel’.  Benefits include purging your body of cancerous cells, which are unable to process ketones and having a positive effective on sufferers with epilepsy.

Before the start

Now, there was a bit of mis-communication about when the start time was actually going to be.  I had it my mind, when I mentioned it to Andy, about starting it on a Tuesday morning after breakfast, taking us up to Friday morning.  However, I later received a text from Andy that he had started his fats at 5:30pm on that Monday evening.  I didn’t see that text until 10pm Monday, my last meal was at 6pm, but I had had an apple just before 10pm. I was like ‘cheers mate’.  It meant then, I would have to until 10pm Thursday and Andy would’ve only had to go until 5:30pm Thursday.  That’s not a problem, but it wouldn’t have been an accurate, or fair set of results to have measured, because no one would’ve been around Thursday evening at 10pm to do my measurements. Meaning, I would have to wait until 0800 Friday morning, for someone to be about, making it an 80 hour fast instead. CHEEEEEERS MATE!

Day 1

The first was actually pretty hard, in terms of going without food. I think that was out of habit more than anything.  I found myself with new spare time (where I obviously wasn’t going home to prepare my food and actually eating it). Which made it harder, as I guess, eating was a ‘filler’ or part of my daily routine, so I found myself thinking a lot about food…but nothing a nice coffee wouldn’t solve - DOW! Training was normal, I didn’t struggle there, but we were only just doing resistance training.

Day 2

Waking up and needing a boost from my first coffee of the day was tough. I felt like I couldn’t get ‘into it’.  My favourite meal of the day is breakfast and I always look forward to it.  It’s like my reward for training, as I eat after my first session.  I felt duped having to go without and was left unsatisfied and craving, texture and something to get rid of the emptiness of my gut, it wasn’t used to.

I definitely started slowing down though.  Concentrating was tough.  Counting reps and set for my clients was a struggle and towards the late afternoon, I was caught having a nap.  Getting up from that was tragic.  Andy woke me up from the settee, in his office. I was so irate, ‘how dare he wake me’- for his session - that he paid for! The training session was tough and felt pointless. Andy and I barely spoke and the performance, well, was more ‘poor’-formance.  We had to drop weights from the previous week and saw no value in the session.  After, I’d normally eat, so again was left with time to think about eating and how much I needed food now.   'I’ll be fine, after a coffee’ - DOW!

Day 3

I just wanted it to end now and the end seemed so far away, well another day away.  Andy was happy as Larry, as he only had to get through the day.  But I was struggling and when I tested my urine, I hadn’t even hit ketosis yet either. Meaning my body wasn’t using fat for fuel.  It was a double blow, as I was hoping to see some evidence, that this process was working and having a positive effect.

It came to 5pm and it was time for Andy’s assessment. It was a positive start, he’d lost 4kg on the scales.  But when we tested his lean mass, that had dropped by 5.5kg.  His body fat had gone up 1.5kg and his body fat percentage had also gone up 1.2%.  He put on more than a kilo of fat! WHAT!!! Obviously Andy was gutted. (I was actually in hysterics. How could a man not eat for three days and still put on fat - only Andy!).  Because he was obviously gutted and doubtful of the measurements, he insisted I did mine.  Guess what???  My weight on the scales dropped 3.9kg.  My lean mass dropped by 3.1kg and my body fat…went UP by 1/2 a kilo, and my body fat percentage went from 7.9 to 8.4%!  Say whaaaaat!
I know, I couldn’t believe it.  I still officially had four hours to go.  So I said "sod this” and stopped the experiment.  There was no point continuing, I wasn’t going to seeing any fat loss, improvement in immune function, reduced risk of cancer, improved cell turn over or digestive cleanse in that time.  I was slurring my words by this point and felt like a baby could’ve pushed me over, and still had four hours of back-to-back clients to get through.

Before and afters - no noticeable difference 

Tensing pics, you can see a mild difference

Andy's before and afters 

Why’s that then?

The only way I could explain the results, is that we depleted the muscle of glycogen (and in turn water), so the muscle ‘circumference’ may have decreased.  Meaning that the diameter between lean tissue and the surface increased.  So when we physically grabbed the skin to take a skin fold measurement (basically, pinching the skin to see how much fat you’re gripping on to, with a set of measuring callipers), there would have been more to pinch.  That’s all I’ve got. I think the weight loss would’ve been down to dehydration (of the muscle) and completely emptying the body of food, which obviously still weighs something.

The first meal

Was only small, as we didn’t want to ‘distress’ the digestive system, as it had had it’s ‘knees up’ for the last couple of days and could’ve caused havoc.  So we ate a small, healthy meal with protein, fat veg and a small amount of starch.  I actually felt satisfied after, but couldn’t wait for breakfast!  No coffee, just tea, again not to cause distress.  All good.

A week later

Immediately after the experiment and pretty much all through, Andy and I ‘poo-poo’d’ the process. But actually, ok we didn’t lose fat, but we learnt a few lessons on the way.  The main one being, it’s ok to go with out food.   If we can’t eat right away, that’s fine, ‘I can hold out’.  Which is valuable really.  As what do you do when there’s no ‘healthy’ option at a party or whatever.  We make the conscious effort to make a ‘better’ choice, but actually we could wait a while and eat something absolutely healthier, within our control later on and avoid any need to food that doesn’t fit with our healthy lifestyle or goal.

A week later I’ve not had the desire to have a coffee - I’ve completely lost the ‘taste’ or urge for it now, which was a big surprise. Not that I was an addicted (2-3 cups of white americano per day), but it was more than I wanted to drink.

I now savour my food.  I’m slower to eat it and enjoy it more, rather than it being ‘fuel’, I look forward to every meal.  I sit down to eat and take my time.

My body shape has changed back, but now I look ‘full’ rather scrawny, I think I’m quite happy this way.

Would I recommend it to client, absolutely NOT!
Let me make myself clear, I DO-NOT ENDORSE THIS WHAT SO EVER!  So if you choose to do it, it’s on you.  There are much better ways to lose weight and as you saw by the stats, it was only the weight on the scales and muscle mass that dropped, our fat didn’t actually come down.  You will look leaner training and controlling your portions sizes, over starving yourself.

I’d like to thank Harry Thomas, for the inspiration of the experiment and actually, he had a really positive experience.  You can check out his 72 hour fast here.

You can even watch the video, of our journey here.

Phil Snowden
The Fat Loss & Performance Coach

If you would like to have a chat about how to diet effectively without starving yourself, reach out and let's have a chat.

No comments

Post a Comment

© Phil Snowden | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig