How I Lost 10 Pounds in 60 Hours With Autophagy and Water Fasting
I am no spring chicken and have watched my mother slowly degenerating until her passing at the ripe old age of 104! It’s all very well having the extreme longevity gene but even though my mother was of sound mind until the very end, I certainly want to try and avoid, or at least diminish the physical agonies she had to endure in the latter stages of her life. I believe that a healthy lifestyle combined with autophagy (natural cell regeneration) through water fasting may be the answer.
Is Autophagy the Right Option for Everyone?
Many of you may have heard of an autophagy inclusive diet, perhaps even consider trying it but don't know whether it's safe or what it will be like. What ever your current lifestyle may be, this article hopes to help you overcome certain doubts and fears. In addition, the questions and comments at the end will help you decide wether taking an autophagy with water fasting plunge is the right decision for you.
It has always been my policy to cure myself of any aches and pains with good real food. Food is my medicine, including specific herbs and spices with a daily intake of:
- 1 large clove of finely chopped up raw garlic (a natural antibiotic)
- 1 table spoon of a mixture of:
- ground turmeric with pepper to help absorption (antioxidant, and brain protector)
- ground cumin (promotes digestion, rich source of iron)
- 1 table spoon of ground flax seeds (high in protein, good egg substitute)
- 1 tea spoon of grated ginger (protection from flu, nausea and inflammation)
In addition I believe in a minimalist approach to exercise by performing the body’s daily physical tasks in a “good movement and good posture” behavioural way. All this has lead me to adopt a lifestyle that never requires doctors, pharmaceutical products or artificial vitamin supplements - unless in an emergency of course, like maybe having a tooth repaired. The only times I have ever stayed in a hospital was when I had my tonsils removed at age 8 which was in those days in fashion, and to deliver 2 of my three children, one being a home birth. One could say that I am a good candidate for healthy, reasonably painless ageing.
So Why Did I Go on a Water Only Fast?
The main motive for going on a water fast was that I didn’t feel as comfortable as I used to with a handful of belly fat around my waist. In addition, my ankles were swollen, my sense of balance started to diminish when putting shoes on, and my stamina began to feel rather weak when climbing stairs. So after some thorough research and talking to people who fast regularly I was pleased to find what might be a very simple answer to my concerns: autophagy and water fasting. This article shares my research, my experience and the results of the experiment. So what exactly is autophagy?
What is Autophagy?
In 2016 Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist at Tokyo Institute of Technology got the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery: Autophagy which literally meaning “eat thyself”. No, it doesn’t mean that you are a self eating cannibal, on the contrary. It just means that during the absence of external nutrition (as in fasting) the body uses its internal existing resources (like fat) for fuel. In addition it is a process that removes accumulated debris from cells and regenerates them to a healthy state. In other words, when a cell is clogged up and no longer works very well, autophagy comes along, cleans it up but keeps the good molecules for damage repair. Then the cell is good to go for a prolonged period of service. This applies to any type of cell from brain cells, heart cells, skin cells, lung and liver cells, in short, any type of cell in the body.
Watch the next video by Dr. Annette Bosworth, MD for the full story on autophagy.
The Full Story on Autophagy
When Does Autophagy Set In?
Autophagy begins to function when glycogen is depleted in the liver. Glycogen consists of carbohydrate glucose molecules that serve as a form of energy storage in the body. Glycogen is mainly stored in the liver and in muscles. It provides the body with a readily available source of energy. As soon as blood glucose levels decrease, the rate of autophagy (cell repair) peaks. This begins at between the first 12 to 16 hours of fasting.
Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional before attempting any new diet.
Water Fasting in Practice
Timing and Weighing Schedule
I weighed myself before going to sleep on the eve of the beginning of the fasting period at 22:00. Then I continued to weigh myself at the same time every 24 hours to determine daily weight loss. This resulted in the following:
Length of fast: 2 1/2 days or 60 hours
Total weight loss 60.5 - 56.5 = 4.5 kilos or 133 - 123 = 10 pounds!
A 10 pound weight loss in two and a half days is quite satisfactory.
How to Break a Fast
I have been advised by more experienced fasters to eat something that is easily digestible when deciding to start eating again. So I opted for a small bowl of oats porridge (cooked with water instead of milk) sprinkled with a little salt and fresh cranberries. It is now 22:00 on Monday and apart from a naughty piece of strawberry cake that my neighbour offered me at tea time, that’s all I have eaten today. I don’t feel hungry now so I shall go to sleep and see what happens tomorrow when I have a sightseeing day trip scheduled with friends.
How Not to Break a Fast
Tuesday 10:00. I am waiting for my friends to pick me up in a café in the village eating the traditional "pan con tomate" which comes with a huge clove of garlic that you are supposed to rub on the toast. Silly me, following my daily garlic routine, instead of merely rubbing the garlic onto the toasted bread, I bite straight into it, helping it go down with cafe con leche (coffee with milk).
