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

Patrick Bateman
May 4, 2020 at 7:52 pm

Ok so you do it wrong and admit so then say you won't do it again. Real smart. Like most other things you have to work up to it. Stop spreading ignorance.

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Samantha
April 30, 2020 at 4:05 am

Do you not think you over did the exercise and you probably would have been ok of you didnt hike and cycle etc

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Guy
May 14, 2020 at 9:49 pm

I've been fasting off and on for the better part of a month. I walk 7.5 miles per day at a rate of 14 mins/mile. I burn 1500 calories a day, plus whatever I burn just by being alive. Fasting does not inhibit your ability to work out. It's one of the biggest misconceptions. There's plenty of research to show the body does just fine without food.

The issue was randomly deciding to do a 60 hour fast. I started with 16 hour intermittent fasting, then alternating 24 hour fasts, 40 hour fasts and then 60 hour fasts.

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Larry
April 28, 2020 at 2:47 am

I just finished my 68 hour fast, I did not find it hard at all, plus was doing high weight reps.

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rebbeca
April 25, 2020 at 5:26 pm

Wow I never thought people would find it that hard. Like literally it's Ramadan for Muslims which means its my first time fasting and I lasted 48 hours but here's a tip:
Wake up In the middle of the night maybe like 3-4 O' clock

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Rachel
May 2, 2020 at 11:10 am

Ramadan fasts are from sunrise to sunset...you still eat twice a day.

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Kevin A Graham
April 24, 2020 at 10:25 pm

I'm up to 72 hours right now and counting I have done twice b4

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Sharon
April 22, 2020 at 12:19 pm

I'm up to 65 now. I really want to get to 72, quite lethargic. Hoping it kick stars metabolism

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nodumo.manzini@gmail.com
April 19, 2020 at 12:36 am

Want to try 48hr fast, currently on 39hrs

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LeeAnn
April 15, 2020 at 12:15 pm

What did your brain activity feel like? I’m curious if there was some enlightening clarity. I would do it for that.

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Megan
April 8, 2020 at 11:05 am

I normally try on a regular basis to eat one meal in the afternoon every day. Giving me enough energy to do my four mile run at night or sprinting intervals. My stomach slims down like crazy and I feel my best when I do this!. I’m going to try the 48 hour challenge this weekend. I’m inspired. ??

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Massobeme
April 24, 2020 at 4:20 pm

I’m 51 hours in so far. Just walked 8 miles.
Hoping to ride bike 30 miles tomorrow, but not so sure.

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Harika
April 3, 2020 at 4:52 am

I have actually done 60 hours of fasting many times. One time I gained more weight (1 KG) than I was before fasting, sometimes I remain the same.
Don't know exactly why this is happening.. Do you have any idea?

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Kevin A Graham
April 24, 2020 at 10:27 pm

Yes your body is going into survival mode it's not use to it

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Alex C.
March 10, 2020 at 2:55 pm

For those of you doing these extended fasts you need to make sure you’re keeping your electrolyte levels up. The best way to do this is to add sea salt (less fillers than regular salt) to your water every now and then.
I’ve don’t the above on extended fasts and haven’t experienced the symptoms above. Every now and then I’ll get a tad light headed but not enough to take me out.

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Jim
March 8, 2020 at 1:03 pm

I've done fasting for 7 days and when you are more active on fast you need to up your water, salt and potassium intake, along with magnesium. It burns out of you at 10-15meq a day or more when you're active. It sounds like you weren't doing this.

The first time I felt as you did run down and lethargic, dizzy and not feeling like it should continue. Take in some electrolytes in a single 1 litre helping and felt better within 30 mins. Kept it up for the remainder of the fast and no issues.

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Heather
March 2, 2020 at 8:36 am

I just did a 36 hour fast which, with sleep time, ended up being 39.5 hours. Like you, the little bit of stomach grumbling midway thru wasn’t intolerable. Once I broke my fast though I felt jittery, like I had 10 cups of coffee. Trying to figure out if this is normal. I had yogurt with granola and fresh blueberries, and an orange. Otherwise I have felt great. Less aches and pains in my joints. I’m 52. I felt less “swollen” all over. I will do this 1-2 times a month. I’m hoping what it did was restart my metabolism.

