The Complete Guide to Fasting

The Fung Fasting Report #3: Improvements noted

Fun stuff first.

Here’s where I started.  (And why I started.)

  • Waistline: 42″ even (106.68 cm)

Here’s where I am today.

  • Waistline: 35″ even  DOWN 7″
    (88.9 cm) DOWN 17.78 cm

As noted in a previous post, I’ve stopped checking blood sugars. My fingers were pincushions, and my blood glucose before and after meals is always healthy/ low normal.

In the previous month, I did one 4-day fast, and all the rest 23/1. (23 hours of not eating, one hour for meals).

Meals, by the way, have been stuff like:

  • Grilled bone-in fat-on pork steaks with asparagus
  • Grilled buttered porterhouse with broccoli
  • Butter-grilled chuck soup with mushrooms and onions, and blue and cheddar cheese

Fatty cuts of meat, above-ground vegetables, real butter, good cheese.

And I eat the fat.

One meal a day most days, with NO meals a day some days, no snacks ever, and drinking only water, tea, and coffee (no sodas, no sweetened stuff) gives the food budget major elbow room.

I had one problem that ran me into a wall, so I’m reporting that.

I have always run on the assumption that if I need water, I’ll be thirsty. So I didn’t bother watching my water intake. I drank when I noticed I was thirsty.

Turns out, when you’re doing this, you need to make SURE you’re getting enough water, and thirst may not be a reliable indicator.

You especially need to watch your water intake if you’re fasting. I apparently need about two liters of water a day. I didn’t get that — or even come close — and at the point where I started feeling bad, I’d had less than a liter two days in a row.

I have been working insane hours for a months, and while I make sure I eat, drink, and move, drinking while working is always a risk:

Water + Hardware = VERY BAD THINGS

Years of keeping my hardware safe while working has given me the camel’s perspective on fluid intake while I work — I’ll do that once I get where I’m going.


The first three days of the fast, I felt great. The fourth day, I felt tired. Ate that night, figured I’d be fine the next day.

But eating didn’t help. I felt sick for several days, until I realized I’d been on the same 2-liter bottle of seltzer for two days, and remembered the admonition to Drink. More. Water. in the fasting book.

I still needed a couple more days to get back to normal, but water was the solution. I pushed water. I rehydrated. I was fine.

So, not fun, but useful information.

Finally, a book for the folks who think I have lost my freakin’ mind: The story about how the “eat less, move more” low-calorie, low-fat, high-carb diet got railroaded into the AMA, AHA, and everyplace else where it should never have gone, in spite of very early knowledge that it was a BAD theory that didn’t hold up.

The Big FAT Surprise, by Nina Teicholz

The Big FAT Surprise
The Big FAT Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

Massively researched, carefully documented, highly, highly recommended.

It reads a bit like a thriller where you’re the one looking down the barrel of the killer’s gun.

If you think eating low fat – high carb is healthy, you owe it to yourself to find out why the medical industry has been lying to you, me, and everybody for about sixty years.

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17 responses to “The Fung Fasting Report #3: Improvements noted”

  1. Sylvia Avatar

    I’ve read your reports with great interest, Holly. I’ve done fasts before, I think 3-6 days longest. I decided to do the ‘eat only during 8 hours a day.’ Limited carbs, otherwise whatever protein food appeals, veggies, some fruit. NO commercial sweets, which I no longer care for most anyway, but I was making homemade before. I discovered if I don’t eat sweets I don’t really get hungry enough to tempt me to eat during non-eating hours. Even too much really sweet fruit will trigger hunger, I suppose by causing the pancreas to release a lot of insulin. Fortunately I’m not diabetic which I know is a can of worms. My husband was and it’s been rampant in my family, both parents, grandparents on mother’s side, cousins.
    I must be losing fat, my abdomen is getting flatter and clothes loose. Scale is slower to show loss, but it will, I’m sure. The best part is my blood pressure began dropping almost immediately! I’ve been on BP meds for some years now and I hate to swallow pills. It’s down to what used to be considered normal! I hope by the time I have my next checkup in December my doc will decrease or eliminate the pills. If it drops well below normal before then I’ll decrease myself. Have done before because I hate pills but, alas, BP rose.
    Thanks for encouraging us with your story.

