Learning how to perform long fasts is beneficial to your health. A long fast means several days or weeks of no food. It is a life-changing experience for some people. Fasting for several days may seem like an unattainable goal. However, I want to show you that it is possible, and in this article, I will explain how.
How to perform long fasts
We’re tired of hearing stories about nutrition. “Make 5 meals a day”, “nothing happens if you eat without hunger,” “guide yourself by calories,” and “breakfast is the most important meal”…
We can find endless stories in the black age of nutrition and misinformation.
However, the light has long been seen at the end of the tunnel. It seems that all these meaningless claims are coming to an end.
Faced with the explosion of published articles on the benefits of fasting, it seems that the evidence is so overwhelming that we reconnect with something that human beings (out of necessity) have done for most of their history, fast.
Instead of answering the question of: ‘fast yes or fast no?’, which has already become ‘current opinion’ in science, the articles focus on better understanding the different effects that fasting has depending on the hours you spend without eating.
As explained in this article, a 12-hour and 23-hour fast are not the same and do not have the same effects.
👉 In today’s article, you will discover what is interesting about performing long fasts and how to carry them out to have the best sensations and get the most benefits.
What is autophagy?
One of the main benefits of fasting is activating a cellular mechanism known as autophagy.
Autophagy is a cellular mechanism that activates when the cell perceives a specific context or lacks essential nutrients and good energy.
Faced with this situation, the cell decides to degrade parts of itself that it identifies as malfunctioning to obtain energy and manufacture them again once the energy stress disappears.
Therefore, the energy deficit cells suffer from fasting is one of the keys to manifesting all the benefits that we currently know it has to fast.
Not all systems run out of power at the same time
The more important it is for this body system’s survival. The longer it will take to suffer from this energy deficiency and thus activate autophagy mechanisms.
These systems are mainly the brain and immune systems. He thinks that these systems can get up to 60% more energy when they are under stress than when they are not.
This is why long fasts are being raised to activate autophagy and, therefore, the regeneration mechanisms in these systems.
👉 Studies show that performing long fasts renew up to 40% of all defensive cells in the body.
Besides, it has been shown that those cells that are more aged. They even have begun to make mistakes even in serious pathologies such as multiple sclerosis have been shown to degrade.
As if that were not the case, long fasts also reverse immunosuppression caused by chemotherapy in patients who have had cancer.
As for the brain, there are nuances because, unlike the immune system, in many cases, its cells do not necessarily occur energy deficit. However, the brain realizes that it is in a context associated with deficiency (a high level of ketones, for example). So the brain activates regenerative mechanisms.
That said, fasting is key to the activation of these mechanisms. The brain is one of the most autophagy-dependent organs for its daily function and prevents degenerative pathologies.
What we consider long fasts
This is one of the significant issues that remain to be resolved. The ends are evident.
It is clear that 7-day fasts activate autophagy in these bodily systems and that a fast of fewer than 23 hours does not (at least in the immune system).
But the question is: what is the minimum effective dose?
There is preliminary evidence that the minimum effective dose is 72 h. For example, this study shows that 72h compared to 24h fasting is more protective of immune cells in combination with chemotherapy therapy.
In turn, similar results are observed by extrapolating observations in fasted mice.
How to perform long fasts
Long fasts are one of the most effective ways to accelerate your progress towards your health and fitness goals. Your fat stores will be depleted. This ensures that your body burns mainly stored fat as energy when you start eating again, known as “fat adaptation,” It dramatically increases your ability to burn fat in a way similar to a physically active person. If you follow this plan correctly, you will burn fat much faster than someone following a low-carb diet without fasting.
Don’t worry about the first day.
Don’t worry about the first day, because it will be tough. You’ll feel weird and may even get dizzy, but that is perfectly normal. If you’re worried about passing out or feeling weak, lie down for a bit during the day and drink plenty of water (but not too much; there’s no need to chug gallons). After 24 hours, you should start feeling better.
If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to call your doctor!
Prepare your stomach.
Long fasts require a lot of preparation, so give yourself plenty of time. The first step is to prepare your stomach for the fast by taking a break from eating for several days before starting your fast. This can be done by eating a light meal the night before and the morning before you begin and drinking lots of water throughout that period. It would help if you also ate a light snack in the afternoon before starting your first day of fasting.
Know that you will be hungry and weak.
- You will be hungry and weak. Extended fasts are not for beginners, so if you’re starting with fasting, start with something like the 5/2 diet described below. If you’re serious about doing long fasts, though—especially if your goal is to lose weight—then it’s essential to know that this is normal. The first couple of days of any fast will be tough as your body adjusts to burning fat instead of sugar or glucose (a carbohydrate substance). You’ll likely feel irritable and lightheaded at first; headaches may also occur during this time.
Get some exercise, just not too much.
One of the benefits of fasting is that it forces you to rest, which will help protect your muscles. Exercise is a great way to keep your metabolism high, but don’t push yourself too hard. It’s also important not to over-exercise: don’t do anything strenuous or strenuous enough that you feel exhausted when done.
If possible, take advantage of any exercise opportunities while fasting by doing something easy like yoga or walking around the block at least once daily. But if there are no convenient opportunities for exercise nearby and you have other obligations (such as work), consider stretching in place instead!
Take a break from cooking.
The first thing you’ll want to do is take a break from cooking.
Don’t worry—we didn’t say stop eating altogether! You can still enjoy eating in different ways than you’re used to. Try eating out at restaurants and cafes. Enjoy meals with friends and family. Eat with your partner and kids—or even a pet or neighbor if they’re willing!
Keep your mind off food.
