S3-EP16: Debbie & Sam on Fasting For Five Days and Why They Were Crazy Enough to Do It
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:
- ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet -The 5-Day Fasting Diet
- Definition of autophagy
- Intermittent fasting: Surprising update (Harvard Health Blog, February 10, 2020)
- Can scheduled fasting improve your health? (Harvard Health Blog, May 2020)
- Should you try fasting? (Harvard Health Blog, August 2020)
- The Whole30® Program
Previous episodes featuring host Debbie and her husband Sam:
- S2-EP24: Debbie & Sam on the Gap Year For Everyone, Silver Linings, and Not Should’ing
- S2-EP18: Debbie & Sam on the New Normal, Quarantines, Immunity Passports, and Masks & Gloves
- S2-EP12: Debbie & Sam on the Coronavirus, Magical Thinking, and Aging
- S1-EP10: On Debbie & Sam’s Bucket List: Living in France
- S1-EP2: Debbie & Sam on How They Decided to Take a Gap Year at Age 62
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
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They are NOT fasting in this photo.
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Thanks to our media partners
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.
Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.
Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."