Expert series – Sleep & My first prolonged fast

After finishing my practitioner series, I started with the expert series. Towards the end of the practitioner series I already noticed a decline in sleep quality, also according to the statistics of my ring. Little did I know that it would even get worse.

On the other hand, I had a great experience doing my first prolonged fast.

The end of the practitioner series – & first week of Ketosis

After my first 4 weeks, I finalized the practitioner series, combining week 5&6, and nutrition wise I felt great. The weight loss even continues, but I’ll take that for granted :-). Eating 3 times per day was getting a bit of a burden, as well as managing the right level of nutrients split over 3 meals. So I changed to 2 meals

Getting into Ketosis, reducing carbs to <20 grams, what a challenge that was. There is a lot of vegetables you need to be careful with, as some help you reach the target quickly. I could say goodbye to my favorite Greek yoghurt with blueberries as it would spike. Somehow I managed to stay around the 20 grams.

I was eager to measure, but unfortunately there were some issues with the shipment of Keto-Mojo (although not their fault they fixed it, what a great customer service they offer!), so I continued after the first week. As soon as the device arrived I did my measurement, and I was surprised with the results: GKI of 1.1, which seems to be a high therapeutic level of Ketosis, but as it’s the first measurement, let’s not get carried away already 🙂

Expert Series – its all about sleep (…and stretching)

I never thought sleep could be so complicated. The more I look into it, the worse I sleep it seems. Now just finished week nine of the series, and the nights seem to slightly improve. Strangely enough I don’t feel tired during the day, but have difficulties staying awake in the evening.

Some evenings I went to bed early, some a bit late. Tried to stick to the routine, but while reading I would almost fall a sleep. So all in all, getting to sleep was not the issue for me. But sleeping for 8 hours was! Also I are waking up earlier than normal, between 05:00 and 06:00, and sometimes even before 5.. quite frustrating.

Several discussions with Panagiotis, and it could partly still be from the Keto lifestyle, and should not worry too much – it will get better….. eventually…. I’m still looking forward to that moment! The statistics claim there is a strong positive correlation, whatever that means. but the graph looks to slowly increase again, so am hoping for the best

Next to the evening routine, I now have purchased some blue light filter glasses and a salt lamp. Let’s see what that will bring!

It’s all about routines – I even introduced some myself

The program introduces evening routines, and then the morning stretching, which I really start to enjoy, although some mornings maybe a bit less 😉 Then in addition I picked up an older routine after exercise, which is a nice cold shower after the hot shower, makes you feel even more energetic, if you want to give it a try, have a look at the Wim Hof Method

Then before starting the working day, I have a coffee and read a chapter of The Longevity Solution, or any other article/book as I noticed I better absorb the information in the morning.

To summarize my (current) routines:

  • During the day
    • No coffee after 14:00
    • No late night exercise
  • ~1 hour before going to sleep
    • No more tv/tablet/phone
    • No phone/tablet in the bedroom
    • Close blinds, make it pitch dark
    • Cool down bedroom as much as possible
  • Morning routine
    • Don’t rush, take time to wake/get up
    • Start with some stretching as soon as I get out of bed
    • Take a shower, finish with cold water
    • Coffee with a book/article on health/Keto/Sleep/…
      • If weather permits, soak up some sun while reading!

The Fitness – it’s not that bad

Last blog I mentioned that it was not enjoyable yet, and I can’t say it really is at the moment. I was happy to finish the beginners series, and grateful that Panagiotis takes the feedback seriously when preparing for the foundation course. Now I start to like the stretching in the morning, I like the fact that the foundation is looking more into strength rather than the movements. Slow steps….

I had the opportunity to visit Panagiotis for a longer chat on how I can contribute to Ketontrack, but specifically on the exercise session, where I got some good hints and suggestions from him. It is very difficult to judge yourself, and you always think you are not good at it, but the feedback was quite positive, even if there is still a lot to improve!

My 72 hour fast – it happened spontaneously and felt great

What a weekend!

On the day I visited Panagiotis, my fast ended just before leaving. Although he offered me to stay for lunch, I declined as I wanted to visit some other friends as well. Somehow the day passed by without eating and before I knew it 24 hours were gone. I reached home around 20:00, and didn’t want to eat late at night, especially breaking the fast.

On Sunday I woke up feeling great, not hungry. So I thought, let’s continue. The stomach makes some noise every now and again, but there is no hunger feeling. After the 48 hour mark, I felt like I could day another day, and so I did!

Monday, normal working day, and being busy the entire day doesn’t make you think about food (too much). Almost tempted to continue longer, but then decided not to stretch it longer, as 3 days is already quite an achievement I would say.

just before ending the fast

Some measurements during this fast – as Panagiotis said, these are crazy, most likely as my body is still adjusting. But it’s a good reference for the next prolonged fast..

