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Fasting benefits

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  • iamloved
    iamloved Member Posts: 197
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    NorCalS and SerenitySTAT...Fasting is probably the biggest factor in many areas in my life. I started when I had my first dx. Lost 60 pound doing intermittent fasting and keto. I did 3 day fast probably 3 out 4 weeks each month. I had never felt better! Got off anti depressants, my psoriasis went away (must give some credit to my naturopathic dr who took me off dairy too) my psoriatic arthrist diminished, energy thru the roof. Skin tags were gone. I was hoping my cancer would be gone too but it wasn't. So now having the ability to fast for chemo I know give my body a much better chance at healing and hopefully as studies have shown makes the chemo work better! I am waiting for the Mayo clinic to publish its results of the study they did on fasting and chemotherapy. I will post it if they I find it.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Congratulations on your weight loss! There weren't any good studies on fasting during chemo when I did it. The anecdotes were enough for me to try it since I could end the fast whenever I wanted. Keep it up!


  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    Yesterday I had blood tests for glucose and A1C, since my reason for time-restricted eating was to push those down, and with it, hopefully, my risk of recurrence. I've been TRE since mid-June, so almost 4 months. And my A1C was EXACTLY the same at 5.1. It did not budge. Estimated glucose still 100. Glucose 99.

    My PCP will not prescribe metformin unless I'm in the pre-diabetic range, which is slightly higher than that.

    With a tnbc diagnosis, I feel fairly helpless to do anything to reduce my recurrence risk. My weight is stable and healthy; I exercise regularly including resistance training; I don't drink much alcohol. Honestly I don't know what else I can do. Feeling a bit frustrated.

  • norcals
    norcals Member Posts: 206
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    Mountainmia,

    I’m TNBC as well, and at DX I was staged at IIIc/IV. I used fasting and intermittent fasting to get me through the side effects of chemo. I think it also helped the treatment because even though I did not achieve pcr, MO thought the results were great. I have been doing 16+ hours of intermittent fasting for over a year (modified while on Xeloda) and 24 hour fasts about once every two weeks. I do this in the hopes that it will prevent a recurrence as well. The daily IF has been easy for me since I just skip breakfast. The 24 hour fast is tougher but manageable since I have a group of friends that fast with me. I see it as the new norm. I will probably keep to this new plan until I reach the 5 year post DX anniversary. Hang in there. Unfortunately, there will be lots of ups and downs until we reach the 5 year mark

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    NorCalS, yes, the daily fasting is not hard at all. I do very minimum 13 hours, but most days it is 15+. I haven't used 24 hours fasts. Since my glucose hasn't dropped at all, it seems that fasting isn't working for me at all in that regard.

    The HARDER work, changing my diet, will have to commence. Though I eat much better than the "average American diet," I know there are still ways to improve, and I've resisted that. Less bread, less processed grains, less sugar though I don't eat a lot of sweets.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    MountainMia - You could try a 24-hr fast. Reducing processed foods will help when going on longer fasts. I've used a week of the Whole 30 diet to get used to less processed foods. I like doing 36-hr fasts during my week off Ibrance. The rest of the time my overnight fasts are 14-23 hours long.

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    My worst processed foods are crackers. And chocolate (plain chips, not candy bars.) Other than that, most of what I eat is pretty simple.

  • BlueGirlRedState
    BlueGirlRedState Member Posts: 900
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    SerenitySTAT - thank you for your posts on intermittant fasting. I'm thinking of a 5 day "normal" / 2 day restricted calorie. Sounds really generous and easy to do, but having a hard time making myself start. Would be doing it for overall health, but if I dropped a few pounds, that would be great.

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311
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    Hi, I just started the keto diet and saw this on fasting and blood sugar https://www.dietdoctor.com/?s=fasting

    I'm trying to reduce my triglyceride level and drop a few pounds. I also started making bread last March!! I think I went through 45 pounds of flour baking for everyone. So good and I do miss it.

