Extended fasting "experiment"

Hi. I decided to fire up a public diary of my attempt at extended fasting.

Update 2022: some new thoughts. Don't break your fast with fruit, whatever gut issues you might have the sugars will not help your situation. Second, while it was an experience for sure, I don't think going over two weeks in a row provided much additional benefit.

> Original Day 0: Some background & why

I'm doing this because I have a gut feeling it might help with my ..gut. I haven't felt good and all together for 2.5 years now. It started when I was a freshman at my University (tut.fi). A bunch of stress, lots of beer, and my sporadic eating habits. Eating is too much of a chore to me, I don't get much out of it on a daily basis. I'd rather spend the time doing something else. With the newly busy schedule I ended up eating a lot of fast food. Then one morning after an excursion I woke up feeling like my brain was full of cotton. Long story short, my cognitive abilities and life in general have been shit ever since then.
With the exception of two moments of clarity! Once I was very sick for 5 days and only drank blueberry soup. On day 4 I felt amazing, mentally. The whole evening I felt as if my brain was unraveling, and things like doing math in my head became as easy as they were before. The second time, I had started taking "Candida Forte" supplement. Now I don't know if I have Candida overgrowth or not, but taking the supplement and eating next to no carbs gave me another moment of what life used to be. It wasn't as evident this time, and somehow I lost it again..
I don't know why it took me 2.5 years to get my priorities in order, but it did. Guess it was just plain old naivety. There is no point in compromising my health for my studies and career, because a few years down this path failing health would ruin everything. "Make time for health now, or make sure you have plenty of time for sickness down the road." is what I want to go by. To end this paragraph, I have seen three different doctors and went through fairly extensive testing, but nothing was wrong. One suggested I'd see a therapist. Sigh.

Now there's A LOT OF STUPID SHIT circulating on the internet related to food and eating. Really hurts my practical, skeptic-oriented brain. But what does make sense is that the gut plays a major role in your well being. I've noticed that my stomach is usually bloated when I feel worst, too. Some meals worsen my symptoms immediately. I go from feeling ok-ish to having a hard time holding 3 separate things on my mind. No clear culprit like gluten or allergens. Only correlation I've found are carbohydrates..
I'm hoping that this fast will work as a "reboot" for my state, as diet changes alone have never fully resolved the problems.

I personally don't find this all that radical. Guess I am a bit of an oddball. It just makes sense that a human can go on his reserves for a while. That's why it's there. And for a young guy with no major health problems fasting has to be safe enough. I also want to stress that I'm listening to my body throughout this whole process. If I start to feel awful with blood dripping out of my nose, I will end the fast. I have read many others' experiences, and know a bunch what to expect. I also know not to end the fast with steak and potatoes :)

So here is phase 1 of trying to get my gut in order, fasting until my body says stop!

> Day -1:

Easy as not eating the pie you don't have in your vicinity. I can easily go without food for one day by accident if I have some project or thing I'm working on. Oh I forgot to mention I am drinking water.

> Day 0:

I was at work 15-23 and felt pretty bad. Could not concentrate, and could not stop thinking about the drybread and butter in the cafeteria. I cave in and ate a few. I felt slightly better for the rest of my shift. I decided to drink the last of my kefir too once I got home, because it would've spoiled during my fast and I had already "failed".

> Day 1:

Woke up feeling fine. Didn't last long though, once I got up I felt the usual fatique and foggy brain :(. Had an easier time at work this time, though I was freezing and had sweaty armpits and feet. Once I got home I felt warm again, and overall pretty good! I did some school stuff and played CS:GO. I was on fire! (68hrs, gold nova 2 :D)

> Day 2:

Slept 8 hours, woke up to flatmates guest ringing the doorbell. Same as yesterday, opened my eyes feeling fine but getting up wasn't pleasant. Cleaned the house a bit, and I'm feeling warm which is nice! I've felt cold in my flat until now.

