In this post, I share my diary of how I did a one week fast and survived.
Note: Do not fast without getting approval from your medical provider first. If you want to learn more about fasting, how to do it the correct way, and guidance from a nutritionist who can help you create your perfect fasting schedule, join the waitlist for my weight loss program, BSB Tribe HERE.
Did you pick up on the sarcasm in the heading? I hope you did.
Unfortunately, too many people think that long a fast will kill you. No joke.
Maybe you are a person that believes nothing good can come from a one week fast or perhaps curiosity got the best of you or possibly you are a proponent of fasting.
Each of us possesses different beliefs and curiosities about our health.
Keep reading if you want to know about my experience of doing a one week fast.
Let me start by saying I had no intention of doing such a long one week fast.
It all started when my husband and I were in NYC for our anniversary trip.
As we were sitting in an Italian restaurant in the middle of Eataly enjoying the best gnocchi we had ever tasted, I said to him, “I’ll need to do a one week fast after eating all this food from this trip.” I was joking.
He looked at me and said, “Ok, let’s do it, let’s make a bet.”
“Ha, I said, “You wouldn’t last a day.” Provoking him was not a good idea because then he became even more adamant about winning.
We made our bets, shook on them, and continued to stuff our faces with delicious Italian food.
The next day I knew for sure he would change his mind and say it was the wine talking, but to my surprise, he was still committed to the fast.
So, that’s how seven days of no sustenance was decided.
We started fasting Sunday at 12 am, and the plan was to fast until the following Sunday, or until the first person breaks.
If you haven’t read my post on The Top Fasting Myths, you may want to take a look before continuing this post.
This may allow a better understanding of my mindset and how to remove those myths from my mind.
If you have already read the previous post on fasting myths, continue reading. I would also encourage you to read my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Ok, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Fasting, just like Keto is individual. I believe that you should make it work for you to fit your life circumstances.
When I fast I consume the following:
- 1 tbsp of MCT oil with my morning coffee. (code KETOFITMOMLIFE gives you 15% off)
- Bone Broth
- Electrolytes. I use either Ultima Replenisher or Zipp Fizz and drink SOLE
The reason I still include MCT oil is that I maintain my fitness routine during my fasts. If I am fasting for 24hrs or less, I will do cardio and strength training. For this one week fast, I only did strength training and took a break from the cardio.
The break from cardio is because when I did both in the past, I had a hard time sticking to the one week fast because of the number of calories I was burning during exercise. I merely became too depleted of energy to do both.
Bone broth is something I take when I am struggling, or a hunger wave hits hard. It’s incredible how drinking some broth with a lot of salt can make me feel so much better and keep me from giving up.
Electrolytes are vital when fasting to get rid of headaches and replenish the loss that occurs during an extended fast.
Let’s move on…
That is very common for me, and quite frankly, I was surprised it wasn’t more. (must have been all the walking we did.)
Here are some numbers to give you a background. Before my NYC trip, I weighed around 144lbs. When I came back and weighed myself, I weighed 150lbs.
Ketones: 0.4 mmol/L
Blood Sugar 102 mg/dL
I wasn’t hungry at all. I checked my blood ketones and blood sugar around 9 in the morning and here were the results.
As you can see I was not in Ketosis (.5mmo/L and up is Ketosis), and my blood sugar was still pretty high.
I had a cup of coffee with 1 tbsp of MCT oil.
I completed my Body Beast workout, which is all strength training. I felt pretty great that day.
All of the food from NYC was holding me up pretty well.
I didn’t need any bone broth this day. However, I did drink SOLE and had some resistant starch in the morning and evening before bed.
This day was pretty easy.
Weight: 145 lbs
Blood Ketones: 0.3 mmol/L
Blood Sugar: 94 mg/dL
Still not in Ketosis, but my blood sugar did drop. I did have a slight stomach ache in the morning as well.
I had my morning coffee with 1 tbsp of MCT oil.
