Intermittent fasting has been known to humans (and animals) since the beginning of time. Religious fasting in particular has been practiced in numerous religions across various cultures for centuries.
Nowadays, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in the health and weight loss circles, with multiple studies showing benefits that extend far beyond weight loss, such as improvement in insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, cellular regeneration and overall longevity.
I was exposed to religious fasting for the first time as a kid during Christmas. I'm not sure if my parents just made it up but basically we were suppose to fast from dusk on 12/23 to dusk on Christmas Eve making it a 24 hour fast. Even back then, the thought of not eating for so long was making me panic... a lot. I tried to do it but always failed miserably because I was dizzy or too hungry. To tell you the truth thinking back, my blood sugar levels had to be all over the place because I was hungry all the time. So after a few years I just gave up and never tried it again....Until recently.
16 hour random fast
My first intermittent fast was during a flight to Poland last December. It was a random decision but one of the best ones I have made, and I am planning to do it again for all future overnight flights. It was the smoothest flight I've had with no digestive issues whatsoever. So this is how it went.
I had dinner at home at 5pm on Saturday and haven't had any food till I got home in Poland at 3pm (EST+6). Considering the time change it has been 16 hours since I had my last meal and I felt really good. I went on to have normal dinner, watched some TV and went to sleep early. It was a really great experience and I highly recommend you trying it if you ever have any digestive issues (bloating, gas, constipation, belching, etc.) while flying or if you want to use an overnight flight to get a taste of extended fasting.
Now, onto my latest experiment.
22 hour fast
This latest fast occurred a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit more thought of. At this point I did a lot of research on intermittent fasting and wanted to try to see how my body reacts to an extended fast.
I had my last meal at 7pm on Monday, and didn't eat or drink anything with calories till 5pm on Tuesday. So here are my observations.
Firstly, I was shocked how long I could go without food and how great I felt. I had a busy day which definitely helped keep my mind occupied but I didn't suffer any cognitive decline or brain fog that I was expecting.
Secondly, I was surprised how much energy I had. I actually think I could have had a light workout that day.
Thirdly, I felt gentle hunger pangs and mild headaches about 3 times total, the worst one with a lot of rumbling in my stomach at lunch time. They all went away in less than 10 minutes. I felt less hungry than during some of my normal days.
There were a couple more things I noticed: I was very thirsty all day, and I got colder and colder the longer I fasted.
So when 4 pm arrived I was getting chilly and decided to have dinner at 5pm. I really wanted to last full 24 hrs but maybe next time.
Overall I had a great experience and I'm planning to do it about 1x a month for general health benefits. If you are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try or have any questions, shoot my an email. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out this great resource HERE .