Water Fasting to Completion – Day 7

As I did not sleep as much last night, this night was considerably better. I slept at least 7 good hours. Without waking up in between, feeling very rested. But then I fell back asleep just before my alarm went off. Again not the best start into the day. And my motivation to get up was extremely low.  And that is actually interesting to notice. I now see how much of a motivation booster food is for me. Especially when I was eating only one meal a day and ate it in the morning. I was jumping out of bed, because I knew after my workout food would wait for me.
But on the water fast, with probably many more days without food ahead, motivation to start the day is much lower for me.

Working day and metal energy

But as I went through my working day, I felt extremely focused. I work a desk job that is mentally engaging. Putting on some music and working on the tasks brought me in a hyper focused state very easily. Time was flying by much more quickly. I would say this is called being in the zone. And sadly I do not experience it very often. My theory is that fasting (or a ketogenic state?) lowers the level of engagement, required to release positive neuro-transmitters. Or they are generally more elevated. This is also why you do not need to do much. Boredom arises but I still find it easier to handle than usually. I just feel content and happy.

Body weight

As my body weight is probably extremely low, I am wondering how much longer I can go. I am aware that I am probably losing a lot of lean mass. But my experience of previous fasts has shown me that I do not need to fear that. After a fast, the body acts like a dry sponge. Absorbing and utilizing everything with incredible efficiency. Coupled with training, it is easy to gain back a lot of the lost muscle very quickly. Might be worth tracking, for a good before-after comparison.

Mental tip to last you through a long fast

After this days experience, my recommendation would definitely not go against working while fasting. If you are not having a very stressful job, it might even make the fast easier. Keep mentally engaged but relaxed and see the time fly by. Do not count the days and take it day by day. To look at all the fasting days ahead can be daunting. I have found it to be much easier to stay in the present moment and feel the present moment. If you can stand the feeling of fasting right now, you will also be able to do it the coming days. The feeling in the present moment is probably not going to change. Whether you are on day 4 or day  14. Given you have enough reserves left.

Celery juice is good to break a water fast


Mineral Deficiencies?

Today I technically broke my water fast. I am continuing with a juice fast. But not the typical kind where you drink fruit juices. I am having celery juice and cabbage. In minor quantities as well. I will have two glasses of this a day. Amounting to about 50kcal. In addition I will start drinking herbal teas.
The reason for that are muscle twitches. I had them now continuously for several days. I hope they are related to electrolyte imbalances or deficiencies. Therefore I drink the vegetable juices throughout the day. In the hope that they will supply some minerals. 

Water Fasting to Completion – Day 6

This day was actually more difficult mentally. I was reading negative things about long term fasting on the internet and obviously started doubting my approach. I was thinking about quitting it before hunger returns. Or if I should switch to juice fasting, etc. 


Determination

But I am determined to do this experiment and also complete it. I have now been through the hardest part. If I quit now I would regret it later, because I do not know what it could have done for me.
If I want to be successful, I have to find a way to deal with the boredom. Just getting my thoughts away from food. If I fall into the trap of eating out of boredom, I have not broken with my previous habits. They have already improved on the one meal a day diet. But I would be going back to regular smaller meals first. In order not to overtax my digestive system after it has been resting for so long.

Digestion and sour stomach

My stomach is still not shut down completely. This is annoying. Many other fasters mention that they do not feel any hunger in the stomach after day 2 or 3. But for me I still get the regular sour feeling.
My explanation for this is that bile is expelled into the stomach to release toxins from the liver. And this starts the process of digestion. I can also feel that some matter has accumulated in my large intestine. But it is too small to trigger a full bowel movement. So I would like to get rid of it before it hardens up too much. But I do not want to take a laxative again. I am going to buy an enema and try to get of it that way. As one of my goals is to get rid of hemorrhoids through the process of water fasting, passing a hard stool at the end of it, might be counterproductive.

Sleep and energy levels

I did not sleep very long this night. 4-5 hours at most. And felt tired therefore in the morning.

