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My water fasting experience and struggles

water fasting autophagy

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#1 MKultra

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:06 PM


Just thought i'd share my experiences with water fasting (I only drink water with salt and a little bit of coffee in the morning).

 

I started writing but it turned into something that resembled a novel lol, i'll just break it down like this instead;

 

Attempt 1: This was around two years ago. I managed to go 24h and it went "ok". I did not like it much at all. It was so terrible to wait out those last 6 hours or so, just thinking of food. I didn't think it was for me, too much like torture. 

 

Attempt 2:  A month ago. I only managed 20h then again it was this awful waiting out period where i just feel so terribly hungry. I decided to give up because it annoyed the hell out of me and i wanted to focus on something else than being hungry and doing nothing because i was too hungry to care about anything.  

 

Attempt 3: A few days later. I managed 24h, still quite hard and with intense hunger, but it came in waves. Drinking water (with a bit of Himalayan salt) each time a hunger wave came on really helped.

I was thinking "how does some people go for a week doing this, it seems pretty insane, maybe something eventually changes." I started to realize that it's like everything else, you need to train. Why would someone stop with bench press after just one or two attempts "Ok so I tried 100kg and i was terrible at it, other people can do it but not me, i'm out."  That's not how things usually works.

 

Attempt 4: The hunger feelings are now more familiar, they don't seem to alarm the body and mind in the same way, like it has realized it's ok and it's normal. I get a feeling that i'm getting better at it and this motivates me a lot. 24h was no bigger problem.

 

Attempt 5. I decided to try 48h. The first 24h were now pretty easy. Day 2 starts off great, but later in the day i feel weak, i feel dumb, too. I was going to measure something and I struggled with it more than i should have. Short term memory seemed affected too. Didn't like that at all, and it also wasn't what i had read about feeling "clear headed" or even "smart" into the fasting. I managed 40h, immense cravings for carbohydrates afterwards, did not help the least to eat a giant omelette with tons of protein, I ate a lot of junk after that.

 

Attempt 6: (current). 52h in now. This has been ridiculously easy. Especially these last hours. No hint of hunger. I have a ton of energy. I went for a 1h walk, it felt great. I had a period a few hours ago where it felt like i had just drank 2 cups of strong coffee. I feel really clear headed. Mood is great and overall i must say that mood has been elevated a lot during all my fasting periods. It's one of the things that has kept me motivated because i sometimes struggle with depression, on fasting it's like its blocking all those feelings completely. I've even tried triggering bad/depressive feelings and they don't get to me (like today something really shitty happened politically in Sweden, and these things always gets to me). I think this has to do with dopamine release or something, because i'm more motivated than normal and overall my psyche feel stronger somehow. 

 

All in all i've lost around 5kg (11 lbs) from fasting. I have slight overweight, if i can lose 15kg in total i will look really fit.

 

 

What are your experiences with fasting and e.g mood? I was expecting to get cranky, but no, quite the opposite. I would say fasting is very different from just restricting calories (which i've obviously tried too). I like this way better (though the first tries can be hard). 

 

Some things i've learned (please feel free to add your own experiences)

 

1. Don't expect to be good at it from the very start, it's like everything else, you need practice and it gets way better.

 

2. Try to sync hunger waves with gulping down huge chunks of water, it will kill it off almost until the next hunger wave comes on. So yes, be at least a little bit conservative about when you drink, take small sips and then big when feeling hungry. Seems to work.

 

3. Have something that occupies the mind and makes you really involved to suppress hunger. Personally I play a certain computer game which i find very involving.

 

 


Edited by MKultra, 11 January 2019 - 11:08 PM.

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#2 MKultra

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 12:10 PM

Approx. 66h in now and i'm still not hungry, it's pretty weird. One thing though, sleep has been bad when fasting (it's not super great otherwise either but it's worse now). That extra energy you get from fasting makes it harder to sleep for sure. I don't remember feeling this alert when doing ketogenic diet, but it did make me slightly more alert and clear headed.