  2. Judy French Avatar
    Judy French

    It is very encouraging to read about what you’re with your weight and others, too. I’m working on training my body with intermittent fasting. I’m doing 20/4 right now, and about 95% paleo. I have found if I make a point of drinking a quart and a half in the early afternoon, the fasting seems a lot easier. My favorite drink is green/peppermint tea with a little stevia in it. That so hits the spot on a hot day. My feet and ankles aren’t swelling up much at all anymore as the day goes by. I decided I’d only weigh once a month so as not to obsess over it. So far I’ve dropped over 20 pounds. And it seemed way easier than any diet I’ve ever done. Had a couple of family gatherings along the way. I ate what I wanted. And went right back to IF the next day. No guilt. I’ve read Fungs book now. It was well worth the money. Before the summer is over I want to do a longer fast. Thanks again for sharing

  3. Quinndara Woodworth Avatar
    Quinndara Woodworth

    Holly, Thanks to you I got started on a Keto diet plan. It has been over a month now and I think my body has finally adapted. I drink half my body weight in water every day. I bought trace minerals to put in it because my energy was low. I’m looking forward to the mental clarity and increased energy promised by switching from burning glucose to fat. However, it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it takes longer than 5 weeks for one’s body to adjust. I swim three times a week and have maintain a 10,000 step average. I’m 80. I’m wondering if my age is a factor in not getting the increased sense of energy. I only have 10 pounds to lose and I have lost a couple. Your posts have motivated me to make this life change. Thanks. Q

  4. dragon Avatar

    I wonder if the library has a copy of this … Or the second hand book store. I’m sort of intermittently accidentally doing the intermittent fasting thing … sort of. Mostly just because I’ve never been a three meals a day person. (You want me to eat when? I’m not awake at that hour if I can help it. And I’m certainly not hungry.) So, it’s been a constant point of irritation with my dr. since I was diagnosed with type 2 a looooong time ago. I really appreciate your posts on your success with this and I always knew that cutting protein/fat combinations was a bad idea for me. I’m an un-apologetic omnivore. Looking forward to your posts … all of them.

  5. BJ Avatar

    Interesting conversation.

    I became very diabetic 3 years ago. I was fine then one day, I felt very sick, as if some flipped a switch. I couldn’t eat anything, nothing tasted correctly, and was drinking gallons of water. Not counting being in the bathroom 30 plus times a day. I already new what it was since diabetes runs in my family. No medical coverage (Obamacare for me was almost $500 a month for $10,000 deductible. And it took me 3 months to find a doctor that would accept a new patient!

    I finally saw a doctor and my initial A1C was over 16. I was a year form medicare and had to pay out of pocket for my insulin for a couple of months while waiting for acceptance to a program to supply my insulin at $35 a month. That stuff is EXPENSIVE! 3 years ago, $360 for a little vial. Today $560 out of pocket! Once the insulin was used, my A1C dropped from over 16 to 5.0. The recommended diet for diabetes, is high protein, low carb.

    Just before being hit with diabetes, I was 265 pounds and 44 inch waist. Now I am done to 228 and 40 inch waist. I never was one for sweets and sugar, but did drink a lot of Dr. Pepper. I still drink some diet pop (soda) and rarely use any other sweetener. I drink coffee and tea black and always have.

    I also developed something called G.A.V.E. A lot worse than ulcers. (By the way, from what I understand, ulcers are almost always caused by bacteria destroying the stomach lining, not the gastronomic fluids in the stomach.) So I also had to stop taking aspirin and ibuprofen.

    I eat lunch and dinner only, and a lot of walking and some bicycling. I see my doctor every 90 days to monitor my A1C, and to watch for any and all possible side effects from diabetes such nephropathy which has already started in my feet.

    The fasting routine sounds very interesting, but I would think trying that would push me into extreme hypoglycemia.

    I guess that if your treatment works for you, and you can get healthy and stay healthy, it is all good. And be under supervision of a good doctor helps.

  6. Tuff Gartin Avatar

    Holly, I must admit, your success has me considering this fasting thing. I’m already in decent shape. I’m 52. About 2 years ago I was 69 pounds heavier and in a bad personal situation. I removed myself from the personal situation and became determined to get healthy again since I was now 50. At 20 or even 30, heck, even 40…I never worried about my health. At 50…it suddenly became real. Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a story of how I lost weight…all of this to say, I am very conscious about my health. Health fine now, but this fasting thing would help the food budget and buy me a little more writing time each day:) And if it further improved my health and health risks, all the better.

    My one concern: I currently jog between 15 and 25 miles per week. So I am concerned that the fasting would not provide me enough fuel to continue running. Does the book address anything related to exercising and possible adjustments for that? On the flip side, I could also take the chance that fasting would eliminate the need to run to stay healthy, but my family has a lengthy history of “blood issues” (high blood pressure, heart attacks, clogged arteries), so I do like to exercise to keep the blood pumping rapidly from time to time.

