My Seven Day Fast – Why I done it, What I learned and Why I quit

On Saturday one of my boys was ten. It was a huge moment as it is not everyday that your child leaves the single digits behind. It only happens once for everybody. We celebrated by taking him out for the day and then having a family party for him when we got home. It was a great day and my son really enjoyed himself. However there was thing that came out of the weekend that was not so good. The amount of sugary foods I ate. I had Cake, ice-cream, sweets and fizzy drinks. And not just a small bit of it. Usually when I go on a sugar binge like that, I will usually fast for a day to clear my body of the badness. However I had been listening to a podcast recently about the benefits of a seven day fast.  I figured how hard could it be.

Boy was I wrong.

Before I start with why it was all so hard let me tell you why I decided to do this.

Why I chose to do a Seven Day Fast

Switching to a Keto Diet

Now I am no stranger t fasting. I regularly do intermittent fasting (where you don’t eat for a number of hours) and occasionally do full day fasts. The main reason why I usually do them is to detox my body after I have had a bad couple of days eating nothing but junk food. This time time I wanted more. My aim at the moment is to switch to a Keto Diet. This will allow my body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Normally people would just switch their diet but fasting has been proven to speed up the process of ridding your body of all the nasty carbs.

To help lose weight and body fat

I am about 2 kg over weight and my body fat is sitting at the 30% mark. Not ideal for anybody. Fasting helps to speed up weight loss and because I was in the process of switching to fat burning body I would also lose fat. To some this may sound crazy, not eating just to lose weight. Losing body fat was more of a concern. Weight loss was just an additional benefit.

To improve working memory

I would like to think that my working memory is very good. However I am sure some people would say the opposite. A very surprising benefit of fasting is the improvement of memory. The reason why this happens is because when you fast your brain goes under mild stress. Researchers have found that this is due to our ancestors when they would go hungry, their minds would go into overdrive to help them look for food.

They are the main reasons why I chose to do a seven day fast.

Why I did not finish the fast

I would like to make it clear,  I did not last seven days. My body and mind could only fast for 58 hours. I decided to break my fast on the third morning with Weetabix and milk. It was starting to become a struggle. Cramps and pains became a serious problem, both in my body and head. I reckon I would have been able to continue if it had not been for a few things I done wrong.

  1. I did not prepare properly. When attempting a fast of this magnitude it is recommended that you eat vegetable and fruit before you start and eat small meals. This will allow your body to continue getting nutrients for the first few days and it gets your stomach used to the idea of not having as much food as you normally would. I did not do this. On the Sunday my last meal was two Cornetto’s and left over cake from my sons party. Not a good way to leave your body when starting a seven day fast.
  2. I worked and traveled long hours. As normal, I worked eight hour days but I also had the joy of travelling by train. My train journey to work usually consists of two half an hour walks and a 45 minute train journey across two trains. That journey was done going and coming from work. It left me feeling exhausted by the end of the second day. So much so that I was missing my alarm, which is something I never do.

It was those two reasons why I did not finish the seven day fast. Next time I will make sure I plan some time from work and heavy duties while eating right before.

What I learned from my seven day fast

Mentally I am not as strong as I thought I was. When my body became tired my mind shortly followed suit. This meant I could not break through the struggle. This was no small feat and I am very proud of the fact that I lasted 58 hours.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

I failed to plan which resulted in me failing. This is a lesson which I am taking very seriously. Working in restaurants for a lot of my career, we had to prepare or else we would be done for on a Saturday night. However I thought because I had fasted before I was ok. I would not need to do as much prep as I usually would. This fast thought me a lot of things but the one that its home the hardest is fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Yo need to make sure you always prepare for what ever battle you are fighting. If not then it will not go your way.

The finish is just as important as the start and the middle of the process. When coming out of a fast even a small one you should always ease yourself back into a diet. This time I did not. I don’t know what was up with me but I had a complete meltdown and pigged out all day.

I felt the pain and am still feeling it. Because my stomach shrunk and I then filled it with lots of food. It could not handle it. So I started getting cramps. I am not very hungry and am eating very little now. But the point remains. You need to plan for all parts of the journey not just the start. Plan for the finish.

Will I attempt it again

Of course I will. Next time however I will give the seven day fast the full respect it deserves.

I will complete the full 7 days next time too.

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About David Lewis