 


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#3 sthira

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:41 PM

Just thought i'd share my experiences with water fasting (I only drink water with salt and a little bit of coffee in the morning).

I started writing but it turned into something that resembled a novel lol...


I know what you mean. I've written loads about fasting, only shared some of it, few people really care. It's nice to find others on a path. Because of my excitement and enthusiasm for the practice -- Years and years of it --I can be a bit, well, over the top. Fasting is a fun, interesting discovery with oodles of promising health benefits for people, I'd like to share them, but like I said, it's too hard for most people and so they don't care. The benefits, though, until we get better technology far exceed any pill. Just imagine the hoopla if an easy pill or polypill was developed that does the things fasting does for the body. Think there'd be hyperbole for such a pill?

...Attempt 3: A few days later. I managed 24h, still quite hard and with intense hunger, but it came in waves. Drinking water (with a bit of Himalayan salt) each time a hunger wave came on really helped.
I was thinking "how does some people go for a week doing this, it seems pretty insane, maybe something eventually changes." I started to realize that it's like everything else, you need to train. Why would someone stop with bench press after just one or two attempts "Ok so I tried 100kg and i was terrible at it, other people can do it but not me, i'm out." That's not how things usually works.


I think this observation is right on. I view fasting as an incremental practice. Refine it as you go. Test it, do more or less depending upon how it affects you. What the primitive doctor blood tests indicate. When it's too uncomfortable or intrusive in lifestyle, I stop fasting. Resume again some other time. Ease the way into longer term fasting; it's a powerful, potentially dangerous intervention and you're smart to look at it as a lifestyle choice aimed at sustainability.

...Attempt 6: (current). 52h in now. This has been ridiculously easy. Especially these last hours. No hint of hunger. I have a ton of energy. I went for a 1h walk, it felt great. I had a period a few hours ago where it felt like i had just drank 2 cups of strong coffee. I feel really clear headed. Mood is great and overall i must say that mood has been elevated a lot during all my fasting periods. It's one of the things that has kept me motivated because i sometimes struggle with depression, on fasting it's like its blocking all those feelings completely.


I think all my fasts have been different. Some are easier, some are more challenging. Some are both at once -- eat, hard, easy, hard maybe even all that in the same hour. A lot of fasting is mental. Breaking habits and establishing new, presumably healthier, habits can be destabilizing. My moods fluctuate within a fast. Sometimes I'm high as a kite, then my kit gets caught up in trees, time to untangle. Learning patience and grace and how to keep cool when extremely physically uncomfortable are parts of what makes fasting (mentally) worth practicing.

Some things i've learned (please feel free to add your own experiences)

1. Don't expect to be good at it from the very start, it's like everything else, you need practice and it gets way better.

2. Try to sync hunger waves with gulping down huge chunks of water, it will kill it off almost until the next hunger wave comes on. So yes, be at least a little bit conservative about when you drink, take small sips and then big when feeling hungry. Seems to work.

3. Have something that occupies the mind and makes you really involved to suppress hunger. Personally I play a certain computer game which i find very involving.


This is all solid advice, thank you. One thing I'd add is I try to think what good is it for the long term? Sure, lots of positive short term benefits. How about 20, 30, 50 years from now? No one knows. Will habitual fasting practiced now be a smart decision for the future -- I don't think we'll ever know at least in my diminishing lifetime.

Another thing I'd add that's so obvious you prob already know is that you simply must eat a nutritionally healthy diet when not fasting. I find cronometer and documenting what I eat daily and as precisely as possible to be extremely beneficial. It's good to know where you stand with regard to RDA. This recording of what I eat has become a habit like brushing my teeth.

Breaking the fast is important, too, how do you break fasts? No reliable consensus on this, either, and so I often botch refeediing post-fast by eating too much too soon. For me, discipline gets tested in the refeeding process just as much as fasting itself. This is all a practice -- like being in a dark room stumbling around, waiting for something better.

