What I learned not eating for 60 hours

June 12, 2013 - Get free updates of new posts here

During lunch, while I was scarfing a delicious ham sandwich (bad jew, I know),  my friend Charlie Hoehn wasn’t eating.

I asked, “What’s up?”.

“Oh, I’m on a 7 day fast, ” Charlie said.

“WTF. Fer reals,” I said.

“Yea, while I was going through some things last year this was one of the few experiences that really helped make my life better,” Charlie said.

It also gave him mental clarity like nothing else which made me curious to try.

I decided that since I’ve done a 24 hour fast before, going for 60 hours would be pushing myself to the limit.

So for 60 hours I was in. Queue weekend…

For the first hours of the fast I was gold. This will be cake I thought (pun-intended).

I did a 14 mile bike ride and then some light walking.

Bad idea.

“The wall” hit me around 4pm.

Tired, low energy, just low everything!

Towards night time I could feel my stomach rumbling but it wasn’t unbearable.

Noah Kagan Hungry

Sunday is where it got really challenging.

Stupid me decided a 4 mile hike and 3 hours of disc golf were a great idea. They weren’t.

My energy was very low and I got extremely light headed whenever I tried to stand up.

This was a rough day, I’d go in-and-out of hunger and got weak very quickly throughout the day when I normally wouldn’t.

As night began I was extremely productive with work and creative with my writing. Maybe cause it was hard for me to move so typing on my couch seemed easier than usual.

The day was near done but I couldn’t sleep…

And I couldn’t sleep and it continued. Shit.

Then my heart started acting a bit crazy. Beating extremely slowly but very strong like I’ve never felt before.

It scared me. I searched online for what a normal heart beat should be which is 60-100.

Checked my pulse which was 68 and then tried to rest.. Finally around 2:30am I passed out.

BUT woke up again at 3:42am.

My heart was going all zany again. WTF is going on. I got a bit scared.

Internally I was debating: “No way I can break my fast. I committed to myself, my fasting partner (very helpful) and others that I’d see this through to the end.”

Most of us think we are stubborn and I’m no exception.

I had to ponder if it was worth it to potential damage myself long-term vs the ego that was challenging me at that moment.

I also struggled with maybe this is just the hard part I have to get past and suck it up.

My heart kept throbbing…

So I made the executive decision to make some oatmeal.

The downside risk of dying was not worth trying to reach an arbitrary goal.

…I still feel some guilt today for not going all the way.

Noah's Famous Oatmeal

Noah’s famous oatmeal

I felt better nearly instantly.

Lost 7 Pounds in 2 Days

Lost 7 pounds (149) after not eating for 50 hours.


What can YOU learn from this?

Discipline is good. I’m super glad I had the self control to not eat and reinforced that I can do this in other parts of my life. Short term not having discipline is okay but the long-term reward from it will make you much more likely to get what you want.

Reading is shit. Experience is gold. (< Click to tweet) You can read about how to start a business or a diet or anything you’ve been avoiding doing forever. The best way I’ve found to truly internalize knowledge is to experience it yourself.

Food = Energy. I never looked at food like gas to a car. When you give your body food it’s basically converted to energy so you can do the things you want it to do. Better food = better energy.

Question your habits. I’m SO used to just eating at put-food-in-my-mouth o’clock. Know what I mean?? It’s getting dark so that must mean it’s dinner time. But are you really hungry? This experience reset my expectations to really question if I’m hungry at that moment or not. (Back in 2008 I wrote a book review on Mindless Eating. Check it out for some healthy eating tips.)

Simplify your decisions. Yesterday, I realized while snacking that it’s easier to not have to decide with food. With fasting, I knew I wouldn’t eat but snacking on jerky yesterday I had to figure out how much I wanted to eat. This made me realize why the 100 calorie Almond packs are so powerful. If you know the decision will be hard or uncertain, figure out how you can pre-commit or reduce having to decide when you don’t want to.

Would I recommend this for you to do?

HELL no, if you want to do it as a diet. It’s not a bad kickstarter to a diet but it’s definitely not sustainable.

Yes, if you want to explore how far you can go, become more aware of when you actually need to eat, and want a challenge.

Would I do this again?

Yes, I plan on fasting for only 24 hours once a month. Less for the challenge and more for the reminder that I don’t really need to eat as much and bring my  awareness of food to the front of my mind. It was amazing how much food consumed my thoughts when I didn’t have it for only 2 days…

Okay, action time. Leave a comment committing to fast for 24 hours. ANYONE who posts that they do it and what they learned about themselves I’ll personally mail you something. International people too!