Energy levels are generally more even. Without food demanding energy for digestion there are no ups and downs during the day. This can make it more pleasant for some. Or more challenging for others. If you are tired at times, where you can relax that is a welcome and worthwhile feeling. You do not have to think about what to do, when you do not have enough energy anyways. Having the same (high) energy all day long gives much more room for boredom and requires more creativity on your part ;)

An insight into truth - from 9 years of researching autoimmune diseases

Since I got diagnosed with crohns disease and colitis, I have been reading and searching the internet for information about autoimmune diseases. I wanted to find out the root causes. In the beginning I was thinking their must be a fix and I just have to find it. I tried many different things and got success from some of them.

Paradise? Maybe for a child.
Why? Continue reading...
Over time I gained an insight, that goes beyond the individual diets and lifestyle-factors. And that is: after you have discovered a truth, there is no way back!

What do I mean by that? 
A lot of the factors in the development of those diseases and many other disease are actually under our control. If want it to be true or not. Many people keep themselves from realizing this become of the fear that they have to drastically change their acquired habits. But once you realize how much you are actually responsible for your own well being, than there is no way to go back to the way you lived before. And even though you can ignore it and continue on with bad habits, it is still not the same anymore.

For example as a kid, I loved to go to a store with some friends, where you could choose from a great variety of different sweets. We would then buy a couple hundred grams of pure sugary sweets each and go somewhere and eat them over the course of the day. As a kid, I could do it, because I did not know anything about how this effected my body.

But if you ignore that knowledge as a grown up and still eat that way, you can't even enjoy it the way you did as a child. That truth will always be lingering in your mind and take from the enjoyment of eating that food which you could enjoy as a child who did not know the truth.

So the main takeaway from this is, that once you learn a truth, it will inevitably have to influence your decisions and it demands you to act upon it. Or suffering from diseases will persist or develop.

I guess this is not what you expected from the title, but I hope it is still valuable, as we all tend to act against our best knowledge from time to time.

Water Fasting to Completion - Day 4

Today things got even easier for me. I slept again wonderful and felt more very energetic when I woke up. So much that I put on several layers of clothes and went out into the park to go ice skating. Ut I still ended up getting cold when I was outside. But mainly on the hands.

The experience of ice-skating was nice and I did not feel weak. And it definitely feels good to move around a little and get some fresh air during the fast. In general I can say that my outlook on life and mood has improved in general.

Molded by hardship, animals and man became the beautiful beings they are today...

Hunger wise, I do not have any desire to eat and the thought of ending this beautiful state I am in right now, is not very appealing. I hope it stays this way for several more days.

Towards the end of the day I got a severe pain in my leg for about half an hour. Which got better when I massaged it. According to some people this might be a symptom of the release of toxins. But I am not putting up with any theory here. I will probably never know what the cause was. Another peculiar symptom resolved itself. I had very cold and red knees for years. Before I went to bed, they were intensely red, but in a more light color. Before they were bluish-red. And today the redness is completely gone and my knees look normal again for the first time in years. I hope this will go hand in hand with reduced pain while running. Sadly I do not have taken a before picture. So an afterwards picture of normal looking knees won’t tell you much.


The most enjoyable thing is still lying on my heating blanket and listening to audiobooks, reading and just relaxing. This is also nice about fasting, because it is the only time you can allow yourself to be entirely lazy and do nothing physical at all if you like. No excess food energy that needs to be exercised off… 

I also have been observing a change in my urine. During the first three days it smelled and looked differently. Now it is lighter in color and smells more pleasant. My water intake has probably not changed much. I am still drinking according to thirst. Probably around 1 liter per day.

Water Fasting to Completion - Day 3

This morning I realized for the first time, that I am now truly fasting. I was feeling slightly better on day two, but now I feel completely empty and this intimidates me a little. I am not afraid, but definitely curious to see how this fast develops.  I think that from now on I can fast without much desire for food.

On a successful fast your body might tell you, that it does not want you to eat this.
Not even the cookie on the right ;)


Food even puts me off. Here goes a small experience/story showing how strongly 3 days of fasting has turned my desire for food complete upside down:

I tested myself today at work. There were cookies lying around that were free for everyone to eat. I took one and smelled it and seriously tried to evaluate my desire for it as openly as possible. Kind of like you would consider it as a “normal” person, not fasting, not being on any special diet. The result really amazed me. There was not only zero desire for it, I even got slightly nauseated by the thought of putting this into my mouth and then having to deal with the digestion and the feeling it gives me. It smelled good though. And I would have enjoyed eating it at other times. This shows that my fears before the fast, that it will be a drudgery,  requiring all of my will power, turned out to be ungrounded. It was based on my (and usually everyone’s) experience of being dependent on the stimulation from food rather than it’s nourishment.

