I started my recent fast on May 16 and it was scheduled to end this Friday at 6 PM. However, things took a turn yesterday. Actually, perhaps I should say things started taking a turn about three days ago.
Here is What Happened
A few days ago I started feeling different. At times I would get very sleepy during the day. This happened multiple times per day and I would usually go take a nap for a while and I would feel fine after that. I didn’t feel weak or anything like that, which is what most people would suspect while fasting (although I find that to be a myth). No, I didn’t feel weak, just sleepy.
One very common problem while fasting is that it is difficult to sleep. This has always been a problem for me since I started fasting. Generally, during my fasting, I will only get around two hours of sleep per night. If I am doing a five or 10 day fast, I find that to be fine. However, while doing a 30 day fast, I think that my body just ran out of steam because it was not getting enough rest.
I believe that the reason that I was feeling poorly and had to quit my fast because I had gone so long with so little sleep. Of course, I cannot be sure, but I feel rather certain about this.
When I do a long-term fast, I am in contact with my doctor and talk to him about any kind of problems and I’m experiencing. I am always free to go into his office for him to check things out. In this case, over the last few days of the fast, before I quit, I was having things checked regularly. There were some bad signs, and that is really what caused me to decide to stop the fast.
Starting about three or four days ago my heart began beating very fast. My normal pulse rate is between 70 and 80 per minute. However, as I got well into this fast, probably around day 23 and onward, my pulse was up to a low of 95, and sometimes over 100. Since I just had bypass surgery about 20 months ago, you can imagine that my doctor was watching this very closely.
During the same period, starting around day 23, my blood pressure shot up as well. During fasting, my blood pressure usually goes down to a very low level, around 110/70 or so. That happened up until about day 23, when my blood pressure went as high as 145/85, which is very high for me.
Based on these two things alone, my doctor recommended that I should stop fasting for a few days. I thought about it, and I decided that since I only had two days left, why take the risk. The reason that I do fasting is for my health, why put my health in danger just to go after some mythical number? I mean it is only a number of days, which is really meaningless. So, last night, Wednesday night, I ate a nice salad topped with roasted chicken. It really did taste good, I must say.
On my salad last night, I was using a vinegar and oil based Italian dressing. This is a salad dressing that I really like, it is my most frequent choice when it comes to salad dressing. I have never had any problems with this salad dressing. However, last night, when I started eating it, it really burned inside my mouth, I felt like my mouth was on fire. I can only imagine that this is because it had been so long since I had eaten anything. In fact, it was so bad that when I was halfway through the salad I asked my niece to save the rest for me, and I ate the other half a few hours later. I just could not eat anymore as my mouth was so painful.
Over the term of my 28 days of fasting, I dropped 27 pounds, just about 1 pound per day. Funny thing is, at the time that I started feeling poorly, the same time that my heart rate increased as well as my blood pressure, I stopped losing weight. So for the last several days in the fast, I lost nothing. I can’t really say how that is related to the health issues, but I find it interesting. 27 pounds down in 28 days? I find that to be quite a success.
I will be eating for the next few days. Of course, when I eat I eat a ketogenic diet – low-carb, high-fat. After dinner on Sunday night, I will begin fasting again. However, I don’t really see any big reason to go for a super extended fast again, at least not right away. Starting on Sunday night, it is my thinking right now that I will go for a five day fast, which means that I will eat again at dinnertime on Friday. That is a good fast, and last year when I did an extended period of five-day fasts, I lost a lot of weight. I think five days will be fine again.
Well, the things that happened toward the end of my fast surprised me greatly. I never would’ve expected my pulse and my blood pressure to increase like that while fasting, normally those things move in the other direction while fasting. I did some research on the Internet, though, and found several web pages where people doing long-term fasts described the exact same things that I experienced. In most cases that I found, they were advised that they had an issue with electrolytes, and perhaps that was my problem as well. I may try another long-term fast, as long as 30 days, in the future, but that will be down the road.
I hope that this report was beneficial to others doing fasting. If you are fasting, to the best of luck.