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74 responses to “What I learned not eating for 60 hours

  1. Barbara Reply

    I fast for like 12 hours a day. The fact that most of that is while I’m asleep shouldn’t be held against me.

    This part is totally off-topic. I’m a complete geek, and so I naturally looked the source code of your page to see what theme this is. Saw you have a javascript named “cat” which just added several points to your awesomeness score.

  2. Isaac Reply

    I fasted for 5 days once, it’s difficult to do but it does really help you get in touch with your self in a new way. Lots of people in the Bible fasted for over 30 days.

    After a certain point it is hard to start eating food again, you have to start with soup or something easy on your stomach.

  3. Erin Harding Reply

    Good for you, Noah! You should be proud of yourself for lasting 50 hours especially since all he physical exercise probably had an affect on you. I’ve read you should not exercise beyond light yoga/walking if you are strictly fasting. Fasting is as much of a mental game as a physical one. You definitely have to psych yourself up for it. I just did a fast as well and plan on doing them once a month(48 hr) or possibly once a week(24hr). Haven’t decided.

    I did a 28 day juice fast(all freshly juiced) once and was going for 30 days. Mentally I felt amazing and even physically I did. It’s amazing what your body can do. However, on day 28 my mouth started to get all torn up…soo…I quit. No shame in that.

    Quitting for common sense and honorable reasons is not “quitting”. It just means that sometimes what you thought you wanted may not be in your best interest after all and sometimes a little “nudge” from the Universe drives home that point. 🙂

    At 50 hours you had already learned what you set out to learn, right? No need to go 60.

    Good luck on your next one. And check out this. It might sustain you better than tea: http://davidkirschwellness.com/store/all/48-hour-cleanse

  4. Skye Reply

    Noah you should look into intermittent fasting. Haven’t tried it but i keep hearing about it in my health & fitness podcasts. I think Ferriss touched on it as we’ll in 4 hour body.

  5. Tom Reply

    I recently lost 35lbs by taking bits and pieces of varying disciplines. Paleo, 4-hour body, intermittent fasting. Paleo in that I mostly removed processed foods, no rice, sugar, bread, pasta, 4HR body, by eating the same food everyday and a cheat on Sunday. I save my social eating for Sundays and eat whatever I want, not overeat, just whatever i want. This let’s my body know all is well and it’s not starving. I follow that with a fast to knock my insulin levels back to normal. I begin my fast sunday night around 10PM. I don’t eat again till Tuesday morning around 10AM, so 36 hrs. I will inadvertently fast for 12 hrs at other times, just by getting up late and not eating till 10AM. And I walk for 1 1/2 hours or ride my bike for an hour daily.
    Interesting video on fasting :http://goo.gl/AXpC7

  6. Kari Reply

    You may feel a little guilty about ending early, but it seems you succeeded quite nicely in one of the most important areas of all: listening to yourself. I can’t think of many people who have succeeded by ignoring their own internal dialog/ feelings/ thoughts/ etc in lieu of blindly following some other person’s secret-to-success. Growing and pushing past your boundaries is important, but so is getting in touch with what works for you, as an individual.

    Case in point: As a migraine sufferer, I would have to be in a hostage situation before I went 60 hours without food. In fact, if I get a little cocky and push it much past 5 or 6 hours, there’s likely going to be hell to pay. In my case it would probably be more beneficial to be conscious of the duration between meals, rather than eliminating food altogether. You could argue I would yield similar results (discipline, paying attention), from nearly the exact opposite process… but only if I know how to listen to what my mind and body are personally trying to tell me.

  7. Joel Reply

    Hey Noah,

    I’ve been experimenting with fasting (intermittent) for the past couple of weeks. I attempted to fast for 38 hours (9pm Sunday was last food – 11am Tuesday was next food) three weeks ago and couldn’t do it. I felt exhausted, irritable, and was starving (or so I thought) by 4pm on Monday evening. I fed myself and decided I was going to try it again the following week.

    Mission accomplished 🙂 The second time I kept my mind busy with work and convinced myself that if I could just get to 4pm (the failure point from the previous week) that I could make it all the way until the finish. Keeping occupied until 4pm proved fairly simple and after that it was easy.

    I’ve done it again (finishing today actually) of another 38 hours and it’s even easier the second time 🙂 It probably helps that I “fast” 16 hours per day regularly but it really is a mental game.

    I’ve learned that the habit of eating is tough to get through but once you realize that you will not die from not eating every few hours it is quite liberating to realize that you aren’t a slave to food.

    My mental function peaks around the 16 hours mark I’ve found and slowly declines as the time passes but it does really make you aware of your food intake.

