I started Intermittent Fasting in June, 2018, and what better way to celebrate 5 years of intermittent fasting than to do a 48 hour fast? *wink*
I did my first 48 hr fast in Feb, 2020, and since then, I never managed to reach that 48 hr mark till today – my last prolonged fast was for 42 hrs in Aug, 2022, and prior to that my longest fast was for 46.5 hours in Feb, 2022. (Read 'My First 48 hr Fast.')
Let's clear one thing first - Intermittent Fasting is NOT a diet. It is an eating pattern, which includes an eating window and a fasting window. Although I try to eat as healthy as possible, I follow the 80:20 rule on most days -- at least 80% of my diet is healthy, leaving 20% room for treats.
I fast for anywhere between 18 to 23 hrs on a daily basis, so the first 24 hrs were a breeze -- I even did 60 mins of indoor cycling in that time. The next 24 hrs were difficult, more for my mind than for my body.
Usually I eat in the afternoon, have a cup of lemon tea a few hours after eating, and then exercise after work. This time, my 24 hrs of fasting ended at 3pm on Saturday – I had already exercised for the day, and over the next 6 hours, I meditated, did my daily journaling, practiced the keyboard, read a book – everything I could think of to occupy my mind. However, after 9pm, it became difficult – thoughts of sabotaging my progress and breaking my fast kept creeping into my mind, mainly due to boredom, not hunger. Thankfully, I stayed strong and did not eat - I distracted myself again by binge watching the TV series 'Young Sheldon'. I slept well at night, and woke up in the morning proud of having stuck to my plan, no matter how difficult it was.
Tips for a successful prolonged fast:
1. Get proper sleep:
I cannot stress the importance a good night’s sleep has on our body’s ability to abstain from food. A good amount of sleep leads to an increase in the hormone leptin, which is responsible for subduing the need to eat by providing a sensation of satiety. Less sleep, on the other hand, increases the hormone ghrelin, which increases the drive to eat.
2. Drink plenty of water:
Drinking water not only helps us feel less hungry, but also keeps us energized.
3. Choose a day when you can relax:
I had purposely chosen a weekend for this fast, as it is very difficult for me to fast for longer hours when I am stressed about work. You are already stressing your body by not eating, so try to choose a day when your mind can be relaxed. In my experience, a stressed body and a stressed mind often leads to binge eating.
4. Keep your mind occupied:
Reading, meditating, practicing a hobby, exercising – not only aid in personal development, but are healthy distractions when fasting. Writing this post in the last few hours of my fast has been a wonderful distraction as well. *wink*
5. Be comfortable being uncomfortable:
We are so accustomed to seeking comfort in food, especially when stressed, that we can’t handle the thought of skipping a meal even for a day. Fasting teaches us to be comfortable being uncomfortable, to have control over our body and mind. Think of it as challenging your body and mind to become stronger, much like lifting weights makes our muscles stronger.
Weight loss update:
I weighed myself in the morning, after 20 hrs of fasting and again after 43 hrs of fasting, and there was a 1.2 kg reduction. However, although I did experience a similar weight loss when I did my first 48hr fast, it is important to note that the body cannot lose 1 kg of fat in a day. Although I had assumed that I had lost 1 kg of fat at that time, my weight did increase again, once I ate normally.
Goes to show that the weight loss we experience after a prolonged fast or after starting a new diet is primarily water weight. Only consistent healthy eating, exercise and fasting can help you burn fat.
Tips on how to start fasting:
1. Start slowly:
If you are currently eating for 14 to 16 hrs a day (i.e. the only time that you aren't eating is when you're sleeping - which was what I used to do before June, 2018), then try the 12:12 method - eating for 12 hrs and fasting for 12 hrs. Overtime, increase your fasting window until you can easily fast for 20 hrs or more.
2. Don't be too rigid:
When I first started intermittent fasting, I would break my fast at the same time every day. Although it was good to have a fixed eating schedule, it can sometimes be really stressful and lead to one checking the clock a hundred times. Currently, I make sure that I break my fast after 18 to 20 hrs of fasting on most days, and it's never the same every day - sometimes I eat after 18 hrs, sometimes after 22 hrs, depending on my work and exercise schedule.
Do check out my other Intermittent Fasting posts for more tips:
I am not a doctor, nor a dietician.
I write weight loss and fasting posts purely from my own research and experience.
Kindly consult your doctor in case you want to practice anything I mention in my posts.
Do check out my other health and weight loss posts, here.
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!