When starting off on this alternate day fasting experiment, I was expecting fasting days to be brutally difficult. I’m a person that often can’t go more than a couple hours without putting some kind of food in my mouth. It’s like a reflex. When I’m being healthy it may be carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, or other healthy food. When I’m not, it’s mini-candy bars, pretzels, candy, and other sweets. Breaking that cycle was one of the main things I’m trying to accomplish with the alternate day fasting experiment. While there is a longing for indulging those impulses I’m not feeling true hunger, but when was I ever really?
The first few times I’ve fasted, and by that I mean having nothing besides non-caloric beverages during the day and some broth at night, I felt a bit off by mid-afternoon. It wasn’t a bad feeling, just like a little buzz or loopiness. I’m sure that was blood sugar related. Yet having now done it several days I don’t feel that anymore. The novelty has worn off for me and for my body. While I’ve overcome that without even trying, one thing I’ve never had to overcome is a feeling of being famished. My fast “day” begins after dinner (or late night snack) on one day and doesn’t end at dinner time the next day but instead at breakfast the following morning. That puts my fasting time at about 32-34 hours for each cycle. It isn’t a total water fast. As I said, I’ll have non-caloric beverages like coffee, tea, or diet soda throughout the day. At dinner I’ll have some broth. I may have some light caloric beverage later in the day, like a kombucha. And I even cheat a little bit, such as eating bits of watermelon I was chopping up for the next day. But even with all that my typical fast day calories range from as low as 60 to as much as 200 calories. You would therefore think that by breakfast the next morning I would be getting ready to dive head first into a trough of food or dream of nothing but god knows what I want to eat the next day. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even from the first morning, I’ve never woken up with the urge to gorge on food. When I’ve gone on diets that average 1500 calories a day with a cheat day I have definitely felt like that. I’m dying for my next meal, which thankfully are often spaced six times throughout the day. My cheat days are about diving into all the foods I deprived myself throughout the week. I discovered the cheat day in “Body For Life” and I took it to the max. Cheesecake for breakfast, a whole pizza for lunch, and working my way down the list of everything I deprived myself of the previous six days were a constant thing. Fasting for a day doesn’t cause any of these problems. I’m currently netting a bit over 1500 calories a day this first week. That included a rather decadent Friday as well. By day 8 I’m not feeling any of that at all. I’m definitely still feeling the difficulty in social crimping that the fasting days impose, since so much of our time revolves around eating and drinking with friends and family. But I have had no great urges to gorge on food. I couldn’t even finish my favorite breakfast from the “Eat to Live” experiment of three pounds of melon. That took me a couple of hours to work through.