S3-EP16: Debbie & Sam on Fasting For Five Days and Why They Were Crazy Enough to Do It

Feb 26, 2021


Debbie and her husband Sam talk about their recent five-day fast, how hard it was, the few pounds they lost, and how it reset their eating habits.



Today, Debbie Weil brings her husband Sam Harrington, a retired physician, back on the show to talk about fasting. One year ago the couple completed a five-day fast using a ProLon kit of dried soups and crackers. This year, after packing on the pounds during the stay-at-home pandemic holidays, they decided to repeat the fast.

And this time, Debbie took notes to record the experience.  If you’ve listened to the pair kibitz in earlier episodes, it will be no surprise that they experienced the fast differently. They talk about what the fast felt like day by day (it was harder for Debbie) and what the possible benefits are in addition to losing weight.

A month later, both are a number of pounds lighter (about four for Debbie; eight for Sam). And they’ve mostly kept the weight off. Debbie finds herself eating smaller portions and neither is snacking between meals.  Desserts and sweets still call to Debbie but she recognizes that the craving for sugar is not one that can be cured in five days or even a month.

Both agree that the fast led to a successful reset of their eating habits.

They talk about the science behind fasting and about something called intermittent fasting which means shortening the span of hours in the day during which you eat. Sixteen hours of fasting vs. 8 hours of “eating” is a typical ratio. That could mean skipping breakfast and eating only between 12 noon and 8 PM. And they speculate on whether fasting and intermittent fasting are merely the latest fad. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to fast and why you might want to do it, this is a conversation for you.


Debbie’s day-by-day fasting notes:

DAY 1: light-headed and mentally fuzzy.

DAY 2: 8:30 AM weak and sluggish; 1 PM fatigued and sluggish, as if I’m operating at 1/3 speed; 4:30 PM this is painful. Back hurts, muscles ache, dizzy, drowsy, and IRRITABLE.

DAY 3: feeling better, not so achey.

DAY 4: light-headed, fatigued, dreaming of the food I will eat when this is over; this feels never ending.

DAY 5:  feel debilitated and so weak; fuzzy thinking is really a problem; NEVER AGAIN. (Of course, I said that each time after giving birth.)


Mentioned in this episode or useful:


Previous episodes featuring host Debbie and her husband Sam:


PHOTO: Maybe this is the definition of crazy: Debbie and Sam’s visiting grand puppy leaping in the freezing waters of a Maine winter.


Note from Debbie

I hope you enjoyed this podcast. Would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than sixty seconds, and it really makes a difference in attracting new listeners and upcoming guests. I might read your review on my next episode!

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– Debbie


They are NOT fasting in this photo.

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Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


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