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I have done this again, same period in the previous year. 10 days. I started in the end of April and ended it in the beginning of May. From Friday till the other Monday I was drinking only water, no food, no coffee, no tea, no salt, nothing. 28th of April to 8th of May 2017. But previous year I didn’t write anything about it so this year it’s an opportunity to keep some notes here.
I can’t say I am not excited about it and to be honest for the last month I had been looking forward to it. However, I was expecting May because I prefer the temperature to be a little higher. I think it’s better to avoid such long fasts in low temperatures as the body has definitely more demands. However, it appears that in London the temperatures were higher in the middle of April than now but anyway. The unfortunate thing is that from yesterday till tomorrow the temperatures will even be below 10 degrees of Celsius.
I am writing this article in the 2nd day as I think it would be pointless to write about the first day. The last 3 years I have been doing intermittent fasting which means that I take no calories for about 18 hours every day and whatever I eat is in a standard 6 hour window or less. Thus the middle of the first day that I could have written the article was like a normal day to me.
So I have 4 great advantages for this fasting:
- Like I said I am trained in fasting since I have been doing intermittent fasting for the last 3 years
- The last month I have done 2 48hour fasts. However, at that times I was drinking coffee, now I have stopped it, too.
- I don’t have an 8-hour day job so I don’t need to be out of the house.
- I have a flexible program so I can reduce my working levels for these days, it’s entirely up to me.
How I am till Now
Things up to now have gone same way as in the previous year. It appears that in the beginning the main issues come from the lack of caffeine and not from the lack of food. So from yesterday evening, 24hours after my last coffee, I started having severe headaches. They were so annoying that even faced problems going to sleep due to pain. This, like I said, was expected although I had forgotten the levels. Still now since my waking up my head has pain but not so much as yesterday, however, it is possible that it will increase the next hours. Tomorrow I believe the pain will definitely start going away. I come to this conclusion according to what happened previous year.
This of course is a reminder and a real proof about how addictive caffeine is to the human beings. As I mentioned, it needed just 24 hours to start having too many headaches. Theoritically one can ask how do I know that the pain was caused by the withdrawal effect on caffeine. I know because I have stayed many times without food but with caffeine and never had such issues.
In a sense these headaches can work as an advantage. Because they take my focus away from the stomach and the lack of food. I don’t crave food at all and I don’t think about my empty stomach at all. I remember this idea first came to me previous year when I had the same issues. And this is helpful for the first days since on the next days my stomach will be “closed” and my appetite radically reduced.
Furthermore, since today morning that I woke up I feel like I am a little sick. I have some pains in my body and a bit of dizziness. The latter of course is due to the headaches. I also cannot concentrate well into something. However, I don’t also have a lot of energy. But all of these are something normal to be happening as the body hasn’t been used to that and starts getting away of the toxins radically. Whatever we eat, whatever we drink, the soaps we use and the air we breathe are inducing toxins inside of us which have a compound effect. I know from my experience that all these pains more or less will go away the latest on Tuesday but of course I am looking forward to see how it goes this time in practice.
The Many-Meals Myth
Some people may find this 10 day water fast strange, dangerous or even impossible to happen. I understand, when you have been used by the carb dominated society to the idea that you have to be eating 5-6 times per day in order to survive.
Of course there is no need for any scientific findings in order to understand how much obviously normal a long day fasting is. It can even be common sense. First of all there have been so many everyday people that have done water fasts of even 40 days and longer. Secondly, from my side, as I mentioned, I have done 10 days of water fasting, too, with absolutely no issues.
Thirdly you need to consider a very simple fact. What do you think is the main reason our bodies store so many kilograms of fat? Even if you know nothing about metabolism the reason is obvious. In order to use it for when the calories you consume are not enough, what else could it be? Why do you think so many people have an excess of fats in their bodies? Because instead of maintaining a normal balance they keep consuming for years way more calories than what their bodies need. As well they consume a lot of toxins which are stored in the fats.