For the most part, it’s best to avoid thinking about food. You don’t want to give yourself any excuse to eat or drink something. Don’t talk about food, either. If your friend is talking about their favorite salad, change the subject as quickly as possible.
If you watch cooking shows—like MasterChef or Chopped—don’t watch them while fasting! It will be tough to resist eating when someone is making amazing food on TV right in front of you; better to avoid these shows altogether during your fast.
Don’t listen to podcasts that talk about food either; otherwise, you’ll find yourself listening intently and imagining all the delicious foods you could have if only this fast weren’t happening!
Don’t read about food online (there are plenty of other things worth reading on the internet). And don’t look at pictures of delicious meals and snacks – if there’s a temptation too great for even an experienced fasters mind, then it’s time for some self-control techniques like counting backward from 100 by sevens until they can finally look away from whatever was causing them pain.
Also, try not smelling anything that would typically tempt one toward eating (chocolate cake baking in an oven nearby provides quite a strong odor!).
“Finally, do not touch any types of foods – not even a spoonful – while on your long fast, as this may cause distress when seeing what others eat around them or hearing how tasty it smells when prepared in front of them.”
Eat something. Just not too much.
Now that you’ve decided to fast, it’s essential to know how much to eat. Remember that you need to eat something. Your body needs fuel! Don’t overdo it—you don’t want your stomach growling and grumbling at the thought of food for days. On the other hand, if you eat too little food (or none), your body will go into starvation mode and start preserving its energy—it won’t have time for anything else but survival. You also don’t want to feel sick after eating; this will make fasting much harder than it needs to be!
The best rule of thumb is this: Eat just enough, so you’re not hungry anymore, but no more than that. If you’re starting with an eight-hour fasting window every day, aim for around 2 cups of vegetables or fruit per mealtime (that’s about half a medium-sized apple). When your noon time comes around again tomorrow morning, repeat those same steps until dinnertime arrives around 5 pm (and so forth).
Take care of your health.
While fasting is a safe and effective way to lose weight and improve your health, it’s important to follow a few essential rules.
- Don’t fast if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Both conditions require increased caloric intake, so they should not be combined with fasting.
- Don’t fast if you have a history of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Fasting may trigger symptoms similar to those seen in eating disorders, which can be dangerous for someone who already struggles with them daily.
- Be sure you’re taking care of your health before deciding whether or not to start fasting. If you’re diabetic, epileptic, or suffer from any other serious medical condition, consult your doctor before beginning any tasting regimen so that they can advise accordingly
Once you’ve realized all of the advantages of fasting for extended periods of time, you’ll need to be aware of a few guidelines in order to carry it out properly.
The three keys to consider are:
Before you start, perform 7 days of:
The ketogenic diet and Intermittent fasting to gain metabolic flexibility and deflate.
He has no choice but to mobilize fat reserves during a fast to the body.
This environment of fat mobilization and ketone body production (modified fat that can cross the blood-brain barrier and feed the brain) not only provides energy but also functions as a brain, signaling that the body is deficient and deepening autophagy activation.
The toxic context in which we live, where we eat 5 times a day and always have carbohydrates available, causes the body to ” forget” how to mobilize these fat reserves.
This mechanism is known as “glucose hysteresis,” or cellular memory. A prolonged fast without metabolic flexibility will reduce the positive effects and produce unpleasant symptoms. Besides, such interventions already cause an anti-inflammatory effect
👉 be sure that a hyperactive immune system will significantly resist an energy deficit.
During the 72-hour long fast, don’t stay home
If you stay at home thinking about the food, looking with desire at the fridge door, getting bored and tying you up… You probably won’t be able to keep fasting.
Take the opportunity to do exciting and fun things to steer your mind outwards. A good idea is to go for a walk in the mountains or walk with your bottle of isotonic water.
You can take the opportunity to make work calls, talk to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time, or your ex-partner (it’s up to you).
The important thing is that you do not stay locked up and think only of fasting. You should do quite the opposite. The more mobility you have in your life is, the less it will cost you to fast.
Some exciting tips are drinking water or liquids or introducing some fine broth if needed. Although you may find it strange, the few calories that broth will bring you won’t boycott the stimulus about autophagy. However, they can be of great help.
Once you finish 72 hours, return gently
Consider that you haven’t used your digestive system in three days, so breaking long fasts with three black puddings isn’t appealing. It’s about introducing soft, cooked, protein-rich, and moderate-carb food.
This is because cooking is a pre-digestion, so we make it easier for the stomach to return to the activity with peace of mind.
The proportion of macronutrients is due to proteins and amino acids needed to stimulate cell reconstruction once you have degraded the useless parts. An excellent example of a good post-fast diet is boiled chicken and, for example, cream of pumpkin and potatoes.
How often should I fast long?
To stimulate the regeneration of the body’s essential systems, you have to generate significant stress. Therefore, we must space out prolonged fasts enough so they do not end up wearing us down.
It is generally considered that fasting every 2-3-4 months is sufficient to get all the benefits and not stress the body too much.
- Perform long fasts is a strategy to stimulate protected system autophagy for energy deficits.
- Long fasting has a profound regenerative effect on the brain and defensive system
- It appears that the minimum effective dose is 72 hours.
- Preparation for fasting with the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting improves the experience and optimizes results
- A good frequency of fasting is to do it every 3-4 months.
FAQs about how to perform long fasts
Alex is a passionate fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. He encourages small – sustainable changes over drastic transformations and works with people to create customized wellness plans. His mission is to help others benefit from the most effective methods available, sharing tips, strategies, and health & fitness tools on Gearuptofit.com to inspire people to live their best lives.