Diary of an Extended Fast – the 2nd 24hrs

Welcome back to the 2nd day of my 72hr fast! Here’s a little breakdown on how things are going…

Wednesday 3 June 2020 : 1600-1900 – I kept myself busy during the afternoon and early part of the evening by doing some research and planning ahead on some work projects. I also made sure to keep hydrated with sparking water and warm water.

Wednesday 3 June 2020 : 2100 – I started to feel hungry around this time, on previous 40+ hour fasts this is usually the time I feel hungry and like I could actually eat my arm! However, forearmed (ahem!) is forewarned so I knew it was mostly psychological and that I would be going to bed soon. I had a last mug of warm water, a little bit of sea salt, and a magnesium supplement, and thanked the Universe for the TV distraction that is The Great British Sewing Bee!

Wednesday 3 June 2020 : 2215 – Bedtime! I slept really well, in fact I barely remember my head touching the pillow. This is one other great side affect of fasting, once your body is used to it you will sleep really, really well.

Thursday 4 June 2020 : 0630 – Woke up, refilled my hot water bottle for a morning liver pack (still not sure it’s doing anything but it feels nice), I did my morning meditation in bed while the hot water bottle was maybe doing it’s thing. I did a Google search on the hot water bottle thing when I got up and it seems like it should be used in conjunction with castor oil (which I don’t have) to help the liver detox. The liver can detox naturally but there is no harm in giving it a helping hand, though maybe the hot water bottle on it’s own isn’t doing anything. If you’re concerned about liver health then some Intermittent Fasting is definitely a good thing to do.

Thursday 4 June 2020 : 1200 – “Eating Window” opens – again this means some sea salt, coffee and warm water. I’ll also keep topped up through the afternoon with sparkling water.

Thursday 4 June 2020 : 1500 – My eating window is closed and I have now completed a 48hr fast, this is my longest fast to date and now I’m into uncharted territory. So I’m sure you’re wondering how I’m feeling? To be honest I feel great. I feel really alert and quite energised, I’m still going to the bathroom (sorry, sorry but it’s an important topic when you’re fasting – constipation can be a bit of an issue, as can it’s opposite number when you break your fast; something to keep in mind!) and overall I feel great.

REMEMBER: Do not dive straight into an extended fast (48+ hours) if you are new to fasting. Let your body become accustomed to periods without food before you try an extended fast.

What’s happening in my body when I fast? (the science stuff)

Digestion: During the first 24hrs your body is completing the digestion process, depending on how much food is in your body before you start it can take roughly 12-24 hours to fully digest everything.

Fat Burning: When your body realises there is no more food coming it’s way it will start to use stored glycogen for energy – glycogen is the excess glucose that the body converts and stores for emergencies. Once the stored glycogen is used up, the body will then start to use stored fat for energy, this is where you will start to see weight loss benefits (you don’t need to do an extended fast like this one to get this benefit).

Autophagy: This is when the cells in your body start to do their “housework”. Autophagy happens in the body all the time, but when we eat autophagy is down-regulated so that digestion is prioritised. When we fast, autophagy is up-regulated and our body gets to work clearing out and regenerating old, dead and damaged cells. This is a great way for your body to heal itself and it also promotes longevity. With up-regulated autophagy you will even notice you start to look younger!

BDNF: Or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This is basically a fertiliser for your brain. It strengthens the neural connections and helps grow new neurons. For decades scientists didn’t believe it was possible for adults to grow new neurons but it has now been proven that they can! If you’re in your 20s or 30s you may not put much importance on this but it is important for everyone; recent research shows that brain degeneration can begin up to 20 years before showing as illness so it’s super important to look after the health of your brain.

Gut Microbiome: I’m sure most of you have heard of probiotics and the importance of looking after the millions of beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. Fasting also helps these little critters by increasing the levels of Immunoglobulin A (IGA). IGA helps your gut flush out any harmful bacteria that may have taken up residence and it also helps to grow more good bacteria. More good bacteria = better health and stronger immunity. You can also give your gut bacteria a helping hand by eating fermented foods and lots of vegetables. Plain boiled potatoes (allowed to cool before eating) are also great food for growing beneficial gut bacteria.

Changes in the gut metabolism also change the fat in your body, altering the white fat (this does nothing but make you look fat) and converts it to heat producing, thermogenic brown fat which helps to burn excess calories.

Magnesium Supplement: There is some research that shows fasting uses up a lot of magnesium (although there is no conclusive reasoning as to why this happens). I know that my magnesium levels can get low so I supplement just to be sure they don’t get too low.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 2 and also enjoyed learning about some of the science and other health benefits you can expect from fasting. I’ll be back with Part 3 tomorrow and I’ll also include some information on what to eat when you break your fast.

Morag Ferguson

Author Morag Ferguson

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