The Graphic Details of My 7 Day Fast
by Jesse Jost
I recently completed a 7 day fast (was going to be a 14 day) for health reasons. The list of proven health benefits of extended fasting are impressive: Weight loss, autophagy (the consumption of dead cells which can prevent many diseases), lowering bad cholesterol, and lowering triglycerides, (so very beneficial for heart health) decreasing insulin resistance, preventing type 2 diabetes, and destroying cancer cells.
Unfortunately despite its multiple health benefits (not to mention spiritual benefits), fasting is not often given a chance because of so many persistent myths about how it devours muscle and lowers the metabolism, both of which are not true. For more info on the amazing benefits of fasting and tips to make your fast more manageable, see:
The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended by Jason Fung.
Here’s what I experienced on my latest fast:
Jesse’s Fasting Log
I finish a big low carb breakfast of keto muffins and egg casserole and a little cantaloupe. This is my last meal before I attempt to set out on a 14 day fast! Don’t worry, I’ll quit before I die.
Breakfast was so good. I’m a little sad. I’ll miss eating. I’ve been eating as low carb as possible for the last three days to not shock my system. The fast I’m doing allows coffee, tea, and homemade bone broth. I’m excited to see what happens. I may be a little more irritable than normal so show me grace!
Fast update: 6.5 hours and going mostly well. Only had one mild panic attack when Heidi told the kids what they’re having for supper and I realized I can’t have food for two weeks. I am strong, I am powerful, I can do this….whimper.
This is breaking my heart. Onions are sautéing and my stomach is wagging its tail in anticipation like an excited puppy dog because I always break my other fasts at supper time. It’s gonna be tough to break the news to the little guy…
The bone broth Heidi made is SOOO good! I’m really hoping that by drinking bone broth and keeping my electrolytes replenished I won’t have to suffer too much. I don’t plan on being masochistic with this. If I still feel crappy after 5-7 days, I’ll probably just go back to intermittent fasting.
My heartburn has been pretty bad the first 24 hours, so I’ve had to have Tums. Technically it breaks the fast but I don’t want to have an esophagus full of holes from acid! I slept pretty well and feel good this morning.
I definitely see how times of fasting are spiritually beneficial; they are times of self discovery, they also are a reset to show us what a gift food is.
It’s amazing how much we turn to food for a sense of well being. I feel more tempted to vague feelings of anxiety when fasting longer like this.
I find it quite a struggle to keep weight off. As I get older I think more about health dangers like heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, and cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. It’s pretty exciting to read the research on how fasting is a pretty powerful healer/preventative of these things. So even if I don’t keep the weight off after the fast, I know what I am doing is beneficial. I’ve read that some people are more likely to keep the weight off after a 14 day fast than they are after a 7 day fast, so that’s why I’m attempting a 14 day fast.
Pleasantly surprised by how great I feel this morning. Not really hungry at all. Decent energy levels. Certainly not suffering! We’re off to Writing on Stone park.
I gotta say I am shocked by how great I feel! I know it’s only the second day but this is often one of the most difficult days of a fast. My head is clear, with no headache, or dizziness. My energy is normal if not more than normal. I don’t feel any weakness or joint or muscle aches. I have a dull ache in my stomach/abdomen area but no strong hunger or irritability. (Lunch at the park that Heidi made looked SOO good, and I’ve had to fight the habit of popping food in my mouth.) I’ve been taking bone broth and a homemade electrolyte drink that includes apple cider vinegar. I’m excited, we’ll see how long this lasts!
Had a rough patch in the night with horrible heartburn every time I woke up. Had to have an ungodly amount of Tums. Discouraged to find they have 2 g of sugar each! (edit: they only have 1 gram of sugar. I read the serving size wrong.) Going to look into acid blockers with Dr. Musk. Also have had a lot of watery stool.
Other than that I woke up feeling pretty good despite losing a couple hours sleep.
We spent the day in Lethbridge. Before lunch I felt amazing! So clear and with lots of energy. Around 12:30 I started feeling a little light headed. I drank a mug of bone broth and felt pretty good. Felt about the same all day. Have had episodes of major diarrhea. Not too sure why. No solids might have something to do with it.
For supper, I introduced konjac noodles to my Asian flavoured bone broth. So good. I also made keto chia seed pudding. Neither solid has any protein or net carbs (all fiber) so will not affect my insulin, which is the main key to my fast.
I feel great tonight, no hunger. It was fun to eat pretend food and it did help my stomach feel full.
I bought some different heartburn medications to get me though the fast, and am going to try one tonight.
My heartburn was so much better last night. I took a Pepcid AC pill that seemed to help. (It reduces stomach acid somehow.) However I did wake up sweaty and shaky so I checked my blood sugar and I was 2.6. Pretty low. I had an iced coffee with a little extra cream. My body is still adapting to fat burning. Hopefully my blood sugars will stabilize as my body adapts.
I checked my blood ketone level, which was 3.4, which is “very large ketones”.
I also made some keto chia seed pudding.
Felt pretty good this morning. Had a pickle for sodium. Also started reading “A Hunger For God” by John Piper about fasting. Very timely.
5:00 Had some mild stomach pain in the afternoon. Not sure if it was from the pickle. Still have felt remarkably great! No headache. Normal energy levels.
Had a bowl of bone broth with konjac noodles with the family while they ate an amazing chicken/bacon cauliflower dish. I really, really miss food.
Heartburn was way better today. Only had ½ a Tums till supper time. The bone broth gave me some heartburn so I drank a fizzy soda solution for heartburn. Then took another Pepcid AC.
Was starting to feel heartburn but trying to wait an hour after the pill as per instructions, when Heidi made me some vanilla oolong tea. Sipping that kept the heartburn at bay.