In my opinion this is a clear sign my body is sending me. I am sure if my digestive track grew a voice, saying something like this: “Hey you deaf consciousness up there. Can you finally hear me? Great, because I want to do some serious house cleaning down here. I wanted to rebuild your intestines and stomach already for a long time. But you kept throwing unnecessary stuff in there, so my little workers couldn’t go to work. Now keep some water coming as I demand it and do not worry about all else. We have all the raw materials already available.”

It is now clear to me that I was not able to listen to my body and especially my digestion before. I had issues with overeating and was clearly not absorbing much from my food. Sometimes I was craving junk food and also indulged in it and then I was thinking I already screwed up and ended up eating even more of it. With sweets I was having a hard time controlling my appetite. With any starchy meal I develop a huge amount of burping and gas in the stomach. Even with those issues I regarded them as normal for a long time. Even though I am a smaller size and often times less active than others I could always eat much more before feeling satisfied. And that without gaining weight. What some might think is a gift, was actually deteriorating my health.

With this fasting experience I want to get to a point again where I can trust my instincts and my hunger. I guess the signals were screaming at me before, but I was not listening. I think the fast will reset me in this regard.

Back to what I experienced today:
I feel clean and light. I like how smooth my skin feels. Fasting can really be enjoyable. I am a little more tired mentally than yesterday. I slept for 5 hours and could not fall back asleep until half an hour before my alarm went off. So I was awoken form pretty deep sleep. Which is never a good start of the day anyways… Next days I will allow myself more rest again. The sleep felt really refreshing and deep though. No major change in my dreams or dream-recall.

During work I felt slightly more absorbed in the activity. But not necessarily in a purely positive way, it also felt like it required more attention and therefore other things had to fall into the background.
After work though I was glad that I could go back to my home and relax. I have an electric heating blanket that I use to stay warm. And on the fast it is the most comfortable thing and I can highly recommend it if you are fasting in a cold climate. So for the rest of the evening I read and listened to an audiobook.


I was thinking about taking a laxative for a few days. And finally I drank half a liter of water with 30g of sodium-sulphate. This cleaned out my bowels for the following few hours. There was still some food residue coming out with that, so it might not have been the worst decision.

Water Fasting to Completion - Day 1 & 2

Day 1:

I spend most of the time in bed and was able to keep warm. But I also went out for a walk to get some movement and fresh air. For heavier individuals I would definitely recommend regular light exercise during a fast. But I try to conserve as much energy as possible. And therefore I will not spent to much time outside, especially now that the temperature in January is below 0°C.

I felt good and less hungry (empty stomach) than I anticipated. I read recommendations that say to even keep mental activity to a minimum, but outside of my meditation practice I cannot stand the boredom of not doing anything for very long. I keep my mind busy with reading, writing and listening to music.

I had two bowel movements this day, which were quite normal. The day before I ate also quite normally, so that was to be expected. 

Overall I probably drank less than one liter of water. I do not have a great desire for drinking water. And even the times I drank where not really because of very strong thirst. The seven and ten day fasts I did before, I was drinking to much water. Probably upwards of two liters per day. Now I see how this was detrimental and its connection to the issues I had during those fasts. For example on the second fast I felt so cold, that lying on a heating blanket was not enough to get me to feeling warm. But I was probably also not adjusted to burning fat, as I was eating a mainly fruit and starch based diet before those fasts. 

From that experience I would now recommend to drink according to thirst and eat a high fat diet. At least a couple of weeks leading up to the fast. This will make the fast quite an enjoyable experience, in my experience ;)

Day 2:

I had another bowel movement of smaller size this day. I was a little surprised about that, as it was about 40 hours after the last meal.

In general I feel really good. I can definitely say that I feel better than before fasting. Listening to music has become different. Kind of like the music is more rich, more saturated and more surrounding. It really sucks my complete attention in if I close my eyes and listen with headphones. It feels similar to listening to music when taking a small dose of magic mushrooms. I am sure the fast is starting to affect my brain chemistry.

