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Category: High Performance

Why You Shouldn’t Fast

Let’s just get this out of the way. I’m doing a prolonged water fast. Not everyone should.

A water fast is hard on the body. That’s kind of the point. When you fast, your cells are put under stress. This makes you stronger, faster, sharper, and younger.

BUT…

All of your body systems work together. If one goes down it can cause a cascade of failures. Who knows if you happen to have a bad heart? A bad kidney?

I tried the Keto diet for a while and discovered I had a bad gall bladder. I had to undergo emergency surgery.

Yeah, so doing a fast is a little extreme. Guess I’m just that sort of guy.

Ideally, I would be going to a doctor and getting a blood panel before undergoing something like this. I don’t have health insurance, so I’m just going to wing it. I have faith that God isn’t done with me yet.

I am what you would call an experienced faster. I have done every variety of fast that I have learned about. I particularly enjoy “Alternate Day Fasting,” but right now I’m doing a prolonged water fast. For how long? Because I’m experienced, I am better at listening to the signals my body is putting out. I will stop when my body tells me to stop. I don’t know when that will be.

Stay tuned.

Read More: Why I’m Water Fasting

I’m going to pay attention to what my body is saying… in a couple days. Right now, all my body is screaming is, “I’M HUNGRY. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WILL YOU PLEASE JUST EAT SOMETHING?!”

I give an evil laugh. I imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger in my head, “You think you should be eating, girlie man? Do you wanna have a Twinkie? Well, you CAN’T!”

I’m in day 3. The hunger should go away in 1-2 days. It’s not real hunger, anyway. I can tell the difference.

Fasting is something that you should ease into. You should not jump in cold turkey. You’ll probably freak out and quit. Follow the following steps if you want to follow in my foot steps:

  1. Consult with a doctor who is experienced with fasting and the medical benefits. Most doctors don’t have training in nutrition and fasting. A regular doctor is going to freak out and scare you off your goal. Find a doctor who is “in the know.” Tell him/her of your plans. I would have done this if I had medical coverage. Seriously. You never know if you have a hidden medical problem. “It was a bummer about Timmy and the bad appendix. Who would have thought?”
  2. When you have the clearance from your doctor, set a small goal. Start with something simple, like getting through a day without snacking. Three meals a day. Stick to three. Do this for a period of time (3-7 days).
  3. Skip a meal. You have mastered snacking. It was a dirty habit, anyway. You may found that you have more self-control. Now you can skip a meal. I don’t care if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pick one and skip it. Congrats! This is “intermittent fasting!”

    You might find that this works really well for you. If you like it, you can try other variations of intermittent fasting (IF). Just try them all and stick with one that works for you. If you want to go deeper, try the next step.
  4. Keep shrinking your window. Definitely don’t go cold turkey, but see how you handle a fast of one, two, and three days.
  5. Now, you are ready. The end goal is a seven day fast. Dr. Jason Fung is the world expert in fasting. (https://medium.com/@drjasonfung). According to him, multiple 7-day fasts are just as good as one, long fast.

Basically, I don’t recommend doing what I’m doing.

Like I said before, I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I will stop when my body feels “done.” That’s one of the reasons I’m not putting a time limit on this. I’m not pushing for X days. I might stop tomorrow if my body tells me. Who knows?

I don’t want to fall in the trap of pushing for a long fast just because I told y’all I am pushing for a long fast.

What About the Hunger?

This is a huge reason that people don’t fast. They have skipped one meal and been ready to eat their own face off. They can’t imagine skipping two… or three… or (gulp) 120…

People think their hunger will get worse and worse as time goes on. Like most kinds of “pain,” your body gives up in about three days. Last time I was in the middle of a long fast, I had no interest in food. I sat down with meals with friends. They chomped on their food and I was content to sit and drink my coffee. Really.

It also helps that you start to experience your “fasting high” at the same time that your hunger goes away. You feel great. Energized. Focused. Motivated. This is the time that your body goes into Ketosis, burning fat for food. Your body says, “I’m not hungry. Look at all this fat I have sitting here!”

The idea of regular food seems almost abhorrent. Why would I want to get off this ride? It’s starting to get good!

What Can I Eat?

Honestly, not much. That’s also the point. You want to convince your body that you’re not going to be feeding it for a while. If you reward it with something yummy, you’re training it like a spoiled child. “If I throw a big enough tantrum, Dad will buy me the sugar cereal.”

