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Extended Fasting Review: What Happened When I Fasted For 5 Days

Extended Fasting Review: What Happened When I Fasted For 5 Days

OK, at this point in writing, I am only 46 hours into the 120 hour fast. That is so long to go without eating, right?!
I thought I wouldn’t make it past 24 hours. . . But I’m getting ahead of myself. Beyond Fasting By Dan Pompa

We better start at the beginning: My weight loss origin story (feel free to skip down to where the fasting actually begins)

My weight loss story is all over the place, just like my weight has been, ha!

I started intermittent fasting when I was 14, and was able to push off a lot of health problems that most of my family had to deal with (thyroid and adrenal fatigue, hashimotos, anxiety, depression etc,.).

(My full intermittent fasting story here)

When I was 18, I went gluten-free, and lost a bunch of weight that was slowly creeping up.

When I got pregnant, I stopped intermittent fasting, (but still was gf) and I was just fine. I stayed within my weight gain, lost the weight within 8 months, totally fine.

Next baby I gained 60 lbs, (he was 8 lbs) and although when he was weaned, I tried to do intermittent fasting again, the numbers never moved.

It took me almost 4 years to get within 15 pounds of my pre-baby weight.

Then I had another baby. Gained 80 lbs. Baby was 11 lbs (never had Gestational Diabetes, just had big kids). A year after he was born, the scale hadn’t budged.

And then I was introduced to keto!

Dropped 20 lbs in 2 months, and slowly and surely, got into fantastic shape.

2 years later, got pregnant with our 4th.

She is a keto baby.

I was completely keto for the first trimester (it helped with morning sickness) I was low carbish for the 2nd trimester (holidays) and completely keto for the final trimester all the way up to birth. Most women who are keto gain very very little, and have a very tiny bump. I gained 45 lbs. which I was ecstatic about. that was half of what my last baby was!
And she was 10 lbs.
Through a botched epidural, I lost some spinal fluid, and was ordered to drink a copious amount of caffeinated soda.

So every day for two weeks, whenever my husband saw me, he’d hand me a coke red bull, or a doctor pepper. It ruined my ketosis, and when I finally stepped on the scale, I was down 14 pounds from when I went in. 14! my baby was 10 of those!
But that’s ok because Keto would just knock those remaining 35 pounds out easy, right?

Well fast forward a mostly keto year, and 2 days after my baby’s one year old birthday, I stepped on the scale and was down only two more pounds. . .AFTER A YEAR!!

I cried. and I cried. and I cried. I was sick of wearing my husband’s t shirts every day. And I thought all of my effort throughout the year would have bigger results.

I am so happy on keto, I just felt like I couldn’t get out of the cycle of strict keto for 1-2 weeks, 1 cheat day, and lose all the ground I gained.
So I sat down and tried to see what key was missing?
I made a master list (I’ll make a separate post about that). And one of the things I wrote on it was, while on keto, to stop eating by 8 at night.

Then a couple of days later, miraculously not only did I come across this book about extended fasting, but I decided to read it. This was literally an answer to prayer. And I was shocked by the results!

Ok, here is where the fasting story really starts:

I opened the book, Beyond Fasting, by Dan Pompa. and this Doctor explained, step by step, the science-backed pathway of fasting.
and I couldn’t put it down.

What Does Dr. Pompa Cover In His Beyond Fasting Book?

I know I will end up saying this a lot, but if you are even considering doing a five day fast, or any length of extended fasting at all, it is well worth the money to buy his book. I think that if I was just told about fasting from a friend, and then thought “I could do this” and then did, it would have been disastrous.

Just buy his book, and follow his program. It is epic and 100% worth it.

So what is it about fasting that I liked?

In his book he clearly outlines the preperation steps you MUST take to build up your body’s capability of having an extended five day fast.

These fasting secrets include:

  • Learning how to go on the KETO DIET
  • Learning the healthy fats rule (2x2x2x2)
  • Adding in cyclical feastings and fastings.
  • What the 5x1x1 rule is
  • and moving to the 4x2x1 rule
  • How to do modified intermittent fasting to help build up your body’s stamina
  • The alternative options besides a full 5 day water fast.
  • What symptoms you are to expect, and when, on the fast
  • What dangers to look out for
  • How to come out of a fast properly
  • How to change your life forever.

The one section that I will focus on is why extended fasting made my experience so worth while even if going through something excruciating can be scary at times.

Through a lot of tests and trials, we know what happens to our bodies, by the hour, of what happens when fasting.

What happens to your body after fasting for 24 hours:

  • Day one.

