You’ve heard of fasting. Everyone has. Maybe you’re a fasting pro. Maybe you’ve never done it before, nor do you ever care to. I was the latter… until this week. I decided to give it a try and see what it’s all about.
In case you didn’t know already, fasting is a biohacking tool of restricting your food intake for various health benefits:
- Weight/fat loss
- Improved cellular repair
- Lower cholesterol
- Reduce risk of diabetes
- Stress relief
- Improved mental clarity
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased energy
- Longer life-span
Okay, now I see why people do it. Tbh, I didn’t get it at first, but “longer life-span?” Worth a shot. So, I had dinner Monday night at 6 pm and I embarked on my very first 24 hour fast. This is how it went.
4 hours in
10 pm Monday night. I’m doing fine. Obviously. It’s just like any other day. I eat dinner then go to bed a few hours later. Then, I thought, “Hey, I’m going to be sleeping for the next 7 hours of this fast. That’s easy enough. I can do this fasting thing.” I shut my eyes and went to sleep feeling pretty confident in my biohacking/fasting skills.
12 hours in
Tuesday morning. “I NEED COFFEE.” I roll out of bed, make my way to the pantry, and go to grab one of the 5 different flavors of coffee beans on the shelf (I really like coffee okay). Right as I get that wonderful whiff of coffee, I remember… Fasting. So, no coffee. I fill up my water bottle, which I’ll have to do like 7 more times throughout this day without food, and think, “Well, this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.”
16 hours in
It’s only lunchtime and I have already crossed so many things off my to-do list. I’ve been more productive than I typically am. Improved mental clarity? Check. I felt abnormally focused and unusually energized. I felt great!
20 hours in
Okay, I’m ravenous. All I can think about is food. All I see is food. “Why is my computer showing me ads for every food brand I’ve ever thought of!!” I’d accomplished all I needed to for the day (another fast-induced mental clarity win) and all I wanted was a big bowl of pho. 4 hours left. Stay strong. Amidst my unrelenting hunger, there was a sense of wired motivation. I had more energy than I ever expected to have in a state of total food-depravity. But let’s take advantage of it. Gym, here I come.
24 hours in
I did it! “Time to break fast and be a happy human again!!” After the best workout I’d had in weeks, I got ready to meet some friends for dinner at Cava- the Greek food version of Chipotle. Yes, it is as good as it sounds. The perfect meal on which to end my fast. While I was driving, I realized I wasn’t hungry as I thought I’d be. I was excited at the thought of eating, sure, but I thought, “I could do this for another 24 hours if I needed to!” I also realized I was singing along to the radio louder than usual. No way was it possible that I felt happier than normal. How could I be if I hadn’t eaten all day. But I did. Even as we were in line for our food, my friends said I was smiling and laughing more than I usually did and I’m always pretty giddy, so that’s saying something. I took my first bite of my greens and grains bowl and officially ended my fast.
So, 24 hour fast done. Here’s are my takeaways:
Upon taking that first bite, a strange feeling of achievement came over me. Make no mistake, that feeling was accompanied with the elation of finally getting to eat. Still, I patted myself on the back. I had put myself to the test- physically and mentally- and I passed. I attempted something I’d never done before and I successfully completed it. So, at the very least, fasting is an assessment of your willpower and leaves you with an incredible sense of accomplishment.
As for the other benefits… Well, I can’t yet speak for the reduced risk of diabetes, decreased cholesterol, or extended life-span, but I can attest to the others. During the fasting period, I experienced an enhanced ability to concentrate, as well as an increase in energy. The next day after the fast, I woke up feeling refreshed, less bloated, and- yep- stress-free. Those 24 hours might’ve deprived of a few good meals, but they did leave me feeling better than I ever expected.
I now understand all the rage about intermittent fasting, and I will be doing it regularly from here on. It’s a simple biohack and it works. You can do it, even when you think you can’t, and you’ll be better for it.
Live Wild. Try fasting.