Initial 4-day fast?

This topic contains 38 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  SeymourSunshine 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • Is there anyone out there who has tried doing the initial 4-day, 25-calorie fast as Michael describes? I want to be sure to reduce my IGF-1 (but can’t afford to pay for the expensive blood tests to monitor this) so am doing it anyway to kick off what I hope will be a new regime for the rest of my (hopefully longer) life. In the middle of Day 1 of this process, have been indulging in really good coffee today and looking forward to a supper of celery and green peppers which only have 1 calorie in each ounce (sorry, too old to start going metric). Not sure whether to eat them as a salad or cook them for the comforting warmth but just contemplating the idea of eating at last is keeping me going.

    Wow – you must have a will of steel, Goldcrest! Best of luck with it, please let us know how you get on.

    Blimey! I wouldn’t dream of trying it unless it was a question of life or death. For me, 5:2 is something I hope I can stick to permanently (or at least, until I get to the point where 6:1 makes sense) so wouldn’t try and put myself through something so demandingly harsh. Do let us know how you get on and very best of luck.

    Good luck to you, hope you make it. I wouldnt attempt it myself, but I’m sure it can only be good for you.

    Maybe this was not for me, but I am at the end of my second day of a 4 day fast and I feel fine and am not at all hungry. But I eat 500 calories. I want to get rid of my annoying holiday kilos. First morning (today) my scale showed -2,4 pounds. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning!

    OK – Reporting back. Just finished my first 24-calorie daily meal. 10oz mixed chopped green peppers and celery, 1 clove garlic, large teaspoon veg stock powder, chilli flakes, 2 cups water. Microwaved 15 minutes. Too hungry to be bothered to liquidise it into soup. Amazingly, could hardly finish it all – felt full very quickly. Now feeling confident that I will be able to get through tomorrow the same way.

    My thinking is that I only have to do this once in order to reduce the potentially damaging IGF-1. Then IF should keep it in check and there will be much more incentive to keep going with IF in order not to waste the initial sacrifice. I love my food and combining interesting flavours with creative cooking is a big passion with me, so it will be something of a challenge going into the future. But being on the wrong side of 70, it’s now or never, and now that I’ve committed myself on here, I can’t really give up, can I?

    Best of luck with that. Keep us posted! What a will you must have.

    Thank you to everyone for the encouragement but I can’t really claim to have a strong will – it’s more to do with the fear of encroaching old age and its consequences.

    Brilliant!!! Keep up the good work 🙂

    Having started off well yesterday now horrified to find that the calorie-counting website I had been using ( is in disagreement with another one (

    So I seem to have way over-eaten yesterday and achieved nothing.

    Should I start again today and now just stick to NO FOOD for the planned 4 days!!!

    Seems like being the safest option


    Going without food for a whole 4 days seems like a monumental hurdle, Goldcrest! Why don’t you just congratulate yourself on your fasting achievements so far and settle into the 5:2 or even 4:3 rhythm! Hopefully the health benefits you seek will be gained anyway over time. I don’t think many of us would be able to cope with 25-calories-worth of celery and green peppers (or nothing at all!) for longer than is necessary – I know I certainly couldn’t!

    Hi Goldcrest, well done for starting this if you are healthy enough to do so. As regards the disparity of calories dont beat yourself up or go to deeply into it. If the difference is not too great why not average the readings out or just stick with the cals you started out with. Either way you decide what is good for you to go with and stick with it.
    Good luck.

    Hi everyone – end of second day and just going to bed. Feeling ok on the 25 cal celery soup and now only two more days to go. Planning a foodie weekend and then will start a 5:2 week on Monday – should be a doddle after this marathon!

    Well done Goldcrest – keep it up you’re half way there 🙂 Just think of a nice meal on Saturday!

    I did 3 day fast and my belly almost disappeared. I am now doing my full 3.5 day fast, just as Dr Mosley followed.Solids are not allowed. just liquids and hardly any calories.
    Why did you stop?