    I’ve become more productive, decreased my body fat (not a skinny dude like you), and felt like I’ve taken back control of my life (I know that sounds cheesy). Having the self-control makes decision-making in other aspects of my life easier.

    I don’t know if I will push for 50 hours anytime soon but I’m going to continue on with the small (16 hour) fasts daily.

    Thanks for being open with your struggles and what some of your failures are. It is really quite refreshing to see people I view as successful embracing those failures and sharing what they learn from them.

    1. Noah Kagan Reply

      This was an awesome comment. Thanks for sharing.

      While in Russia I’m not sure when we’re going to eat so I’m experimenting w fasting during the day time.

      The control and awareness of food is powerful.

  8. Isabelle Reply

    Just saw the post – I like the challenge. I’m starting right away. Reporting back tomorrow afternoon.

  9. Isabelle Reply

    So, I did just a little more than 24 hours of fasting. Can’t remember doing anything like that before. I started fasting shortly after lunch yesterday, then started eating again this afternoon. Learnt a few things:
    – It was very tempting to read the post and think “yeah great I’ll start tomorrow”. Instead I asked myself, “why not start now, immediately?”. It’s always easier to postpone things that then end up not happening. This is something I need to get better on, so starting straight away was good for me.
    – I mentioned this to 3 people. One thought it sounded crazy but fun, another had done something similar and was supportive. The third questioned why I would do such a thing, whether it would harm me and thought it unnecessary and a bit pointless. Good lesson in how even small change can create reactions. This made me consider how I present my ideas and the people I choose to share ideas with.
    – Once decided, not eating wasn’t so bad, even though I cooked for two others and had to watch them wolf down one of my favourite dishes. I felt free. Somehow the simple decision to not eat for a while and break norms made me feel powerful.
    – Starting to eat again, I felt that I was eating much more mindfully.

    I am now considering doing this more regularly – why not? Thanks for the challenge Noah, it was a great experiment!

  10. Drew Curtis Reply

    Hey Noah, 60 hours seems like quite the stretch! With all that physical activity in the mix I’m not surprised your body went a little nuts.

    I I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about 2 months now, 16/8. I honestly feel a lot better not eating until about 1:00 PM and only eating until 9. My weight hasn’t really changed, but I have had people telling me I look like I’m putting on weight, so I’m guessing that I’m losing body fat and gaining muscle (I’m alright with that).

    I usually do some kind of cardio in the AM, bodybuilding style workouts in the afternoon, and yoga here and there.

    60 hours is crazy, if you do give it another go, let us know what happens. Thanks for sharing your results and keep up all the awesome work you do.

    1. Noah Kagan Reply

      Thanks for the comment Drew.

      Been experimenting with a schedule like that.

      Gonna do another 24 hour soon. I like the reminder to think if I’m really hungry or not.

  11. Sonia M. Reply

    I do intermittent fasting (from 6 pm to about 7-8 am), and that’s the most I’ll do. I have a really fast metabolism and am prone to low blood pressure and hypoglycemia, so the whole “real” fasting thing feels too dangerous to me.

    What’s funny is that today I had my longest intermittent fasting (6 pm last night to noon today), and I needed to eat way more today, including 2 bullet proof crio brus instead of 1. And I went for a jog. While I’d never do what you did – I’m tiny, and I managed to hurt people twice my size when my blood sugar got too low, and they thought I would be funny to block my path – the fact I do intermittent fasting, and that I’ve experienced some of the symptoms you described made your whole post come to life for me. Like you wrote “Reading is Shit. Experience is Gold”. The fact that I’ve experienced something similar gave your story more impact and weigth.

    By the way, I’m stealing “Reading is Shit. Experience is Gold” as a life motto.

  12. Nicole Reply

    Hi Noah.

    Thanks for sharing your journey! Not sure if mine counts as a fast or not. I’m doing the Isagenix 30 day, and doing a deep cleanse 1 day a week. So on that day, I just drink this cleansing drink. I’ve only done 1 so far but I learned:
    1. Eatings is so often mindless- as you said, eat dinner because it’s getting dark. We don’t actually check in with our bodies to see if we are actually hungry!
    2. Food is fuel, but it is also an experience- as a dancer and dance and Pilates instructor, I get the food as fuel part. But I was never a foodie. I truly couldn’t have cared less. I think this time away gives me more appreciation of the texture, flavor, smell, sound.
    3. We need less than we think we do- and I bet this applies to more than just food.

  13. Caleb Reply

    I’ve done a handful of 3 and 4 day fasts, enjoyable experiences for sure.

