Extended Fasting: All you need to know to get started

Join me on my first extended fast of 2020!
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ExtendedFasting

Before you jump into the article, sign up to join me for the Fasting Challenge and receive your free fasting guide below!

Fasting:
“The willing abstinence or reduction of some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.”

Do you want to…

  • Improve body composition
  • Accelerate ketosis
  • Improve cognition
  • Elevate energy levels
  • Improve heart health
  • Improve brain health
  • Regulate appetite
  • Improve gut health
  • Improve self-control & will power?

It is likely that you answered ‘yes’ to the questions above. And, the incredible thing is, this is all totally achievable. Not only is it achievable, but it is also free and requires very little time and energy. You can experience all of the above, and more by implementing this simple biohack into your lifestyle: fasting.

Are you experimenting with fasting? Perhaps you are following the keto diet and want to enhance the benefits somewhat. Fasting is undoubtedly one of the most useful tools on the keto diet as it can help you to: get into ketosis faster, burn more fat, activate stem cells, upregulate longevity genes, increase autophagy and increase growth hormone. And these are only a few of the benefits fasting provides! For these very reasons, I aim to do a couple of extended fasts throughout the year.

Although I practice intermittent fasting daily and do some 24-hour fasts quite frequently, there are certain benefits that are further enhanced by extended fasts, i.e. longer than 24 hours. Amongst all of the benefits, the ability of fasting to help you to regain control of your eating habits is probably the best one! You no longer feel like food controls you. You make the decisions, and food becomes a means to nourish and fuel your body. With this humble biohack, you can reconceptualize your relationship with food completely!

You may be thinking that this whole fasting thing sounds difficult and slightly crazy! Well, it helps to remember the difference between starvation and fasting. They are very different. Fasting is deliberate and voluntary; starvation is forced upon and happens without control. Your body is starving when it is deprived of nutrients, but when you are fasting, your body creates those nutrients from endogenous fuel supplies in a controlled and efficient way. The body prevents starvation by entering a state of nutritional ketosis – a state where you use fat for energy and you actually feel amazing!

What actually happens in your body during a fast? The diagram below gives a brief outline of what happened at various stages during a fast. This may help you gauge your progress, and as you will see, your energy levels and mood get progressively better!

Extend fasting cycle

Key definitions:

Growth Hormone – the major anabolic hormone of the body that promotes longevity and leanness; it is responsible for muscle maintenance or gain during fasting.
Glycogen depletion – the point at which all stored carbohydrates, in the liver and muscle tissue is completely used up.
Autophagy – the process of cleaning out old and damaged cells and proteins; basically, a cellular clean-up.
Stem cell production – stem cells are cells that have the ability to repair damaged cells or develop new cells in your body.
Immune system renewal – your immune cells are continuously renewing, at this point, you have replenished circulating immune cells.


Choosing the Right Type of Fasting

Before you dive into the fast, do a little research and pick a strategy that suits you. Let’s take a brief look at the different types of fasting approaches.

1. Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Although this is not a type of extended fast, if you have never fasted before, this may be the perfect place for you to begin. Simply put, each day you spend a period of time eating and a period of time fasting. The most common type is the 16/8 method which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window.

Here you’ll get mild autophagy, increased fat burning, and elevated energy levels. Although these shorter fasts won’t necessarily have the same magnitude of effects as extended fasts, they will help your body get used to tapping into its energy reserves and start getting some of the major benefits. Also, exercise will be more welcomed in this type of fasting.

Level: Beginner

2. Caloric Liquid Fast

This type of fasting includes some calories, but still allows you to reap the benefits of fasting, simply because the liquids consumed are low-calorie and zero-sugar, and typically higher in fat. Typical examples include bone broth, green juice or non-caloric beverages like black coffee or tea.

This can be done for 24 hours or more, but the most common is 3-5 days. Having these low-calorie liquids can be great for your gut, but still keep your blood sugar stable and insulin levels low. If you’re doing juices or smoothies, ensure they are extremely low sugar – leafy green vegetables, water, and avocados are good options.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

3. Non-caloric Liquid Fast

Slightly more challenging, this fast includes only non-caloric liquids like black coffee or tea, but some people just stick to water only. This type of fast really ramps up the autophagy process, because any calories tend to slow down autophagy.