Approx. 66h in now and i'm still not hungry, it's pretty weird. One thing though, sleep has been bad when fasting (it's not super great otherwise either but it's worse now). That extra energy you get from fasting makes it harder to sleep for sure. I don't remember feeling this alert when doing ketogenic diet, but it did make me slightly more alert and clear headed.


Totally yes fasting can influence sleep. When I can't sleep I practice pranayama and breathing techniques, or just sit quietly in meditation. My cat does this, too. She often sleeps 18-hour days, but this sleep is interrupted. I think the traditional mantra to sleep uninterrupted for 8-hours a night is probably only a hint at optimal sleep for changing human bodies.

Thanks for posting. I'm grateful to read about your fasting struggles and triumphs. :)
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#4 MKultra

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 07:20 PM

Thanks for your reply, sthira!

 

I need to be much better and more careful with the refeeding, i agree it can be difficult too. I take apple cider vinegar and lemon in slightly warm water mixed with cinnamon before i start eating anything.

Cronometer was new to me, i think i'm gonna start using it, it seems really great so thanks for that :) 

 

This time i went for 70h because i didn't want to eat too late.. i think i could have easily gone another day.


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#5 sthira

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 09:57 PM

Thanks for your reply, sthira!

I need to be much better and more careful with the refeeding, i agree it can be difficult too. I take apple cider vinegar and lemon in slightly warm water mixed with cinnamon before i start eating anything.
Cronometer was new to me, i think i'm gonna start using it, it seems really great so thanks for that :)

This time i went for 70h because i didn't want to eat too late.. i think i could have easily gone another day.


I've had choppy experiences refeeding, so I try to give myself time and patience. And compassion. All across the internet are strategies for breaking the fast. I don't think much is known here, I'm probably wrong. But lengths of fasts matter with regard to refeeding strategies.

For a 70hr fast refeeding shouldn't be too traumatizing. For me, I don't like breaking a longer fast with the highly recommended sweet fruit because it probably sends my blood sugar off up into crazyland heights. So I've been breaking fasts with an low glycemic whole vegetables like avocado and green smoothies -- sipped slowly, casually. Breaking the fast is kind of an art; but listen to your body rather than taking random advice. You know what's best for you.

Cronometer is a wonderful tool. I've been recording my daily diet on it for a few years. You can also use it on your fasting days, and it'll calculate how calorie restricted you are through time. I'm currently about 12% CRed during the past year, all of this is due to my fasting behavior. I don't do chronic CR because it's too damned hard.

Also, I feel like cronometer is not 100% accurate, so I view it as a rough guide to the art. Ain't no gospel truth to it, imho.

And until something better than US RDA comes along to objectively and personally define best diets diets for different stages of life, I think RDA is about the best we can do for now. Personalized medicine and dietary regimes that are geared just to you and me at whatever stage of life we're in would obviously be ideal. Maybe you can find and share one of those? Or maybe such dietary precision is still in the future.

For what it's worth, I'm currently on day three of another five day fast. I tend to do one 3-5/d fast per month -- sometimes I do longer fasts, sometimes shorter, depending on what's up in my crazy life. Fasting can get addictive once you get into ketosis, that's for damned sure. And how much is too much fasting for each of us personally? Wouldn't that be nice to know!
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#6 MKultra

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 01:45 PM

It would indeed be good to know, but as long as we feel good or feel better doing what we do i don't think there's a problem, the body is quite good at letting us know when something is wrong. Fortunately. 

 

I find it very addicting, i could never have imagined before trying it. I crave it more than food now i believe haha


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#7 sthira

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 04:36 PM

It would indeed be good to know, but as long as we feel good or feel better doing what we do i don't think there's a problem, the body is quite good at letting us know when something is wrong. Fortunately.

I find it very addicting, i could never have imagined before trying it. I crave it more than food now i believe haha


Me, too. And when I look out at the natural world most wild critters seem to be in varying states of hunger. Nature asks -- Am I eating you, or are you eating me?

