120 Hours of Sodam Hungry

Fasting. But, why?!

Basically, the idea behind fasting is that human body has evolved to endure a certain amount of starvation. This would have been the time between our distant evolutionary relatives catching and eating a buck or something else with four legs and the next time they were able to catch such a meaty and fatty feast. The thought is that, contrary to what we've become accustomed to, our distant relatives were actually able to function quite well on an empty stomach for days at a time.

The admonition that we should have three meals per day and that breakfast is the most important - eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper or, more amusingly, eat your breakfast, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to your enemy - might be completely wrong. Perhaps we should eat more like our ancient ancestors and give up our morning McPancakes?

No, really, why?

This brings us to the controversial topic of ketosis - the body's ability to transfer fat reserves into a source of direct energy that our body can keep us going with. In South African dietetics we'd refer to this as Banting while the rest of the world seems to prefer keto. I tried it and it worked for me.

There's also Autophagy, which is probably the most important result of fasting. Simply put:

Autophagy is the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells

That sounds beneficial even to a complete layman. This is actually the main reason why somoene would fast. The weight loss is secondary.

So how's it work out?

Mostly good. The hunger pangs and cravings were manageable even when my wife and son decided it would be funny to order sushi and eat it in front of me.

Day one through three

Started with mild hunger pangs on day one which got steadily stronger through day two and three. On the night of day two I was, to use Oliver Read's insult to Peter O' Toole, a flalulant old windbag. Serious foghorn stuff. There were also some headaches and a heaviness behind the eyes. Driving, as I discovered, is a big no-no. A lucky escape there.

Day four

Felt good. As an experiment for myself, I did a 2000m indoor row and threw a 16 kg kettlebell around for a bit - 10x10 Russian Swings. My time for the indoor row was not my best but neither was it my worst. As other people who've done these type of fasts have reported energy levels ramp up as and when required. Sitting in a driver's seat is not that.

Day five

Basically, just waiting for it to end and buying some snacks for 8 PM. I thought Sauerkraut would be a good choice for getting back into eating because it's fermented and apparently easy on the gut. I threw in wasabi peanuts as well. 8 PM arrived and I scoffed the food. I felt good, and was glad that I'd reached the goal.

Aftermath

My family thought I looked healthier than before. Eyes less puffy, face less haggard. I had dropped 4 kilograms and I felt more energetic and sugar cravings were held at bay for a while. Of course, this didn't last all that long.

It was a good start, but I think I should have followed up with an ongoing intermittant fasting regime - perhaps the 16/8 type. The science says that intermittant fasting has clear benefits and is better than mere calorie-restriction, so maybe I'll do this again to kick start things and then carry on with a more sane approach.


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