This type of fast should only be done if you’re experienced and are in healthy condition. Usually, a non-caloric liquid fast is done from 24 hours and up to 5 days. Because you’re consuming no calories, it is especially important to replenish with electrolytes. Make sure you have a zero-calorie electrolyte mix for this (check out my supplement recommendations in the manual for formulations I recommend).

Level: Advanced

4. Dry Fast

Lastly, the most extreme form of fasting is dry fasting which means consuming absolutely nothing – no water, no coffee, nothing. Usually done for religious or spiritual reasons, and to amplify the fasting effects to achieve some sort of psychological benefit.

This should only be done under medical supervision and if your goals and intentions as an experienced ‘faster’ are clear and set out.

Level: Advanced

With fasting, there are no restrictions on what you can and can’t eat during the eating window. But, a low carb, ketogenic approach will significantly boost your results, whilst focusing on high-quality fats and proteins.

 

Join me for a 72-hour fast, starting February 16, 2020!

Now that you have an idea of the types of fasts you can try, decide on an approach that best suits you, your current situation and your goals. Whether you’re a beginner to fasting or you’re experienced, I’d love for you to join me on my first extended fast of 2020!

I’ll be fasting for 72 hours beginning on February 16. You can choose to do as many or as few days as you’d like. If you’re just starting out, perhaps you should begin by experimenting with intermittent fasting before moving onto longer fasts. And that’s ok! I started there too – and once you feel the benefits, you’ll keep wanting to do more!

If you have tried a couple of extended fasts before, using this as a guide will make the process easier and more enjoyable. Either way, you should aim to challenge yourself to reap maximum benefits. Remember that if you haven’t fasted before, or haven’t done a fast in a while, jumping into an extended fast could wreak havoc on your hormones. So do your research and find the best strategy for you!

I have put together a fasting guide to help you through this fast. It includes a few tools and techniques I have used and found to be useful during lengthier fasts. One realization I have had is that fasting is more of a mental challenge than anything else. Having control over your mind during a fast can be a game-changer, and so I have included some simple mindful practices along the way.

Join me, and hundreds of others for 72 hours (or more, or less) of zero food! Follow the fasting guide in the link below to suit your goals, as there is no right or wrong way to fast.

Stay up to date with my progress on social media, and please share your progress with me! I like to know that I am not alone! You may feel like giving up at times, and that’s ok. We are here for each other, and this may just be a stepping stone to you becoming an expert.

Tag your friends, gather a tribe for this fast (and future fasts) as they’re so much easier when done together. I choose you to be a part of my tribe!

Download your free Fasting Guide here.

Versão em Português aqui

Important: Should you have any pre-existing medical conditions or a history of any eating disorders, please consult your medical doctor before starting any sort of fasting protocol. Fasting can be a significant stress on the body, and so making sure you’re ready for it, mentally and physically, is very important.

32 Comments

  1. Freeland Rolle says:

    I’m not new to fasting. I normally do the no caloric fast. This fasting guide was so using and I can’t wait to be apart of your challenge. I also enjoyed the live tonight and the information that was shared. I’m all the way from the Bahamas

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hey there! That is is great to hear. Thanks for joining the fast, and I hope you find the guide useful. I hope that joining this community will make the fast a little easier! Please share your experience with us. Good luck 😄

  2. DAVID Webb says:

    Couldn’t resist any longer! I’M IN!

  3. Lesly Gomez says:

    I’m excited for this I’ve been doing 24s just on liquids but need the motivation to be able to it longer i can’t wait . IM IN !!

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hey Lesly. Awesome! If you have gone 24 hours, you should be able to push through for a couple more, especially by joining such a big community doing it all together! Keep us updated with your progress. But remember to listen to how your body is feeling, and replenish your electrolytes! 😀

    • I will join everyone in this fast. I usually do intermittent fasting from 16-18 hours daily. I have done a few 24 fast. I will see how long I can go.

