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When Should You Do Prolonged Fasting?

When your target starts slipping, prolonged fasting can get you back on track

4 April 2020
hen doing the easy fasting method, occasionally you might find your body fat decreasing slower than what you would like, or even increasing. Some might say you've hit a plateau.

If it continues for three days, then this is a sign that you are taking calories over your TDEE. You may not have done it on purpose; our TDEE changes as we lose body fat or add muscle. You should quickly adjust and reduce your calorie intake or raise your TDEE through exercise, or both, to get back on track towards your goal.

There is, however, a quick way to get back on track that has worked for me: prolonged fasting, which is water fasting for over 24 hours.

Prolonged fasting is a great way to achieve two objectives:

1. To quickly lose body fat

2. To get into increased autophagy - you should fast more than 36 hours for this, but that's a topic for another day

Eat well the day before you start. Eat well and even exceed your TDEE the day before you begin prolonged fasting. This helps bring your metabolism at its peak, especially if you've been eating at a caloric deficit. Plus, the extra glucose in your bloodstream would strengthen your resolve.

Your glycogen stores will be depleted first. At the end of the first day, you might find that you'd lost 1kg of body fat; but you'd been deceived. That's not really body fat, just your glycogen stores which are mostly water. Only after depleting your glycogen stores would you start losing body fat. You can expect to lose 300g a day of body fat with prolonged fasting.

That's also why you should fast for at least 48 hours. Unless your intention for fasting was solely to deplete your glycogen stores.

The hunger will go away. You may feel very hungry the first day, but that's because you are not used to it yet. You will feel less hungry the next day, and so on. Your hunger hormones reduce each day of prolonged fasting and will be gone by the end of the third day. Just persevere through.

Don't start on an important day. Don't start your prolonged fasting on a day that you have an important meeting or have to make difficult decisions because the reduced energy to your brain from the reduction in glucose could cloud judgements. But by the second day, after your body has learned to get its energy supply from your body fat - a process called ketosis - the energy supply to your brain should be restored.

Break with a proper meal. If for some reason you need to break your fast, have a proper meal as you would if you were doing the easy fasting routine. Taking just a snack will cause you to starve. There's a difference between starving and fasting.

Continue with the prolonged fasting until you have lost the body fat mass you were not losing earlier. Then you can choose to either continue on a bit more or go back into the easy fasting routine.



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