Friday, May 6, 2016

Water fast update: suspended for a few days

For those following my water fasting efforts, I found my blood glucose level was dangerously low when I tested it yesterday afternoon.  I've been watching that carefully, and knew what to do.  I immediately suspended the fast, and ate some berries and cherries for a quick sugar boost.  My blood glucose recovered to a safe level within an hour.  I had a green salad (with very little dressing) for supper, and a so-called 'protein scramble' at a local diner for breakfast (eggs, meat, and no carbs at all except what few were in the vegetables involved).  For the next three days I'll be on a low-carb, high-fat diet with moderate portion sizes, to ensure I stay in ketosis;  then I'll go back to the fast on Monday.

This wasn't an unexpected development.  I researched likely problems very thoroughly before starting the fast, and I've had medical input as well.  I know the danger signs and what to look for, and I'm monitoring everything I can at home.  I did extensive blood tests before I began, and follow-ups are planned every month.  Some commenters on my previous posts about fasting have expressed concern, but really, folks, I wasn't born yesterday.  This has been planned for a long time.

My blood glucose levels (and my insulin resistance, which is high and is one of my metabolic problems) will determine the way forward.  If I can continue with a long-term fast, I'll do so.  If not, I'll switch to a 5-2 fast;  fasting for 5 days on water alone, with an occasional glucose booster if I find I need it, followed by two days of eating moderate-portion low-carb high-fat foods, then back to another 5-day fast.  That way I can potentially achieve results almost as good as a long-term fast, but put my body under less stress.  The latter will be the deciding issue.  I'll go with what my body tells me will work for me.

So far, so good.  As of this morning I'm down over 18 pounds since I began.  That's a stellar result compared to every other diet and exercise routine I've ever tried.  I think this is going to do good things for me, provided that I'm sensible and don't try to exceed my body's limits.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.



Old NFO said...

Thoughts and prayers Peter. Glad you're not stubborn. :-)

Mark said...

Best wishes for success in this. But what are you doing for vitamins, minerals, and protein? Burning fat will do the job for calories, but the human body needs other intake to keep it from eating your heart muscle and collapsing other metabolic processes.

I'm assuming you planned for that, just curious what the solution is.

Peter said...

@Mark: Yes, I planned for it. I've got a three-pronged solution.

The first is to take supplements each day. I take a multivitamin tablet, plus an electrolyte capsule containing sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. I add to that a spoonful of a phosphate supplement. That combination covers all of the vital bodily needs, and ensures my body doesn't cannibalize itself to get them. I'm also drinking at least two quarts of water per day, sometimes close to three, to help my body dispose of unwanted toxins. I'm not taking added protein while fasting, but on a water fast this isn't usually a problem, because in full ketosis the body consumes very little of its own muscle. It's mostly converting fat to energy.

The second is to monitor my body's levels very closely. I did this by blood tests before I began, and I've scheduled regular follow-ups to keep track of them. I also measure my own blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen take-up and blood glucose at least once daily, usually twice. I also know what symptoms to look for in the event I'm lacking something essential in my diet.

The third is medical supervision. I'm not under daily care, and I don't think I need it, but support is a phone call away, and a visit to the clinic is no problem.

Between those three steps, I think I've got things covered, at least for now. We'll see.

SiGraybeard said...

If I may recommend, videos to watch are by Doctors Steven Phinney and Eric Westman. Dr. Phinney is a "recovering researcher" (as he says) and been studying ketogenic diets for 30 years, IIRC. He recommends a small amount of sodium every day to keep mineral levels in balance. Something like a cup of bullion twice a day. Better check me on that.

Eric Westman is practitioner and researcher, starting in the VA system, then the Duke University Lifestyle clinic. He has reversed insulin resistance and ended diabetes in hundreds of patients.

BTW, offered for perspective and not as a recommendation, in carefully monitored studies with fully keto-adapted patients, blood sugar was driven as low as the mid-20s (one patient was as low as 9, IIRC). The staff was freaking out, but the patients were fine and unaffected by the low levels. As you know, anyone running on sugar and not ketones would go into a coma with glucose that low. They drove their blood sugar that low by injecting insulin and were standing by with glucose IVs just in case.