> Day 3:

There is one canker sore under my tongue, and one unidentified bump on the roof of my mouth. Oh and, I've had slight bouts of hunger, but it's minor and I can easily distract myself when it happens.

> Day 4:

Took my new snowboard to one of my favourite hills, Sappee. My mouth got very dry so I went to the downhill cafe for a 0.5L pepsi max. Hydrated me just fine. I felt great the whole three hours. Had a new kind of sensation in my inner ears the first two runs. I have tinnitus which correlates with a sticky feeling in my ears, but I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.
What really surprises me is that I'm warm through out the whole day now! I've felt cold almost every winter day for the past 2 years. I carried the gear to my car without a jacket and didn't flinch.

My reflexes are really on point in CS:GO. I feel "as if I'm on speed". Never done any, but you know the pop-culture saying. Making simple decisions at a fast rate feels oddly good. I'm excited about this. I should try out my typing WPM/CPM. (i got 269/57, 324/65, 311/62)

> Day 5:

Feeling good on a wednesday. The sore and bump in my mouth have vanished. Went to see my dad, and looked for a jacket in the nearby shopping mall. Found one 70% off, but since manurfacturers hate tall thin people, I didn't buy it.. I waxed my two snowboards today, and while carrying them I noticed my arms got tired a bit sooner than I would normally expect. Hunger has stayed at bay. I'll sleep more this night, last night was cut short by school.

> Day 6:

Woke up with a dry mouth. I feel sluggish, and mild nausea. I'm hoping this is like my experience with "the keto flu", as in it goes away if I just get up and move around some. I'm going to avoid strenght training and the like, but I don't think just lying around is good ever, even on a fast.
Btw the song I linked yesterday wasn't supper fitting, I have not pooped since I started. I wonder when the bile shits arrive.

Had a top rope climbing course, and it went well. My arms got exhausted faster than usual, though. And as of right now I'm doing fine at work (I'm an on-call SysOp, night shift today).

> Day 7: (2017-03-10)

Woke up at ~17 after the night shift. I notice my body's more cold in the morning than usual. I feel a bit sluggish too, but it goes away once I get up and going. I feel good! I can sense the world a lot better now. Looking at a cluttered bulletin board is a lot less straining than it has been. Driving is fun again, I feel like I'm in control.
Went to the supermarket with flatmate. I was pointing out foods for him to buy because I couldn't buy them for myself :D. Still have no real hunger, and not eating is still easy as long as I don't think about food.

> Day 8:

I've clearly lost some weight. My camo pants with a tight fitting waist aren't tight anymore :p. Thin is what I've been all my life so weight loss is not a goal here, though I don't mind. No-one else has noticed any change in my physique yet.
{it's me! day 8}
Didn't get around taking a pre-fast shot, but here's one from day 8 because I'm fabulous af for tracking changes.

Hmm, I noticed green tea makes me slightly nauseated now. Maybe I should quit that stuff. At least for now.

> Day 9:

Oo-wee.. I would love to sleep a bunch right now. My legs feel really heavy and uncooperative going down a hill or up the stairs. The difference between today and yesterday is huge. Not hungry tho.
I have a mild taste in my mouth, and my breath smells like something, can't quite put my finger on it. It would be cool if the coating on my tongue I've had all my life would go away. (this is at 00:00)

One thing I've forgotten to mention, I do get dizzy more than usual when quickly standing up. I'm not near fainting and I've had this in my teens when living normally so I haven't paid it much mind.

It's 07:00 now, and during the night I became warm again. My legs don't protest much either. This increase in energy is a bit problematic because I still have one night shift left and should sleep before it :p

> Day 10:

It's always surprising how time goes by when you take it day by day. I feel right. This is giving me the.. balls? to seriously look at my life from a different angle.

I have three red bumps; on my hand, neck and shoulder. The one on my hand is fading already, and they don't overall look worrying. From what I've read this is expected, even.
I sleep with extra clothing now, or I'd feel cold in the morning.