Date/time Glucose Ketons GKI
After 48 hours 59 ml/dL 6.6 mmlo/L 0.5
After 60 hours 70 ml/dL 8.0 mmlo/L 0.4
After 72 hours 56 ml/dL 9.1 mmlo/L 0.3

My 72 hour fast – Breaking the fast: taking it slow

Panagiotis was very clear, be careful with breaking a prolonged fast and take it slow. Also see his article: https://ketontrack.com/prolonged-fasting/. So prepared some beef broth. And the schedule was:

  • Beef broth after 72 hours.
  • Then after 30 minutes having some eggs
  • Followed by a Yoghurt, Tahin and Cacao nibs after another 30 minutes

My 72 hour fast – the day after

After a good night sleep, I felt really great. Bit of light headiness after I got out of bed, but after that all good. Only a bit of a dry mouth. After hydration the usual stretching, even did some exercises and the hot/cold shower routine.

I broke the fast at 16 hours, not to overdo it. Nice bacon omelet with avocado on the side. For dinner one of my favorites, which is the must have soup!

All in all it was a great experience!

Conclusion – my key takeaways

Still on track with Ketontrack, some parts go well, some need more attention or effort.

The Nutrition part exceeded my expectations, and 8 weeks ago I didn’t think that the 3 day fast would be so enjoyable, maybe as it happend spontaneously. Looking out for the next one, will be doing it together with Panagiotis. Please comment if you want to join in (will not be in the next month or 2 most likely, but you never know ;-))

The sleep is not where it should be, but it doesn’t impact too much my days, as I still feel fit in the morning, however the struggle comes in the evening..

The routines have some pros and cons. When you do them you enjoy them, but you don’t always feel like sticking to them. But then again it takes 66 days to make a habit, so I’m counting the days :-).

Stay tuned for the next one!

My experience with the series – first 4 weeks

How it all started – Into the practitioner series

By chance finding out about this initiative, and as a colleague of Panagiotis, interested to understand more about the program. After a first chat, unfortunately as a Video call, instead of over a nice coffee in our canteen due to COVID-19, I found myself confirming to Panagiotis that I’m up for the challenge.. What did I get myself into 🙂

Actually I was not really looking to lose more weight, as I’ve went through a considerable weight loss some years ago (and yes staying up to the mark!), however due to the home office situation noticed my motivation and energy levels going down and not able to do my sport (running) in the same speed/length as I’ve done before…

…So I knew it was time to adapt, also to not return to older routines. So I actually started intermittent fasting myself before getting started with Ketontrack. But back to the chat with Panagiotis, he mentioned ‘your luck has changed’, as he was doing the 20 day fitness challenge, and I was more than welcome to join. Again.. what did I get myself into…

Long story short, we agreed to start the program, and I would give the fitness program a try to see if I get more energized to do my runs again..

Now for my experiences:

The nutrition – Getting into Intermittent Fasting and Keto

Before we started, Panagiotis suggested I would track one week for what I ate, not knowing that it resulted in my trying to empty my fridge/freezer to get ready for the program, I believe he almost got a heart attack seeing the amount of Carbs I had eaten. It was obvious that this was causing the hunger feeling at the end of each fast.

So we started, and as I have done low-carb / high-protein adaptation before to lose weigh, but with 5-6 eating moments per day to overcome the hunger feeling, I was not so scared of renouncing carbs and sugars. And as I managed to do 2 weeks of IF already (even up to 20 hours), also here I was confident I could make it happen!

And so it was, even with some cravings in the first weeks, I managed to keep it up without too many issues, and with the well managed program, adding something new to consider each new week. This way it’s not too much to worry about. I believe that working from home helps in organizing better the eating moments and habits, so somehow I can consider this as a benefit, although I would rather be in the office..

The fitness – Getting active (again)

As Panagiotis offered to join the challenge he started on Facebook, I decided I give it a try. Little did I know that it was, at least from my perspective, a quite advanced Yoga training, and unfortunately it made me lose my motivation. So I decided to end this and focus a bit more on running and some basic exercises myself. With the change of diet, I was getting back some more energy and enjoyed more and more doing something again.

Luckily there was the new chance, in this case the beginner fitness course, and I wanted to have another attempt. Now in the 2nd week, it is for me still quite a challenge, but manageable, I wouldn’t go as far as enjoyable just yet 🙂

6 days/week is quite heavy, but a good way to change habits and ensuring you move. The downside is that I’m not running, as 2 hours/day sport is a bit too much..

The sleep – Getting it right

Although it comes at a later stage in the program, I was already interested in looking into my sleep patterns. Initially of course to understand if I sleep well. In one of our weekly alignment meetings, Panagiotis showed me the Ouraring, which is a nice lightweight device to keep track of your sleep. I recently purchased the ring to start tracking. My first night sleep was by the books, but during the week there are some variations – so definitely something to focus on, maybe even more important than starting exercising?

Conclusion – my key takeaways

So, while writing this I have completed 43 days of IF and 4 weeks of the program, now fast-tracking week 5&6 together.

I’m happy that I decided to join the series, even if it controls my time/mind more that I initially might have expected, but all positive. I truly believe that it’s all about changing habits and routine, taking it almost to the extreme in the beginning – of course not ‘overdoing it’ . However it needs to fit also into the ‘normal’ life, especially on social occasions with friends and family.

As you might have seen, I’m also quite active in finding interesting recipes, and where possible sharing them on this website. The risk I otherwise see is that it might become to tedious/boring, which might demotivate anyone trying to keep up with the program

Going forward I’m keen on getting into the next stage of the series, especially curious in moving from 16×8 to 18×6 to 20×4, the occasional 24 hour fast and ultimately the 3-day fast!