    When you look at food as “gas to fill the tank” you also need to look at activities as “using the gas that’s not there”. I usually cut all my workouts when fasting as my body needs all the energy it has just to survive.

    I see where you’re going with the “why eat if not hungry” bit but I don’t really agree, especially for someone as active as you seem to be. I eat to fuel my body. If I have a workout in a couple hours it doesn’t matter if I’m hungry, I will eat at least a light meal of protein and carbs so that I’m not hungry throughout the workout/activity and my body has energy to draw on. I’m more focused on getting all I can out of my workout. Also I never feel like eating after a workout but that hour after is the most vital time to fuel your muscles and recover faster. Not to play the devil’s advocate, but just putting in my two cents.

    Also I love your comment on pre-portioned snacks, it’s the best way to go.

  14. Andrew Spott Reply

    I fast every week from after dinner Sunday until I eat dinner on Monday. It’s only about 20-22 hours, but its a great weekly habit. I find, like you, that it helps to center my mind and remove my (very human) fixation on food.

    It also makes for a very productive Monday.

  15. Marcy Reply

    I did a 14 day fast in the south of Thailand. Only coconut water & very thin veggie broth+colonics. It was intense. I’m not sure I would do it again but after the two weeks I felt amazing and very clear minded.

  16. Benny Reply

    Good timing that I found this post. I’ve got 1.5 more hours left on my 24 hour fast. Been drinking lots of water and oolong tea to help. I started when I had my last bite last night at 7pm. This is my 4th time this month. I wanted to try it cause my body turned to shit after traveling in Asia for 4 months.

    I read Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon and the benefits of fasting. I’ve always been a guy who thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day and if I got the slightest bit hungry, I’d get headaches or be in a bad mood.

    However since I’ve done these fasts, I don’t get those headaches, my mind is clear, I don’t get sleepy from eating a ton of food and then crashing.

    But besides doing 24 hr fasts 1-2 times week been doing intermittent fasting. I go from 12-8 for eating and don’t break my fast till 12pm the next day. I feel great in the mornings and throughout the day.

    Also there is the Leangains.com that I learned about for losing fat and gaining muscle. I don’t follow that because I’m not lifting heavy weights like it recommends. Maybe in the future.

    So what I have learned is that food is so important in how we perform. I’m so used to just eating whatever so no wonder I would always need to nap in the afternoon, or get really bad headaches. I also realize I don’t need to eat for 24 hours and I’ll be fine. I even exercise in the morning and have plenty of energy.

    P.S. Last night listened to some of your interview with Pat Flynn. Awesome interview so far. My favorite on his podcast for sure so far.

  17. kareem Reply

    You mentioned Food = Energy, but I like to think about food as a drug. It kicks off physiological reactions depending on what its nutrient composition is. So think about what kind of reactions you want to induce (quick spike? steady output? etc) and then work backwards from there to figure out how to achieve it. All calories are not created equal =)

  18. Marcos Reply

    Ok Noah! Action time! I just had lunch, and I’m committing to a 24 hour fast. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  19. Marcos Reply

    Fasting complete! It was more around 25 hours, and it was a great experience.

    I expected it to be very hard but it was surprisingly easy. I kept myself busy working on something that really matters to me so for the most part I forgot about what time it was and when I should eat because I was so engaged.

    I found out that for me eating can also be an excuse to take a break or stop doing something I don’t really want to do. When I was doing the more tedious part of my work that’s when I kept thinking about grabbing something to eat.

    I feel proud of myself for deciding to do something and keeping my word. It also felt good to do something for myself that goes against the norm and not caring about other people’s opinions. I immediately got negative feedback from people who heard about it regarding my health or that they simply didn’t see the point and thought I shouldn’t do it. I smiled inside and thought to myself “shouldn’t doing something (legal!) because I decide to do it be reason enough?” I’m glad I did it.

    I encourage people to try, it really isn’t that hard when you put your mind to it and it makes you feel more in control of your life!

  20. David Bograd Reply

    Great post Noah, really inspired me to think more about what and when I eat!

    Im a bit more than 2 hours in, on the 24 hour fasting.
    Really excited to see how my body will react to this – i lift weigths just like you.
    I usally eat 4-5 times a day, big meals, so this is quite different! 😉

    I will check back tomorrow with a result.

  21. Ben Reply

    Hi Noah.

    I have been dieting and using IF now for just over 3 months and never thought about going 24hr let alone 60 hours. I’ve always just eaten when I wanted and after doing this experiment I can now see that I eat when I’m not hungry most of the time… like yourself I will be introducing a monthly 24hr fast.