During the night I had vivid dreams and some of them were lucid. Even though I did not remember to act out the dream-goal I wanted to achieve, I still was able to remember the dream vividly.

Water-wise, I definitely drank again less than a liter. 

I still feel warm and apart from muscular weakness, I do not feel tired or exhausted at all. To the contrary, I can feel a generally more positive outlook develop in me with an increased desire to do things and get things done. I look forward to the experience of going to work tomorrow. 

Today I bought an audiobook called extinction. I really enjoy the experience of lying bed and getting fully absorbed into the story and once own imagination. This way I can really see a long fast being very enjoyable, even with almost complete bed-rest if that should be necessary. 

Water Fasting to Completion - What it is and how I go about it!

To treat an underlying issue I had for many years I am conducting a water fast. I have not decided about the length of the fast as advised by Dr. Shelton. He advises to finish a fast with the return of real hunger. This is not a hunger felt in the stomach but in the mouth and throat. So I will embark on this water fast without knowing up front how long it will take.
This will be my journal of the experience.

There was once a whole season, where food might
not have been so plentiful and readily available as it is today.
We had to be highly adapted to even prolonged fasting.

Why do I conduct a prolonged water fast even though I do not need (or even can afford) to lose any weight?


As for most people, who embark on the journey of a water fast, my reasons are health related. Nine years ago I have been diagnosed with intestinal disorders called ulcerative colitis and crohn's disease. Yes, doctors diagnosed me with both, whereas the usual reasoning is, that you can only have one. 
Even though I know think that the outbreak of these illnesses were stress related, I did not see that back then. And from a medical perspective it is said to be an incurable condition. And that pervaded my thinking for many years.
About six years ago I switches to a mainly plant based diet and through trial and error found out that I could control my symptoms. But I never really managed to stick to one approach and become completely symptom free for an extended period of time. Most of the times I have done blood test, the marker CRP, showing the systemic inflammation level, was slightly elevated. Thus increasing my long term risk of developing complications in other areas as well.

With the water fast I try to restore completely healthy tissues in the digestive tract. Starving out any harmful intestinal bacteria that might be present. Restoring digestive capacity. Gaining healthy weight, so that I my weight is back into the normal weight range. And increasing nutrient absorption efficiency so that my body is able to digest what I eat. 

In parallel to the digestive disorders I developed a skin condition called psoriasis. It is only limited to my scalp, but there is almost always present. It is not in a very bad condition, but I have to make sure to wash my hair daily, otherwise dandruff will be visible. Additional itching of the scalp makes this a very annoying condition to have in the long run.

Lastly I have three further "injuries" that I hope to heal during the fast:
  1. while running a couple of weeks ago in the cold weather and stretching before being fully warmed up, I pulled a muscle in the back of my upper leg. It is quite painful at times and did not heal yet
  2. Three years ago I injured my shoulder while training in the gym. Even prolonged pauses from training did not manage to heal it. Every time I resume even moderately heavy lifting with my shoulder I feel pain in that area.
  3. When running for more than 3-4 km at a time, my right knee starts to hurt. From an MRI scan I know that it is a small cyst, which is too small to operate. I hope that a fast to completion might dissolve this obviously unnecessary tissue.

What are the specifics of the fast?

I go about the fast with one primary rule in mind: I will listen to my body and my instincts. 
I set secondary rules to ensure I can trust my body, its signals and my instincts. 

What do I mean by that more specifically?
  • I am drinking according to thirst and not any set amount that I think I need to drink according to some theory. This is probably much less than the recommended two liters per day.
  • I will resist to put food in my stomach based on the feeling of emptiness/acidity in the stomach. This is supposed to last for 2-3 days. 
  • I will resume eating once the unmistakable sensation of true hunger arises. This is supposed to feel similar to true thirst, which is felt in the mouth and the throat. And only the desire for pure water is present and strongly sought after
The secondary rules are the following and serve the purpose of creating an environment in which our instincts evolved and can be trusted:
  • When breaking the fast I will resist the urge to indulge in unnatural food. I cannot consider to trust my instinct when I allow for unnatural food to be part of the choices that they can safely judge.
  • I plan on continuing my high fat whole food plant based diet after the fast
  • Being optimally adapted to fat burning after the fast, I do not plan on breaking the fast with carbohydrate-rich foods, as those might not be the foods a fast could be broken with under natural circumstances.
  • I plan on drinking half a glass of nut milk at each hour after the sensation of natural hunger returns
  • On the second day I increase that to a full glass every to hours. 
  • On the third day I plan on having nuts, seeds and leafy greens blended into smoothies, gradually increasing in size
  • As it has not been done many times before to break a fast in such a way I have to be extra careful of any symptoms of indigestion

So this is how I plan to go about this fast and what I hope to gain from it. 