  • trishyla
    trishyla Member Posts: 698
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    I'm with you, magiclight. I just pulled a loaf of sourdough out of the oven. Nothing better in the world than fresh baked bread slathered in butter.

    I mostly make it for my daughters, who are adults, but one is still at home while she gets her teaching certificate and the other lives in our back house.

    I was doing really well with the intermittent fasting as well as twice a week 24 hour fasts. It wasn't too bad because I've selling my jewelry every weekend at a craft show that is held at a winery in Temecula. All I had to do was not bring any food. Then the Pandemic hit and everything came to a screeching halt.

    I was doing great with my long distance walking and occasional fasts, when I broke my ankle in June. I've struggled since then, gaining ten pounds, mostlly from a lack of exercise.

    We're still on "safer at home" orders here in LA county. Add in six weeks of triple digit heat, choking smoke from the Bobcat fire, and living with two teachers working from home, all cooped up in our 1200 square foot home (plus 300 sq ft back house) This has been the summer from hell.

    Diet? What diet. I'm so done with this year.

    Trish

    P.S. Facebook just reminded me that four years ago today I was at City of Hope getting fitted for a wig by none other than Jose Eber. (He was the stylist behind Farrah Fawcett's iconic hair)


  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    MountainMia - When I really want to reduce processed foods I limit myself to homemade bread/crackers or really good chocolate. It's October, so I will eat Halloween candy 😁.

    BlueGirl - It may help to pick the low cal days of the week. I like Mondays and Thursdays when I only eat around dinner before taking Ibrance.

    flashlight - I like Dr. Jason Fung. I haven't done keto, but I learned the benefits of the 36-hr fast from him. I too love homemade bread.

    Trish - I hope the weather improves for you. How's your ankle? When you're ready, you can get back to fasting. When I fall out of the habit, I work on the extended overnight fast first.


    During my week off of Ibrance I fasted twice for 36 hours.

  • trishyla
    trishyla Member Posts: 698
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    Thank you so much for the encouragment SerenityStat. Exactly what I needed today.

    Trish

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Is it sad that I'm excited to have an extra week off of Ibrance? We are out of Halloween chocolates so I'm in my first 36-hr fast. Since I've been propagating an aloe vera plant, I have too many pups (almost 20). I don't want more than 5 aloe plants, so I've been thinning out the pups and using them as weak plant fertilizer. Then I read that Gandhi used aloe during his long fasts, so I put a little aloe in my lemon water this morning. I made sure to drain out the latex. No ill effects.

    I plan on consuming aloe vera during my off week to help my immune system. I recently bought an aloe arborescens plant because it contains more nutrients than aloe vera, but the plant is too small for harvesting. Hopefully it will be ready next year.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Fast done. I'm down 2 lbs from 3 days ago (including Halloween). Was a little hungry late last night, but woke up feeling good. Now I feel the need to bake something.

  • norcals
    norcals Member Posts: 206
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    Hi SerenitySTAT: congrats on completing your 36 hour fast. I’m in the middle of my 24 hour fast. The 24 hour fasts have become pretty easy for me. I do it every week, along with 16+ hour IF. My friends that have been doing the weekly fasts with me all find it easy as well. We’ve even doing this every week for over 3 months now. It’s become their way of reducing inflammation and we all feel better after fasting. If you had asked me to do this every week before my dx, I would have thought it was extreme. After reading articles on the benefits of fasting and consistently fasting for over a year, I think it’s a great way to reduce inflammation.

  • ceanna
    ceanna Member Posts: 3,120
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    I do IF most days and have been able to keep my A1C in the low 5s and my triglycerides low by cutting out grains and processed foods and no major dieting. Do I cheat? Yes, and have frozen Halloween candy, but it keeps calling my name!! Crackers, bread, and baked goods, even if low in sugar, turn into a immediate rise in blood glucose in most people. I try to avoid grains and when I need proof, I test my blood glucose with one of those cheap $20 meters anyone can buy from pharmacies or chain stores. No need to wait for the doctor's orders. If my reading about 4 hours after eating is still high, I know the food is not something I should eat again!! Low glycemic foods and/or keto may be something to explore if concerned about A1C.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    NorCalS - That's great to fast with a group. My husband fasts with me.

    ceanna - I try to avoid grains most days, but I do love treats. Instead of cereal or white sandwich bread, I prefer really good bread or cakes. I really like making sourdough crackers.