Around noon, after my Body Beast workout, I noticed that my stomach ache got worse.
My theory is that taking the resistant starch the previous day was to blame. I had temporarily stopped taking it the week before, so my body was trying to get used to it again.
I decided to stop taking it because I realized that it would be a miserable week if my stomach hurt that much the entire time.
Unfortunately, it lasted the entire day. It was uncomfortable. Around mid-evening I had an intense hunger wave, so I drank a cup of Beef bone broth and a cup of chicken bone broth.
I usually make my bone broth– you can watch how I make it here, however since we just came back from traveling I didn’t have any on hand.
Overall, not a bad day either.
Weight: 143 lbs
Blood Ketones: 1.1 mmol/L Yay! I’m back in Ketosis!
Blood Sugar: 92 mg/dL
Ok, this day sucked. I woke up at 2 am to use the bathroom (if you know what I mean). Then, everything that I drank that wasn’t water, I immediately had to go number 2.
If you are familiar with fasting, you know what “number 2” is.
Dare I say it? Ok, it’s like peeing out of your butt. I’m getting transparent here.
I still had my usual coffee, did my Body Beast workout, and drank about 2 cups of beef broth in the evening.
I will say, I was hoping that my husband would give up by this point because I got ravenous in the evening.
However, as I’ve said before, hunger comes and goes like waves. I rode out the hunger waves, and I was fine.
Regardless, I spent a lot of time on the toilet that day, and it was not fun. Sorry for TMI.
Weight: 142.5 lbs
Blood Ketones: 1.9 mmol/L
Blood Sugar: 77 mg/dL
Why am I still doing this?? Ugh, I know why, because I am so competitive with my husband.
Call it silly and childish, but I’m not kidding you I probably would have stopped fasting by now if this wasn’t a competition of who will last the longest.
“Breakfast” was coffee with MCT oil. I did my workout, but I struggled with the heavyweights.
I felt slightly dehydrated and a tad bit dizzy while lifting. Normal after not eating for like 80 hours straight.
I had some beef bone broth for lunch and felt pretty good. However, around 6 pm I started getting hangry (hungry and angry).
The hunger wave hit so hard, that I was trying to convince my husband to give in, but he said he wouldn’t until I did.
The hardest part about fasting for this long has to make food for someone else. We have two small children who we need to feed so being away from the kitchen is not an option.
Even the things that my 10 m.o. eats sounded delicious. Pureed butternut squash anyone? Yes, please!
Hunger lasted pretty long this day, but my stubbornness would not let me give in.
Weight: 143 lbs
Blood Ketones: 3.6 mmol/L
Blood Sugar: 66 g/dL – this is the lowest it’s been so far.
I had a hard time sleeping the night before. That is pretty common during an extended fast for me. I woke up around 5 am, and it took a while to fall back asleep.
Then, when my daughter woke up and started yelling “I’m hungry now” in my face, I was so exhausted all I wanted to do was stay in bed.
I felt like crap. I was tired, unmotivated, and somewhat depressed because I missed eating.
On the other hand, do you know what I wasn’t? Hungry.
Yes, it felt like my stomach was an empty pit but I didn’t feel actual hunger.
It’s hard to describe, but you feel empty because you are empty.
I went to the grocery store in the morning to pick up some items for meal planning after the one week fast since I haven’t cooked all week and I was slightly nervous about going.
You know the saying, don’t shop for food when you are hungry.
Well, it went better than expected. I went in, got what I needed, and left instead of roaming the aisles like I usually do, or placing extra items in my cart that I didn’t need. I was shocked and proud.
After I arrived home, I went to do my Body Beast chest workout, and it was lousy. I could barely lift anything past 15lbs. I had no motivation or desire to exercise.
The rest of the day I spent in the kitchen, cooking.
Yes, I know, that is the one thing I was not supposed to be doing. However, it was therapeutic for me.