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Sharon
March 1, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Hey ... I’m 72 and just finished a 48 hour fast. Felt wonderful the whole time! I will be doing that once a month. I’m a sugar addict. Never thought about it the whole time! Try it!

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Jamie
February 25, 2020 at 11:06 pm

I'm 44hrs into a 60 hr fast, and I felt hungry when my friend made dinner tonight! Oh boy lol. Hey it's my first time, and I'm feeling pretty good so far. I IF daily 16:8 -18:6-20:4 depending on how hungry I am.I have appointments in the morning so I won't be eating for sure(fasting blood test). Breaking my fast at 1:00pm with New York steak & eggs with green beans?? this is easier than I thought. I enjoyed your story, and many others I just read here. Very inspiring. Thank you all-???

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Natalie
February 18, 2020 at 4:03 pm

I dont know how i came across your your blog but pleasent read! Im currently doing a 72hr fast , ive never gone beyong 42 hrs lol. Ramping up that autoghapy! Im on hour 49. Wish me luck i really want to complete this

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Tiffany Burnette
February 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm

I’m on hour 39 in my 60 hour fast. This is the first time I’ve gone this long. Decided to look up other’s experiences. I purposefully sleep a lot and take it easy when I fast. But today I’ve already done an hour of yoga and will go on a walk with a friend soon. I’m staying hydrated and replenishing my electrolytes with Propel. Wish me luck!

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Stephan
January 29, 2020 at 11:28 am

Don't knock reading, bro! Its so wonderful!

Congrats on your accomplishment! Fasting is a great teacher and calibrater!

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dee
December 12, 2019 at 9:27 pm

My Dr. wants me to fast for 60 days...

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Elizabeth
December 12, 2019 at 7:09 am

I often do 40 hour fasts and I’m 56 hours into a 60 hour fast, my first fast over 48 hours long.
I feel fantastic!
I still do my workout while fasting. I find I’m a lot more energetic in a fasted state.
To keep my electrolytes in balance I add salt and potassium (cream of tartar) to my water.
Yes, I’ll definitely do 60 hours or 72 hour once a week and OMAD the rest of the time.
HAPPY FASTING!

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Lesley Collins
March 17, 2020 at 4:46 am

Can you tell me how much salt and cream of tarter to 500mls of water, please?
Thanks

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Lexi
November 3, 2019 at 4:26 am

I just completed my first 60hr fast. I'm sitting here with this annoying dull headache. I had restless sleep both last and the night before. I did feel my heart beat a bit harder than usual. I would do this more often should I not experience the physical ailments. I didn't experience any excessive hunger. I drank a lot of green tea and sparkling mineral water and plain water. I lost 4lbs. I think I will continue with my 18/6 and occasional 24hr. Perhaps I will try this again someday. Maybe . Maybe not.

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jodie
September 14, 2019 at 9:12 pm

You would have been more successfully if you had rested fully rather tham exercising, See Herbert Shelton.

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Shoney
July 31, 2019 at 3:10 pm

I recently started OMAD and it has been one of the best decisions of my life, I feel better, and I’m a lot more happier than before. The first few days were a little difficult but after that it was easy, sometimes I go for about 30 hours without eating and I don’t even realize. I always seem to be well energized and I never really have stomach pains or any kind of abnormal pains for that matter, I would definitely recommend it.

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Kristy
March 11, 2020 at 7:48 am

I broke my fast 48 hours in. I was feeling really good but starting having diarrhea and it got worse and then nauesa. I didnt realize i should have been adding some salt to my water. I ended uo breaking my fast with a teaspoon of peanut butter and honey maybe not the best choice but i felt better instantly.