You should get a drop in glucose, but a rise in ketones.

The body will begin to get rid of toxins, which may not feel pleasant.

25-48 hours

  • Day two.

Autophagy starts kicking in – Autophagy is when the old/defective cells start dying to make room for new cells.

Stem Cells begin to grow.

DNA begins to get a reset. what this means is if your family is ‘prone to’ issues, then the switch literally gets turned off. I really really want my ‘prone to thyroid and adrenal failure’ switch to be turned off.

Your bad microbiome begins to die away, giving you a chance to refeed it (after the fast) with good bacteria (probiotics)

Begins to heal the inside lining of the gut. If you have leaky gut syndrome, keeping all foods away will finally give your body the chance to close it.

Hour by Hour Benefits

Although he covers this in his book, he doesn’t break it down into hours. But this awesome app called Life does, it’s free, and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you are going to be trying intermittent fasting or extended fasting of any kind.

According to the app: LifeApp

  • 12 hours into fasting: Ketosis begins.
  • 18 hours into fasting:Fat-burning mode (higher ketones).
  • 24 hours into fasting: Autophagy starts.
  • 48 hours into fasting: Growth hormone is up by 5x.
  • 54 hours into fasting: Insulin has dropped making you more insulin sensitive.
  • 72 hours into fasting: Breaking down of old immune cells (and making new ones.

I was really interested in fixing my flawed DNA, and fixing my insulin issues. I get so frustrated when I so much as look at a potato and I gain weight. Why?! It’s because my insulin sucks at converting glucose into energy.

My whole world could change if it would just act normal! Fasting for a week is a small price to pay to get it regulated again.

Dr. Pompa has a 6 week build up program to get you ready to do a five day fast.

And the funny thing is, it was pretty much what I’ve been doing for years with keto. it is keto for 5 days, a feast (extra carbs) for 1 day, and a limited fast 1 day each week. That is literally what I had been doing!

I mean, I never actually did a full 24 hour fast, but I would always wait till the afternoon after I splurged because I felt full and sluggish for such a long time afterwards.

So let’s get down to what happened to me when I started the five day fast.

I read 1/2 of the book on Monday, and at 10:30 at night, I decided to do the one 24-hour fast that week. so 10:30 Monday to 10:30 Tuesday night.

Well first full day (Tuesday) there was twice when I felt hunger pangs. But I kept a gallon of water nearby and my pink salt shaker, and I got through it easy.

Then I decided, you know what, I can sleep through this and eat in the morning. then it will be closer to a 30 hour fast.

The next morning (Wednesday), I was feeling great, and I decided that if I could keep this level of hunger for 5 days, I might as well keep going.
It was the “I could definitely use a snack, but not hangry point yet” hunger.

I went to the store, moved around, and I was never weak or shaky, never thought I’d pass out, and I curbed my hunger just fine.

But the big test would be the next day. Thursday.

Doctor Pompa warned that the third day (48-72 hours) would be the hardest. It is when deep cell autophagy was happening, and lots of problems were going to be fixed, but it would hurt.

Well I was taking my son to the zoo that day for a birthday party!
That morning I took some extra electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, in pill form), and I took a water bottle and put two tsp of pink salt in it and 1/2 tsp of cream of tarter (potassium). This way I could drink it throughout the zoo and not feel faint. I also brought packaged avocadoes (guacamole without the seasonings) which I planned to eat if I got light headed. And if that didn’t work, my back up for the back up was a bag of potato chips and almonds.

Side by side pictures of a woman before fasting, and the same woman after fasting and is ten pounds thinner

Now for the results:

  • Starting weight 170
  • 2nd day 168
  • 3rd day: 167.8
  • 4th day 164.2
  • 5th day (refeeding) 161.8
  • 6th day (last refeeding) 160.6

Ending the Fast

Did I make it to 5 days? Yes. . . ish. I started on a Monday, and ended on a Friday. That is 5 days! But it was late Monday night, and late Friday morning. So I ended up fasting for 86 hours. . .a full 5 days would have been 120.

But let me tell you what happened.

Thursday I was in the full swing of things, like I said, the book warned me that the third day would be the worst as your body is pulling apart bad cells and replacing it with new ones. But I actually felt pretty great the third day!

I had to go to the zoo for my son’s friend’s birthday party. I was a little worried. What if faintness, pain and exhaustion hit while I was walking around? or worse, what if it hit while I was driving?

So I packed avocado packets, sole water with cream of tarter and salt. I had magnesium and calcium before I left, and if all else failed and I needed to carb up, I brought chips.