I made a few new recipes for this blog, and when the baked goods were in the oven, and the house smelled like deliciousness, it was hard.
I don’t know why I “self-sabotage” like that. When I am fasting, all I want to do is cook, bake and look at recipes.
It’s messed up, I know.
Anyway, at this point, I realized my husband was not giving up, and I just had to accept that neither of us was going to win.
On the other hand, there was still one full day to go, so keep reading.
Blood Ketones: 3.6mmol/L
Blood Sugar: 79 mg/dL
Last day of the one week fast!!! WHOOOOHOOOOO!!!! What a week. I woke up early again because my 10 m.o woke up super early and would not go back to sleep.
It was so dark and gloomy out, and all I wanted was to cuddle up with my girls and eat some Keto comfort food, but that wasn’t going to happen.
At this point, I was not hungry nor did I have a headache. I felt pretty good actually.
The issue was; that I missed the idea and the process of eating food. It’s a mental thing for me, that is all.
This week reminded me of running a marathon. It’s awesome the first 5-10 miles; then you start getting tired. Once you hit mile 17ish, your body starts telling your mind that your legs can’t move anymore.
The only way to overcome this is to tell your mind to tell your body to shut up. Harsh, but necessary. Once you do that, you will realize that you can run forever (ok, maybe not forever, but at least the whole 26.2 miles).
Anyway, I probably could have kept fasting if I wanted to (but I did NOT want to).
If someone paid me $500 to keep fasting, I would. I mean, that is a new lens on my camera, heck yes I’ll do it!
All jokes aside, I was fascinated that my hunger was utterly gone.
On the other hand, I noticed I was starting to do weird things.
For instance, my daughter woke up and I always change her diaper, but this morning I just took her to our bed, and she wet it. (my husband was not happy about this).
Then, after making the kiddos breakfast, I put the bacon back in the fruit drawer. I didn’t even realize it until I went to put the blueberries back.
The biggest oopsie I made was that I forgot to close the garage door when I left to run an errand. (YIKES).
Just something to consider if you are a brain surgeon wanting to do an extended fast.
I was doing weird, ditzy things that I usually don’t do. It was as if my brain wasn’t functioning 100% because of a lack of food or something. I don’t know how to describe this besides just being very strange.
I did my usual routine with coffee and MCT oil, but I think I may have put too much in my coffee because I had a stomach ache for a few hours after.
Although, it could have just been my body knowing that the fast was almost over and wanted me to be in misery during the end. Consider it a payback for the week of injustice I put it through.
My Beast Body workout was a complete wash. Weight training, while fasting for that long, is not a good idea.
I didn’t want to be behind a week on my schedule so I still did the workouts but they were lazy and ineffective.
The rest of the day was hard. The anticipation of eating again. I will say, I was still not very hungry.
So, the question remains, would I make it? Will my husband make it? Would I stay up until midnight to eat?
Well, keep reading!!
For the rest of the day, I tried to stay as busy as possible. I was so excited that I was going to be able to eat soon. I wanted to stay up, but I got exhausted around 10 pm.
I would have fasted the entire night if my daughter didn’t wake up around 11:50 pm.
After making her a bottle, and by the time I gave it to her it was almost midnight, so I grabbed a Butternut Squash and Coconut Muffin I made the night before, and right at midnight, I ate it.
It was delightful. I love food. End of story.
Results and the Takeaway
I am very stubborn. My husband is very stubborn. Together, we are very stubborn and competitive.
Either one of us broke. We both fasted the entire 144 hours and vowed never to do that again.
End weight: 140 lbs
Total pounds lost: 10 lbs (my husband lost 11 lbs)
In conclusion, I want to say the following:
- If you are going to do an extended fast, talk to a medical professional first.
- Doing a prolonged fast is not for everyone. I don’t see a point in doing it unless you are trying to reverse Diabetes, Obesity, or Cancer Therapy.
