I ate nothing for 10 days. It was an odd experience. Here are eight strange (and rather unscientific) things I learned.

 

DISCLAIMER: I do not recommend you to start a fast. This post should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If you are considering fasting, please consult with your health care provider or seek other medical professional before starting.


#1 The first few days are the worst


You’re incredibly hungry, you feel like a zombie, you can smell food from miles away and your head feels like someone’s pounding it with a hammer.

It really isn’t fun. Nevertheless, these symptoms don’t last that long. I read that for some, the feeling eases after two days. For me, it took five, though..

On the positive side, acting against your base instincts requires – and trains – your willpower. When your brain is shouting ”THE FOOD IS RIGHT THERE, EAT IT!!!”, it takes a lot from you to say ”SORRY, NO, I’ll JUST SIP THIS WATER INSTEAD”.

#2 Hunger passes after a week (or sooner)


On days six, seven and eight, I joined people for dinner and even went to a BBQ party, where my job as a photographer was to take photos of delicious grilled sausages and tasty hot dogs! Nevertheless, it really wasn’t that big of a deal to see and smell food after a week of fasting.

It was kinda like my brain would have given up on me and couldn’t even bother producing the necessary brain signals and chemicals required to create the feeling of hunger.

#3 You need less sleep..


..or you might have trouble sleeping. I normally sleep 8-10 hours without an alarm. Nearing the end of my fast, I could barely sleep 7 hours before I just had to get up.

Some people say that they sleep better while fasting and that their sleep is more refreshing. In my case, I slept less and the sleep I got was not refreshing at all. I woke up multiple times each night and my dreams were shallow.

#4 Your fat percentage doesn’t necessarily drop


After a day, your body should start metabolizing fat instead of glucose (because your glucose reserves run out quite fast). So with common sense, my fat percentage should have decreased during the fast.

But that was not the case. My fat percentage actually increased from 7.1% to over 8%. I have no clue why, but my doctor suggested that it could be related to my body losing a lot of water, which then distorted the fat percentage figures. However, it wasn’t only the fat percentage that increased; even the amount of fat in kilograms increased slightly. Odd?

So if you’re entering a fast with the sole aim of shedding some of that fat from your belly, you might be disappointed with the results.

Nevertheless, the changes in my appearance were huge.

#5 You can say goodbye to your muscles


According to body composition analysis, I lost five kilograms of muscle. Five kilograms!! Eleven pounds!! I lost muscle mass equal to the weight of two chihuahuas! Or one cat! Or a gallon of paint! Or three human brains! Or..

Again, these figures might be a bit distorted, but I nevertheless lost a lot of hard-earned muscle.

I read that the lost muscle mass will recover with a bit of training. I sincerely hope that it’s true.

#6 Supplements can ease your feeling


My muscles started cramping and I started experiencing heart palpitations after day five. At this point, a knowledgeable friend of mine suggested that I’d supplement sodium, potassium and magnesium, i.e. water-soluble electrolytes that you lack when fasting. Better yet, these electrolytes don’t break your fast. Almost immediately after taking those supplements the symptoms eased. But I wasn’t feeling 100% either, that’s for sure. 

I’d say there really is no way to escape all the ill symptoms that come with fasting (that is, without breaking your fast). I mean, c’mon, your intentionally starving yourself. The only panacea for that is food.

#7 'Fasting highs' are not always that 'high'


I never experienced any heightened sense of clarity or increased focus. Quite the opposite. It was a bit of a disappointment, as I had read that those ’fasting highs’ would start occurring after entering full ketosis, i.e. after a few days.

But no! I felt a bit foggy, groggy, laggy, saggy and naggy(?) throughout my fast.

#8 The first bite of food is pure ecstasy


After ten long days, I took a bite of watermelon. That very act of biting and tasting food was so amazing that it made up for most of the ill feelings I had gone through during the fast. I could actually feel all the nutrients rushing to every part of my body – it was like a warm wave. I felt tipsy – I was drunk from food!

AND THE TASTE! Never has watermelon tasted so good. Every single taste bud in my mouth exploded, and I even noticed some new flavors in other foods. Heck, I tried some raw broccoli and even that tasted like a treat!

Oddly, coffee tasted like dirt more than anything. It was a shock, as I used to love the taste of coffee. (A few days after breaking the fast my taste buds once again found coffee tasty. It’s funny how addiction works.)

For the rest of the day, and days after it, I felt excellent.