  4. Irene Silva says:

    I am going to try to do the challenge, is there an app i can download to help with my progress?

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hey Irene, yes definitely! We will be using the Zero Fasting app

      Simply download it and get going 😁 if you have any other questions to help you out let me know.

      Share your progress with us on social media if you can!

      • Kirsten Flanagan says:

        Hey Irene, we are actually going to use the Life Fasting app – as it has a feature where people can join a ‘fasting circle’. Our fasting circle is called #fastingchallenge, so see if you can download that too. Either one is great though. Up to you 🙂

  5. I’m in! Having this extra support will be great. Also, thanks for the graph above that shows at what stage in the fast certain things begin to happen. Excellent incentive to hang in there to get the full effects of autophagy.

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hey Mari! Thanks for the feedback 😁
      It definitely helps having people fasting alongside you. I’m glad you found the guide useful! As you’ll see, some of the amazing benefits come further into the fast, like growth hormone release and better mood! But just keep track of how you’re feeling. Good luck!

  6. Sherri Jo says:

    I’m in! Excited to be fasting along with you all!

  7. Marilee Walker says:

    I’m ready!!!

  8. Marilee Walker says:

    Excited to be doing this!

  9. Christimsh says:

    Hi! I’m in- but starting 2/17 and 2/18. Did 48s last year, lost ~28 lbs, gained back 9. Need the support of this group! I’m grateful that I found you.

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Wow, that’s incredible. Well, I am glad you’re joining this community then, as there is no better motivation than knowing there are a whole bunch of people in this with you!

      Good luck😃

  10. Christina Napoleon says:

    I am so excited to be participating in the #FastingChallenge! Thank you for having us all. 🙂

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Thank YOU for joining. We start in a couple of hours, I am can’t wait!

      I hope this is an enjoyable process for you 😅

      • Christina Napoleon says:

        I downloaded the Life fasting app but I can’t find the fasting circle

        • Kirsten Flanagan says:

          Please check out @zonehalo on Instagram – there is a story on this.
          You need to click on the 9 squares on home screen (bottom left), search under ‘See All’ on featured circles, and search #FastingChallenge with @zonehalo

          Hope this helps 🙂

  11. Bobbie Carter says:

    Trying to download guide to my phone but it’s not working. Will you send it and hashtags in email? Also, is this all done on instagram? I am not familiar with instagram. Finally, what was the app used? Can you include that in email along with how to get started and use instagram? Thank you. Bobbie Carter

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hi Bobbie – I hope this is not too late.

      The latest email that went out has the link to the guide directly. If you need more help please reply to the email.
      #fastingchallenge is the main tag, and using the handles of the brands involved which you can see on the website page for the fasting challenge

      The App is called ‘Life’ – download it here.

      This is where you will see everyone fasting. A lot of the sharing and communicating does happen through Instagram, although you can check out the Redmond Real Salt Fasting group on Facebook if that suits you better! They will be joining in the challenge too and have over 31K members!
      Good luck!

  12. Tammy Delabruere says:

    I am ready to start today, probably before 7pm. Looking forward to see how long I can go. I usually IF 16/8 6 days a week, so your advice and strategies will help. 👍🏻😉

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hello Tammy – great, good luck!

      If you’re doing 16/8 that is great, you should be pretty primed to extend past that mark. Head for 24 hours and see how you feel. Make sure your diet is clean in and around your fasts, and high in healthy fats (avocadoes, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, ghee, nuts, and full-fat dairy…), with limited (<50g) carbohydrates, so that you feel satiated and you support the production of ketones in the body.

  13. Gail says:

    Hi, only made 41 hours before I was so hungry I had to eat something. I think that I will stick with the 18/6. Thanks for the challenge.

    • Kirsten Flanagan says:

      Hi Gail. 41 hours is really impressive. I think that is something to be proud of. I’d suggest trying a few more 24 – 36 hours, where you’re feeling good and working upwards. Perhaps once a month? Keep an eye out for future challenges!

      Well done!

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