Trust me, I have tangled with this beast. Your body can become like the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

FEED ME!

Now, when I have been fasting for a few days, my body is quiet and in submission. If at any point, my body screams FEED ME again, I will honor its signal. That means something is amiss. You are allowed to take a break, eat what you are craving, and try again.

The Rules

Let me break it into some easy to follow points:

  • Coffee or Green Tea
  • 100 calories or less per day
  • Water

A lot of people ask about “zero-calorie” drinks. I say no for several reasons. Yes, they don’t have calories, so yes you are still on a fast. The short answer is “no sugar substitutes.” For those of you that are happy with that response, you can stop reading.

For those of you that still want to know why it’s a very long answer…

Why Can’t I Drink Diet Soda (WAAAA!)

Do a quick search for “are diet sodas good for you?” I’ll wait.

  • Even if they don’t have calories, most artificial sweeteners still raise your insulin level. The “magic” of fasting happens when your insulin level is low. Yes, there are a few sweeteners that don’t raise your insulin level. If you must, use one of those.
  • Artificial sweeteners lead to insulin-resistance. Your tongue tastes “sweet.” It yells down to your body, “Some calories are on the way!” Your body preps for a tasty treat (this is where the insulin raise comes from). Then, no calories end up in your body. Your body says, “Wait a minute! Where’re those calories you promised?” After repeating a few times, your body listens to the signals of the tongue less and less. Congrats, you have diabetes!
  • If you have any food or drink with “flavor,” you will keep your body “in the mood for food.” We want to get through the “hunger jungle” as quick as we can. Anything you eat (even calorie-free) will slow your journey. Even though you are allowed a few calories every day (enough for a cream or two), try to avoid these for the first few days. I got used to drinking my coffee black—you can, too.
  • Your body knows how to digest regular ol’ sugar. Don’t fake it out.

But Science!

Yeah, science can jump in a lake

–MW McCabe

Science let us get fat, full of cancer, tired, and run down. Now it has money behind it. You aren’t allowed to tell people how to get healthy. “The man” will sue your pants off.


Matt is doing a water fast.

This is day 3 of his experience. Current weight: 244.0lbs

Check back to see how he is doing. Or, you can sign up for his on once-a-month newsletter to watch his progress!

Why I’m Fasting

This is Day 1 of my fasting journey. Current weight: 250.2lbs. Keep watching for the dramatic changes!

I’ve had it. My life is not the way I want it to be. I ate poorly over the holidays. I want to lose weight. There’s a lot of good benefits to fasting, but I really just want to lose weight.

 A few years back, I fasted for 21 days. I lost a lot of weight. It took my life in a new direction. I lost over 100 pounds, and people noticed.

 In the three years since, I’ve kind of floundered. Is it time to go on another fast?

Today I read an article from the fasting expert, Dr. Jason Fung.

“The #1 Rule of Fasting” by Dr. Jason Fung https://link.medium.com/IIipIHiRk3

It’s a good read, but one thing stood out to me:

“…there is no reason to fast for 30 consecutive days just for the sake of argument. Why not do 4 separate 7-day fasts instead? It will have roughly the same beneficial health effects with far less risk.”

Dr. Jason Fung

He’s the “man” when it comes to fasting. If he says I will get the same effect from doing multiple fasts, I’m on-board.

Yes, there’s some medical things I would like to clear up.

I recently discovered I was gluten-intolerant. That’s an interesting story.

I have lived all my life having a tough time with carbs of any kind. At the same time, I craved sweets and breads. When I had a meal of heavy carbs (like pasta), I would feel brain fog and a serious case of the sleepies. A good 15-minute nap and I would be good to go, right?

That’s the way it is for everybody, right?

I work every weekend at a local food bank. My permanent station is the desserts and baked goods. They’re nice to look at and to smell, but for me it is strictly do not touch! We have a couple guests who are gluten intolerant. I hold aside any specially-made goodies for when they come through the line.

Last Saturday, I started talking about gluten intolerance with one of the guests. What happens if you eat gluten? She listed off a lot of symptoms. How do you know if you are gluten intolerant? She said there is a very expensive test, or you could just try some gluten-free goods and see how you feel.

Huh. Really?

That day I took home some very yummy gluten-free pasta. The next day, I ate only the gluten-free pasta. I didn’t want any other variables.

I felt amazing.

I didn’t feel tired, sluggish, or crappy after eating a very large amount of pasta.

So there’s that.