My friends arrive. Half an hour into the journey on curvy bumpy roads I am car sick, which I have never been before. "Stop the car!" I shout. Standing by the roadside I get violently sick, watching huge pieces of raw garlic glittering in the sunshine.
Lesson Learned: Plan Your Fast
After a fast the digestive system is nicely cleaned out and very delicate. It needs to be treated gently, with respect.
What about Exercise?
During the fast I carried on with my regular mild exercise regime which consists of:
- Walking for at least 15 minutes a day
- 10 minute Yoga stretching
- General gardening duties around the land
- Occasionally climbing a 200 meters hill that leads up to my closest neighbours.
- Around 60 daily incidental sit-ups at my floor desk while working at the computer sitting on the floor with straight legs under the desk to keep my hamstrings supple and to force me to do a sit up every time I am not lying down, waiting for stuff to happen on the computer.
Please watch the next video if the last paragraph sounds rather strange.
Living on the Floor
10 Benefits of Autophagy and Water Fasting
- Weight loss
- Boosts metabolism
- Improved energy levels
- Anti-Aging (towards pain free longevity)
- Skin Rejuvenation
- Stimulates brain function
- Boosts immune system (disease prevention)
- Better sleep
- Better elimination (no more constipation or irritable bowels)
- Improves spiritual well being with deeper meditations
Conclusion and Results
Tuesday 22:00. Apart from the mistake I made this morning in breaking the fast with raw garlic, the results are:
- My ankles are back to normal.
- My balance has improved when I put on my shoes in the standing position.
- The handful of belly fat is almost gone. I lost 4.5 kilos or 10 pounds from around my waistline which means that once again I am well able to rest my head on the shin bones when sitting on the floor with straight legs as shown in the next picture.
- I have more energy both physically and mentally. Proof in the pudding:
- I felt fitter than usual walking uphill during our trip today.
- This is the first article I submitted for publication after over a year of procrastination and writer’s block.
Hungry? Move, Meditate and Breathe
So all in all I am very happy with the results of my water fast. It was not at all difficult to do. Whenever I felt an urge to put something into my mouth, I drank a lot of water throughout the day. On the odd occasion when I thought “Oh I am really hungry now” I did a few minutes of slow improvised yoga stretching combined with meditation and breathing exercises. The resulting energy boost dispenses any feelings of craving or hunger. On one occasion when I finished the meditation session I thought that the session had lasted for about 10 minutes but when I looked at the clock I had been in an unusually deep state of meditation for over half an hour!
I feel so good and so proud of myself that I have resolved to repeat the practice of water fasting to activate the process of autophagy every first week of each month. That way my body will hopefully be kept free from dirty damaged cells in my brain, my heart, my skin, bones and all interior organs. The plan is to gradually extend the duration of these fasting periods to 5 days during the first week of every month. Hopefully this practice will allow me to enjoy my longevity genes with fewer of the agonising aches and pains that my 104year old mother had suffer.
Would you set yourself the challenge of water fasting and if so for how long?
Update -Three Months Later
I never did repeat the water fast monthly as I had promised myself. Today, a Saturday 3 months onwards, I feel that my waistline and tummy are going back to their old tricks of feeling uncomfortably chubby. What with mid summer heat, long siestas and virtually no exercise, I am not surprised. Now I revisit this article, in particular to check my progress chart to see if I have gained weight since the article was published. And indeed, my feelings are real. I am back to weighing 59.5kg or 131 pounds.
Original Progress Chart
By looking at the chart I can see that this weight appears on the 2nd day of the fast. That means that if I now (Saturday) fast until Monday morning (48 hours), I should get back to my former happy end of fast weight of 56.5 kg / 124 pounds. So that is precisely what I am doing. It's now 16:30 and I have eaten nothing since last night.
This is exciting! See you on Monday with the result.
You too can make your own progress chart and use it as a measure to keep your weight steady in the future.
Friday - Good News
I weighed myself on Monday morning before breakfast and the weight was down but not as much as I wanted. I had hoped to reach my previous weight of 56.5kg or 124 lb from after the first fast. Unfortunately the 48 hour fast only brought the weight down to 58kg /127lb. So for the next 4 days I decided to live on only one evening meal a day. It is now Friday afternoon and my weight is 56 .1 kg which is down even further than what I had wished for. So for the foreseeable future I shall definitely skip breakfast and eat small portions, no sugar or cakes to keep my waistline slender.
Then whenever my weight exceeds 56.5kg I shall return to water fasting for the appropriate amount of time. This weight control method is so easy and simple to maintain, surely it cannot fail.
Please feel free to ask questions and share your own experiences with fasting and autophagy in the questions and comment sections below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.