Category Archives: Diet and Nutrition

Extended fasting and staying active

Excited and inspired by my weight loss progress during the fasting month. From 90.7kg down to 82.4kg. A net loss of 8.3kg in 25 days.

7 Jan 2020, weight went up to 94.2kg due to not much activity due to recovery from ironman langkawi in October 2019 (when i was 90kg), where sprained/fractured a toe.
Decided to go back to running, mostly 5-10km runs around the stadium. 4-5 times a week. Did a 2 weeks lifesaver training in Australia, lost 1 kg there.

22 April 2020, got weight down to 90.7 kg. A 3.5kg net loss in 4 months. Did a few ironman virtual races during the covid “lock down”. This day was the start of the fasting month. Planned to do a few extended fasts, while still staying active.

17 May 2020, weight down to 82.4kg. 8.3kg loss in 25 days. I have lost 2x more weight this month compared to rest of the year. Did 2x 5 days extended fasts, while still keeping active, did a few ironman virtual races, including a half ironman distance.

Motivated by the speedy weight loss, but still wary of the possible health consequences of doing extended fast. To be clear, thats when I only break my fast with water but no food. So far so good. Learned from previous years doing extended fasting. Putting notes here for future referrals.

Main lessons were:
1. Not doing the extended fasts any more days when it hurts, previously did 6-7 days. Day 6 or 7 was usually a painful experience, that I only did it that one week in the whole month. So this year to do just 5 days.
2. Keep active, specifically before breaking fast. Contrary to expectation, a sedentary fast was more painful and problematic then an active one. So decided to run or ride before the break fast.
3. Stay hydrated. During extended fasts  I made sure I drank enough water, more than 2 litres, but not in one go, last year that gave me diarrhoea. So spread the water consumption by minutes. Cold water is absorbed by the stomach better then warm water. Warm water will go to the intestines, and might cause the diarrhoea. Sometimes added salt. One symptom i notice if still dehydrated is getting dizzy if i stood up to fast. But I know I am well hydrated when my urine is clear.

Completed 7 day water fast!

For the last 3 years I have been practicing intermittent water fast, which is basically similar to normal muslim fast. Fasting for 18 hours (include sleep) and dining once or twice, drinking water was allowed. 2 years ago I felt the normal fast was… Well… Normal… Not a challenge, the dehydration was a bit, but not so much. So I decided to take it to the next level. Extended Water fast. Which I would be breaking my fast with only water, and no food… For 7 days. I have read others have been able to do for 14 to 21 days, world record was a year, but with medical supervision and supplements.

1st one 2 years ago, I decided to do during fasting month, less temptation, but i failed in he first week as those temptations crept up during the break fast, but I managed to do it in the 2nd week. I was even maintaining my active lifestyle, a relax 1 hour cycling before the break. Did it in 7 days, feeling I could extend but didn’t.

2nd try was last year, i wasn’t cycling, but I was hiking, the first few days was awesome, knowing I could push my self. But on 5th day I started to feel weak, and on the 6th day I couldn’t push myself anymore, as my wife who usually trails behind, was way ahead, and I was the one who needed a break. (Knowing what I know now, I should have supplemented with salt during my break fast). So that time I only water fasted only 6 days straight.

This year I didn’t maintain my active lifestyle, and I failed to do it the first half of ramadhan. On almost the final week, visiting my father-in-law for a family iftar, I was inspired to do it again, as my brother-in-law law who previously had practiced 14 day fast, shared he also hadn’t done it this year, but he was gonna do the remainder of the fasting month. Not so long after that my wife shared she was interested to to try, so we did.

This year has been the most challenging I have ever done. either because we did at the late stages of the fasting month, or the last meal we had.