I would like to hear about your experiences with fasting and what you think about my approach and the reasoning behind it!

Big Lucid Dreaming Triggers

I have experienced multiple times what happens when one loses interest in the practice of lucid dreaming and then restarts the practice. Usually I observe the most lucid dreams just in this starting period when I pick up my practice again. I am highly motivated and start reading lucid dreaming books again. I think about lucid dreaming more regularly and set an intention every night. And in the morning I write my dream journal in more detail than usual.

The impossible is possible in a dream
Possible, in a dream.

This got me wondering, what is different during those re-starting periods. And I believe it is the motivation and the excitement that have the biggest share in the increase lucid dream rate. That’s both good and bad news. For the good part, it is an easy thing. I do not have to do any difficult techniques. For the bad part, I can easily loose the true motivation. Then I am back to a reduced lucid-rate without much I can do, because, as you might know, true motivation cannot be faked.

As I am in the process of restarting a regular lucid dreaming practice I will not rely on my natural ability to recognize the dream state when I am highly motivated. I am going to instead start out with practicing a proven technique: WILD. And I hope my motivation stays up until I get some result with that technique again. Because it is a more advanced technique it will take some time to show results.

Motivation

But how do you increase motivation for lucid dreaming if you have never had a lucid dream? My suggestion would be to think of an event in your life that made you really happy. Or the feeling you get when looking forward to a great vacation. Try to replicate that feeling and the excitement now. And then, when you can feel it, think of lucid dreaming. Set a lucid dreaming goal (like: I want to explore my unconscious and learn more about myself) and look forward to the adventures you will embark on in the same way and with the same emotional background, which you just felt.

Visualization

It helps to visualize your lucid dreaming journey in as much detail as you like. Let your phantasy play out and pay attention to things you take for granted in waking life, but while knowing that you are dreaming. You will be most successful when you repeat the visualization at least once. Visualizing adds another level of stimulation which further increases your chance of inducing a lucid dream.

Conclusion

My conclusion would be that if you have never experienced a lucid dream but want to increase your chance of having one with a simple method, than do the above described visualization before going to bed. This, in combination with the anticipation of an exciting experience, should naturally increase your motivation.



Intermittent Fasting vs. Regular Caloric Restriction

Today I would like to talk about the difference between caloric restriction at every meal and Intermittent Fasting. Especially in regards to the question which strategy is more feasible as a long term strategy to extend lifespan.


Research indicates that caloric restrictions leads to an efficient metabolism and a slowed aging process. This can either be achieved by general caloric restriction or by a restricted feeding window, also called intermittent fasting. Both ways should lead to a decrease in caloric intake. And finally it should be made clear that this article is evaluating the pros and cons of these approaches in the light of life-long caloric restriction. In short term many things might work if the goal is just fat-loss. For long-term compliance more aspects need to be considered.

one or two large meals per day
Do you prefer large meals...


Intermittent Fasting

In my experience a shortened eating time during the day is not enough to ensure such a caloric restriction. I find myself quite capable of eating a big amount of food in one meal. Therefore attention to caloric intake still has to be paid. With that said let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this approach:

Advantages:


  • Less time spend preparing food and eating
  • With fewer meals, one can eat to greater satiety after the meal
  • Therefore, in theory, a caloric deficit is easier to achieve
  • Feelings of hunger are compressed into one fasting window
  • Hormone-release during the fasting period leads to increased fat utilization
  • Easy to tailor around social eating events
  • The relationship with food will be revealed (e.g. emotional eating)

Disadvantages:


  • Challenging for some people to get all the required nutrients in one or two meals per day
  • Once appetite is used to eating bigger meals it takes time to go back to several smaller meals
  • Hunger or rather the feeling of an empty stomach might be an issue for some people




regular small meals
... or regular but smaller meals?