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  22. Sam Reply

    I’m currently on the 36th hour and feeling great! I’ve read in many places that the better you eat beforehand, the easier the fast will be. Beforehand, I ate foods like brown rice, chicken, some oats, bananas, apples, beans and a couple of greens. It’s not the best, but it’s not jam doughnuts and biscuits either.

    I have much more energy available and I have much clearer thinking. I think my plan is to fast 24 hours once a week and do a 3 day fast once every 1 and a half months or something. Doing things like cold showers, meditation and fasting really helps you get out of the “automative” mode where you’re just going through each day doing your usual habits (some may be bad habits) and not really being in the present.

  23. Slane Reply

    Noah! You’re not supposed to exercise when you’re fasting or to start a fast cold turkey. You are supposed to modify your diet the week beforehand and take it relatively easy during a fast. I’ve read a lot about it, which is why I’ve never done it : )

  24. Hannah K Reply

    First of all, I loved reading that. I admire that you accepted a challenge not only to test your strength, but to discover what outcomes (if any) there would be. You experimented on yourself and learned valuable lessons from it. As a Muslim, I have fasted before during Ramadan, and I have to say that it teaches discipline, patience, and appreciation. I haven’t eaten anything today from 12 pm to now (12:03 AM)- just because I didn’t feel hungry/ had a lot to do- and I feel so alive. It’s crazy how calm, relaxed, and focused I am. I am interesting in fasting for 24 hours now, and looking forward to it. 🙂

  25. Elvis vallejo Reply

    Awesome article im actually doing a 50 hour fast and so far im in 34 hours and I’m hanging in there. But I do feel weird specially at night my heart start actin up but in my case it’s mind over matter lol anyways awesome article keep up the great writing thanks for your useful info!!

  26. Laura Reply

    I’ve just finished a 24hr fast and I’ve realised that half the time, I’m eating because “Its dinner time and I have to”. I eat even if I’m not hungry because of time cues and it’s made me more alert of whether I am hungry or if Im just eating because it’s the socially acceptable time to eat.

  27. Robert Reply

    I suffered from an eating disorder in high school and it started when I tried fasting for 24 hours, from that point I would only eat one small meal a day though and finally stopped once I fainted while getting a haircut. I had been wanting to try fasting for 24 hours again but that had been preventing me from trying it for a long time. I finally tried it part of yesterday/today. I couldn’t tell you how many times I thought about food. I tried to get past it by drinking plenty of water and it somewhat helped though thinking about what all I was eating before this I realize I was eating way too much. I’m starting to get a regular exercise plan going and want to start eating better as well, fasting helped me realize not only how much I ate but exactly what I was eating. I’m hoping to start eating in smaller portions, and get some fruit and veggies to snack on throughout the day when I get hungry.

  28. Bill Rhodes Reply

    I fasted for 60 Hours Easter Weekend. I have also lost 6 pounds. No other affects other than spotted hunger,not major. I have never fasted over one day before. I an thinking about fasting another 12 hours, and calling it quits.

  29. JB Reply

    Realize that I am late to the party here, but I was doing a search and this post came up. Good job on the 50-hours and don”t feel ashamed: I have cut fasts short from time to time because something felt “off.” I do a 30-ish hour fast once a week — been doing that since July ’14. I do a 5-day fast every three months — I have two under my belt. I also like to work in a 60-hour fast once-or-so every month if I’m coming off an indulgent weekend.

    I would like to reiterate what a few others have said: NO strenuous exercise during the fasts, except to end them. I will usually have a protein shake right before the exercise, too. And by strenuous I mean anything more than going for 20-40-minute walk. I think this is crucial to the point of saying that exercising during a fast is breaking a cardinal rule of fasting.

    I do allow myself coffee and lots of it, each time with a splash of milk and Stevia. But none after 1pm, or it disrupts my sleep.

  30. Mark Reply

    Hey Noah it’s really not that dramatic. I’ve done a 10 day fast no problem. I was walking daily and a bit of yoga during the fast instead of my usual run/gym/swim and it was cool. The trick is the other side – coming back to food – I love to eat and just wolfing down heaps after you’ve been fasting a while isn’t what you want to do. Ease back into it with a couple of soups, some tea and juices and you’re up and running normally the next day or so.

    Fasting 24 hours a week is actually a pretty good idea if you want to sharpen up mentally and physically. Not sure about your heart thing but going out for big bike rides etc while fasting is a dumb move for sure. Good luck.

  31. Dan Reply

    Just got off a 48 hour fast. I was surprised at how … good I felt. Kind of odd. I’ll definitely be doing it again. And again. And again.