So that morning, my bubbly ‘up with the sun’ son, was acting really sluggish. He is a really picky eater, and the night before was a particularly busy night for us, and although there was dinner, it was more of a grab and go. And I realized that I hadn’t been there to keep an eye on him to make sure he ate his dinner.

So I actually brought food upstairs, and fed it into his mouth while he lay on my bedroom floor wanting to go back to bed. After he ate, it looked like he was a little shaky, so I put him in my bed to rest. . .and he was out!

An hour passed and it was about time for us to go to the zoo. I tried waking him, and he would not wake up. I messaged my friend that I thought he was sick, but then he popped out of bed ready to go.

So we went. And just as we were about to pull into the zoo, he threw up all over the back seat of the car.

So we turned around and went straight home.

There is a relevant point about fasting in this story, I promise!

Later when my husband came home, we both went to get the car cleaned and detailed (after I cleaned up as best as I could). it took 3 hours, so we were walking around shops for a long time.

None of this bothered me. You would think that after 3 days of not eating anything, and living off of water and pink salt, that I wouldn’t hardly be able to walk. But that wasn’t the case at all!

I had plenty of exercise that day, and the next day I was 164.2 that is 6 pounds down from when I started. Woo Ho!

ok, so I’m going to put in a weird side note. This blog is called try it diet sisters. And as such, we have tried all sorts of odd ways to lose weight. And there is this very unscientific way of using meditation to communicate with your body, and basically listen to the complaints and struggles of your body, and to give instructions, or at least negotiate instructions with it.

It’s odd, I know. But it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work, right? Ok, so it is a mix between meditation and imagination. You create a scenario in your head, and then kind of let your mind wander, and just run with whatever is happening.

So I imagine that the inside of my body is kind of a mix between a huge cavern and a huge factory. With lots of little workers with hard hats. (kinda like minions). I usually can see it as an overview, then i go down some stairs and talk to the head manager, tell him what I want, and ask him if it would work.

So I “meditated” about fasting. And it is looking great in there. They said with the extra energy of not processing food, they whitewashed the walls and ceilings. When I looked around, there were groups of workers pouring over blueprints. The manager said they finally got a hold of those and are looking at how to fix the problems. Cool. I said I was happy that it was working, but I wondered if we could speed some things up, so I wouldn’t have to fast the full five days. He said all the work should be done by midnight Friday morning.

So my goal was to end it at midnight. but I had felt so good Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, that I said to myself that I could go all the way till Saturday night. and who knows, maybe longer?

So midnight came. And I chose not to eat.

This is an important part of the story because of what happens Friday morning.

I have TMJ. and when I sleep stressed, my jaw goes out and I have a migraine style headache for the next day. Well, not eating put my body in a stressed out state (which is part of the plan). And by Friday morning my head and jaw were throbbing. It was awful.

But when I got up, I realized that I was low on energy. But since I was expecting this the whole time, I figured it was fine. It had to happen sometime, right?

By 11:30, there were three things that scared me. One is that I lost so much energy that I almost fainted. And two, I was really pale in my face, hands, and feet. and three, I could feel my heartbeat laboring to beat. As if there was not enough blood to fill the heartbeats. that might sound like an odd and dramatic description, but I don’t know how else to explain it.

I had promised my husband over and over that if something was wrong, I’d break my fast.

I called out to my teenager and asked her to bring me a prepackaged avocado and a probiotic ‘juice shot’. At this point I am on the floor leaning against the couch in my room.

I was eating the avocado, and I took a sip of this nasty turmeric drink, and then I became flushed, and I slowly fell backward onto the ground. I could feel the struggle of my body just trying to pump the blood through my heart.

I told my daughter to go get chlorophyll and mix it with water. She did and I drank that. I felt my body break out in a sweat, then to cool down, and after a few minutes, I could function again.

I did not like this. It has happened to me a handful of times when I’ve been anemic. (I hemorrhaged with all 4 kids, so each time I had to rebuild my blood supply). And I’ve been taking iron and chlorophyll daily for a full year, and hadn’t even once felt light headed. This made me question if I had chronic anemia, which I will be talking with my doctor and taking tests here soon.

But also, it kinda sounded a little like what my little boy experienced yesterday morning. he laid in the same place on my floor, while I fed him, and then went straight to sleep in my bed. I thought it was a lack of dinner, but then he threw up. Is it a bug? Did I catch it in the middle of my fast?

Now I don’t know if my struggle for the rest of the day was because of fasting or sickness. But I slept on and off all day. I felt gross enough that I wanted to throw up. . .And I had this monster headache.

