On my raison d’etre post, I mentioned that I would later talk about the benefits of fasting. Well, I like to keep my promises!
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting in that I drink Bulletproof coffee in the morning and don’t eat anything till about 2pm. I then will eat a small lunch and dinner and then stop eating by 8pm. I do this every day.
When my schedule allows, I’ll go on a week-long fast and only drink Bulletproof coffee, tea, plain bone broth (with no collagen protein added), and water. If I’m hungry, I’ll have a bite of grass-fed butter, a spoonful of organic extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. That’s it.
Why is healthy/good fat okay? Minimal insulin response and it curbs hunger.
For these week-long fasts, I’ll aim to do this twice a year. It’s great for detoxification of sequestered heavy metals* in your body fat as well as just overall autophagy and lipolysis. Here’s a screenshot I took from reading Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung’s book called the Complete Guide to Fasting which I highly recommend— this photo summarizes all the awesome benefits of fasting:
So… anti-aging, mental capability increasing, reduced inflammation, and looking slim? Sign me up.
But wait, I thought– I’ve read a lot of conflicting things on whether or not women should fast. Some say we should (as in, the previously mentioned Moore and Fung book). Some say we shouldn’t (see Mark’s Daily Apple, tip 1). Also, here on the Bulletproof blog.
Well, I’m a biohacker. I decided to just find out and see if it would work on me.
The answer? After 1 week, I can safely say that it works for me. Any longer than a week and I would suffer.
Days 1-4 were really easy. I didn’t think about food at all. I felt free to be productive, I lifted as much as I usually did. My mood was stable, happy even. I felt great.
Days 5-7 got progressively hard. That’s when I started noticing the bruises all over my skin. Whenever I would change from a sitting to standing position, I would immediately feel light-headed. I would only see black for a second or two, then my vision would slowly return.
My boyfriend Daniel, a healthy guy, experienced some light-headedness also, but not to the same degree that I did. He also discovered that he lowered his blood pressure significantly– it’s been several weeks since we did the extended fast and he continues to have normal blood pressure instead of being pre-hypertensive which was what his readings were before we started.
During my fasting week, I was taking vitamins and supplements, including iron supplements, but that did not seem to help at all with symptoms. I drank bone broth which I imagined had iron in it also, but that didn’t seem to help either. I was reliving my vegetarian days where I felt weak and tired all the time.
Which makes sense– because fasting can work for anyone– gluten-free, low carb, vegetarian, vegan, protein fasting, etc. — you’re eliminating everything, after all!
I’m glad I did it and I would do it again, but not when I have lots of work/life/social demands. Dealing with the dizziness, especially towards the end of the week, is no fun.
There’s a definite social cost to fasting. When I would hang out with a friend, I told her what I was up to and she started worrying that I was going anorexic. I tried to explain my whole self-challenge for 18% body fat and for biohacking and just seeing if I could do something I set my mind to and I listed all the benefits of fasting that I had read about. That assuaged some of her concerns for me but I definitely will not be announcing to the world (well, just here, ha!) when I’m fasting next, as I still feel like it’s misunderstood as starvation and associated with eating disorders.
I feel like this is important to say: I don’t think people are more or less valuable based on what they look like. I just care about me and my body and I want to see if I can get to 18% for myself and for the challenge of it. People should look the way they want to look. Fasting and cyclical ketosis and all this other stuff isn’t for everyone– I get that.
But if you are interested, I hope you keep reading my blog as I go on this journey, as I think it can be fun to give yourself a challenge and meet it. 🙂