Tom Bridgeland said...

I did extreme low carb for several years, and loved it. Never fasted for more than a day though. Best of luck! Like Mark above, I worry about your protein. Do you have a way to measure muscle loss? Cardiac muscle in particular!

Snoggeramus said...

Will be interesting to see if you get any kick-back from any drugs that may have been stored in the fat cells as they were added, and thus are released back in to the blood stream as the fat cells are broken down.

Jones said...

"Some commenters on my previous posts about fasting have expressed concern ..."

A man's gotta know his limitations.

Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? :-)

Tenebris Lux said...

Peter - you have not only my prayers, but also my thanks.

timothy richley said...

I am 65, weight currently is 269. I did the water fast, 5 days eating 2 days fast, did that for about 6 months, lost about 50 lbs. BUT, over the next 3 years I gained it all back + some more weight.
Also did the all protein diet, as did 2 daughters and 1 aunt. Worked great, lost weight, got trim and fit. But eventually, the desire for some carbs triumphed and once again gained all the weight back.
Back when I was in my 20s, before I even understood what body fat index even was, the Army put me on an all liquid diet. At 6'3" I have been about 260 since I was 12. Full grown then. When I enlisted they thought about putting me in the fat boy platoon, at age 17 I weighed 260, but I could run the mile in a little under 8 min, and do all the other exercises easily. Then in the middle 70s the Army went to the standard weight chart(for me, 180-220) that everyone had to comply with. I finally learned about the BFI after the liquid diet experiment, lost about 50 lbs, but quickly gained it back. The Army Drs took a closer look and decided that my BFI was lower than most soldiers, but then I kept having to get a waiver every 6 months. The harassment finally beat me down and I left the Army in June of 1980 Worked for the next 18 years at the Post Office, throwing mail bags around for 8+ hours a day. But was given 2 of the 3 shots of the Hep B vaccine, job required it. After the second shot, I very suddenly was unable to lift, carry. even bend over. CDC stated that nothing wrong, but dont take the third shot forced retirement at age 48. The vaccine program in the US has ways a person who has been harmed by a vaccine can be compensated, by the US govt so that US vaccine makers will be protected so they will continue to make vaccines. I applied, was compensated. Not a million $$ by any means. So continued to eat the way I had when working, weight ballooned up to 412. Got a Roux-En-Y Gastric bypass surgery, weight dropped down to about 240 before stabilized. Then went back up to about 260.
All I have to say about a lifetime of dieting-and now Drs telling me I am extremely obese-is that IMPO everyone has a weight that they will pretty much always go back to(within 10-20 lbs depending on exercise) unless they spend the rest of their life on a diet, meaning something less than 1000 cal. per day. A good healthy diet, for my daughters is about 2000 cal per day because of the amount of daily activities. Mine is about 2000 per day. Heavy on fruit and veg, some chicken/turkey and fish, little to no beef. mostly, the Korean diet. Works for me.
Sorry to bend your ears, what I have also discovered is that every person is an individual, not just a height/weight chart. I should weigh between 180 and 220. Not ever gonna happen. My body is pear shaped, I could spend 6 hrs a day lifting weights and never ever look like the weight lifters on LA beaches do. But I most likely can outlift them. At 65 I can lift 450 lbs, back before the vaccine in 1997, I could lift up to 800 lbs, depending on how I was feeling that day.
The charts that the Drs use are bloody useless. Like I said, I have not weighed 220 since I was 12. Went to a small rural school. Spent most summers working on an Uncles farm, mostly, it seemed, lifting/stacking bales of hay(this was in the 60s) Was always the biggest kid on football team, until stopped as had far better things to do.
Starving yourself doesn't do anything for you, long term, unless you want to eat a 500 cal a day diet for life.
Now, sugar is excellent, BP resting average is 100/60-has been like this my entire life. Only gets higher when something wrong.
Heart, after mild heart attack last year, is now excellent(according to Cardiologist) overall health is quite good, get a physical every 6 months, everything in low part of good range