I recently completed an extended water fast and I live with a chronic disease. This is not a new thing for me as I intermittent fast everyday. Usually, I eat One Meal a Day (OMAD) and have followed this protocol for over a year with excellent results. Anyone who fasts knows that it is a very flexible way of eating and can be modified easily.
Living with a chronic disease and attempting an extended water fast is just a matter of degrees. I’ve done it before, so it isn’t scary for me and the more I do it, the easier it becomes. I don’t need to lose weight so I do it primarily for the many health benefits that come from it. Over the holidays, I knew I wanted to extend my fast and track my bio markers. I also knew I had an annual exam with my mitochondrial specialist at the end of the month. I needed blood work and and an ECG done prior, so the timing was good.
As an obsessive bio-hacker, I planned my 96 hour extended fast and prepared everything ahead of time. I updated my excel spreadsheet and made sure I had my ketone and glucose blood testing strips handy. My blood pressure monitor was ready to go. Planning out activities for each day of the fast is important, because boredom is the worst enemy of fasting. As well, I knew it was best for me to be away from home during my normal OMAD eating window. Home equals food to my mind.
I needed homemade bone broth in the fridge for when I broke my fast. Water, sparkling water and green tea would help me through the fast . Salt Free and Himalayan pink salt would help manage my electrolytes. Also, I had to let my adult son know about my plans. I know I can count on him to clean out the fridge when I fast. Other than that, I was good to go.
I measured my pre and post fast meals using My Fitness Pal and followed my regular eating patterns. I measured my weight, sleep, mood, exercise, blood pressure, blood glucose, blood ketones, and my glucose/ketone index. My blood pressure and blood analysis was measured at 8 AM, 2 PM and 8 PM. On day Three of the extended water fast, I exercised following my usual HIIT program and felt great. On Day Four, I had an ECG and comprehensive blood work done just prior to breaking my fast.
As expected, there were changes on all these markers during my extended water fast. I lost 3 kg of weight or 6.5 pounds. My mood was excellent throughout, my sleep quality was maintained at above 80% as tracked by my sleep cycle app. I did a regular exercise day on day Three and was very strong. As expected, my blood glucose dropped and by day Four, was in the range of hypoglycemia. Notably, as my blood glucose dropped, my ketone levels increased in response. Blood tests taken on day Four indicate good health.
My energy level actually increased as the extended water fast continued. I felt very calm and focused throughout. I didn’t feel hunger aside from a passing signal that settled with a cup of green tea. My weight climbed back up but has now resettled about three pounds less than when I began the fast. I don’t know why. Curious.
Speaking only from my personal experience, not as a scientist, I tolerated my extended water fast extremely well. If you are on medication or have a condition you should check with your doctor before doing. I research relentlessly and as a patient with chronic disease, I have built up to an extended water fast over several years. I also follow a very low carbohydrate diet and am closely monitored by my medical team. Do your own research on your own health and do not substitute your best judgement for anyone else’s, including mine. Take care.