It was so miserable. If only I had listened to the manager guy inside my body, I would have eaten the night before and might have bypassed some of this crap.

So Either I:

  1. Got a stomach bug which had nothing to do with fasting.
  2. Have anemia, which is one of the few conditions that Dr. Pompa warns not to fast if you have it.
  3. Reacted exactly like I was supposed to, but wasn’t strong enough to push through to the ‘feel good’ fast days afterwards.

So the fast ended Friday morning. Now what?

What Did I Eat On The Refeed Day (First Day After Fasting)

The book warned not to just jump in and eat a bunch of food right after fasting.

He suggested one meal of 500 calories, and to make it easily digestible stuff.

I was feeling like crap anyways, so I didn’t want much. But I did not stick to eating one meal.

I ate or drank a little throughout the day, I had two packages of avocadoes,1 bottle full of chlorophyll water, a couple sips of turmeric juice, salt, and a bowl of salted bone broth (which made me feel good).

I also tried a bite of sauerkraut for the first time. . . and the last. That stuff is potent. I don’t think I could handle eating that again. it is supposed to be great for feeding your good gut bacteria. But I’ll have to find how to do that another way.

The Second Day of Refeeding:

I started out with eggs and avocadoes, just like the book suggested for your second day. . . Then I did something really stupid.

My husband travels for work a lot, and brings home food from restaurants all the time. My favorite chicken is from Longhorn Steak House. It’s this parmesan encrusted chicken that is to die for!

Well my husband brought that home for me, and it was just waiting in the fridge. According to Doctor Pompa, I should be good to eat normally by day 3, so if I can hold off for one day, I can eat it. But that is not what I did.

For lunch, I ate the chicken. And it was DELICIOUS! And then immediately afterwards my stomach felt like it was going to tear out of my body. You just can’t do that to a poor digestive system!

So there were a couple of agonizing hours as it worked it’s way through and out.

Then I stuck with broth for the rest of the day.

The third day after fasting I ate normal keto, and didn’t have any issues.

My take away after fasting for five days.

My husband asked that I not fast for 5 days again while he was traveling so he could help me if I needed it. I told him I didn’t have any plans to do a 5 day fast again.

But it has been a few days. . . .aaaand I kinda want to do it again. I have already done another 40 hour fast without hardley even noticing it.

But here is my biggest issue with extended fasting

  • How am I supposed to know if it works?!
  • How do I know that my bad DNA has been switched off?
  • How do I know that I have insulin sensitivity?
  • How do I know if my food sensitivites have gone away?
  • What in my daily life would indicate that these things are better?

Answer: Unless I did a huge health panel before and after the fast, I don’t know how I can tell.

So if it worked, do I even need to do an extended fast again? If it didn’t fully work, how do I know how many times I need to do it before it works?

I don’t want to have an unhealthy relationship with food and my body.

I don’t want to regularly put it into starvation mode just to see myself lose weight.

Update: A week later

It has been a week since the fast, and today I was back up to 170.

In the book, he mentions very briefly that we should be switching up our diet consistently, and that there are not only weekly cycles, season cycles, but even for the women, there are monthly cycles.

And that women will feel the need to eat higher carbs during their period, and they should listen to that.

Well, the following week after the fast, was the week of my period. So I ate higher carbs. I don’t blame the fast for the weight gain. I am hoping that it will go back down quickly as I become strict keto again and add in my strength training.

It’s been another week since the fast. I am off of my period, and finally got around to ‘checking back in’ with my meditation body. I was surprised to find a bunch of tiny children workers rushing up to me begging to know what they should do. I realized quickly that these must be the new stem cells. So I gave them instructions on how to help my body.

The week after my period, I was down 7 pounds. (so started 170, down to 160 at the end of fast, next week with my period I gained 10 pounds, back up to 170, the next week while continuing keto I went down 7, so am currently at 163.)

This whole fasting thing, and whole losing weight thing, has been a major roller coaster, and I have mixed feelings about it.

I am going to start implementing some full-day fasts into my life.


One, because I have done some immense studies on autophagy, and the science is on point (autophagy article). And two, because fasting has been a component of many religions, and it is part of mine. Something cool to do when fasting, is keep track of how much you usually spend in a day for food, and donate that money (or the food) to charity. It is literally saying “I went without for a day, so that you may eat.” Which I think is a powerful act of service and love.

But above all. Extended 5 day fasting is not to be taken lightly. A very serious conversation with your doctor is the safest way to know whether you are putting yourself in danger.

Still curious about a five day fast? GET THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beyond FASTING by Dr. Pompa.

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