> Day 11:

Having a bad time falling asleep, I should not have taken that nap. My knee was hurting and my legs were very cold, though it passed in a few hours. I feel restless and my mind will not let me fall asleep. Some song by Heaven's Basement is playing in my head :p

Despite not sleeping the day went great. Had a short gig at work, I can now top rope relay in Finnish climbing centers, and I went to see John Wick 2.

> Day 12:

Woke up to my phone at 04:30. Slight nausea, and my mind is too restless to fall back asleep so I got up. Pooped just the tiniest bit, it's weird how alien that felt after almost two weeks. Drinking hot water helps with the nausea. The red bumps I mentioned earlier have reduced to tiny specs.

What I find interesting is how food cravings work during fasting. Early on pictures or thoughts of sweets (candy/cake/soda) didn't spark much of a reaction. Though I'm not super into sweets anyway. Now fatty foods like bacon cheese burgers and some noodles covered with juicy meat.. They sounded like heaven until a few days ago. They still sound just great, but with less intensity. What's pretty much a first for me is that I can get literally excited about the idea of steamed vegetables, and plain yogurt with some blueberries.

Sadly there hasn't been much development with my tinnitus. Why I hoped this might help is that it has varied hand in hand with how bloated my gut has been, and it started suddenly, without some obvious loud noise or head trauma that would explain it. My ears excrete noticeably less wax now, that's nice too :D

> Day 13:

The days are getting harder now, physically my body feels all around sluggish. A bunch of red pimples have appeared, mostly on my chest and back. This may be worsened by always wearing clothes to avoid getting cold. Being cold feels "normal" now, not like the past two years when it's been accompanied by cold sweat and an odd heightened sensitivity.
Work again tomorrow, evening shift. Recovering from the night shifts was difficult this time, because my mind and body didn't agree on when to feel tired.

> Day 14: (2017-03-17)

Huh, it's been two weeks. If I could choose, I wouldn't do much but sleep currently. Initiating movement takes effort whether it be lifting an arm or walking up a hill. If this wave of weakness doesn't pass by tomorrow I think I'm about done with this fast.

Update at 18:50 -- Well what do ya know, I feel a lot better. I am doing just fine at work, maybe the external stress is to blame. Or maybe my circadian rhythm is just still fucked up. Or maybe it's the decilitre of bone broth I drank. Or the 33cl of lemon hinted water. Either way lifting my arms up isn't exhausting at the moment :p

> Day 15:

Woke up to a bad taste in my mouth, did some idle stuff and went to work. I wonder if I've been a bit dehydrated for the past few days, I've paid attention to drink more today and I seem to be doing much better than yesterday. I did get a solid block of sleep too, though.
My tinnitus is really going at it. It's less of a high pitched tone and more of a distant storm at the moment. The sound's different between my two ears today too. I still have some hope it might ease during this fast, if nothing else my ears produce considerably less wax now.
{it's thinner me! day 15}
Hard to get an identical shot, I guess there's some change. I can see a difference in my upper body clearly.

The amount of red spots and pimples on my chest and back is worth mentioning. They come up, and start to fade in 24h. The spot then stays red for a while. It's an interesting reaction. I've seen other fasters report this too, and if I'm anything like them they will stop appearing in the next couple of days.

> Day 16:

I feel calm and serene. With enough clothes on, I can stay warm too. So - is this a sign I'm doing something good, or a disillusioned state from starving my brain of nutrients? ;D

> Day 17:

Funky, third night in a row where I wake up after 5-7 hours of sleep to the sunrise. Not my usual experience.. That would be 9h of sleep whenever, and upon awakening feeling like getting back to sleep.

Played CS:GO again, and to my surprise I did great. Problem is, my hands got really cold. I wish it was summer, it sucks being dependent on blankets and an absurd amount of clothing, just being home.