I have since done a lot of research on gluten intolerance. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Is that the reason I have the following:

  • MS
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Brain fog
  • Depression and anxiety

Could be. Only one way to find out.

Clean Up Time

I have been eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) for 45 years. Who knows what kind of damage I have done to my system! I think a good fast is a way to clean up any extra gluten in my system and repair the damage.

I have been playing with fasting for the last three years. I’ve done one meal a day (OMAD), intermittent fasting (IF), alternate day fasting, black fasting, and long-term water fasting.

It was a good opportunity to push myself. I was exercising my self-control. I felt empowered by accomplishing something. But, after reading Dr. Fung’s article, I think I might have been risking injury. I will do several 7-day fasts. I will alternate one week on and one week off. The feeding week will restore my backup vitamins and minerals.

In my previous fasts, I have notice almost all of the benefits that the experts talk about. My weight loss was simply amazing, but now I wonder how much of that was being gluten-free. Eating nothing is pretty friggin’ gluten-free!

My focus was razor sharp.

The coolest thing (even better than the weight loss) was the ability to sleep four hours per night! I would wake up fully rested after just four hours of sleep! I’m sure that’s not the case for everybody, because I was hard-pressed to find another example cited online.

Maybe that’s just my side benefit and reason to try another fast.

I will be telling y’all what “day” I am on, in 7-day increments. For the next 7 days, I will be on a straight water fast. The rules of a water fast:

  • Calorie-free beverages are OK (no artificial sweeteners!)
  • Black coffee and unsweetened coffee are OK
  • 100 calories or less per day. That will allow you to put something small in that coffee, if you can’t drink it black.

I have found that hunger comes in waves. If it’s hard, just wait a few minutes and it will pass. Have a coffee.

Another benefit of fasting they don’t talk about? I have learned to listen to my body. That helped me identify that I had a problem with gluten. I don’t think I would have been able to tell if not for the fasting.

I also know what “true hunger” is like. I can honestly ask myself, “Is this a craving, or real hunger?” I also have an easier time stopping my eating before a full-on binge. I can identify “true full” as well.

Check back tomorrow to read about my progress.

How to Take a Cold Shower

Brrr… Oh HECK no!

Yes, I used to be one of those guys, too. Then I read article after article on Medium talking about the benefits of taking cold showers. Finally, with a shrug, I said, “I guess we’re doing this.”

You won’t die. You won’t shiver. You might even like it.

This article doesn’t talk about why you should do it. I will let other articles talk about that.

If you are here, then you have already decided to take the plunge.

Let’s do this thing.

First, let’s talk about what happens in your body when you take a cold shower. This is just me reassuring you that you won’t die.

There are pockets of brown fat on your body. These only serve one purpose — to heat up and keep you warm. You thought you were imagining things when cold water gradually felt warm. Nope! It was your body doing its job. Yes, this also burns a few extra calories.

The biggest advantage I experienced was the sudden wake-up and attitude adjustment. I no longer drink coffee in the morning! I’ll take one double-cold shower, please.

The steps. Turn the water on until there is plenty of pressure, but no hot water. I don’t dive right in, ’cause it’s a jolt. I use the sprayer at first.

Your job is to systematically spray down every warm part of your body.

  1. Spray down your feet and legs. Yes, my precious. This is about to happen.
  2. Spray down nether regions. This just got real.
  3. Hang the spray nozzle back up. Brace for impact.
  4. Take a deep breath and douse your head. This is the only hard part of the shower. It makes you breathe quickly and your heart pumps. This is the part that wakes you up, if you weren’t, already.
  5. Turn around to wash your hair. This gives you a chance to cool your back and hindquarters.
  6. Wash under your arms. Remember, you are attacking all of your warm regions.
  7. Rinse your hair. You’ll notice that while this is bracing, it is much “warmer” than the first time you rinsed your hair.
  8. Finish your wash. Go after any part of your body that needs more attention. You will notice that the rest of the shower is bearable, if not enjoyable.
  9. Final Challenge — 30 seconds. Before you turn off the shower, get your full body under the shower for 30 seconds. You are moving slightly to make sure every part of you gets covered with the cold water.

You are attacking every warm area of your body.


The first few days I tried a cold shower, it was something I had to make myself do. I squealed a lot. After the first week, I started to enjoy the experience.

Now, after about a month, I take cold showers. It’s just something I do.

Give it a week. I dare you.

Featured image by Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash