Yesterday was Seventh Status Update Sunday. I had planned to go though week Eight, but I’ve surpassed the body fat reduction goal I had set for myself, something I never thought I’d be able to say, so this will be the last Weekly Update for my fat loss journey. As I shift back to my muscle building focus, I’ll be moving Updates to Mondays, since Life just keeps taking over my Sundays!
So, as I mentioned in my last Update, the Handsome Hubby and I did a water fasting experiment. He did 21 straight days. I did 6 days fasting, 4 days eating, and another 7 days fasting. (More about that below, if you’re interested.) We hiked often and I did most of my regular weight-training workouts throughout. We started eating again Wednesday evening and are now back to eating normal meals, and our weight has stabilized. My body fat percentage has gone down 4 percentage points, from about 26% to about 22%, and I lost 6 pounds. My waist is down 1.25″ and my hips are down .5″, but the overwhelming success for me is my thighs, which typically don’t get notably smaller even when the rest of me does. They’re down 1.25″, and are visibly leaner than I could have hoped. Seriously, you guys, major victory!
So, photos! March 4th on the left, this morning (March 26th) on the right. The differences are small and difficult to see in photos, but I notice it most in my thighs on the front-facing image and my shoulder on the side-facing image.
Now, I get to step away from fat loss as my main goal, and go back to focusing on my favorite thing, building strength and muscle! I’m so excited about it, looking forward to pushing my lifts harder every workout. I got a good start in today with a fantastic upper body workout. My arms are shaking even as I type! So good!
For diet, we’re sticking with our ongoing ketogenic diet plan, but lowering protein and raising fat a bit, a change which basically allows us to eat an enormous variety of whole, minimally processed foods, without having to do things I felt were unhealthy in the long term, like eliminating nuts.
If you’re interested in the specifics of our water fast, feel free to read on. If not, consider this the end of the Update. Have a beautiful, healthy week!
NOTE: People who are prone to binge or who have ever suffered from an eating disorder should never fast.
I didn’t want to focus this update on the fast because it’s not something I want to advocate or recommend in any way. I don’t intend to educate others on the science, especially since I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, and I also feel no need to justify our choice to try it. We educated ourselves on the research and science involved before starting. We did it for a variety of reasons, primarily autophagy and fat loss. If you’re interested, I do recommend getting online and learning as much as you can. A good place to start is a documentary called “The Science of Fasting”, which you can find on YouTube. The second half contains more of the interesting science involved than the first half. And let me just say how much I love the fact that the initial research into fat loss while fasting was done on penguins!
I kept notes every day intending to use them to write this post, but even though they’re messy because I didn’t intend for anyone else ever to read them, I think they do a good job of conveying how the experiment went down for me. Spoiler alert – I messed up on the 6 day fast by not getting enough electrolytes. When I did it right on the 7 day fast, I felt good, was able to lift weights and hike, both of which I did nearly every day, and I saw great results.
Water Fast Daily Notes
Day 1, Tuesday, March 6 – Vaguely hungry, but not in any big way. Strong enough to do full heavy hip thrusts – glute bridges – plies – frog pulses workout without sacrificing weight, reps, or sets. Low energy. Low endurance. Got tired just cleaning bathrooms. Unexpectedly patient and meticulous. Happy to focus very carefully on cleaning humidifier. Slightly light headed. Eyes don’t want to focus properly. Got sort of “low” in the evening, and was quite tired by bedtime.
Day 2, Wednesday, March 7 – Slept pretty well. Woke up very thirsty but not hungry. Very low energy, wobbly, slight vertigo. Got more wobbly for a few hours, then started to regain my center, if not my energy. Slightly hungry, but easy enough to ignore. Not stable enough to work out. So cold, could not warm up. Energy and center came back a bit through the evening, but big muscles (quads especially) were weak and easily worn out. Slightly “low” again in the evening, started getting tired around 9:30.
Day 3, Thursday, March 8 – Slept well at first and then poorly, but woke up feeling fine, thirsty but not really hungry again. Surprised how easy it is to just decided not to eat and then proceed to not eat. Still not crabby or impatient. Yay! Still very cold. No racy heart or wobbliness, but somewhat weak. Worked out but had to start deload week. Regular row weight literally tipped me over almost onto my face. Miss cooking. Miss eating. Will continue to fast for now, both in support of Handsome Hubby (HH) and in hopes of fat loss. Scale seems to show some reduction in fat %.
Day 4, Friday, March 9 – Felt pretty crappy, ready to quit. HH suggested I might be short on electrolytes. Got me some; I drank them and felt quite a bit better within 30 minutes. Went for a forest hike. Felt good, but got tired quickly. Still very cold. Having a lot of trouble warming up.