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Jason Peterson
July 29, 2019 at 5:52 am

I finished 72 hours for the second time. I felt weak and sleepy the whole time, and my heart was beating with great force that made the bed vibrate, but at seeminly normal speed. I also experienced loss of vision after minor effort. I was getting hungry and uncomfortable after drinking water with salt.

20-30 hours was the hardest time, when I had a headache and felt like throwing up. But I could sleep through the worst. For this reason, and because fat doesn't start to get burned until later when one gets the sweet taste in the mouth, I don't think shorter 24 hour periods of not eating would do much good. The process gets easier. I don't know how to get "electrolytes" form substances that are also not food; salt is the only available pure chemical.

I did not manage to lose a significant amount of fat. It clearly goes a long way.

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Magpie
July 27, 2019 at 7:36 pm

You shouldn't have started with such a difficult fasting regimen. No wonder you felt ill. I've only been fasting for a week on a 16:8 or 18:6 schedule, but I've haven't felt this good in a long time. I'm sleeping well. When I do eat I don't overeat as I don't feel like it. I eat pretty much what I want when I do eat. I drink lots and lots of water throughout fasting or eating. There have been lots of studies done on the benefits of fasting. My heart arrhythmia has actually stopped. I'm more alert when I'm up and don't feel groggy in the mornings like I used to. Here's one to get you started: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128599/ Here's another one: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156 . GOOD LUCK!

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TK
July 25, 2019 at 1:06 pm

I fast 60 hours frequently, but not on purpose but because of my MDD. I only eat again when I have to because I’m so weak I can’t walk or my heart becomes a drum line. Built up from applesauce and soup until it’s too much to eat again. I’ve lost around 35 pounds. Depression fasting, I don’t recommend it.

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Jordon
July 19, 2019 at 12:04 am

Thanks so much for posting this! I’m attempting my first ever 60 hour fast- I googled for advice & came across this 🙂

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Mike
July 16, 2019 at 10:13 am

Hoping to complete a 60 hour one. Last meal approximately 13 hours down (10pm-11am). Overnight is never hard so im no where near congratulating myself yet

PS. I fast 22-25 hours a few times a week but never more than a day

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Lesley Collins
March 17, 2020 at 4:43 am

Well I started a 72 hour fast 60 hours ago. First time since I was a teenager. I am not a teenager now?. I have been struggling with a successful keto diet s year and a half ago, followed by a major fail and wait gain!? And an inability to get started again. So I decided to try this as a kickstart.
I feel a bit lacking in energy and stamina and I am still hungry, which is frustrating, and the frequent peeing is irritating, but if it was easy it would not be a challenge...?Any way trying to hang in for another 12 hours....

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Norman B
July 1, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Trying to loose a bit of weight, prior to family Trip/Reunion... 18+/- hrs so far

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Kevin
June 26, 2019 at 12:35 pm

60 hours into a 72 hour fast. Did the first 48 as a soft dry fast ( did not consume any liquids orally). Sleep was erratic, my energy levels have been up and down. Drank a pint of water at the 49th hour along with some electrolytes. I have been craving a bone broth soup a make with bok choy kimchi and salted shrimp. My usual craving is sugar. Been trying to kick this habit for years :). So far I've only been able to curb my appetite for it.

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Michell
June 24, 2019 at 4:31 pm

You messed up by working out. Or you could have made it. You de Pleated too much

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John Marow
June 12, 2019 at 6:49 am

I have just fasted for 57 hours but did not exercise, did drink lots of water and some tea and coffee, the worst part of the whole experience was the latter part of the second day. I dont think exercise will help a difficult situation and this would have been far harder if I'd done as above and exercised. Tea and Coffee i drank at evening and night and a pint of water every time i thought i was craving. Thanks for a very honest description above.

