My first 65-hour fasting experience

Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash

I’ve been wanting to try fasting for a while, just to see if I can do it and what it feels like. However, with all the training I’ve been doing — I haven’t found the time for it. I’ve kind of been doing intermittent fasting for the past couple of years, eating roughly between 11 AM and 8 PM (depending on the training).

I’ve been reading about other people’s experiences and about the health benefits, that’s why I wanted to try it myself. The benefits you hear about the most are probably:

  • Boost cognitive performance
  • Protect from obesity and associated chronic diseases
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve overall fitness
  • Support weight loss
  • Decrease the risk of metabolic diseases

So most of them are things that you won’t notice right away, you just have to trust that what you’ve read or heard is true and that fasting is good for you. Of the things listed above, I was most excited about “boosting cognitive performance”.

However, the biggest reason I do intermittent fasting and why I wanted to do this is because I want to prove to myself that I don’t have to eat. Sounds extreme, right?

Let me explain.

I’m the kind of guy that can’t have any “good food” or snacks at home. Not even things like protein bars or a bag of bread. In the evening I get the cravings and start eating, just because I want to eat. And once I’ve started, I say to myself “I’ve already started, might as well finish it all”. I’ve even had to eliminate certain cooking ingredients because I ended up baking cookies in the middle of the night because I had cravings. I’m the kind of guy that gets obsessed with my thoughts, so when I think about “eating those cookies I have in the cupboard” — I don’t stop thinking about it until I’ve eaten them. So I was hoping that through this experience, I would show myself that if I can be without food altogether — I will probably survive without those cookies in the evening as well.

When I started, I wasn’t sure for how long I wanted to do it. I knew that at least for 36 hours, and if I felt horrible after that then I would stop. I ended up doing about 65 hours, only drinking water and coffee (lots of it).

Here’s what I learned:

Obviously, you can go without food much longer than you think. And it’s not like I fasted for that long, but it was a good reminder that when I’m craving that extra pizza in the evening, it’s not because I’m actually hungry.

Your routine tells you when you’re hungry. Every day, at the same times I usually eat — I got kind of restless and hungry because that’s when I usually pause my work and eat.

I’ve heard from other people’s experiences that it gets easier the longer you go, but I was just as hungry after 60 hours as after 20 hours.

Falling asleep was difficult, that’s when I felt really hungry. Also, drinking as much as I did throughout the day made me go to the bathroom a couple of times before I fell asleep.

I didn’t need as much sleep, and I wasn’t as tired as I usually am in the morning. I’m guessing that this is because I didn’t exercise, so the body didn’t have to recover. Usually, I exercise two times per day, so there was a big difference. Even if it wasn’t related to the fasting, it was a great reminder that rest and recovery are much needed.

I was really excited about the “boost cognitive performance” — but unfortunately, I didn’t really experience it. I might have had the wrong surroundings/settings, or I should have gone longer.

All in all, it was a great experience. I will definitely try it again. I would love to do at least a 24–36 hour fast once a month, but I’m not sure how to incorporate it into my schedule with all the training.

If you’re planning on fasting, don’t listen to me or do what I did. Do your own research or reach out to a doctor.

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Andreas Westerlund

Andreas Westerlund

Endurance athlete, digital nomad, nerd. Just a normal guy trying to figure out fitness, business, and life. https://www.andreaswesterlund.com