What's on Your Mind: The Art and Benefits of Fasting

Ram Ahluwalia & Justin Guilder

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Episode Description

In this in-depth and friendly conversation between Justin and Ram, they discuss diverse topics revolving around the practice of fasting.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey Ram, how are you? Hey Justin, I'm doing well. How are you? I'm doing well. Happy Monday. We don't always meet on a Monday for a What's On Your Mind. Exciting change. There's a first for everything, yes. Indeed. So now we can reflect on how our weekends work. I've been doing a fast, a multi day fast because my DEXA score results were not to my satisfaction.

And so I want to cut the fat and the fastest way to lose weight is to stop eating. That's what I'm doing. Yeah, that, that's true. I guess if calories in and calories out, if your calories in are zero, that, that changes the equation. It helps a little bit. It does. So how do you like to approach fasts?

Because I think you've done them successfully. I have personally struggled with fasts. So most of it is psychology and mindset as with many difficult things [00:01:00] in life. The first time I attempted to fast, I got hangry. We all know what that feeling of being hangry is. You get very irritable and no one wants to be around you.

You know what that is a shortage of glucose and your body is craving glucose because it's powered by glucose, which is a form of sugar. So there are tactics to transition to a state where your body is right on ketones and it's. Metabolizing energy through ketosis, which is the metabolism of your fat. So now that I've done this a few times, it's a lot easier for my body to adapt and get into the rhythm of it.

It's mostly psychology at this point and avoiding the distractions of work and family and having prompts around you of good food that you want to eat or the sensations of food [00:02:00] that we enjoy in the kitchen. So that's really what it's about having partners and friends work and sharing your commitment with others and what you're trying to accomplish so they can hold you accountable also helps.

How long do you fast when you do it? I've been doing this fast for three days now. I'm going to keep going. The reason why is this. The first day is the hardest. Once you break through the first day, You don't have appetite. You might have a hunger sensation through the release of grayling during lunch and dinner.

Those are 15 minute windows. If you go for a short walk, you listen to a podcast, then that moment will pass. That's the key thing. What people make the assumption is that this moment will persist forever. We assume that suffering will stay forever. A lot of lessons between fasting and life, really, right?

But because that first day is the hardest, Once you break past that, you just want to keep going because you've got a natural momentum and you feel good too. My sleep requirements [00:03:00] lessen, my resilience improves, my quality of thinking is more refined, I've noticed. Now, last night my kids woke me up, I had four hours of sleep, so it was a rough night anyway.

Two, two offsetting effects. Interesting. Interesting. And have you ever tested whether your body is in ketosis in the past? Yes. The first year I was doing this, I was obsessive about measuring my ketone bodies by taking a blood testing measurement and consolidating all of that on a spreadsheet, very much like a diabetic would.

I would measure my glucose. I'd measure my ketone bodies. What I notice is after some time, I could actually intuit my level of glucose and my ketone bodies where they were. And so I stopped testing that. And that's pretty cool when that happens. But if I were to do a four day tap fast or five day fast, I probably would want to [00:04:00] measure that.

One to just see the overall level of ketone body generation. There's one time where I hit five, I think millimolar is the metric of ketone body generation, which is high and everyone's metabolism is different, so it's useful to measure, to give you your own psychological comfort around this millennia old practice, but some people are not predisposed well to fasting.

My wife. was fasting while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is caloric intensive and actually triggered ketoacidosis. We had to take her to the hospital. I don't want to alarm people around ketosis and fasting. But you cannot be in a net extreme caloric deficit where your body is manufacturing like milk, she had, she was going through the weaning phase, but the body is still producing milk, so it's a special case.

That is. So when you said [00:05:00] your ketone levels were high, is too high bad? Is that I'm not sure how you know you're in that ketone acidosis. The level of ketones in your body. Are a representative, like the energy that's circulating and that's also regulated through homeostasis. Same way your glucose is.

Your body will take steps to release insulin to make sure your glucose doesn't fall below or go above, right? Hypo and hyperglycemia. And with ketone bodies, if your ketone bodies go past like 8, it's a red flag, 10, 12 ketoacidosis. Now I just want to be clear, that's not the typical case and most people will use that as like a fear trigger and will not explore fasting, unfortunately, which is a mistake.

But if you measure like I did and you also supplement with salt and magnesium, that helps a lot. The electrolytes, [00:06:00] salt and magnesium will go a long way. I just pour salt in my hand and I lick it and I hydrate regularly. Another thing that can help is Bone broth, zero calorie bone broth or chicken broth.