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Linda
July 21, 2019 at 6:08 pm

John; how much weight did you lose? I read that you DID drink. I have done 26 hours before, at least once a year with no problem. I do not drink during that time. I would like another kick start. I'm on atkins/low carb/keto. I do drink Seltzer during the day which does fill me up...thanks

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Jonathan Quimbly
June 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

For the love of Bob, Ramadan is a daytime fast, not a many-days fast. Denying your body vital nutrients for A WEEK is just unnecessary. Somehow this started out as "Fasting will purge toxins and bring purity" and evolved into "More fasting will purge more toxins and purity!"

Yes, if you continue lengthy fasts, you will reach ultimate purity, becoming one with Mother Earth again.

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Miguel
May 25, 2019 at 11:31 am

I keep reading comments about people worried for their hearts. For the love of god, throw some salt and potassium (No Salt brand) in your water, it will make your heart beat normally again. We need electrolytes, without them we can go into cardiac arrest.

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Dom
May 19, 2019 at 5:42 am

Everyone around me is fasting for Ramadan and I'm an atheist. Trying this experiment for the first time now to cut on some fat and not annoy people with eating. I built up some muscle in the gym. I'm at the 26 hrs not eating now. Whenever I'm hungry I drink 0.5 L of water(I think they're nuts for not drinking water all day). It's been easier than I thought. Dropped from 93 kg to 91 kg. Let's see how far I can go.. 🙂

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Patrick
July 9, 2019 at 4:00 am

Was just reading the thread, now I'm curious for an update on your journey!

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Nathan
May 18, 2019 at 4:49 am

I think fasting this long in cold turkey is the biggest mistake.

Easing your way into it is probably the best way to go.

I started calorie counting several months ago, and then for almost a month, I have been doing one meal a day for most days.

For a few days, I have given into a craving and ate some pickles.

This time around I’m on the process of completing a fast for up to 72 hours.

Or so I thought. I realize it’s probably best to cap it at 48 hours.

I’m glad to have gone this far, but my body needs tell me otherwise.

Happy fasting everyone!

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Ingrid
May 8, 2019 at 5:13 am

The old saying "Listen to your body" is the best... We everyone are UNIQUE. Dont comapre your own body to someoene else's...I finished my 72 hour water fasting .... I cant tell I have tons of energy, and feel good... Still have a slight headache, sleepless night , wierd heart beat, some joint pain( which had to go away!..) My body says "...dont' do it again, please!...

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Ingrid Kis
May 7, 2019 at 5:36 am

I am into the same challenge: 72 hours fasting. I have red so many articles about extended water fasting benefits. You must detox, rejuvenate, heal your body and mind.... I am so far at 60 hour fasting and have 12 more hours to go... i will... even though the first 24 hours without food was crazy unbearaable: strong headache, shaky hands.... next 40 hours were little bit better: headache was gone but my heart was beating slower and stronger than usually... I will continue after my complete 72 hour fasting... They say I should feel full of energy and like brand new... havent reach this feeling yet...

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Nayz
May 3, 2019 at 10:57 pm

Complete 70 hr fast...... overall a fantastic experience. Very difficult at times, hubger pangs, some insomnia, some light headedness. But, boosted energy, knee soreness stopped, skin became super smooth, prolonged abrasion healed almost completely plus I now know the difference between a true hunger pang and minor tummy rumble.
Refed in chicken as thats what I was craving. Felt bloated and got diarrhoea but once it passed felt great. Ate smaller meals at less frequency afterwards and virtually eliminated sugar cravings.
Great way to re-orient the body.

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Tangela
May 3, 2019 at 1:07 am

On my last 24 hours of my 72 hour fast. This is my second fast, I am doing a 3 day fast every month to , like you said, remind myself of actually needing food as opposed to just craving it. This time was different from the first fast. This time I had symptoms: headache and nausea on 1st day, same ol’ 2nd day raging food thoughts

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Kim
May 2, 2019 at 11:10 am

Just finished my first and last 60 hour fast this morning. No thanks to doing that ever again. Today is almost harder than the actual fast. I immediately binged on breakfast this morning, have been snacking ever since, and feel fatigued and weak. I literally didn't know if I was going to be able to go to work today. As the day has progressed I feel almost like the onset of flu symptoms. I was hoping for a better outcome or some kind of enlightenment that people talk about. The only revelation has been how good I felt before the fast and how terrible I feel now.

