Fasting, Muscle Wasting, Eating Control, and Post-fast Concepts.

Follow up on the great questions from yesterday:

1. Muscle wasting: When does the body start to breakdown muscle while fasting?

Assuming no weird health issues, if there is body fat on the body then the body will not use muscle for fuel. True starvation mechanisms do not kick in until around the 40 day mark and that will vary as well. Muscle never wastes, although in a prolonged fast there are volume and visual changes to muscle parts of the body, but it does not mean muscle fibers are being lost or eaten so to speak. It is actually very hard to lose muscle fibers, just as it is to lose fat cells, they change in size, but not fiber or cell count often.

Now, that said, working out while in a prolonged fast.....I am not sure about muscle breakdown. I do full weights and cardio/intensity trainings in the first 7-10 days, then just cardio in 10-18, then stress relief cardio of daily activity, walking, etc. In a fasting state where you stress muscle in working out there is some breakdown and no amino acid intake to balance it. In the beginning the body can recycle amino acids and preserves muscle, even promotes muscle growth, but over time I do not know that benefit to continue so I taper it down. But in a 3-5-7 day fast model, no issue, and we have seen what I call the "Anabolic Rebound" where after a 5 day fast if someone is lifting prior to and during the fast then the few days to a week after they get a big jump in muscle volume and output as a hormonal rebound.

2. How does one not go off the handle when trying to fast or coming off the fast and eat out of control?

While shifting eating styles I call that "curiosity eating." If you are fat adapted and using fat/ketones to run the body then the sugar, cravings, impulse, emotional eating endorphin pathway should be turned way down as you blood sugar and insulin drop. Then one can taste without needing to finish the plate or tub of ice cream.....but that said, that is for sugar.carbs....chicken wings for example, at least how I eat them are savory, and they actually use the hunger hormones for regulation that don't create big swings of urge to eat and without carbs the sensations of being physically full are less as well....unless you pack it in until you activate the stomach stretch mechanisms....which I have been known to do, but not likely this time. Now, specifically during fasting this kicks in and is what lets people use the crutches I have described here before of a teaspoon of fat or one ounce of protein or a couple bites of fibrous veggies that do not have much insulin impact but can get a person through a potential fasting deal breaking moment.

3. At this point in my fast or when you come to the end of a fast, especially a prolonged fast, it is all about what's next. This is not a stunt or a fad or the like for me so the next step is important as to not revert to any of the common Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and lifestyle pitfalls. I am going to keep some rotational fasting days, stay low starch, no grains, no sugar and higher fat.....I want to do a good amount of raw foods (70+%), but not all, and daily if not every meal eat some fermented foods.......the big question is what type, how much, how often, when in the day, and how to prepare animal protein (raw vs. cooking methods).

A lot of people think, man, this is too much to think about. I get it. I feel not putting in the thought and setting up a long term plan and goal for one's eating and lifestyle is WAY too risky for me health wise. I think it comes down to perspective and priorities, what are your core values in your life? Family? Health? Health of your family? Quality of life? What ever they are, does your lifestyle and personal/family health habits reflect it and support your goals? If not, then they are wishes not goals. And although I have a little of both I try and bank on my goals.

Thanks for all the support and interest in this, day 28 is starting off great!

Dr. Don

P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Dr. Don Clum

I consult and create custom lifestyle centered strategy programs for people looking to improve their health. My programs are lifestyle centered and we leverage as many areas of a person's lifestyle that they are willing to include, such as:
 Diet and nutrition
, Exercise and physical activity, Stress Resilience
, Sleep enhancement


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