The Complete Guide to Fasting

The Fung Fasting Report #2: Four-Day Water Fast

Sunday Matt said, “So… you wanna go long on the fasting?”

My response. “Yeah.”

So I had a wonderful ribeye steak (ribeyes are fatty, and I ate the damn fat, and it was delicious) and a salad with lemon juice instead of dressing at our favorite restaurant last Sunday at 4 pm.

Have not had a bite of food since.

As I write this, it’s 8:23 am on Thursday, and I won’t have anything to eat until our regular mealtime at 7 pm tonight, when we break our fast.

Why am I posting early?

Because this has been Hell Week.

I’ve been buried all week in GDPR compliance work, digging into the details of the course I took to know what I had to do.

Massive overhauls of privacy policies, changes in email forms, conferences with Dan about the GDPR “account close” option we’re adding to allow folks with my classes to close their accounts and delete their personal information instantly and on their own.

I’ve been sneaking in time on the forums to talk to my folks at 4AM when I wake up because I can’t sleep because I’m worrying about missing something important.

I’ve been working from 7 AM to 9 or 10PM or later.

And I am amazed at two things:

  • The enormous amount of work I have accomplished.
  • The fact that I have been on-task the whole time. No digressions, no diversions, no mind wandering, no drifting off to read emails.

I have not gotten a word of fiction written in the past week. Have not gotten Lesson 4 of How to Write Short Stories past the introductory paragraphs and an outline. There has simply not been time. I still have some small GDPR work to do this morning before I actually dig into both fiction and nonfiction again.

But the fasting was a help. Not a nuisance, not a hindrance, not something that caused me problems. It gave me days of open time in which to work without interruption, and a clarity and focus that allowed me to do large amounts of tiny detail work without screwing things up and having to start over.

The Fast Details

I’ve had water (mostly seltzer) and coffee, black, no MCT oil.

Matt looked at the MCT oil, thought about our objective of staying in ketosis so our bodies would burn our own fat, and said, “Wait a minute… if we’re throwing readily accessible fat into our systems, won’t that slow down our bodies burning their OWN fat?”

And he did research. Yep. He’s right.

So the MCT oil is gone.

We’ve both stopped testing our blood glucose. Mine was fasting – 60s, 2h pp (2 hours after eating) 70s. His are equally good, but ten points higher on both measurements.

If you’re not eating sugar, your body makes its own from fat — gluconeogenesis. So if you’re not on medications, your blood sugar becomes a non-issue. It’s going to be good because your body will make the right amount of what you need from your fat to keep you healthy and alive.

Your body, after all, has a vested interest in you not dying, and a lot of built-in systems to prevent you from dying — if you let it use them.

So poking my fingers twice a day for the same results became an exercise in masochism, and I’m a lot of things, but masochist is not one of them.

I’m getting all the results I need just by moving through the day.

My clothes are hanging off of me. My favorite pajama bottoms fall off — I’ve had to go to the few pairs I had that have drawstrings.

I can see where the backs of my arms, my inner thighs, and my abdomen are all thinner.

I’m not measuring now. People get addicted to seeing progress on a scale or a chart or an app, and that becomes their reward. (How do I know this? Because I’m people too, and I’ve been there.)

When you hit your goal, and you don’t see any more “progress,” you lose motivation.

I don’t want progress. I want “healthy as a stable state.”

The fat I’m losing now has an end, after which I won’t see any more progress. I’ll hit a size where my body has the right amount of fat (something like 30%) and I won’t have any more abdominal bulge below my rib cage, and at that point, I have to be able to walk away from the tape measure.

I have to be able to say, “Good enough.”

At that point, we’ll just eat our one meal a day, and I’ll do a couple of longer fasts a year as a way to fight cancer with autophagy. (The body’s own recycling system.)

So I’m avoiding the addiction of the scale, the chart, the app. I can see this is working. I’ll do one more waist measurement this month, just to report in and let you folks know what two months in with one meal a day, plus one four-day fast, looks like.

And then I’ll do little monthly updates until the belly fat is gone. I’m guessing it will be the last fat to go completely, so you should be able to see the whole arc.

At that point, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. LCHF. Low carbs, high fat. One meal a day, because it’s easy and it doesn’t waste our time. And because you can eat really good food and still live on a miser’s budget.


Back to work. I should have the last of the GDPR stuff in place in a couple hours, and then will do some of the Vipers’ Nest revision, and some work on Short Stories Lesson 4. My brain has been working on both in the down-time, and gave me a nice twist for Vipers’ Nest AND a really cool demo on putting subtext into a story drawn from the one story I sold where I failed to include subtext.

It was an awesome revelation.

HA! More Brain On Fasting! BOF

This is some pretty good shit.

That could be the fasting slogan… Fast more. BOF more.

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9 responses to “The Fung Fasting Report #2: Four-Day Water Fast”

  1. Stuart Avatar

    Holly – I’m curious about your decision not to take MCT Oil.

    Can you elaborate on what your and your partners take on this was?

    I have been taking Bulletproof Coffee every day with MCT8 Oil and Butter, and I do find it helps with mental clarity and enhances Keto by keeping you in Ketosis, but makes you feel fuller for the day (if you are otherwise skipping any other breakfast and lunch and are going straight through to dinner)

    Is it just the calories you have an issue with?