  32. Katie Ngo Reply

    This was a great read, I’ve been reading about these fastings and it is so amazing how you all can stay so grounded. I want to do this, not for the weightloss but for the great reason you mentioned. To remind yourself that you don’t really need that much food. And when you do to be mindful. I have been in this horrible cylce of diet binge diet binge. I want to be able to hear my body body better.

    Once again thank you for the great post.
    I’ll try and post another commentbon day 5!

  33. maria Reply

    This really worked I lost 10 pounds frankly I’m a little scary now I look like a skeleton lol but thanks

  34. Ashley Reply

    I went 2 weeks without eating because we simply didn’t have the money.Make sure you keep money on hand or you might starve to death hahahaha.60 hours was childs play when I was younger.

  35. Eddie Reply

    First of all congrats on sticking to your plan! You might not visit this page anymore, but to future viewers who are thinking about doing something close to this and wanna know what someone else experienced. So for 3 days now I been eating twice a day, in the morning it’s usually 2 eggs and a bread, and then for dinner something random but nothing too big. At first I was like wow I haven’t eaten and its not bad, by the 3rd day its like wow I’m missing not having 3 complete meals. A good amount of my friends do it for their religions, and well because I wanna show them respect, I’m gonna start doing it with them but also for me to help me lose weight, and to just overall have the experience. So I started 3 days ago, and the last time I ate was a chicken sandwhich from Chick-fil-a, with a sweet tea and small fries around 6pm. 18 hours have passed, I wasn’t able to sleep at night, so i just stayed up reading on my laptop, but getting up i felt so lightheaded, it was a difference experience, I could see my hands and fingers moving, but it didn’t feel as I was the one doing it.. I took 2 sleeping pills around 4 in the morning and another 2 around 10-11 am, and ive only had a water bottle. Im not sure how you were able to do it for that long and all while doing all those activities. 6 more hours and I would be completing 24 hours. I may do this weekly or bi-weekly. I do feel weak, but that could also have to be with the fact I didnt sleep, when I stop to look around say my hands, i can see them shake, I guess another key is to not think about the fact you aren’t eating for a while. I do have a 12 hour shift soon and it’s hard to be able to eat since i’ll be on the road and stopping to get a bite is pretty hard, so ill for sure eat after my shift, so that’ll put me at 36 hours at the end. I’m not sure if its because of the caffeine pills but my stomach is just… i cant explain. I guess hard to stay on topic and concentrate will get harder as i reread this and see how I talk about one thing, then something else, then go back to one top and blah blah. well to anyone trying, good luck!

  36. Kelly Reply

    I’ve now fasted for 5 days. I’ve lost several pounds and no longer have the urge for food. I just want my water. I know my stomach grumblings along with my current weakness are my body’s way of saying that I need food. I plan to reintroduce a “liquid diet” for a few days to not overtax my system.

  37. Emil Reply

    You’re probably not reading the comments anymore, but after I stumbled upon this during my own experiment with it, I wanted to comment. I’m overweight and trying to use this as a weight loss, been trying ALOT of different things over the past 4-5 years now and currently on hour 33 (I know, not long yet) but honestly, I don’t feel much difference between now and 3 days ago when I was eating normally. I take Vitamin+Mineral supplements, Omega-3 supplements and drink ALOT of water and coffee. Only problem was that I had an unusual hard time sleeping. Took me 1 hour to fall asleep and woke up several times during the night. I might eventually get some protein in me so it doesn’t start tearing at muscles but I’ll just cook half a chicken filet or something similar with low/no fat but pure protein.

  38. Sarah Reply

    I have been fasting for 36 hours once a month for a couple of months now. Once you set your mind to do it, it really is a lot easier than you might imagine.

    I was surprised at the lack of adverse reactions my body experiences; i.e no headaches, bearable hunger, no stomach pains. The only problem I experience is poor sleep pattern whilst undertaking the fast. I therefore make sure I fast at weekends, so it is not a problem.

  39. Amanda Reply

    Thanks for the article, Noah! I am going on my 22nd hour of fasting, and I definitely feel low-energy. I love that you put in this post that you lost 7 lbs., but I’m more excited that you advised not to use this as a dieting tool and more as a tool to bring awareness to how we eat foot and why we eat it.