Day 5, Saturday, March 10 – Woke up feeling good! Drank electrolytes right away. Felt even better! We went for a pretty steep hike and did well. The steeps were very hard and tiring, but the rest of it was great! Took hours in warm clothes under a blanket with a fire and the heater to warm back up, though.
Day 6, Sunday, March 11 -Absolutely no doubt that my body was telling me to stop. Even electrolytes didn’t help at all. Stayed home in PJs, sitting under a blanket next to the fire. Sipped a cup of bone broth late in the afternoon. Felt kind of glerpy, but it got better quickly. Followed up with about 1/2 cup of nuts, the some cheese, then eventually some chopped chicken breast with avocado and mayo. Stopped feeling horrible but remained very wobbly and slow-moving. Slept poorly.
Day 7, Monday, March 12 – Felt much better, if still somewhat weak and wobbly. Electrolytes first thing again. Did an upper body workout, tough but not my usual. Felt great! Went on a really nice hike with some steeps here and there. Did very well. Didn’t feel like eating all day, but had a few nuts, another chopped chicken with avo and mayo, and a bit of cream cheese and peanut butter between 6:30 and 7:30pm, mostly because I was concerned about developing a disordered attitude toward eating. Slept somewhat poorly.
Day 8, Tuesday, March 13 – Woke up feeling energetic and vibrant! Electrolytes first thing. Did an hour and a half worth of housework, which I admit wore me out. Rested a bit, then did 5×5 60lb glute bridges, 4×5 35lb plies, frog pulses, plank, hollow hold, Pilates scissors. Very tired, but recovered pretty quickly. Going to try to fast with HH until he finishes up Friday evening. Might change my mind and eat a bit at night, though. Will play it by ear. …….. I did end up eating after all, turkey with avo and mayo, and a few nuts and tiny slices of cheese. Have felt so heavy and overfull for hours and hours after this one meal thing every night. Ugh. Stressed and stressed over “messing up” my fast and re-feed. Slept so very poorly.
Day 9, Wednesday, March 14 – WTF, why do I feel so energetic and happy this morning after stressing out last night and getting about 3 hours of sleep? Maybe I’m delirious! Ha! Feeling great but hungry this morning. Drank a cup of coffee for the first time in a week. Planning to eat two meals today, since the one meal thing, even when it’s pretty small, using extra fat to try to get enough calories rather than having more food, leaves me feeling heavy and full for hours, often well past midnight. …. Managed an excellent upper body workout. All sets, all reps, only slightly less weight on rows, nose to bar on chin-up practice. Ate a small lunch at 3. Went for a challenging hike up just beyond the bridge on PooPoo Point Trail, stopping often on the steep uphills. Ate dinner when we got home. Went to bed very tired, fell right asleep, but slept very poorly. Gave up and got out of bed at 6:40am.
Day 10, Thursday, March 15 – Talked with HH this morning. He’s feeling up to another week, so I started again today. Low energy due to no sleep for days, but not feeling bad. Hungry, but not annoyingly so. Salted electrolytes first thing again. Pretty decent lower body workout; squats and deads, slightly lighter than usual. Butts are so tired! Thought I’d be too tired to hike, but we went and it was great! Funny that the uphills have become interval training – 3 to 5 minutes go go, 1 to 2 minutes rest, etc. Very tired afterward, sleepy by 7:30. Slept very, very well.
Day 11, Friday, March 16 – When I didn’t wake up right away when he was ready to get up, HH let me sleep in. Slept ’til 9:30. Victory! I feel like a different person today. Still hungrier that I expected, but nothing I can’t ignore. Salted electrolytes first thing again. Good upper body workout, but feeling too shaky and wobbly to do plank series or pushups. Very cold already. Just want to curl up under a blanket by the fire for the next 5 days! Actually did that for the evening. Sadly, stayed hungry. Not so sleepy in the evening, but slept well anyway. Dreamed that I kept finding myself snacking on M&M’s or tiny sandwiches. Body is clearly tired of making the effort to create and burn ketones and is begging for some nice, easy glucose. 😀
Day 12, Saturday, March 17 – Slept in a bit. Woke up finally not feeling hungry. Salted electrolytes to start the day. Went for a good hike. Very slow on the inclines. Leg muscles felt exhausted after a step or two on any substantial incline, and heart would race so easily, but I kept at it and HH was so patient, and eventually we made it to the high point. At the bottom, it was I who suggested we add on one of the nearly flat loops to finish up. So lovely! Was barely warm enough in my sweater, two hoodies, extra warm gloves and hat, though. Came home and curled up in front of the fire again. Warmed up pretty easily and stayed warm. Not hungry really, but looking at too many food pics on Instagram is really, really rough! Did not get tired early, but slept well.