    Hi. may I ask how you got on with your fast? I also did a 3.5 day fast and it was fantastic, now doing my second one.

    Hello Everyone,

    I am into day one of a 4 day fast. My wife is a medical doctor but her patients are all beyond help as she is a Pathologist but she is keeping an eye on me. I had the same tests done as Michael, and it made very sobering reading in deed. I had the same results as Michael too! My IGF – 1 is just this side of diabetic. My cholesterol levels are also not amusing either. I also take a battery of medication each day, for Bipolar Disorder. which I must not stop. I hope it will not negate any good results I gain from the fast. As I love life I want to be fit and healthy to enjoy it right up until the end, and being 49, I hope I have a long way to go yet. I’ll keep you posted as to how I get on.

    I am on my second day of the four day fast. Yesterday, my first day I felt quite hungry in the afternoon and at times wanted to quit and just have a nice big meal. I knew that I needed to keep busy at night so that I would be distracted and as soon as I got home from work, I went for a 45 minute run. During the run, on the uphill part which I always find difficult, I was in deep thought about a work related topic and didn’t even notice the uphill. On the subsequent downhill once I had finished my thought, I realized that I hadn’t even noticed the uphill. I didn’t feel any lack of energy during the run, and my run time was about normal.

    However I didn’t have the best night of sleep last night and it took me longer than usual to fall asleep. Overall my energy level has been high.

    Today, day 2, I don’t feel hungry. I don’t even think about food. But, I do find it a bit hard to stay focused on work. I don’t feel light headed or dizzy, just a bit distracted … but this happens on normal days as well, so hard to say it’s related to fasting.

    In terms of weight, I started with weighing 91.8kgs on Monday night, last night I was 88.8 and this morning I was 87.8. I’m sure it’s mostly water weight, but seeing the numbers go down was good motivation to continue. Will see how it goes for the next two days.

    I am in the middle of my 3.5 day fast and aiming to last maybe a little longer. But it’s extremely tiring and leads to light headedness, well worth it though.

    Hey there.

    Last week I completed a five day fast consuming between 5 & 600 calories per day and felt great. Surprisingly I felt incredibly alert and my belly went down a treat. Weight is dropping off me on this plan, 12 pounds so far only on week 2 day 2.

    Good luck!

    Just an update on my 4 day fast. I made it, the first two days were the most difficult, the third and fourth day were easier. A few things that happened to me:

    1. I woke up earlier in the morning and didn’t sleep particularly well in general, but I didn’t feel tired during the day either.
    2. I did feel light headed walking up stairs and generally less stamina. I didn’t feel weak, just tired out quickly if I tried to exert myself.
    3. I lost a permanent 3kgs from it. Weight dropped from 91 to 85.7kgs and after ten days settled back to around 87.5.
    4. To break my fast I wanted to eat steak, after four bites I was full. But for the following week all I wanted was gamey red meat and stew. Which is odd, because I live in a hot and humid place.
    5. I was using the urine test strips for Ketones. At day 3, they were coming up darker than the darkest color on the bottle. Made sure to drink a lot of water.
    … and …
    6. I missed it. After I stopped fasting, I wanted to go back to it because somehow it felt good.

    I did an extreme version of it where I ate nothing at all, not a bite. Not even the little 35 calorie soup which Michael drank during his four day fast in the show. I lived off green tea and sparkling water.

    Looking forward to doing it again.

    It is the afternoon of Day 1 of a 4 day fast. I am hungry water helps a bit, but I need to keep reading about the reasons why fasting is so good for you. Reading the gaian studies website helped a lot, although they do just water. It is mostly mental power, I have asked my husband to hide some snacks I would find difficult to resist. He goes away for work 7 days tomorrow and my son is away at a camp till Friday. I thought days by myself not smelling their food cooking would be the best, I hope I last okay. If you had the spare cash ideally you would hole yourself up in a hotel room, where there was no access to food. Going to the coast would be nice. I decided to do the 4 day fast, because I found doing the twice weekly fasting hard to stick at least this way I will have it over and done with for at least 2 months or the next school holidays.

