3/6/9 - Super Simple Snake Juice

Tuesday April 9, 2024

Round 1

Last year during Lent I got into fasting. I had done OMAD before but I did some real fasts for the first time - a few 36s, 48s, and one 72. Working up to my three day I had some issues with electrolytes. At first I wasn’t getting enough (fatigue). Then I found out what happens when you get too much (bathroom emergency). But by the end of the season I’d figured out enough of a schedule to try a 5 day fast over the summer. The 5 day was a success but I could tell my electrolytes were still not quite right. I was trying to cram all of my electrolytes into two bottles of water. While technically doable, the margin for error is very small. Drink a little too slow and you feel terrible. A little too fast and you’re evacuating 80% of the fluid you just drank. I was constantly going back and forth between not enough and too much.

Round 2

Now that I’ve stepped up my baking game with an accurate scale it’s time to retire the teaspoon. Per day, the average person needs about 3-6g of sodium and 3-5g of potassium. There’s about about 4g of sodium in 10g of salt and 5g of potassium in 10g on NoSalt. If you eat 9g of salt and 6g of NoSalt that gives you 3.6g of sodium and 3g of potassium - both safely within the daily range. Mix that with 3 liters of water and you’ve got a balanced electrolyte drink that isn’t a digestive nuke (I hope). Conveniently, the salt and NoSalt add up to 15g so you can easily measure out 5g for a 1 liter water bottle.

3 Liters water / 6g NoSalt / 9g Salt

Easy peasy.

The Results

I’ve waited until after Holy Week to finish this post so I would have some data. The results are in, and the seven day fast was a success. I felt consistently great for six and a half of the seven days. In fact, my energy levels were much more consistent than normal. I felt a little weak at times, especially towards the end, but I didn’t have my usual 3 o’ clock crash. The morning of Maundy Thursday was rough and I knew it would be when I went to bed feeling dehydrated. After a gulping down some water, though, I was back in action.

I averaged a bit over two liters of water per day, not the full three. I think more vigilance to stay sipping and get three liters would have lessened the morning dehydration hangovers. The best part though - not one bathroom scare. I was able to drink at a much more normal pace (ie. chug a glass a few times a day) without worrying about pooping my pants.

My biggest mistake with this fast was eating too much on the break. I broke my five day with a big steak dinner so I figured I could do the same for the seven with no problems. The real danger of reckless fast breaking comes from electrolyte deficiency. Because my electrolytes were on point I thought I could eat whatever I wanted.

That was almost true. I had ham, sourdough bread, apple turnovers, chocolate, scalloped potatoes and none of those things bothered me. But the volume was wrong.

Fat and protein are very satiating. When you’ve eaten enough, you lose the ability to stomach it far before your stomach is actually full. Carbohydrates on the other hand have essentially no full signal. Because I eat most of my calories in fat and protein, I never eat to the point where my stomach is full. That’s not a signal I’m tuned recognize. Being in a 20,000 calorie deficit, there was no way I was going to reach my normal “stop eating” signal, and I blew right past the point where I should have stopped without realizing it.

I was a little worried what might happen but it turned out to be just minor discomfort. I was a pretty bloated the rest of the night. The day after, my bowel muscles (I guess?? I’m just speculating here) felt sore. I took it easy for a few days but my digestion was entirely normal. I was back to eating OMAD cheeseburgers and beer by the end of the week and feeling great.

So my Pro-Tip in case anyone is planning to recklessly break their extended fast - be mindful of volume because your body is not going to give you the “that’s enough calories for today” signal.

Tags: lifestyle , health

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