  40. Jesse ockochinski Reply

    It’s been 4 days since I last ate. Zero appetite and yesterday had to do a 14 hr job which would be considered full body workout. Oilfield stuffs. Cleaning a cring, lots of chemicals. Yum. Well by hr 10 my stomach started going haywire. Not hungry but kept burping and shit. Drank two 2 litres of water and kept going. After 14 hrs we were heading home and stomach hurts pretty bad. But not unbearable. Had to get driver to pull over because I hD that nausea feeling. Had just drank another small bottle of water. Ended up throwing that up with an excessive amount of yellow stuff. Have I gone too far? Neck and shoulders are burning and hurt so bad. I’m not new to this type of work. But doing it with the lack of food I think had roughy me how food for the body is like gas to your car.
    I do think I should eat something now cus the loss already is insanely noticeable. But one problem. I have absolutely no desire to eat… I’m sitting here trying to force myself and I’m still just sitting in my car.

  41. max Reply

    I haven’t eaten for about 29.5 hours. I have experiences two pangs of hunger since then. The first 24 hours were unintentional- just too busy to eat. So far it has been relatively easy. I haven’t experienced any nausea or stomach upset. but I do plan on continuing this impromptu fast til the end of today, just for science. I’ll probably cave and eat some breakfast tomorrow.

  42. Carrie Carrie Reply

    I have water fasted on and off for three months.The longest I went without food of any kind was five days,but I must qualify that statement with the fact that at the start of my water fasting I was 265Lbs at 5’4″.I was what is called morbidly obese,so my body had a lot of fuel to burn off in the form of fat and some muscle,In six months I went from 265Lbs to 215Lbs which is a lot for myself.I would recommend intermittent fasting with a doctors approval,just make sure that you always have filtered water near by and you will need to drink for your body to continue it’s normal processes.

  43. Sylphadora Reply

    I fast for at least 16 hours every day (I only have lunch and dinner, approximately at 2:30 pm and 8 pm respectively). Once or twice a week I only have dinner – of course, a more calorie-dense dinner than a regular one.

    Once every few weeks or even once a week I go a whole day without eating, meaning that if I have dinner on Sunday, I don’t eat anything at all on Monday and my next meal is Tuesday’s lunch, so I fast for about 40 hours. When I do this I try to make it a water fast, so I don’t drink tea, juice or coffee.

    I started doing this because I tried the 5:2 diet (where I’m supposed to have just 500 cals a day twice a week) and found that not eating altogether is way easier than eating just 500 cals. Food only makes me crave more food, so eating just 500 cals and stopping there is way more challenging for me than avoiding food and not thinking about it altogether.

    I know some people need to ‘get ready’ for a long fast by having lighter meals the previous days. I read once that your very last meal before a fast should be vegetarian. I just can’t do that. If I give vegetables to my digestive system, my body is going to want more food and I get terrible hunger pangs.

    So while my last meal before a long fast is NOT a binge -I don’t stuff my face- I do eat very dense foods, like German-style rye bread and lots or nuts or nut butters. This kind of foods ‘sit’ in my stomach nicely and I find that if I have a dense meal like that, the next day I don’t get hungry at all or get just very light hunger. Actually, most times I break my fast I feel like I could have fasted for longer with no problem at all.

    I just do what works for me and at the moment I’m quite happy with the results. I’m actually ending one of the long fasts. My last meal was dinner 2 days ago -was done eating by 9 pm-, I didn’t have food at all yesterday and today I’m breaking my fast at 2:30-3 pm. That’s a 41-hour fast. I have another full-day water fast programmed for next week.

    Another reason why I prefer a full-day fast (that is usually around 36 hours or longer) rather than a 24-hour fast (breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch or dinner to dinner) is that I used to have a problem with binge eating and I’ve realized that when you completely abstain from eating for a whole day and see everyone else around you having 3+ meals during that amount of time, you get a new appreciation for food. You realize that you won’t die for going a whole day without food, and at the same time you see as something precious that nourishes and fuels your body, not something that you should gorge on. You get the importance of it.

    Also, when you have gone a whole day without food and have realized just how valuable it is, when you break your fast the next day you don’t want your first meal to consist of fast food or some crap. You want REAL food, something that will do good to your body. Your body treated you well by withstanding the day-long deprivation of food you put it through, so pay it back and treat your body well by giving it quality nourishment and NOT stuffing your face when you DO give it food – you’ll actually find it hard to binge during the first meal after a fast.

    I’d say that I have now a healthier relationship with food. I now eat more mindfully. Completely abstaining from food for a whole day changes your relationship with food and gives you a new perspective. Even if you are dubious about the possible benefits of fasting, it is something that I seriously recommend. Everybody should try it at least once and see how their body responds.

  44. Andy Reply

    I’m at 48+ hours and food is starting to look gross. I can’t even think about food without gagging. I love food, this is a new thing. I wasn’t fasting intentionally, but it’s been a learning experience all the same. Low energy, but I can drag myself to work just fine. Not eating as much gives me a lot of time to kill, time I didn’t have before.