So I view fasting as one possibly "more natural" state of being. Feeding is what's special. We're trained differently in society, though; living in lands of food-abundance is deathly. Over-eating is wrecking havoc on human bodies. Look around. Probably for the first time in recorded history more people now die of over-eating than of starvation. This is quite surprising.

The food industry and medical establishment may say -- You have an eating disorder (if you fail to keep buying more products.)

But as long as fasting is "working" on an individual, case by case level -- meaning don't damage yourself too badly through calorie deprivation before promised anti-aging clinical interventions in humans become available -- then fasting may heal those ignored and injured parts of you that pills can't touch. Depends, though, obviously. Fasting is like a muscle that gets trained patiently through time and effort.

#8 MKultra

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 12:46 PM

Yes, the normal state to be in for us has been fasting or even starvation, it has only changed in the last, what, 200 years or something like that? Unless you were extremely wealthy of course.. We are now eating ourselves to death or we just become sick.

 

Since i'm single i have no problems with the social part of eating, this is probably a big reason why people normally eat 3 times + it's a norm you've gotten used to. It's similar to why many people drink alcohol, even if some people aren't real fans of it you don't want to be the anti-social oddball who doesn't drink. In my youth this was a big struggle, i never liked alcohol yet i had to drink if i wanted to have friends and come off like a normal Swedish person. 

Has there been any studies as to when autophagy starts to kick in i wonder (in a big way i mean)... i tried googling it but didn't really find anything. I wonder if e.g 5 days would be greatly beneficial as opposed to 3 days for example. Or if something like 2 weeks would give exceptional results as opposed to 5 days. 

For how long have you gone at most, and did you experience any differences between them?

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by MKultra, 14 January 2019 - 12:48 PM.


#9 Engadin

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 02:22 PM

Hi all.

 

I am a newbee on this water fasting thing, after only one week of total fasting 2 over 7 no consecutive days followed by another week of  23h. fasting over 24 hours/day. Hard as hell but a positive experience nevertheless.

 

And I have to say I was somehow inspired to try fasting after reading somewhere and by chance about a 3.800 b.C. egyptian phrase wrote on a wall of a temple that states that "the human being lives on a quarter of what he eats. Of the another three quarters lives his doctor". So we as humans knew of this reality close to 6.000 years ago and now, with all the huge base of nutritional knowledge gathered after several thousand years, we 'rediscover' it. Paradoxical to say the least.


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#10 sthira

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 04:13 PM

Has there been any studies as to when autophagy starts to kick in i wonder (in a big way i mean)... i tried googling it but didn't really find anything. I wonder if e.g 5 days would be greatly beneficial as opposed to 3 days for example. Or if something like 2 weeks would give exceptional results as opposed to 5 days.

Yes, but unfortunately no in humans it's poorly understood; not many studies in fasting humans have been done to know precisely when autophagy begins. But the word autophagy seems like a broad term. Cell recycling and death occur all over the human body, and at various times and levels of intensity. Does fasting accelerate autophagy? Hopefully! I'm gambling with it because I don't know what else to do for now.

Here's an educational (but disappointing) thread asking just that question -- How many hours before autophagy begins in fasting humans? : https://www.longecit...ins-in-fasting/

Educational but disappointing because I think the answer for now is "There's no real answer to this..."

One reason studying autophagy's relationship to fasting in humans is difficult is this:

...To get a sense of the human time-course, you'd have to either have transgenic humans expressing fluorescent tags upon expression of key autophagy-induced genes, or have people willing to undergo repeat biopsies over the course of your time period of interest (and be able to take account of the artifactual effects of these injuries).

I'd be willing to undergo repeat (painful) body chunk removal -- tissue, bone, organ biopsies -- for science; but I don't think this kind of invasive, deliberately inflicted injury will happen anytime soon in order for the public to understand when, during fasting, autophagy kicks in. Reversal of aging itself may be accomplished before our understanding of every little thing about human metabolism ever happens, including how and why calorie restriction and (if) prolonged fasting in humans are worth the struggles and frustrations.