First 3 days was fine, but on the 4th day I experienced diarrhea, after the water break fast of more than 2 litres, I had to go to the toilet. So I tried to reduce my water intake to reduce the diarrhea, I ended up the 5th day extra weak, so without any research, decided to do what I usually do with any diarrhea, drink more water to flush it out, adding ginger powder and tea. It kinda worked, the diarrhea stopped, but the ginger left a burning sensation in my belly. 6th day I noticed my tongue was white in the morning, and slightly yellow brownish in the afternoon. It was only that night I researched and found information on my experience and some remedies. Basically I needed some salt and something called psyllium husk, I will share more in the next paragraph. On the 7th day, I felt a bit more energy after implementing the remedies, but i experienced a funny taste in my mouth some extra saliva seemed to seemed to be produce, which recognize preparation before puking ( I know because I used to suffer from sea/motion sickness), but I didnt puke. a bit of abdominal pains and maybe acid reflux, what I think most people I know call it gastric. I found that releasing air through belching and occasional flatulence relieved the symptoms temporarily. 2 hours before the break I had to sleep for an hour to catch my sleep and to get thru the pain. At my food break fast I had the psyllium husk in a cup of water and proceeded to eat normally. Thankfully the diarrhea didn’t pop up, but now I was bloated with too much food. 😅

I think the major reasons for my complications this time around was due to the food I ate, the timing of the fast (last instead 1st half), but most importantly the need to supplemnt to avoid the complications.

To conclude I will share the complications and its remedies and the source.

  • bad breath, may be accompanied by white tongue (the bad breath may actually be acetone produced from fat burning), need more water. And brush teeth and scrub tongue more.
  • constipation, (due to no food intake this to be expected, but to move last meal…) magnesium citrate, and exercise (this is where it differs from previous years) If its really bad, MCT (coconut) oil with tea.
  • Diarrhea, may make lethargy worse (constipation and then diarrhea?! On a disgusting note, surprised to see how long stuff gets stuck inside the intestine, I noticed a few cucumber seeds in there 4 days after my last meal) a teaspoon of psyllium husk in a cup of water. Don’t take too much or else constipation. So find a balance.
  • Lethargy or tiredness or weakness, (I usually feel this after day 4) need more salt, a pinch of salt as is, or with water, or in soup. (I personally take a tablespoon, note that I sweat a lot and like the taste of salt)
  • acid reflux (first time I experience during extended fast, might have been the salt), a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Avoid cure for lethargy. (I may need to find balance between acid reflux and lethargy)

Watch “Why do animals have such different lifespans? – Joao Pedro de Magalhaes” on YouTube

I know its comparing animals but tempted to think these life extending factors can apply to human lifespan.

External factors

  • frigid cold environments causes lower heartbeat and metabolism, can be achieved by living in cold places and doing not too much activities. Not sure if I am willing to move and live in a colder environment. Although I do love swimming relaxed in the cold water like a whale.
  • As much low activities may be low heartbeat and low metabolism. Studies have shown that people who exercise tend to get lower resting heart rates than those who are sedentary. High intensity exercises may increase metabolism. I guess I can focus on long slow endurance when I do swimming, cycling and running.
  • Fasting does lower metabolism. I don’t eat as frequent anymore. Fasting during the month of ramadhan may help once a year, but I practice intermittent and water fasting more often on other months throughout the year as well. Although I may lose weight on this and negate the size factor later…

Internal factors

  • Evolution and Genetics, these is unfortunately the luck of the draw, interestingly, there are genetic therapies being developed, potentially we can identify the genes that are responsible for ageing and extend our life by altering them. Lets see if this happens in our life time.
  • healthy immune system, these is also partly genetic, but also on how well we avoid getting sick and in addition recover from them. Medicine has come a long way in assisting us to these very well. Let’s just hope the germs don’t win the biological war against us.
  • bigger size, partly genetic, partly nutrition. The bigger the organism the less predator they have, in addition, metabolism can be lower as the body does not need to produce heat too much to maintain body temperature. May also allow bigger animals to eat less per body weight, which lowers the metabolism again. Although my fasting might reduce my weight and thus reduce the size effect.