> Day 18:

Again, woke up at 07:30. Had dreams of food for the first time. It's a bit counter intuitive to sleep less when overall I feel like resting a lot more than normal, but then again it does sound healthier than sleeping 9+h any time and wanting more sleep after waking up.
I'm doing very well, only a fraction of the muscle weakness from day 14. I've made sure to drink enough water now, and that might really be it. No new pimples or blemishes have sprouted up.

On the subject of doing well, a company invited TiTe students to a trampoline park for free and I had decided to go already, so I did. I took it easy and didn't waste any energy, but I had no trouble bouncing away the two hours. Like I said above, light exercise is probably always a good idea, as long as your body's not protesting too much.
I taught my friend the backflip, he got the technique pretty fast :)!

There's some activity in my bowel currenly, it's been fairly silent up until this point. No material coming out tho.

> Day 19:

Visited my grandma with my sister. Driving is easy and I notice no ill-effects from the fasting while driving, so the 300+km was a breeze. I have really taken a liking to lemon hinted sparking water, it satisfies any food cravings really well.

> Day 20:

A sunny day. The sunlight fills me with calm feelings. I sound like a hippie.

Developed a sweet taste in the back of my throat during the day. It feels like there is a blob of something in my inner ear. Lots of good vibes in my ears overall.

> Day 21 (2017-03-24):

Huh, three weeks. Apart from the sensations in my ears the days have been more or less the same for a while now, overall. I'm getting a bit annoyed by needing a minimum of three layers of clothing to stay warm while at home :p
The sweet taste is now accompanied by what feels like a block in my throat.

The blob in my right ear feels very satisfying. It feels sort of like my ear is shedding its skin or something. New sensation in my throat too, near the right eustachian tube. Maybe.
I found a wave of energy from somewhere, I've felt very good today.
{it's still me! day 21}
Not much change, is there? A nice day to drill holes to a PCB and solder some components, hence the goggles :)

> Day 22:

Woke up and sat IRC'n away for a while. Too passive, I got so cold even two blankets couldn't help. Got up and walked to our guild room, which did the trick. The block in my throat is gone.
Coded C++ for most of the day. Got to normal body temp during the evening.

> Day 23:

Alright. I think I'm done. I would like to continue, but I have too much stuff going on right now to take the cold weather. It really is the biggest problem :D
Time to go to the store and get some fruit! Ayyy!

Well that was some good papaya and mango. It wasn't mindblowing or anything to eat again, didn't really think it was going to be. Still very tasty. My body took it well enough, though I feel slight all around discomfort. Think a million tiny tiny papercuts all over. Not really sure what to make of that. I'm going to have some Turkish yogurt and blueberries later today, the creamy texture sounds really good. Then I'll go to sleep and wake up a new man! Deal, universe?

> Post Fast Day 1:

Broccoli, cauliflower and carrot miso soup tastes super. The 10% fat yogurt with blueberries is irresistable too. I found sauerkraut from the nearby store too and it was interesting if nothing else. The full body uncomfortable feeling is a fraction of what it was yesterday. My muscles are almost back to normal, no more sluggishness. I got one cramp in my gut, but it went away soon. I need to hold back not to eat too much. Trying to stay under 600kcal.

> Post Fast Day 2:

Had vivid, seriously messed up nightmares. Slept 6h and it was enough.
The same hard to describe papercut-ish discomfort in my bowel still, at times.
Green poop.
Bouldering, my muscles work just fine.
Nine hours of make && ./a.out. (Because the program is complicated. I swear. :)
Ate a few pieces of drybread, butter and cheese during the night.

> Post Fast Day 3:

Slept another 6 hours.
Discomfort in bowel gone.

--been busy and I lost interest in updating this, I'll write a conclusion about this someday^tm

BUT Something I want to note right now is that the fucking cold sweat and freezing hands/feet is back. It's 2017-04-18 now so it stayed away what, 22 days after refeeding?

Contact: iotre@ircnet/quakenet