I see some people feel dizziness when they don’t eat for a few hours and they are scared they might lose their senses. But also a smoker, for example, doesn’t become neurotic or has headaches when he doesn’t take nicotine? That doesn’t mean that the human body cannot be sustained without nicotine, it’s just that this is what happens with the withdrawal effects.
Addiction to Toxins
You just need to take into account two circumstances to both of which most people are part of. First of all we are talking clearly about addiction to the substances that are contained in foods and a lot of times I am afraid that they are harmful toxins. I say this because I see a lot of people consuming food cooked outside full of carbohydrates, trans fats and God knows what other chemical substances both known and unknown to popular science for their addictive and harmful effects. There is an amount of research that grows very rapidly and talks about bacteria that remain in our guts and create colonies. These are growing and being fed by toxins that are contained in many foods that we consume nowadays. The bigger the colony the more addictive effect they create and the more they pressurize your brain to go towards this foods without you even knowing it.
But now that I mention this to you, haven’t you caught yourself craving for certain foods even if you don’t really feel hungry or have just eaten? At the same time since you are reading this blog I assume that you are a clever human being. If you think that technology is growing so fast, would it sound strange to you if I tell you that big companies on purpose create these substances and throw them in their products in order to create an addictive effect to you? And even if you are managing to stay out of all these toxins which in my opinion is impossible, have you ever considered the addictive effects of sugar alone? Or the fact that you can’t imagine in how many products sugar is really contained?
Being Used to Carbohydrates
Secondly, when we talk about the metabolism of food to energy basically speaking there are two ways, the quick road and the slow road. The quick road has to do with the calories from carbohydrates and the slow road with the calories from fats. Energy is also contained in the proteins but these are mostly used for muscle building so in order not to waste time here I won’t talk about these. Carbohydrates come from grains, cereals, legumes, sugar or everything sweet such as honey or molasses, fruits, oats, pasta, rice, cow’s breast liquid (we call this milk), yogurt from cow’s milk and starch. Fats mostly come from red meat, cheese, oils, nuts, fish, eggs and some vegetables like avocados.
The carbs are the quick road independently of what we call glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly they increase your insulin levels when consumed. So the body has the tendency to first use these for energy and doesn’t have even plenty of storage of them, in total is approximately 250 gr in both the liver and the blood. So the excess of these after about 36 hours is transformed and stored in the body as fat.
Because fat is the slow road, it’s the long-term energy. Most people in this western society especially are all the time fed with foods full of carbohydrates. So not only the body is all the time full of them but most of the times there is excess so they become fatty acids and that’s why the obesity keeps increasing and increasing. No question about using fat as energy.
Not all the carbohydrates are of the same nutritious quality, for example the oats are by far more nutritious than the typical white bread, or there is not comparison between sugar and honey.
The thing is that our body is trained to use the energy that we consume according to our nutritional habits. Which means that as long as we take the vast majority of our every day calories from carbohydrates for years and years the body hasn’t learnt to efficiently use the fat for its needs. So you understand that when we stay for more hours without carbohydrates than the ones we have been used to the body will not also be used to immediately go for fats. Instead, you will be experiencing decrease of energy.
But if you have trained your body to consume less than 100gr of carbohydrates per day then after some days the body will be finding it easier to go for fats and you will have a more balanced appetite and even way more energy as in the vast majority of people in the western world there is enough fat in their bodies for their everyday needs.
I am not claiming that there is a standard rule about how many carbohydrates and fats we should be consuming or how frequently we should be having meals. People have different lifestyles, different organisms, different cultures and so on. All this makes the whole discussion about nutrition very complicated and should be taken into account individually for every human being. But what I wanted to point out is that very often what we consider as genuine hunger is just a need for our “dose” and had we trained our bodies differently than what we hear from here and there maybe we could see a different side of things that is even more powerful, healthy and energetic and definitely a different size of belly.