- It’s ok to have some MCT oil and bone broth during your fast if it helps you keep going. If you can do a water-only fast that is ideal, however, I wouldn’t last that long on water only.
- Fasting is like a muscle, the more you work at it and practice, the longer you can go.
- Don’t fast for just lose weight. Yes, you will lose a significant amount of weight during an extended fast, but most of it is water. The pounds will slowly come back once you start eating regularly. (not all of them though, hopefully)
- If you can still maintain fitness during your fasts that is great, if not, don’t sweat it. Allow yourself extra rest days
- Try to avoid being around food, hanging out in the kitchen, watching food shows anddddd looking at your Instagram feed If you are following a lot of Keto accounts; you already know that most of the posts are pictures of food. Don’t torture yourself.
- Stay busy, take this time to do house projects you have been putting off, read a book, or start a blog, as I did. That will keep your days very busy.
- As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you want to fast for a long time but don’t feel well, STOP. That means your body is telling you that it’s not ready for such a long fast. It’s ok. Even an 8-hour fast is beneficial.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. You have your strengths that no one else may have, so who cares if you can’t fast this long? It’s not fun anyway.
*I test my blood ketones and blood sugar using the keto coach. Use THIS link and code “eatbefitexplore” to get 20% off.
Thanks for sharing!
What was the weight return for you? I’m thinking of doing an extended fast and am definitely motivated by the weight loss you see here but what happened next? Did it all come back? How many pounds were you ultimately down once you started eating again.
Alexis, thanks for reading! My weight actually maintained for a couple a weeks, then I started eating non-Keto foods and gained a few pounds. I’m back on Keto now and I’ll say I probably gained 3-4 of the pounds of the 10 I lost at this point.
Hi Lesya, I restarted Keto,, Intermittent Fasting and Increased my water to 3L a day. The first 3 days, I gained a pound each day. So I’m up 3 pounds. And now been steady. at the 3 pound increase.. I’m using carb manager and weighing, tracking my food – so I’m not exceeding calories. It’s been a week, and my body seems to be retaining the water. Any suggestions?
Lesya Holzapfel says
Hi, you should join my free challenge so I can help you 🙂 Here is the link: eatbefitexplore.com/challenge
Donna K says
Thanks for sharing, I’m doing a 66 hour water and black coffee fast. Usually do 24 hour once a week and 44 hour once a month. When breaking my longest fast which is 66 hour fast, would it be best to start with a good quality chicken bone broth or start with a bullet proof coffee (which has mct oil, grassfed butter/ghee, microbiome spores and tiny amount of soluble fibre) first? Which order would you have it….I guess best to start with one then wait 30-60 minutes before having the other and then a bigger meal an hour or two later ?
Lesya Holzapfel says
I would recommend starting with something lighter like a bone broth. If you begin with bulletproof coffee it might cause some loose poop situations if you know what I mean. 66 hours is a long time without food so we need to ease into it slowly. after the broth, I would probably wait a couple of hours and have some protein and healthy fats.
Donna K says
Were you fat adapted before your fast? I ask because it was on fourth day (Wednesday) before you got into ketosis, considering you started your fast on Sunday morning? I believe I am fat adapted but went completely of course (out of keto in a big way) for a day and a half, so I wonder if it should take me this long to back into ketosis if I fast and exercise ?
Also do you think mct oil will help me get back into ketosis quicker ?
Many thanks 🙂
Lesya Holzapfel says
Donna, before the fast I spent a week in NYC eating my face off. With that being said, when I wrote this post I was 4 years into keto. Sometimes fasting and more exercise aren’t the answer. Maybe your body needs more protein or more carbs? I don’t know your whole situation so I can’t give you an answer for context. MCT oil helps your liver create ketones, so yes it could potentially help you get back into ketosis quicker if that is your goal. Have you joined my facebook group yet? It’s called Holistic Clean Keto & Carb Cycling For Women. I think it will be a great resource for you!