Regular Caloric Restriction

With regular caloric restriction I assume three meals a day and a mainly or almost exclusively plant-based diet. Plant-based eating has been shown to have life extension properties on it’s own if done correctly. A healthful diet includes only whole foods and should make caloric restriction easier because of increased satiety. Here are the Advantages and Disadvantages of this approach compared to intermittent fasting:

Advantages:


  • Smaller meals are easier to digest and assimilate leading to higher nutrient absorption
  • Easier to plan even sized meals
  • Regular eating might reduce hunger in some people
  • High amount of vegetables can (needs) to be eaten at every meal to ensure satiety – this also leads to the advantage of high nutrient-density of the diet
  • Higher intake to healthy high fiber foods possible

Disadvantages:


  • Lower satiety at each meal, "the need to stop before satisfied"
  • Harder to adjust to social eating (when portion sizes in restaurants are bigger)
  • Might not fit some peoples schedule
  • Meal preparation might be necessary



In the end it is a matter of preference. But just make sure to give each approach a decent trial period before you judge it. Your body has to adjust either way. Give it at least 30 days on each protocol.
In my next article I will discuss how I go about it and combine fasting with regular caloric restriction to reap benefits of both approaches.


How to develop good habits

Running and exercise a good habit
There is a difference between challenging yourself once and making it a habit.

Habits are like highways for our actions. Once we activate the neural pathway of a habit we act out the action quickly and efficiently without much mental effort. Habits can be good or bad, constructive or destructive, motivating or discouraging. If we want to change our lives for the better, in the long run we need to establish good habits. Otherwise the changes will not stay with us. And good habits usually do not find their way into our lives by chance. We need to actively establish them through a slow and challenging change of our brain.

How to establish a new habit:
The short answer would be: do the desired action repeatedly while pushing through the challenging times with will power and failing to motivate yourself.
I guess everyone has tried this approach before and failed numerous times. To avoid that I want to tell you what I have learned about making habit forming easier.

Just knowing that forming a new habit requires a change in the structure of your neurons is motivating to push through initial struggles. Neurons that are used often become wrapped in myelin. Myelin allows information to travel easier and faster between the neurons. So when you are in the phase of forming a new habit you can look forward to the action getting easier with each repetition.



If someone is really good at something, on the level of the brain that means that the associated neurons are able to communicate very efficiently due to thick myelin sheath around the axons in between them.
So how can you most efficiently build a nice, thick layer of myelin around the axons required for good habits? You got to find a way that makes sticking to that positive habit easier during the first few days and weeks. Enough until you have reached the point where you can comfortably perform the action. It might even become your preferred choice by that time.

The easiest way in my experience is to split your actions into a chain of steps:
Let’s say you want to build the habit of running every morning. That habit might look like this:
·         Your alarm goes off, waking you up
·         Getting up out of bed
·         Going to the bathroom
·         Putting on sports clothes
·         Putting on sport shoes
·         Leaving the house for a run
Instead of just thinking of it as one big event, split it up into several small steps. Because then your brain starts to associate every step with your desired action. From when the alarm goes off until when you actually leave the house. The small steps will be easy to perform and do not require much will-power. Additionally you can do something to lower the amount of willpower it takes for each step. For example by putting all your sports clothes in place the night before.

In the beginning phase it is crucial not to skip one day. It’s better to just go for a 10 minute run every day than to skip running completely because you set yourself the goal of running for 30 minutes and it seems too demanding.

You can adapt this strategy to your own habits and even replace bad habits that way. Combine certain trigger actions with the action you want to form into a habit. Like in the example above. Or even unrelated actions might work: make yourself a cup of tea and start studying afterwards. If you do that always it will become a habit and starting to study becomes easier.


Conclusion:
Building new positive habits is a challenge. But by turning the knowledge of what a habit acutally is into concrete actions can make the process much easier. Divide habits into several steps of easier actions that require less will power. By repeating the chain of actions over and over the brain comes to expect the procedure and it will require much less conscious effort. You can use this knowledge and probably adapt it to many areas of life.

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