    Anyway, would love to hear if the book addresses that at all. Giving this serious thought.

    1. Holly Lisle Avatar
      Holly Lisle

      Yes, actually. It points out that glucose/glycogen supplies are small, and that at the point where you switch over to burning ketones for fuel, you don’t run out.

      Start at about the 6:30 minute mark.

      Gabriela burned through her glycogen stores, and her body couldn’t switch to ketones. (They mention this in the video).

      Turns out carb loading makes athletes perform worse, and running on ketones gives you energy that doesn’t run out until you burn through all your fat.

  7. Linda Avatar

    I’ve been reading about your experience with fasting. Right now, I’m also eating one meal a day. I’m following Dr. Fung’s advice for insulin resistance, but not worrying about autophagy. One thing at a time. Right now, my glucose levels are my biggest concern. So, I do drink some BPC and bone broth during my fasting time. I’m getting good results with both glucose levels going down (so far about 30 mg/dl) and losing some weight. Weight loss for me is very slow, which is common for post menopausal women. My jeans are much looser in the waist.

    I’m not currently planning any extended fasts. Creating recipes is one of my hobbies and I love making exceptional food. Nowadays, it’s exceptional keto food. The interesting thing is that it’s the creating and cooking that matters. I’m fine with not eating. I’m not fine with not cooking.

    I’m trying to convince my doctor to do some more extensive reading on keto and IF because he’s aware of them but doesn’t really know much about the details. It seems to me that without learning more, it’s hard for him to be effective for a patient who is doing both keto and IF.

  8. Elizabeth Avatar

    Holly, I read Big Fat Surprise last year. Excellent book!

    Another one you might enjoy is The Dorito Effect. It’s not about HF/LC or fasting, but it is about what’s systemically wrong with our food supply and what can be done about it. Very informative and also quite entertaining.

  9. Roger Lawrence Avatar
    Roger Lawrence

    Four day fasts are a very bad idea. You must eat something, anything for your stomach acids to work on. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve never been hungry in my life. I don’t know whether that’s a curse or blessing. Eating nothing for a week, for me, is a piece of cake. But it’s a bad idea. My doctor has refused to see me anymore.
    Eat something or wind up with ulcers, just like me – or worse.

    1. Holly Avatar

      The longest recorded water fast was 385 days. The guy who did it with nothing but water, a multivitamin a day, and a doctor’s supervision, went from 380 lbs to 180 lbs, and had no health problems during.

      There are currently tens of thousands of people doing what I’m doing, and there is no correlation between fasting and stomach ulcers.

      Four-day fasts are a training step to the ten-day fasts that I’ll be doing twice a year to give autophagy a chance to clear out broken proteins in the brain, cancer cells in the tongue, and other things that require the body’s built-in recycler to kick in.

      Ulcers are not a result of fasting, nor a side effect of fasting.

      If you have ulcers, that’s a separate medical problem that needs separate attention, and a doctor who’s worth a shit.

      A doctor that refuses to see you? As a nurse, I heard the term “patient abandonment” flung around a bit, and while personally I wouldn’t waste my time on a doctor who dumped ME if I had ulcers, if he’s the only one in your area, you might want to run the phrase past your lawyer.

      Meanwhile, I would suggest that you get the ulcers looked at. Again, they have no relationship to fasting, and they are a sign of something significantly wrong.

  10. Deb Salisbury Avatar

    An important warning! My sister went on a road trip and wanted as few stops as possible, so she drank very little the whole way. When she got home a few days later, she was so sick she nearly wound up in the hospital with sepsis.

    I didn’t know you could get sepsis from dehydration!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Deb,

      Did a quick check on this (I was an RN a LONG time ago).

      Like ulcers, sepsis is unrelated to fasting, and also unrelated to water intake. Sepsis can cause dehydration, but dehydration cannot cause sepsis.

      1. Deb Salisbury Avatar

        Oops. That’s what comes from reporting third-hand info. I wonder what her doctor really said. 🙂

        1. Elizabeth Avatar

          Just because it isn’t true doesn’t mean her doctor didn’t say it. Doctors are human. Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they lie. Sometimes something they believe wholeheartedly is pure hokum.

          And sometimes patients misinterpret what they’re told, so who knows.

          1. Holly Lisle Avatar
            Holly Lisle

            Yep. It’s really easy in the stress of feeling sick to hear a doctor speaking in medicalese and misunderstand what you were told.

            1. Deb Salisbury Avatar

              And it’s possible the doctor exaggerated to get someone to take better care of herself. (Staring daggers at my sister. 😉 )

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