    Hi rx:

    ‘I decided to do the 4 day fast, because I found doing the twice weekly fasting hard to stick at least this way I will have it over and done with for at least 2 months or the next school holidays’

    I assume you are not fasting to lose weight, because the fast you are talking about has nothing to do with weight loss.

    Good Luck!

    Agree with Simcoeluv, rxwz.
    Michael did a 4 day fast as part of his journey to find a sustainable way to health. He quickly rejected it and alternate day fasting for 2 days a week. It seems to more closely replicate the way humans evolved to eat. We didn’t always have lots of food available, so the rhythm of ups and downs created by 5:2 is more natural and certainly sustainable long term.
    Have you considered rethinking how you approach 5:2? There are many different ways to eat 1/4 of your TDEE on a fast day. Experiment to find the one that suits you for a doable long term health regime.
    All the best PVE

    @rxwz: Distract yourself when you get hungry – play a video game, go for a walk, do sudoku, watch a movie, whatever your lifestyle involves in distractions or hobbies. The hunger will pass, but the harder you try to not think about food, the more you will think about food and eating – so it’s best to distract yourself entirely in something engaging.

    You can make it! The first day is the hardest and as you pass each day, your confidence goes up. When you do, you will find the 5:2 fasting is easy, so you might want to stick with it after the four day.

    The purpose of the four day is to reduce your IGF-1, not lose weight, but you will lose some weight from the 4 day fast. I kept off 3 kgs after the four day fast.

    I’m on Day 2 of a 4 day fast. Not consuming anything but water and tea. 1st day was easy. I thought I would struggle, because I do enjoy a couple of glasses of wine of an evening. But it didn’t bother me. I had no problems cooking for the family, didn’t even lick the spoon. Didn’t sleep very well though – went to bed late, woke up early.

    Day 2 – I’ve had a few little hunger pains, but nothing major. Hopefully I will have a better night’s sleep tonight.

    I never really had any emotional attachment to food, but do enjoy it. So far the deprivation is not a concern. Let’s see what Day 3 brings.

    Hi Rosie and welcome:

    I’m curious – why did you decide to do a 4 day fast?

    Hi Simcoeluv – I’ve had a few digestive issues, which I have been working on. Doing some research suggested giving my system a break to “reset” itself was a good idea. My hubby is doing 5:2 (rather loosely). So I decided to help him by doing 5:2 also. So I decided to start this week with a 4 day fast, whilst keeping hubby on track (I’m the one with a little willpower), and then I will continue on with 5:2 Mondays & Thursday starting next week. I’m also an advocate of LCHF – because grains just make me bloated.

    I must say I’m rather enjoying not having to think about eating at the moment, but have a work Christmas lunch on Friday, which I am looking forward to.

    Here I am, lunchtime Day 3. I’m totally blown away that I am not hungry. Slept a bit better last night, but up at 5.45am for a walk.

    I think succeeding at this 4 Day Fast will really set me up for 5:2 long haul.

    Hi RosieHB, sounds like you’re doing great! Stay positive 🙂 I’ve been struggling with the sleep thing too, but last night was the first night I slept right through. I think it will get easier. Enjoy your Christmas lunch with work, I’ve managed to avoid them this year! I live out of town, so its not really practical for me to go anyway. Have a great day!

    Day 4. Feeling good. Still not hungry. I can see how eating disorders happen, because this feels quite addictive.

    I have been reading some other fasting forum which recommend coming out of a longer fast gradually. They recommend vegetable juice first, then some steamed veges, before moving on to heavier things. So I’m a bit worried about tomorrow’s Christmas lunch. Not that it will be super heavy, I can choose what I eat. As I’m an Aussie, it’s summer, and there will be lovely seafood and salad on offer.

    My hubby reckons I should have some steamed veges for lunch and dinner today (keep it under 500cals), just so my body doesn’t reject the lunch tomorrow.

    Anyone got any thoughts on this?

    33 hours into my 4-Day fast. How did it work out for everyone? I’m not feeling hungry!

