A Lesson In Abstinence
Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am an athlete and a runner. And I like to look good and feel good. All of this information in these blog posts comes from my own personal experiences. It has worked for me. Consult your own physician before attempting any major life changes. Educate yourself first and foremost.
7 days. 7 whole days. Maybe that was pushing the gamit. But I decided to give it a try.
I was deep in the belly of this book, The Complete Guide to Fasting, by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore. Jimmy Moore actually has a series of resourceful and informational books. In collaboration with Dr. Eric C. Westman, M.D, his first publication, Cholesterol Clarity, clears up the many myths of cholesterol and why you shouldn’t fear it the same way your doctor has been trained to fear it for you. In his second publication, Dr. Westman returns to help with Keto Clarity, a great beginner’s guide to the ketogenic way of eating (WOE). It goes into detail about ketosis in general, what it is, how it works, the truth behind ketogenic diets, and how and who they help.
But this book on fasting…I might say…is damn fast-inating.
Dr Fung explains everything with amazing clarity. It is a fast and easy read. And when you are done, you’ll be just itching to give it a try.
I might add at this point, that I am an avid bio-hacker. I like to try different techniques, ways of eating, and/or health enhancing supplements, to determine which might help me to perform at my absolute best. I have found quite a few interesting facts about myself, most of which have arisen from n=1 experiments. It’s really a matter of putting yourself under a battery of tests to see which of them turn you into a beast.
Some of the most intriguing results of these experiments have led me down the path I follow now. No sugar, no gluten, high fat, and low carbohydrate WOE (way of eating). I don’t call it a “diet” anymore because it isn’t a short term thing. For me, it is a way of life. And I believe it is what has kept me trim, fit, and a BQ qualifier in the 6 out of the 7 marathons I have run to date (in Marathon #2, I was hampered by a stress fracture). I also try to keep myself in ketosis on a daily basis, so that my body utilizes it’s own fat storage rather than relying on hourly doses of sugar to remain energized. That is basically what ketosis is. The body uses stored fat for energy instead of glucose. Since I abstain from sugar, ketones are what get me through endurance events, including my own 24 hour day.
Even with the new WOE, plateaus can often reached in such situations. Every once in awhile, a jump start is needed. And I stumbled upon it with this book. The slump I have suffered this winter has been very debilitating to me. It was time to take action.
“I will try a fast.” I decided.
I didn’t tell a soul what I was about to undertake. I wondered, in fact, if my husband would even notice.
I awoke Tuesday morning, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with a determination that scared even myself. I decided was going to not eat…for as long as I possibly could. Boy, this was going to be fun!
I also made the decision to abstain from coffee, although many do continue to consume it during a fast. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can bring on a feeling of hunger in some. So, for me it was going to be hot tea, if necessary, and mainly water. Period.
It started out incredibly well. But then again, I am already fat adapted, and I fast on a daily basis. What does that mean? I don’t eat my first meal of the day until after my workout/run is completed in the morning. This means, breakfast for me is lunch. My first meal isn’t consumed until about noon. In fact, some days it is held off until 2pm depending on my work load that day. Because of this, day 1 wasn’t a struggle. I was even able to meal prep for my family that evening without ingesting a single crumb of food. I did prepare a hot cup of tea for myself, however, as I put the meal together. Since our kitchen table is full of Charmed Running paraphernalia, our meals have been eaten at the kitchen counter recently instead of the dining room table. So, I managed to busy myself in the kitchen as the family ate. No one even noticed that I, myself, didn’t partake in the meal.
I went to bed that night satisfied with the notion that I survived my first day.
Day 2, however, was a different story.
It started out great. I was still able to get my P90X workout in, plus a walk on the treadmill. But afterwards, I felt a wee bit hangry. I was determined to stick this out, however, and found a group of Dr. Fung followers on Facebook. They happily added me to their group, and I suddenly was filled with the courage to continue on. Many will partake in bone broth when this feeling hits them, but I had the notion to try some salted hot water instead. I used Himalayan Pink Sea Salt in some hot water. Worked like a charm! It curbed my hunger, while still allowing me to keep on fasting.
Suffice it to say, I drank a lot of salted hot water that day.
There is no doubt in my mind that if you make it past the first 48 hours of a fast, the rest is history. It gets easier the longer you go. And it amazes me, that even with the amount of exercising that I do, that I didn’t need a stitch of food to sustain me. Who knew?
It was on the morning of day 3 that I realized I hadn’t even been testing my blood sugars or my ketones! What was I thinking? I have a Precision Xtra blood glucose and ketone meter that I purchased a few years ago when I decided to go ketogenic. So, I whipped it out and began to take morning readings.
Day 3: (Blood Glucose: 69 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 4.1 mmol/L)
I was shocked…dumbfounded, in fact. My numbers had never EVER looked like this since I started this WOE. My blood sugar was just under 70 mg/dl. And my ketones? Above 4.0 mmol/L. The best I had ever seen on any particular day were blood sugars in the 90s and ketone readings anywhere from .5-1.2 mmol/L. I’ll let you get Keto Clarity so you can learn more about those readings for yourself. But it was quite clear, I was now deep into ketosis. And I was feeling like a million damn dollars. My head was clear again. I had no brain fog whatsoever. And I was able to function normally, if not better than normal. My production levels were skyrocketing. I was getting things DONE. My persistent post nasal drip had vanished. Granted, my runs were slow, but they were getting accomplished with little difficulty.
I was past “hangry” now. And I was determined to keep going.
But, it wasn’t until day 5 that something amazing happened…
To be continued…again.