I’m aware of the health risks of antacids and acid blockers. My problem is that I have a weak stomach valve. This, combined with the pressure that the weight I carry around my middle puts on the valve, causes it to open up and release stomach acid into my esophagus. It is a huge risk to have that acid in my esophagus, and creates a host of other issues.
The first problem that I need to deal with is to lose the weight around my middle. The weight has been resistant to multiple attempts to lose weight, so I am getting drastic with this fasting protocol. However, during my fast, because there is no food in my stomach, I have excess stomach acid, which combined with belly fat putting pressure on my weak valve, is creating a heartburn nightmare. So I have to choose the lesser of two evils and take an acid blocker during my fasts until I can lose the excess weight.
Once the weight is gone, the opening of the valve should be less of an issue and I can go off most of the antacid and acid blockers and rebuild the acid, and healthy bacteria in my gut. I just have to heal one problem at a time. I am encouraged though that my heartburn has been way less today!
Felt a little low and woozy in the night, but didn’t have heartburn.
Stepped on the scale and have dropped 4.5 lbs.
For all my bragging about how easy this fast has been so far, I got hit with an absolute army tank of hunger after seeing snacks at the church and have been going mad with hunger ever since. I feel like I’m going crazy. So tormented with desire for food. Can’t stand the thought of 9 more days. Sigh. Hopefully God can turn this torment into something spiritually beneficial. This fast started out as something for my physical health but I think it’s turning into spiritual warfare.
The mad craving for food and hunger has passed. I feel quite nauseous which isn’t fun, but I’ll keep plodding on unless it gets too unbearable.
I have felt so good today! Even after Eric had a rough night with fever, diarrhea, and painful bottom rashes!
Interesting fasting experience today. I felt great all day, no nausea or heartburn, normal energy levels, I played with the kids at Writing-on-stone and felt fine. (Though I was tormented by the amazing build-your-own chef salad Heidi brought.) Anyway, when I woke up from my nap this afternoon, I got a cherry Bubly and put a little liquid sucralose and liquid stevia in the pop. About an hour later I felt gross, weak, and nauseous. I wondered if it was time for more sodium.
But I did a finger poke and my BG was 2.7. (Blood ketones were 5.2!) What I think happened was that even though the artificial sweeteners don’t raise my blood sugar, the sweet flavor caused my body to release some insulin, which dropped my blood sugar. This small release of insulin is not a big deal if I am eating some carbs or have sugar in my liver.
But I am on day 6 of my fast, so my liver must be depleted of sugar, and there was no carbs or sugar release from my liver to compensate for the insulin release. Interestingly, I had the same artificial sweeteners in my iced coffee this morning with no ill effects, but that could be because a) caffeine raises blood sugar a bit and, b) I had hormones raising my blood sugar when I woke up (called “dawn phenomenon” and common among diabetics and non-diabetics), so a small amount of insulin had no effect on me then.
Sadly, even thinking about food, smelling it, and imagining it releases insulin. Being at the snack time and the food cravings I was tormented with yesterday must have caused my body to release insulin and lower my BG, in turn triggering the nausea I had in the afternoon and evening. Interesting stuff!
I’ve decided my fast will only be 7 days. At the beginning I said that if I wasn’t able to maintain energy levels to accomplish what I needed I would probably stop it short. This morning I mowed the lawn, but then felt like throwing up after.
I want to be more active and exercise, and if fasting makes me unable to do that, the health benefits are diminished. Plus, all the nausea and low blood sugars are getting to be too much for me.
From what I’ve read the 7 day fast has already accomplished so many health benefits.
I plan to have a light breakfast tomorrow to get my digestive system going again and gradually eat more solids. This won’t be my last extended fast. I’ll probably try a 14 day again in the future.
I woke up feeling okay and wondered if I should continue my fast. I’ve lost 10 lbs. (lots of this is water weight. Mathematically it’s nearly impossible to burn more than 1 pound of pure fat per day considering that a pound of fat produces 3,500 calories.) But as soon as I got up, I felt light headed and was happy with my decision to stop.
It felt so amazing to have a few bites of food this morning!! (Cantaloupe, nectarine, and scrambled eggs) I wanted so bad to eat more, but I have to wait till my digestive system wakes back up.
12:00 I had a few bites of cheese and pickle, and couple slices of ham, and some other veggies.
So far very little stomach discomfort. I’m grateful. Food has tasted unreal good today. So intense.
After a nap I made a killer low carb, high fat faux orange Julius milk shake. About an hour later while defrosting the freezer, I had some nausea. Maybe too much fat for my recently reawakened digestive system.
For supper I had a low carb big mac salad (two platefuls) and a couple bites of perogies. Later I had a bowl of low carb chicken jalapeno popper soup.
Overall I was so pleased by how my reintroduction to food went. Very little pain, nausea, or discomfort. Very grateful! Also, felt so happy all day. It’s amazing how food in the tummy creates a sense of satisfaction and wellbeing. Fasting provides a reset to pleasures that we had grown dull to.
This fast had some challenging moments mostly from weakness, nausea, and low blood sugar in the later stages. I would totally try it again. It was not a hellish experience; in fact, for much of the fast I felt great!
Next time I fast I want to give it more of a spiritual dimension with more focus on prayer. I really see how God wants to use fasting to dethrone “King Stomach” and bring all of our appetites under his loving Lordship. Appetites are such a gift to us, but they become cruel masters who enslave us and lead to death when they call the shots.
Hunger and weakness can also be vivid pictures, reminding us how desperately we depend on God, and the pleasure and sustenance of food is a reminder of how richly God can meet our every need in fellowship with Him.