What I Learned Not Eating for 60 Hours (48 Hour Fast Extended)

What I Learned Not Eating for 60 Hours (48 Hour Fast Extended)

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. Yes, I skipped right over the 48 hour fast (more on this later).

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 4 pm.

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.

Want more personal growth experiments, like fasting? Check out my YouTube
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 heartbeat should be which is 60-100.

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

BUT woke up again at 3:42 am.

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 potentially 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.

I actually realized that a 48 hour fast would have been a great challenge for myself too (without draining ALL my energy).

Would I do this again?

Yes, I plan on fasting for only 24 hours once a month. I also plan on exploring a 48 hour fast once a quarter.

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 and take the challenge to fast for 24 hours.

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363 responses to “What I Learned Not Eating for 60 Hours (48 Hour Fast Extended)”

Katrina
August 2, 2020 at 4:39 am

I’m on hour 48 and pushing for the 72. Dizziness has hit this morning. Had the heart thing yesterday but I started drinking hot water, with lemon juice and Himalayan rock salt and the heart thing subsided. I need to distract myself today if I’m going to make it. If I break before the 72 hours it will be a green smoothie to ease my body back into eating. What you say about the awareness it gives you over your eating habits is absolutely spot on. I never in a million years imagined I could go this long without food. I’m a total foodie and despite doing the Wildfit Challenge (which I HIGHLY recommend) I still adore sugary junk foods ? but this fast definitely has me wondering about what’s going on emotionally when I graze throughout the day because it’s clearly not a physical need. Thanks for your perspective it’s helping me reflect on the process more deeply!

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Jennifer
July 30, 2020 at 9:51 am

I jist finished a 62 hour fast and last night couldn't sleep properly, this mprning felt rubbish. I broke the fast with banana oatmeal and I'm still feeling exhausted.

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Lior
July 28, 2020 at 3:49 pm

On my 52nd hour at this very moment 🙂
Not easy. Light headedness, my coordination is impaired, weak... Great stuff. Looking for 72 hours, hope not to break.
FYI, I went out and did everything normally the first day. Definitely no 14 mile biking though (yes, bad idea). It began to be hard when I woke up this morning (38th hour).
I am sure you can do 60, just stay on your computer and bike on the virtual world only 🙂
Good luck.

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Melody
July 18, 2020 at 8:26 am

Im on my 33 hour of not eating. I feel fine other than my stomach being a butt an wanting food

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Knowtorius Robb
July 17, 2020 at 7:30 am

Your psychological profile appears to be highly anxious. I am at the end of another 36 hour fast. For two weeks I have fasted, one day on and one day off. Basically eating every other day. No problem. Your anxiety got the best of you and sadly, you never truly received the benefits that come from a fast.

It’s good that you recognize your limits. Highly anxious people, shouldn’t fast. Good effort. Take care.

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Ken
July 2, 2020 at 1:09 am

I think you had a panic attack worrying about it.

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Ifunanya Anih
July 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm

It 48 hours since I last ate. It started to feel like my temperature was getting high, my feet cold, and I was starting to breathe really fast. I just ate an apple?. However, I do applaud myself. It's my first fast ever and it was supposed to be for 36hours, but I decided to go longer.

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Steve Severance
June 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm

I did just what you did. Jumped into a 72 hour fast. Felt hungry on day one only. Worked out 4 times during the fast - combination of power yoga and HIIT. Really had no problems. Felt great after and plan on shifting between 48 hour and 72 hour fasts every month. Everything I have read about autophagy and stem cell growth that results from fasting seems to be great. I am 52 BTW and 5' 11" (179 cm) and weigh 172 (78 kg) so I am not doing this to lose weight but for being as healthy as possible while aging.

Not really sure why

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