Day 30 – dreamt of lailatul qadr, henna wife’s hair, house cleaning 

Woke up at 4am, drank 750ml of water, couldnt go back to sleep, so I read online stuff again, slept after 5am. Woke up after 8am. That last sleep I dreamt of seeing lailatul qadr, keep in mind I am not saying I saw it, I dreamt what I think it would look like, in my dream anyway. Must have been that fake picture that people claimed what it looked like, found out that it was actually pictures of an annular eclipse.

In my dream I saw at night alongside the new moon was a faint circle, that if looked at closer was a reflection of the earth, in my dream I was even rationally trying to explain the phenomena scientifically. It was either the angle of the celestial bodies or the weather conditions.  In any case I woke up wondering how it would look like in reality. Apparently no one has, or at least no one has seen it has posted, and then there those who posted a few fake claims that didn’t make any astronomical sense to me. Maybe lailatul qadr isn’t of what it looks like, but more of what it feels like. I guess I may never know. Looking up, lailatul qadr either means the night of power, or the night of decree. It is only said that the night will be quiet, and the sunrise will be clear with no rays.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laylat_al-Qadr
Almost mid day and my wife asked me to help her with dyeing her hair with henna, looked up a few articles and youtube videos for some guidelines. It took a painstaking long time. Especially in order to make sure every strand gets covered. I understand why saloons charge high for this type of services.

Today is one of the rare days we didn’t go out, our break was water, kurma, maggi noodles 🍜 , an egg 🍳 , some biscuits 🍪 for dessert and later veggie juice.

Spent the night cleaning house, while the the neighbours were playing firecrackers. (It is actually illegal without permission.  But people are able to acquire and pay them any way). While cleaning found a lot old lost items. Cleared out a few expired items in the kitchen. 

Today will be the last day of ramadhan,  but it won’t be my last post. I will be posting on open houses and food I eat during syawal, as well as my training and sports events. Hopefully intermittent fasting during syawal and a few training will maintain my weight loss and improve my performance.

Day 29 – servicing the car, fuel traffic jam, and eid moonsighting announcement

Woke up at 4am, but didnt sleep till sun up. Booked an appointment for car service today by calling last Wednesday. Thankfully Saturday morning was available. Got picked up and went to post office at airport lama to try to get a package, but the mislabelling on the card didn’t state it was supposed to be picked up at sengkurong instead. I guess I will pick up on thursday when all government offices are open.

My car has been making screeching sounds ever since I drove through floods a few months ago. Before that the engine has been rattling when it goes up hill. Apparently, it was related to the fan belt. The workshop also recommended replacing the air filter. I just accepted. It all amounted to $215. That used up a bit more than my usual car budget. With the recent bike purchase I need to tighten my own belt.

Planned to buy fuel, but every fuel station was jam packed. I guess everyone was preparing for their long trips on the first day of raya. I decided to forego until convenient. Slept most of the afternoon replacing my lack of sleep in the morning.

Broke fast with air bandung, fried noodles, sardine puffs, and dessert with mangoes. Checked whatsapp for any updates regarding the moon sighting,  but it was mostly filled with jokes. A few reliable sources shared.  But from past experience, it was best to wait for the official announcement. At 7:30pm, the announcement came, no new moon sighted. I bet its due to the weather. So Brunei wipl celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid on Monday. Later found out that. Malaysia and Indonesia announced that they will celebrate it on Sunday. Its funny how Brunei doesn’t follow Malaysian ruling on moon sighting anymore. It was even more funny to think about the consequences of crossing the border to Malaysia on a Sunday. Would I fast? Or do I celebrate raya? Especially considering the first day of raya is haram to fast. In any case I would be grateful in either case.  If eid was on Sunday,  then it would be 4 consecutive days of raya.  If it was on Monday it would just be 3, but it would be an extra day to fast in ramadhan. 

Slept early, expected to sleep in on sunday morning.