My extended-fasting diary and aftermath

Day 1 — Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022

Starting wgt 165.6 lbs

Here are some tips and survival tactics to get through a fast. The first thing is determination. Believe you can do it. I have tentative plans to complete a seven day fast but will listen to my body and change if necessary. I need to reduce insulin in order to lose weight, and the only way to reduce insulin is to reduce food. People have been fasting for centuries with harmful effects.

Here are some things I’ll be using/doing.

  • Zero app, a fasting app on my phone that tracks my progress. It’s surprising how quickly I forget how long my fast has been, and this does the job.
  • Water. I drink 2 or more litres a day. It’s the most important element in our diet, and keeps our organs running as they should.
  • Supplements. You may want to take a multivitamin, but I don’t. I continue taking what I take when not fasting — magnesium, Metformin (for the first day or two, then I stop due to diarrhea), Cortrex, Liver Protect and Berberine.
  • Keep busy: Netflix. Walks in the woods (but there’s snow on the ground here, so that’s out.) Any exercise as long as you pay attention to your glucose levels. Mine doesn’t budge with exercise.
  • I’ll be helping to clean out my neighbour’s house and hanging with her kitty. My neighbour passed away 10 days ago and her cat is home alone — I’m working on getting him adopted by another neighbour.
  • I also take long baths and write.
  • Today I’ll package up all the 2 government computers and paperwork connected to an ill-fated job opportunity. Yesterday I got an email from the regional manager apologizing for the way I was treated, so that helps assuage my anger.

Because I need accountability, I’ll check in later. My priority today is keeping glucose down as the ketones in my body rise. The two can be a deadly combination, and can lead to ketoacidosis. Been there, don’t want to repeat.

UPDATE: 8:11 p.m. The day went well. I started with black coffee and had herbal tea in the afternoon. I drank 1.5 litres of water and will drink more before bed. My glucose came down to single digits. I peed a lot, which may predict a water loss of weight tomorrow. I kept busy with cleaning up my home office, walking the dogs and spending time at the neighbour’s house. My neighbour died 10 days ago and I’m helping her son with sorting out accumulated stuff. Her cat has been alone in the house but I found a neighbour who just lost her cat and was willing to give this guy a chance. I hope it works out. The only hiccup was I accidentally — really, it was an accident — ate a small square of extra dark chocolate (70% cocoa).

Dec. 4: Weigh 162.8 lbs. Loss of 2.8 lbs. Mainly a water loss. Peed a lot overnight. Ketosis (burning fat) will kick in soon. I’m off to work today which will keep me busy. Feeling good about yesterday’s developments — clearing out the government computers from my office and hopefully find a home for my dead neighbour’s cat.

4:23 pm: The cat has landed in a new home. What a relief. I worked today which keeps me away from the fridge. It’s a habit driving home to wonder what I’d like to eat, but instead I warmed up some coffee. My Zero app says I’m fasted for nearly 48 hours. I’ve been injecting insulin today. Glucose rises but not as fast as if I’d been eating. I’m currently sitting at 4.2 mmols. My body will be in ketosis by now, where it burns fat for energy. This is where I start to feel better — those first two days can be rough. I’ll go to bed early and distract myself with streaming services. Tomorrow is another day.

Dec 5, 6 a.m.: Weigh 161. Loss of 1.8 since yesterday, 4.6 lbs since start of fast. My Zero app says I’m 61 hours into my fast. I am in ketosis now, meaning my body is burning fat for energy. My glucose should flatten out today, though I normally need a bit of insulin throughout a fast. I stopped taking supplements and Metformin yesterday. A bit of diarrhea is normal in fasting as the body has a natural way of cleansing itself. I’ve had my coffee and walked the dogs and will not be working today, so there’s a challenge of how to keep busy. How am I feeling? Great. No problems at all. Plus, I’m happy that I’m doing something productive to help my health. Remembering your goal helps to motivate and keep on track. One more tip, sip pickle juice as an appetite suppressant. And Himalayan sea salt can help balance out electrolytes which can cause dizzyness and headaches. Drink lots of water.

7 pm: I passed 72 hours now, that’s three days. That little voice in my head is saying, “OK that’s enough now. What shall I eat?” And I even moved a frying pan onto a stove burner but then distracted myself. I didn’t work today which makes it more difficult to keep my mind busy. Whenever I feel like eating, I remember why I’m doing this — to lose weight. To use less insulin for a few days. To be less diabetic. And the added incentive is the greater comfort I feel in my clothes. Still, I’ll be going to bed early. Tomorrow is another day.

Dec 6. Day 4 begins with encouraging news. I weigh in at 158.6, so that’s 7 lbs down. I’m feeling good and heading to work soon. Big drink of water chased down by pickle juice.

Dec 7: Down 0.2 lbs to 158.4. Day 5 follows a breaking of the fast last evening when I had a low glucose level. If I’d had my glucose monitor I’d have had a better idea if it was safe to continue with a sub 4 mmol, but the finger poke led me to eat something to raise the level. I had a slice of my homemade low-carb bread and a couple slices of bacon (the dogs shared a slice too). So that led to a loss this morning but not as big of one as I’d have had if I had continued the fast. The good part is I feel great and will get back on the fast today. I had a good sleep (yesterday felt tired due to a wakeful night). And this little lapse may allow me to extend the fast further than I’d initially planned. We will take it day by day.

Dec. 8 I’m down 0.6 lbs, but a loss is a loss. Still staying true to the fast. Cheating only cheats myself. I can see the tentative finish line — tomorrow at 5 p.m. makes it a 7-day fast. I’m down 7.8 lbs overall, and the 10 lb goal is in sight. I’m aware that refeeding will add pounds again, and that’s just the reality of how our bodies work. I feel good so far, walking 15,000 steps each day at work, and of course the glucose only drifts upward. I don’t have the kind of diabetes that benefits from exercise, but I do it anyway. Oh, I’ve got my CGM back! Now I can track my glucose on my phone and watch. Yay!

Update on the day. I was tired today. Now that I have my CGM working again, I’m noticing how my glucose functions through the day. I thought I’d share my day…this is day 6 of a fast. I walked 15,500 steps so far, and here is my glucose/insulin situation from the CGM. I”ve injected 12 units of insulin since waking at 5 am.

Dec. 9: Day seven is here. I had a low glucose issue last evening and ate a couple strips of bacon and some low-carb bread. This morning had a small loss and reached 8 lbs down for the week. Didn’t sleep great. Off to work.

Later. 15,600 steps so far today. Injected 10 units of insulin. Felt tired in the morning, rallied in the afternoon. Stocked my fridge with healthy veggies. Here’s how my glucose levels behaved through the day.

After the fast

I started the fast at 165.6 lbs. I stopped seven days later at 157. 6 lbs, an 8 lb loss. I broke the fast other evening with a low-carb veggie stir fry. As often happens with the first meal, I had minimal glucose reaction. That day I used a total of 10 units of insulin.

Yesterday I weighed in at 159.4, almost 2 lbs up. I used 23 units insulin. Today I’m at 161.2, a gain of 3.6 lbs in less than two days. This is due to water “place-holding” empty fat cells in case the depletion of fat due to energy is short term (as it is, during a fast). It’s also part of the body’s need to return to its established set point. And finally, insulin is doing its job of taking glucose from the blood and adding it to fat storage.

The only option I have is to return to fasting.

Dec 14 I have been doing shorter fasts of 40 to 48 hours and today reached a total of 10 lbs lost. I’ll continue with these shorter fasts. Ten more pounds to go.

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