It gives you a little bit of flavor, some taste, and it also has electrolytes. The other thing, if you need a bridge to do a full water fast, is Dr. Walter Longo, who is an expert PhD physician on longevity. He has something called the pro long diet. Pro long diet. I think like pro longevity is the key term.

term, and it's a package. It's a couple hundred calories and they deliver a package with like soup, some olives, and a short cracker, and that will also get you into a ketonic state. That's a great gift idea for someone where maybe they are trending towards a diabetic, pre [00:07:00] diabetic, or obese, or high BMI, or less physically active.

or lower energy, because the other benefit of all this is the metabolic conditioning. So the other thing that happens is when I break my fast, the energy I feel, I can go crush weights in the gym. Now, I'll still have good energy in the gym tomorrow if I do CrossFit. In fact, I'll still exercise because that will protect against the muscle amino acid degradation, right?

Yeah. So exercise that mTOR. gets activated. So it's important exercise. But again, the other hand is once you consume food and you consume protein, your body reconstitutes all that quickly. So don't use that as an excuse not to fast. Very interesting. Very interesting. And so you're going to go one more day, you think?

I'm going to take it day by day. [00:08:00] I'm tempted to push myself really hard and go through like Friday and set a new record. What is the record? My record is four days. So I'm at four. Tomorrow I'll be at record. Now Wednesday I have a bunch of meetings in New York. Ed. Several of them include lunches or dinners.

That's the challenge. So that might actually be what forces me to stop the fast, because if you put food in front of me, I know my weakness is that I'm, that voice in my head is going to say, You know what? You did a good job. Five days, you're hanging out with your buddy. Why don't you enjoy? That nice pasta dish or whatever it is.

So I don't know. We'll see. That's, that, that's something that may happen. We'll see. We'll play it by ear. I think four days is a win. Three days is a win. Don't be too harsh on yourself and, let's see what happens. So I don't want to [00:09:00] make the other party uncomfortable. That's actually another factor.

Yes. It's Hey, sorry, I'm not going to eat, but I will have black coffee and I will have peas. And that might be a way to bridge it. Or maybe, I don't know, I do chicken noodle soup. But here's the other part. When you start to consume things, then your body says it's time to eat. The ghrelin hormone comes on strong and you want to eat.

The irony is, losing weight is easier when you fast than by lowering your calorie consumption. And my view is, I think there's good academic research out there, we should interview someone around this, which is that. If you look at people on that TV show, The Biggest Loser, they lose like a hundred pounds over this three month session.

They gain it all back quickly, and the hypothesis is that their basal metabolic rate declines. So even though they're consuming lower calories, they're putting on the weight again, and now you're in the worst of both possible worlds. Not [00:10:00] only do you have the same level of weight, but your metabolism is low, which means your energy is lower.

That's why I like fasting, because you don't have to Have that trade off. Interesting. So you did a DEXA scan just to close the loop, and you felt hey, I could do better and when are you planning a schedule, a follow up, and besides fasting between now and, not continuously of course, but, and the next DEXA scan, what else are you thinking about doing?

Diet wise. I think in the next six months, I'll have the DEXA scan follow up. Ideally, I'll have achieved my target weight there. The last time I did deliberate conscious fasting over the course of a year like once a week, I said, okay, I can do the fastest week this day, a few days. It was maybe four or five years ago.

And I took my body weight down from 200 pounds to 177 pounds. Wow. And I was lean and energetic. [00:11:00] Your body, when it doesn't have to rejuvenate 20 pounds of mass, you don't have to walk around with that, you've been to the gym, maybe have one of those weight chest packs on, I think you were sharing, right?

It really weighs on you. You feel nimble and fast. And when you have young kids, you can keep up with them the faster they get. So I think in six months, I'll do that. My DEXA scan showed that I have. 30 percent body fat, which I was surprised. I go do CrossFit three or four times a week.

It's pretty intense. That was surprising. I look like I'm in good shape. People tell me I'm in good shape. Doesn't mean anything. What people say, you got to look at the measurement. And then the second thing, my bone density was lower than where it needs to be. Okay. So I got to figure out the right remedy to that.

I'm talking to the doctor. It's a follow up soon. What I heard from one of our clients. Who is deep into concentration medicine. I know you are too, Justin. You might have good [00:12:00] advice for me also, is consume more protein to increase bone density. I've already been doing vitamin K2. That's the typical treatment.

And I do 10, 000 UIs of that. I have been doing that for years. I did increase that to like 15, 000 instead of 10, 000, which is above the baseline guidance. Yeah, interesting. Heavyweights too. Heavyweights. If I can do heavier weights, I'm going to try that. That's the best practice, right? You tell me, what am I missing here?

I, not to substitute for talking to the doctor, but I would also say heavyweights, protein, and calcium. Yeah, calcium is a, is probably where I have a deficiency. I might have to bring back, yeah, calcium in some format or food type or I gotta think of the best way to do that. Try to eat more fish. I give my kids a calcium vitamin, like a chewy vitamin at night.

And I just got in the habit of [00:13:00] having them with them at the same time. All right. I'm going to one click order that now, but is that material in terms of the contribution it makes to your body? I don't know, actually. It's a great question. I just said calcium can't be bad for me. So I'll just, we've got a GPT that take a look, but yeah, that, I think calcium is one of the areas I got to focus on.