Meanwhile, as usual, mice are taking the brunt for us: https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC3106288/

This one is in humans but doesn't really tell us much: https://journals.plo...al.pone.0102031

"Aim

Fasting is characterised by profound changes in energy metabolism including progressive loss of body proteins. The underlying mechanisms are however unknown and we therefore determined the effects of a 72-hour-fast on human skeletal muscle protein metabolism and activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a key regulator of cell growth.

"Methods

Eight healthy male volunteers were studied twice: in the postabsorptive state and following 72 hours of fasting. Regional muscle amino acid kinetics was measured in the forearm using amino acid tracers. Signaling to protein synthesis and breakdown were assessed in skeletal muscle biopsies obtained during non-insulin and insulin stimulated conditions on both examination days.

"Results

"Fasting significantly increased forearm net phenylalanine release and tended to decrease phenylalanine rate of disappearance. mTOR phosphorylation was decreased by ∼50% following fasting, together with reduced downstream phosphorylation of 4EBP1, ULK1 and rpS6. In addition, the insulin stimulated increase in mTOR and rpS6 phosphorylation was significantly reduced after fasting indicating insulin resistance in this part of the signaling pathway. Autophagy initiation is in part regulated by mTOR through ULK1 and fasting increased expression of the autophagic marker LC3B-II by ∼30%. p62 is degraded during autophagy but was increased by ∼10% during fasting making interpretation of autophagic flux problematic. MAFbx and MURF1 ubiquitin ligases remained unaltered after fasting indicating no change in protesomal protein degradation.

"Conclusions

"Our results show that during fasting increased net phenylalanine release in skeletal muscle is associated to reduced mTOR activation and concomitant decreased downstream signaling to cell growth."



Here's an active, but not recruiting, study on IF and autophagy that may happen in Austria. If it happens, enroll! Nice train trip from Sweden to Austria: https://clinicaltria...y humans&rank=1

"Detailed Description:

Intermittent fasting is a dietary regimen defined by alternating fasting and "feeding" cycles. In addition to caloric restriction (a dietary regimen limited to a daily food intake lower than one's daily caloric needs) only, intermittent fasting seems to activate cell autophagy (cellular "recycling" program) which potentially increases cellular stress resistance and removes accumulated molecules that are potentially toxic. In fact, mice maintained on intermittent fasting without decreased overall food intake show effects on body weight reduction that equal and in some cases even exceed those of calorie restriction. However, additionally, intermittent fasting combined with even a high-fat diet in the feeding periods protects mice from obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation compared to controls that are fed an ad libitum high-fat diet despite the same calorie intake, making this intermittent fasting regimen a promising approach to reduce morbidity and mortality in various species.

"The best described and most widely practiced version of intermittent fasting is the "alternate day diet" or "alternate day fasting" (ADF). In animal models, ADF consists of an ad libitum "feed day" alternated with a 100% restriction "fast day". However in humans, this is often modified to allow a small amount of food consumption on the "fast day" (e.g. 25% of the individual´s energy needs). Findings from recent modified ADF studies showed significant reductions in body weight.

"However, knowledge about the molecular effects of the alternate day diet on human metabolism or autophagy is still scarce since detailed analyses of molecular and metabolic parameters remain unexplored, especially in healthy individuals. The overarching aim of this research project is to elucidate in which extent alternate day fasting (and thereby intermittent fasting) influences human physiology in healthy individuals in both short and long term. The secondary objective of this study is to define novel molecular markers of aging and age-related diseases."

Edited by sthira, 14 January 2019 - 05:01 PM.


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#11 MKultra

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 01:32 AM

Thanks sthira! Yes that's pretty vague indeed. Well, as long as it makes me feel good i'm gonna continue doing this. Right now it has perhaps been a bit extreme, basically doing a 24h fast every other day and sometimes longer fasts. Probably gonna take it a little more easy for a couple of days now.  


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