Dinner on the evening of Sunday, October 13, 2019 was my last meal before starting my fast. I had previously fasted for 3 days and this time I wanted to surpass that time frame. As I took that last bite of food, I had no idea how long I would push myself or how long I could endure. Going without food for even a few hours was not a part of my regular routine. Pushing past a day or two never really seemed like something that I would be able to do or something that my body could tolerate.
I awoke the following morning, as I do every day, hungry and ready for food. I’ve often said, “When I wake up, my feet hit the floor, and they take me to the kitchen.”
Skipping breakfast that first day wasn’t horrible. I was drinking water like I had just been rescued from a month in the desert. So, my stomach wasn’t completely empty. Of course water isn’t very filling for very long.
By lunchtime, I was extremely hungry. I was starting to get a headache. I was not in a good mood. And, I wasn’t even at the 24 hour mark. But, I knew from my previous 3 day fast, that these symptoms would not last. I knew the following day would be better.
And, the following day was better. I spent this day, and the two after that, installing a Sport Court® gym floor. The physical work took my mind off my hunger. It was also helpful to be in an environment without any food. And, working long days meant that I was getting home after my family had eaten dinner.
During these days working on the gym floor, I observed no loss of energy or strength. My increased water intake seemed to help reduce my hunger, at least for a while.
On Friday, my 5th day without food, I went to my weekly business lunch, the Friday Networking Lunch. This event, attended by 40 to 50 people each week, is at a bar-b-q restaurant. This was my first time being around this much food since starting my fast. It smelled and looked divine. At this point, I had successfully surpassed my previous threshold of 3 days. To some degree I did have a sense of accomplishment, which gave me further belief that I was strong enough to continue.
Saturday and Sunday were probably the most difficult days. I was at home with my family. Of course they all ate 3 meals a day with snacks in between. I joined my wife and youngest son on the couch to watch a movie. They each enjoyed bowls of buttered popcorn while I drank more water. Somehow I pulled deep for the additional will power required to not give in.
I had reached a full week. My wife didn’t like it at all. She thought I needed food and she likes feeding me, or anyone else in our home. Come to my house, and it’s doubtful that you’ll leave hungry. Despite her protestations, I settled on continuing for one more week. There was no reason for this timeframe. It just felt right and by the time I had finished one week, I felt like I could push for two.
Getting back to the weekday routine on Monday made life easier for the simple fact that I wasn’t around people cooking or eating food. There was no doubt that seeing and smelling food boosted my feelings of hunger.
That Tuesday I drove to the Rio Grande Valley (about 4-1/2 hours south) to look at a project. During this trip I listened to “The Obesity Code” by Dr Jason Fung. This book was packed with so much information about weight loss, diets, and how our hormones impact our fat storage and how these hormones can make weight loss difficult for many people.
On Wednesday and Thursday of my second week I was on another Sport Court® project. As with the week prior, I found that staying mentally and physically active proved to be the best remedy against my hunger.
As with the week prior, I attended the Friday Networking Lunch at the bar-b-q restaurant. Of course the sights and smells triggered my hunger, but I was 12 days in and no amount of hunger was going to stop me from reaching my two week goal.
When I stepped on the scale the morning of the 14th day, my weight was 210.0. My starting weight just two weeks prior was 234.8. I had lost 25 pounds and reached my lowest weight in 20 years.
My fast ended the evening of Sunday, October 27 with a delicious taco salad prepared by my lovely wife. The very next morning, only having had a single meal the prior day, my weight had increased to 214.6.
In the days that followed, I wanted to eat everything. My usually healthy diet was all but forgotten. I’ve never counted calories, but I would guess that my daily intake in the days following my fast probably topped out at around 5,000 calories per day. On November 7, about a week and a half after completing my 14 day fast, my weight was at 221. In the weeks that followed, my weight dropped to 216 and then climbed to 225. I was on a roller coaster ride.
The first two weeks in December were spent on a Sport Court® project, installing gym flooring, wall pads, basketball goals, and a volleyball system in a middle school gym. On these work days, I ate a healthy breakfast and dinner, but skipped lunch. I sipped chilled black coffee throughout the day to help curb my hunger. My weight dropped back down to 217, a loss of 7 pounds in 2 weeks.
Between Christmas and New Year’s I installed another gym floor and some wall pads. Like my work days earlier in the month, I replaced lunch with chilled black coffee and was able to maintain my weight loss.
January was mostly sedentary. My gym membership had lapsed in December and I was doing a lot of desk work, getting almost no exercise. Despite the lack of movement, I was able to maintain and even decrease my weight with a healthy diet and occasional intermittent fasting of 12 to 24 hours.
It is now three months after ending my 14 day fast. I’m only 6 pounds above my lowest fasting weight. This should put my BMI at around 16 to 17%, well into a healthy range.
I joined the gym on January 25, 2020. Based on how it felt to lift weights, I would conclude that I lost no muscle during my fast or since. But, there were other changes. I am now able to go 12 to 24 hours between meals without feeling any extreme hunger or without getting a headache or any brain fog. I have reduced my consumption of meat and have replaced it with more healthy plants. I also feel a bit more capable and sure of myself, knowing that if I can willingly give up food for 14 days, then I can do almost anything.
I’m looking forward to my next 14 day fast. Who knows, I might even go longer.