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar

      I have three reasons.

      First, the good MCT oil is ridiculously expensive, while the crappy MCT oil is so horrible the cat won’t lick it off my fingertip, but recoils from the smell… and the cat licks his own ass.

      Second, I’m eating keto and 23:1 intermittent fasting, and throwing MCT oil (or butter) into the mix early in the day would raise my insulin level twice in the day rather than just once, thus screwing up my 23:1 fasting.

      Third, the only benefit from it that I got was feeling fuller (I note the mental clarity from fasting, but no BIGGER mental clarity from the MCT oil), and since I’m not having any problem with not eating (I just ride out the hunger waves and they pass), it’s extra expense with no visible benefit, and one visible drawback.

      Fasting today just because I feel like it, by the way. May decide to eat tomorrow evening.

      1. Stuart Avatar

        Interesting Holly.

        I understand your reasoning.

        I guess that there must be some insulin response for a tablespoon of oil, even if it is minimal?

        Not sure if its offset though by higher ketosis levels?

        I have been having one meal a day during the week, but then on weekends just winging it.

        That hasn’t worked out as well as I hoped. I am finding it difficult to get the weight off. I am now thinking that the extra calories from the MCT oil, coupled with spiking my insulin at weekends may be sabotaging me.

        So I’ve changed it up this week!

        Am now on Day 4 of a Water / Black Coffee only fast. I’ve done a few fasts before, so am finding it pretty easy to be honest. Far simpler then cutting calories! Am going to do six days and then go back to one meal a day in the evening (LCHF), and try to stick to that on the weekends as well. I also plan on maybe skipping it on Mondays, so that would essentially be one 48 hour fast a week.

        Am reading Fungs book on your recommendation. He summarises the state of play nicely. Another one you might want to look at is this one from Martin Berkhan from (who Fung talks about in his book, but who has been doing it much longer), who was one of the first people to talk about the 16:8 method of fasting for Bodybuilders. He has a book coming out called ‘The LeanGains Method’ on 16 August, which promises to be one of the best researched books on intermittent fasting and strength training (which you may not be focused, on, but is likely to be a very interesting read, as Martin always researches stuff REALLY thoroughly. On Amazon here – (not an affiliate link I just happen to have got a lot from Martins blog over the years –

        I wondered how you planned in the longer fasts into your normal weeks? (Not the 5 day plus ones – The normal ones of longer than 23 hours, but say less than 3 days). Are you doing them on specific days? Or just as and when?

        Are you doing it randomly? ie Normally 23 hours, but occasional 48 hour or longer ones. Or something else?

        I do also find myself wondering how to eat when I actually get down to target weight?

        Have you given any thought to maintenance strategies to stay the same weight, but still get all the mental and health benefits you have now?

        I need to lose 37 pounds currently (as-of monday). So it will be a while! But just planning ahead!

        Have you thought about a maintenance strategy to stay the same weight?

  2. Betty Widerski Avatar
    Betty Widerski

    My library system had Dr. Fung’s book so I was able to borrow it. For folks who don’t have that option I just found that about 80% of the book’s contents (the main info, minus the fasting stars interjections) is in a series of blog posts here:

  3. Christine J Randall Avatar
    Christine J Randall

    I’m enlightened, that’s for sure. Last week, I borrowed several books from the library, and from what I’ve read so far, you made the right call with the MCT oil. Well done, you two.

  4. Mike Lucas Avatar

    So inspiring! My own experience with intermittent fasting has been that I can go for a long time without food, but any type of mental stress causes me to feel hungry and need food to stay on task. (This can be work stress, or even creative writing — though fun, I have enough left/right brain imbalance issues that writing can be super stressful.)

    So I’m very impressed that you can get through stressful periods while fasting!

  5. Judy French Avatar
    Judy French

    It is so inspiring to read of your success with this. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting off and on for awhile now, and have lost the 20 or so pounds I gained last year when I retired. That’s a dent in what I need to do. At my (our) age I was afraid of fasting until early this spring I had a stomachs bug and didn’t eat a thing for 2 and half days, and I was thoroughly empty. And didn’t hurt me a bit really. I’ve been doing days of 18-6, and 20-4. Meaning only eating in that 4-6 hr window, and mostly paleo. I’m pre diabetic. The bloat has gone out of my belly and I have ankles again. Hadn’t seen them for awhile. I bought dr Jung’s book and read it cover to cover Sunday. It is astonishing how wrong our established medical treatment for type 2 diabetes has been, as well as the general health of all of us. But I am encouraged beyond words to know that diabetes and its demons are not inevitable. There is a way to fight it and win. And it doesn’t cost a dime. Much of what was in the book I read about elsewhere, but it’s nice to have it all in one place, and explained thoroughly. I’m glad you had the courage to change your habits, and thankful to you for sharing your results. Kudos to your husband for his strong support.

  6. Jean Avatar


    A possible GDPR hint, consider making the default selection on the “Notify me of followup comments…” section as “Don’t subscribe.”

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle

      Done. Thanks.

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