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Ingrid
May 7, 2019 at 5:42 am

As I have read that it is very important to cleanse your body before fasting. otherwise "old" food in intestines will circulate in your blood producing toxic chemicals which cause headache and other bad outcomes..

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Ken
June 13, 2019 at 5:54 pm

This is not correct. What makes people not feel well during fasting is they are not keeping up on their electrolytes. Fasting is a time tested healthy activity. With understanding of the framework of fasting. Peoples have fasting since the beginning of time. KCKO

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Ingrid
May 7, 2019 at 7:44 am

Kim, I understand your frustatration, since we expect the fasting benefits feel as a brand news! Even you don't have the results you expected, be PROUD of yourself depriving your food, pleasure, and challenging your body and MIND 60 hours!!! I am now exactly at 64 hour only water ( iced melted water says is the best). I thought I am gona die the first 24 hours...LOL but I kept waiting for those maigcal results and still go next 8 hours. I think I did initial mistake: I did not cleanse my body/intestines before fasting! It is a cause of headaches and heart beats... I can't complain at 62 hours of headache and weird heat beat now... kind of feeling better than yestarday...Kim, congrats again! Big challenge was accomplished!:):):)

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Lawrence Williams
June 6, 2019 at 2:33 pm

You're not suppose to break your fast with solid foods. Your first day off the fast should be juicing. Day 2 is soups and broths. Then start adding solid foods come day three. Your stomach hasn't been active during the fast so it's like going for a 5 mile run when you have been sitting on the couch all weekend.

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Anynomous
April 28, 2019 at 12:43 pm

Did you drink? Or did you fast for both food and water?

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Jo
April 26, 2019 at 6:49 am

I fast for 60 hours every week - only herbal tea and water. Done it empowering - you did well! It gets easier

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Lisa
May 9, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Hi Jo, what do you eat for the other 4.5 days? How many years have you been fasting ? Thanks

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Rachel Lynn
April 24, 2020 at 10:54 pm

2 years ago I was preparing for gastric sleeve surgery and I had to fast for 2 weeks prior to surgery. Now that was hard but I survived it I drink a lot of water I ate sugar-free popsicles & I drink chicken broth.
I had the surgery. Then I had to fast for 2 weeks after the surgery so I basically it was on a fast for 4 wks. give or take maybe 5wks. I've lost 194 lb & I've NEVER felt this good! GRANTED I WAS ALMOST 400 LBS.
But if I had to do it all over again I would.

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R
April 25, 2019 at 1:16 am

So about a month ago I basically did a hunger strike for 4-ish days and it wasn’t all that bad because I barely moved out of my room and I didn’t feel any direct pains and the hunger just sort of.. left me. I’m here today worried about my body because I’ve been skipping a lot of meals lately and whenever I eat I can’t seem to get full, and I always feel hungry. I’m desperate for answers, not sure if it’s due to the 4 day strike or just because of the many missed meals.

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Barbara
April 23, 2019 at 2:34 pm

So I you want to die how many hours would you day it would take for it to happen with no food

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Mark
October 17, 2019 at 3:41 am

That would depend hugely on your body's reserves of fat (stored food). There was a GIANT man who fasted for over a year (broke more than one world record). He managed fine just drinking water and electrolytes (salt, potassium etc).

Providing you are otherwise and keep drinking water and taking salt etc, then it could take weeks or months before your body had consumed all fat, all "spare" muscle tissue and had then started to consume organs.

Assuming you had done a few fasts before, so your body was used to switching from burning glucose to fat, people can fast for a week or two at a time without ill effect. Heavier people can fast for a very long time - think in terms of prison hunger strikes etc. Water and salt can keep you going for a long time IF you are in reasonable health and size at the start.

Hopefully your question was more "out of interest" than anything else. Blue Skies

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