• I fasted for 21 days without food.

    I read a book about a magician who performed a stunt where he was locked into a glass box above the city. He did not eat for 53 days, he could only drink water. His stunt had to quit as doctors were monitoring his vitals and after 53 days they started to get too bad.

    I couldn’t believe someone could fast that long without food and live, so I wanted to try it myself. I like challenging myself in weird ways I guess. But, I had to make sure I wouldn’t die first, a lot of people told me I probably would.

    It turns out, fasting has been used for centuries as a form of healing. Catholic churches had fasting centers where people could come when they got sick back in the day. Jesus, Gandhi, and pretty much every religious figure did it. It was well known that fasting healed the mind and the body.

    I read a lot of literature on how fasting has reduced cancerous tumors and even autoimmune diseases. I read about all of it’s supposed health benefits: teeth whitening, skin clearing, tumor shrinkage, plaque eating, and fat reduction. They all sounded good to me. It said you got a heightened clarity of mind after 21 days so that was the time frame I decided to do.

    I began my fast. The first day wasn’t bad. The second day I got really hungry and then it went away. The third and fourth day were bad. I was so hungry I didn’t even leave my couch. I just sucked down water all day and slept. Apparently, after 72 hours your body goes into ketosis and starts living off of fat reserves. I think it took closer to 96 hours for me.

    After that, I completely lost my hunger. I actually had a lot of energy. The hard part wasn’t eating, I no longer wanted food. The hard part was boredom!!! I suddenly went from eating 3 meals a day to eating nothing. The time I spent cooking, eating, and washing dishes was given back to me, probably at least 4 hours. I couldn’t work out (bad on a fast) so that was out. I couldn’t do any social things because those all involved eating a meal, drinking coffee, or alcohol, none of which I could do at the moment. So, I became ultra productive. I got all my homework done weeks in advance, I started crocheting and painting, and I slept a lot. My mom and friends received calls from me every day. I had so much TIME.

    Some days I felt weak, but other days I had a ton of energy. I felt great and really happy. My skin cleared up a lot after the 10th day and I did notice my teeth getting whiter. My tongue got white stuff on it; according to the internet that’s a way your body gets rid of toxins. I lost around a pound of weight a day.

    After the 21st day, I was ready to eat again out of boredom. I started by drinking a decaf coffee. That was a mistake, my stomach had lost its lining so the acidity of coffee made me throw up. Everything I ate was really intense. Fruit tasted sweeter and everything had so much flavor.

    Overall, I’d lost 24 pounds and I looked really good. But, I had never regained hunger. That meant I still had fat stores on me. If you fast long enough, you’ll regain hunger one day which they call your “true hunger”. That means your fat reserves are up and your body will start eating your muscles to survive, so you really need to start eating after that! I’d also lost some muscle, I was weaker at the gym now, but I regained my muscle quickly.

    Most people, if you’re a normal weight, can fast 20-40 days before regaining hunger, before their total fat stores are up. After regaining hunger, your body starts to eat muscle tissue for energy, which includes your heart, and it’s only a matter of time before it will give out. Perhaps 7–20 days until death as preducted by some studies.

    But, if you’re overweight or obese, you’ll have a ton of fat stores ready to use. One guy fasted for 384 days under medical supervision on nothing but water and tea with no adverse affects. I’m sure he could have made it quite a while longer until his fat stores were completely up but he ended the fast when he hit 180 lbs.

    So the answer is, it varies. But, if you’re of a normal weight, your maximum is probably somewhere from 20-40 days until your muscle tissue begins to get compromised.

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