Earlier this year I experienced my first 3-day fast and shared tips on fasting with the Personal Kaizen community. I recently needed to fast to prepare for a medical procedure so decided to turn this into my second 3-day fast. I did a few things differently and experienced different results. Here are some new lessons learned from my second 3-day fast.
First, you may want to review our posts describing the concept of fasting and different ways to fast, the scientific benefits of a 3-day fast, tips on how to prepare for a fast, and my experience and video journal of a first-time, 3-day anti-aging fast.
My Second 3-Day Fast
I’ll first explain that my second fast was scheduled around the time of a Thursday afternoon appointment for a colonoscopy. A routine colonoscopy is recommended for adults over 45 years of age now, even with no family history. This is one test you probably shouldn’t skip based on the ability to identify and remove pre-cancerous polyps.
Since my procedure required fasting to begin at 11 AM on Wednesday, I decided to extend the fast to begin after dinner on Monday night and end with dinner after my procedure on Thursday. This would give me the time to again achieve a state of ketosis for the anti-aging benefits.
What I Planned to Change for My Second Fast
My first 3-day fast was successful on multiple levels. My prep went well and had leftover products for a second fast. Here are the three things I planned to change for a second fast and how I did with each:
- Drink more water: I definitely drank more water at the beginning of the fast and mostly avoided any headaches from being dehydrated. The final day of the fast was tricky because I had to “cheat” and consume several nasty laxatives as part of the colonoscopy prep. I also had to go without water from about 10:30 AM to 3 PM on day 3 for the procedure. This dehydration is likely one reason saline was administered intravenously during my procedure.
- Shorten prep: I planned to only prep for one day (not two) going into my second fast. Instead, I basically did no prep. This ended up being a mistake, as I believe limiting carbohydrates for the one day before my fast would have helped me move into ketosis faster (and increase my energy).
- Use MCT oil earlier: As stated above, my work schedule didn’t make prep easy so I didn’t start the MCT oil early enough. I also forgot to consume a full tablespoon with my coffee the first morning. Not using enough MCT oil was a mistake.
Overall, I didn’t do a great job prepping for my second fast and was slowly moving into a state of ketosis. This meant I was a little hungrier during this fast.
Lessons Learned from Another 3-Day Fast
My second fast comes after some reading on stoicism, including lessons from Marcus Aurelius. Fasting requires a bit of willpower and self-control and can be a confidence booster once you reach your goal. If you meet the basic health conditions for a 3-day fast I recommend it for anti-aging reasons.
Here are the new lessons from my second 3-day fast:
- Be sure to stay active and take walks: Due to a packed work schedule (including a 4-hour dinner function on day 2), I didn’t have the opportunity to stick to my routine of staying active, drinking lots of water, and having MCT oil at each meal.
- Add lemon to your water: Just like MCT oil and coffee, adding lemon to water is strictly breaking a fast. Since my goal is to maximize anti-aging benefits rather than follow strict rules, I still recommend lemon juice for several reasons. Lemon juice appears to attenuate glucose spikes and help break down the starches in our stomachs. Adding lemon juice to water during my fast also helped reduce my hunger. Try it out for yourself!
- Combining a 3-day anti-aging fast with a colonoscopy worked: I was uncertain whether my fast and colonoscopy prep would work together. I feel they worked well together, especially when the alternative is two separate events. If you’ve never tried a 3-day fast before, consider combining it with your colonoscopy.
- Eat a keto-friendly meal to break your fast: To maximize the benefits of your fast you want to stay in ketosis for at least an extra 12 hours. You also don’t want to overdo your first meal. I highly recommend a meal with no carbohydrates and lots of fats and proteins for your first dinner back. Follow that up with a low-carb breakfast and you can extend your period of ketosis.
Notes for My Next 3-Day Fast
My goal is to plan to continue to schedule 3-day fasts on a quarterly basis. Due to my schedule and other goals, this likely means I will actually complete them on a semi-annual basis. This list is for me to review before my next fast begins:
- Be sure to have MCT oil, lemons, an electrolyte concentrate, and a few keto meals ready to go. Keto test strips are optional but nice to have.
- Scheduling the 3-days to be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday is probably optimal for my work schedule. Thursday can be a work day but Friday is best as a day off.
- Begin eating a keto diet on the day before the fast.
- Add a bit of lemon to my water and MCT oil to my morning and noontime coffee beginning the day before the fast and continuing throughout the fast.
- Have water with the electrolyte concentrate every morning. Drink LOTS of water.
- Stretch and exercise every morning. A few short, brisk walks during each day works best.
- Break the fast with a keto-friendly meal. For example, sardines in oil on spinach and lettuce. Avoid carbohydrates and alcohol.
Check back to this blog in the future as I will share additional lessons and scientific research about 3-day fasts. We suggest you subscribe to receive the free update in your inbox.