  45. Lucy Reply

    Okkkkk, so its currently Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016, and the last time I ate was Sunday the 21st at around 5. Heres the thing, im still not hungry and i havent eaten for more that 30 hours?

  46. dave Reply

    fasted for a week due to diabetic (type1) complications. stomach has retracted so much i can’t jab insulin. need to start eating again but need something easy on the stomach & to fill my stomach

  47. Brittani Reply

    I just fasted for five days. I became lovesick, and lost my appetite for the entire time, losing my feeling of hunger. I felt fine until this morning, when my heart rate upon waking up was 104. I am 23 and healthy with a usually very low heart rate. I figured this was a sign that I should eat, and once I smelled the bagel cooking, I suddenly felt hunger. I would do 24 hours, or even 48 again, but 5 days I think is my limit.

  48. Stephen Ray Reply

    I did 36 hours a couple of weeks ago, after reading Nate Eliason’s post about a 5 day fast. I loved the sensation of being in control of my body by choosing not to eat. I also really liked the brain boost I got part way through.

    I’m already part way through another fast. I plan on 48 hours this time. Hour 18 just ticked by. I’m really surprised how easy it seems. Black coffee is my secret, though. Lots of water and black coffee.

  49. Aisha Ali Reply

    When fasting for 49 hours. I learnt that I can achieve what i set my mind to do. It was really challenging especially the last few hours. but nevertheless I did it :))))))

  50. Tanya Moore Reply

    I am currently on day five and want to go seven…mine is more for spiritual clarity but after I got past two days, it became alarmingly easy to not eat. In fact, I do not crave food, even the juicy burgers on t.v., that usually get my stomach juices rumbling like a bear. I am overweight. I have never been before but since I hit the 45 year mark as a single mom, I kind of just exploded without knowing it. There is a great benefit to it, spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally….I know after day seven, it will be a slow ease back into food; broth, etc. I have been wondering though…..when people are starving, literally, you hear that the crave food constantly but I felt that need completely disappear after day two. I wonder if my experience is not normal or if my survival instincts are not up to par, or more likely, my body had fat stores that it switched to and knew there was plenty of. I have lost almost my entire gut and did not expect that. I did get nauseated at one point and felt light headed but it was surprisingly easy to do.

  51. Lauren Otero Reply

    For some odd reason, I haven’t been able to finish my meals for the last couple of days. I eat only a little something for breakfast but I start to feel sick a little over halfway through. Because of this, I have been skipping lunch and dinner. Admittedly, I’ve never actually gone a whole 24 hours without eating (I got pretty lose though), but I have learned a few things:
    1.) Hunger is simply a feeling, not some kind of immediate emergency that you need to drop everything for.
    2.) Sometimes, I never know when I’m in need of food out of hunger or out of boredom and fasting has helped me to decide that it’s usually out of boredom (though sometimes out of hunger).
    3.) Going back to your usual eating habits is both easy and hard at the same time. For example, when I tried to have dinner the first night, I became EXTREMELY hungry. A little over halfway into my meal, however, I started to feel sick and I almost hurled (gross, I know, but true).
    4.) I looked on other sites about why this was happening. I didn’t find a reason, but I learned that people actually fast for 24 hours to lose fat and gain muscle.
    5.) If you see someone fasting, it’s not always because of an eating disorder or religious purposes; people who value self-experimentation and/or are doing this for a diet (it actually works depending on how long you fast, like don’t fast for 5-6 days, fast for maybe 1-2 tops)
    6.) Fasting puts things into perspective. Usually, we tend to dismiss food advertisements, but once you start fasting, these advertisements become less subtle and the malicious intentions of the fast food restaurants (not that they’re actually evil, but they take your money and make you gain weight. Never mind, they’re evil)

  52. Marshall Reply

    Just fasted for 48 hours. Fist 24 was great and my blood sugar stayed on track, wasn’t very hungry. Second day, very hungry and weak, not very clear minded. Was going to do 72 hours but my blood sugar was getting low. Anything more than 24 hours is probably a bad idea as a diabetic. I learned I can get the energy and satisfaction I needed from smaller healthy meals after the experience.

  53. Marcia Reply

    I googled this because I’m at Hour 54 of a 60-hour Fast. The last six hours should be easy as I should be spending them asleep. 🙂 I hope to jump start a diet with this. I need to lose about 30 pounds, but five or so would be a Good Start. Thanks for writing your blog–

  54. Danny Reply

    Well as of right now I’m hitting the 24 hour mark heading to 48 or better yet 72 hours. I’ve personally never fasted before.