Day 13, Sunday, March 18 – Woke up feeling not hungry but hollow, like I’m physically incomplete. Super weird! Also a bit weak and wobbly. Felt more normal after drinking salted electrolytes. They’re definitely what I was missing on my first fast! Want to hike but might be not be strong enough. Feeling pretty bad about that, wondering what’s wrong with me. Maybe I just need a lower dose of thyroid meds when fasting. Will check with the doc before fasting again. … HH checked online and said it might be potassium, so I starting adding some to my water. Did go for an easier hike today. Back a little sore afterward, but otherwise feeling really good! Not so cold today. Less weakness, more energy. Hungry later in the day. Slept OK, but not great.
Day 14, Monday, March 19 – Woke up feeling almost 100% normal, but this is the first day I’ve seen the fat % on the scale go up a little. Salted electrolytes first thing, as usual. Got in a decent upper body workout, but definitely noticing a lack of strength. Haven’t had to drop much weight, but some, and some reps, and am definitely struggling more to complete sets. Really just wanted to be DONE this morning. Got more and more surly as the day went on. Finally wondered if it was electrolytes, because when in ketosis, however the problem manifests itself, it always electrolytes. Got some electrolyte water with potassium salt – BOOM, problem solved. Walked in the evening just around town. Slept fine.
Day 15, Tuesday, March 20 – Woke up early feeling good. Salted electrolytes. Decent lower body workout. Feeling like I’m finally really getting my glute bridge form down, really isolating the glutes. Read an article recommended by @kettlebell.kandy and found two new glute exercises I plan to add to my rotation. Went for an easy-ish hike and felt much stronger on it than I expected to. Hungry in the evening. Ready to be done fasting. Slept well.
Day 16, Wednesday, March 21 – Woke up feeling good but weak-ish and wobbly. Had to ask HH to take the trash down for me. Body fat on scale hasn’t gone down in the past 4 days but I’m still losing weight. That means I’m might be losing muscle now as well as fat, or maybe all the electrolytes I’m consuming are confounding the scale’s fat calibration. Glad today is the last day. Got in a good but shorter than I’d like upper body workout. Feeling much more normal now, but cold and having trouble warming up. Went for an hour walk, then broke our fast with bone broth. About an hour later, had nuts and cheese. Learned that cream cheese is the actual best after a fast, and that I will eat too much during fast-breaking if there’s a lot of food in front of me. HH did great; ate slowly and felt really good. Amazed at how quickly I stopped being cold. Meditated together for the first time right before bed. So nice. Slept fitfully.
Day 17, Thursday, March 22 – Woke up with my stomach feeling not queasy but not quite right, but salted electrolyte water fixed it right up. HH woke up feeling good. Had scrambled eggs with cheese around 10:30, then tried some coffee. Forgot to put salt in the grounds so it was bitter and neither of us enjoyed it, so I threw it out. It’s possible we’ve lost our taste for it, but we’ll see tomorrow when HH makes it right. Got in a great lower body workout – really strong glute bridges with pause at top, plies, tried rubber band kick backs for the first time, finished with frog pulses and core stuff. Taking a day off hiking. Going to Costco instead. … Got Costco ribs for dinner. Ate them with mac nuts and mixed nuts. Pretty sure I over-ate even though I didn’t feel full. Took a short walk after dinner. Meditated together again. Slept poorly.
Day 18, Friday, March 23 – Woke up feeling fine. Salted electrolytes. Coffee was good today! Breakfast around 10. Got full fast. Only ate about 2/3 of mine. Got in a really good upper body workout. Strength isn’t fully back yet, but I was able to do things I had to skip last week. HH worked out with me. Didn’t realize how much I’d missed that. Lunch around 3:30. Got full again; ate about 3/4 of mine. Guess my body wanted to be sure it was fed, and now that it is, it’s done over-eating. Took another day off of hiking, and also no walk. Ate about 3/4 of my dinner. Slept very poorly.
Day 19, Saturday, March 24 – Woke up feeling very sleep deprived and out of sorts. Salted electrolytes. No coffee. Just not feeling it anymore, really. I think we’ve lost the taste for it. Breakfast around 11. Wanted to keep eating, but didn’t. Stayed in and played video games all day. Small bowl of turkey salad shared between us for lunch at about 4pm. Dinner at 7. Didn’t think I was very hungry, but inhaled my food. Finally slept!
Day 20, Sunday, March 25 – Slept in until 10am; woke up feeling good. Salted electrolytes, no coffee. Breakfast around noon. Didn’t get full early or want to eat more after I was finished. Went for an excellent hike with a good number of steep uphills that I used as glute work. So nice not to have to stop and rest every 8 yards! Felt so good that we added an extra, somewhat easier trail on at the end. It was only a total of 2.5 hours, but longer than anything we’ve done since we started this fasting experiment, and I put it to extra good use working my glutes hard. Skipped lunch but ate a lot at dinner. Slept OK but not well.