    Just under 60 hours through now. Did anyone actually finish all four days?

    Hi everyone, this sounds intriguing please could someone tell me about this four day fast? I assume it’s different to 4:3? Thanks.

    In the book Michael talks about how he did a four day fast. He only had 25 calories a day for 4 days. Myself and it seems like a lot of others are using this as a kickstarter into the 5:2 fast diet. It’s kind of like a one off

    Hi Chaddorama:

    The four day fast came from the original life extension program as one of the ways calorie restriction could lead to better blood work (not weight loss). Dr. M decided he could not do periodic four day fasts and abandoned the idea as a life extension strategy. I guess when an abbreviated program was aired in Australia, it came across that a four day water fast was the way to start 5:2, and this site lit up with eager four day water fasters intent on losing weight fast. Never to be heard from again (note the dates on some of the above posts, and lack of follow up).

    A four day water fast is not a warm up to 5:2, which is a weight loss diet, not a life extension diet. In my opinion, no one that is inexperienced with fasting should start by attempting a four day water fast. Experience has shown it leads to failure, not success, on 5:2.

    Good Luck!

    Well either way, I’m up to 68 and a half hours of my four day water fast. I feel good, and it’s a huge motivation for my 5:2 diet 🙂

    Just a word of encouragement to all of those that may be just starting. My story goes like this. I started my 5:2 fasting in Feb 2015 and never stopped. I do have occasional holidays when I don’t (around Xmas and when on summer vacation) but the rest of the time I fast every Wednesday and Thursday. Yes. Consecutive days. I started my fasting with a 4 day full fast and then continued with 5:2 with 1/4 calories intake. First few weeks I used to weight food and calculate my calories but eventually I stopped doing that as you get the idea and some days I don’t even feel like eating anything altogether on my fast days. In Feb 2016 I repeated my full fasting but instead of doing it for 4 days I continued to 12. So 12 days of full fasting. After a year of 5:2 I found it much easier to do than the initial 4 days a year before.
    Maybe a word about my weight. I was always on the lower end of so that wasn’t my main driver for fasting. I wanted to improve my health. I don’t have any direct evidence that my health improved due to fasting but it surely changed after I started doing it. I used to have flu at least 3-4 times a year in autumn, but year 2015 was the first after several when I was going without flu to next spring. I did get occasional runny nose, but I wasn’t ill as to stay in bed for a few days. When I started my initial 4 day fast I weighted about 68.5kg and after initial 4 days I got to 61 although that came up a few pretty quickly after I started properly eating and drinking salty food (because you loose quite a bit of water despite drinking as there’s less salt to keep water in your body). During my 5:2 for the first few weeks my weight was going down, but eventually it settled at about 62/63kg. And it kept at this level since.

    If anyone is thinking of starting fasting I highly recommend it. It won’t be easy but in a few months you’ll find it completely natural and will become your diet as it became mine 19 months ago. I hope I’ll be able to do it for the rest of my life. But it’s true I was determined to stick to this regime. My wife on the other hand found it more or less frustrating and is just thinking to reconsider the whole thing once more.

    And just FYI. I’m a racing cyclist during summer (hence I like keeping my weight on the lower end) and badminton player during winter. Although I may feel tired a bit quicker on my fast days it hasn’t been an impediment in any significant way. So fasting and sports go very well together. You shouldn’t be afraid. But I did decide for Wed+Thu days because that suits my training as competitions are usually during weekends and I normally don’t train on Thursdays.

    I notice a lot of posts refer to will power. I find that I lack this, as do most people. I have always found that:

    It’s easy to say “no” to something good when you’ve got a stronger “yes” to something better.

    In this case, saying no to a calorie-laden taste bud tittilator is easier when you have a stronger yes to great health and less weight to slow you down and tire you out.

    I have a backpack with milk jugs filled with water equal to the weight I’ve lost. I wear it when I go out for training walks. it reminds me what carrying useless weight did to my ability to just get on with living a high-energy life.

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