This is part II of my series on the topics of Fasting and Intermittent Fasting. Read part I over here.
Recap On My First 8-Day Fast
I just finished my first 8 day fast. It was very successful. My total body weight dropped by ~14 lbs. Later in this blog post I will share some of my calculations around this topic, especially relating to what percent of this drop was actually water.
I hesitate to call this a “true fast” because after the first 4 days, I found myself getting run down and ate a snack so in that sense I “cheated.” In fact, I ended up “cheating” 3 times during my fast on a regular pattern. Regardless of this, the results were excellent.
Based on the lessons I have learned, I will by modifying my approach to allow for semi-regular eating breaks. Even with an occasional meal, I lost an impressive amount of weight while maintaining a quite healthy energy and focus level.
First 8-day Fast Recap
- Starting weight: 256.6
- Starting date: Friday, February 2nd – Saturday, February 10th
- Low Body Weight: 242.4
- Total weight change: Roughly 14 lbs
- Ran twice
- Cheated three times
Here is a table of my data. Technically, I began fasting the Thursday night before I began tracking this fast (Feb 1st):
Discussion on Body Water vs. Fat Lost
When it comes to measuring progress, body water is a potential source of confusion in a number of ways. For example, within the first three days, I dumped over 6 lbs of weight which couldn’t possibly have been all fat. After the initial losses, my losses averaged around 1.5 – 2lbs per day.
As a 250+ lb adult male with some muscle mass, I have estimated using online calculators that I naturally burn anywhere from 2,000 to 2,300 calories per day by just sitting, walking, thinking and working. A single lb of body fat contains 3,500 calories. That means by not eating, I should have expected to burn roughly .75 lbs of fat per day through regular activity.
So what explains the 1.5lbs to 2lbs per day number? The answer could only be “water,” especially after the first three days of fasting, when the body rids itself of stored glycogen (which tends to hold onto a lot of water) and transition to true Ketosis.
Based on my research, an adult male body is anywhere from 60-70% water by mass. This can vary based on salt intake. 1 lb of water is roughly 16 oz. Therefore, it seems that each pound of body fat lost must also result in a similar amount of water being removed from the system.
Sources I have seen online claim that adipose tissue is 10% water, I am unable to reconcile those numbers with what I am observing. As near as I am able to see, for each pound of body fat lost, I am losing a nearly equivalent amount of water weight. This is phenomenally good news.
Are You As Fat As You Think You Are?
After my initial calculations above and observing how much weight I measured every day, I feel like I have discovered something that is quite useful: People may not be as fat as they think they are. By this I mean, if you seem to be 60lbs overweight, 30 of those lbs may well be water. This makes the overall velocity of weight loss much faster than one might think when it comes to pure fasting.
I have often seen references to body water being a big factor, but I have never seen anyone explicitly writing the words: If you lose 1lb of fat, you also lose 1lb of water for a total loss of 2lbs. If my progress at this rate continues, it gives me a lot of hope that I can lose weight much faster than expected.
What to Eat While Fasting
Though I mostly did not eat anything, I did intake a multivitamin and mineral supplements on a regular basis. I also began adding Bone Broth and Brewers Yeast in small quantities. Both have very low calories but also provide protein and other building blocks that are good to have in your system.
If you are drinking caffeine, you will get depleted on minerals and electrolytes (which I believe results in the light-headedness effects I experienced). Thus the need to supplement. Bone Broth I found to be very satisfying, the richer the better, while having very few calories. A cup of rich broth felt like eating an entire meal.
I will be doing a follow-on fast to this one in coming weeks and writing another blog about my experience with that.