  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Finishing up another 36+ hour fast. I think the small amount of aloe vera I've consumed in the morning helps keep my electrolytes up. That Gandhi was a smart man. I don't feel hungry, but soon I'll have some homemade yogurt with cinnamon to break my fast. I have my Xgeva shot today, and then homemade chicken soup for dinner.

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,025
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    Great thread! I've had it in my favorites for awhile since I started to try to get my fasting mojo back. Thanks for the good links and the sharing.

    I was doing IF and low calorie (under 1000 cal.) diet when I started weekly Taxol and I really think it helped me with good response and keeping the side effects and after-effects at bay.

    But, that was back in 2017. Fast forward to today, I have put on the COVID 19 lbs plus a few more and I really need to take off this weight. I had abandoned the good habits that I painstakingly built up from the year before my diagnosis. Anyway....a few weeks ago, I decided I would start with a 13 hour fast window at night. I use the Zero app to track my time.

    Although I was doing 16 and 18 hour fasts with ease not too long ago, getting started again was hard. But, I did it and now I have pushed myself back up to a consistent 16/8 every day. I have lost only four pounds in eight weeks but at least I lost...and am heading downward! Finally have developed that sort of automatic feeling that my "eating signal" is turned OFF at the time my fast is set to begin. I am trying to up my protein, good fats and get most of my carbs from vegetables and some fruits.

    It's good to see others doing I/F too, it helps keep me motivated!

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Great job on the weight loss! My husband uses the same app, but I wing it. I'm back to fasting 36+ hours once a week with extended overnight fasting for most of the rest of the week. The more you do it, the easier it gets, but I allow for treats. Keep it up!

  • mountainmia
    mountainmia Member Posts: 857
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    I was daily IF fasting, 13-16 hours for about 4 months. My goal was to push down my glucose. Last month I asked my doc for blood tests of glucose and A1C. Neither one had budged at all (but were still in healthy range.) So the IF was not meeting my expectations from that standpoint. My weight is healthy, too.

    Is there any other reason to fast besides weight loss and glucose control?

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    If your glucose and A1C were already in a healthy range, I doubt a brief period of prolonged overnight fasts would make a difference.

    My original post has links to other benefits, but here's 2 for cancer. 1) Fasting during chemo helps minimize side effects. 2) There's a study that prolonged overnight fasts may reduce breast cancer recurrence.

    https://jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=250...

    In my case, my CA 15-3 rose outside of normal range. After changing from Tamoxifen to Exemestane, it continued to rise. Then it started dropping the month after I started fasting 36 hours twice a week. It continued to drop significantly until I started Ibrance and stopped the 36-hr fast (Ibrance capsules had to be taken with meals). It's still dropping, but more slowly. Now that the Ibrance tablets don't have the food requirement, I've just started the 36-hr fast again. My next blood test is Dec 22, so I'm hoping for a big drop. I've had multiple scans. Most were clear until the one before Ibrance. My last scan showed nothing active, but my TM is still above normal.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Time-restricted feeding may be better and easier if done earlier in the day.

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156

    Being a night owl, this wouldn't suit me. Plus, now it's dark at 4:30 pm. I try to finish eating by 8 pm.

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,025
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    Agree. I am more successful if I skip breakfast and just have coffee and then break my fast at lunch. I do end my eating window at least two hours before bedtime

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    I'm glad to see that fasting can be good for my heart. I have a family history of heart disease on top of chemo and radiation. My dad with heart disease for over 50 years has been doing IF.

    https://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/fasting-and-your-heart/

    Just finishing another 36-hr fast.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    I was doing a 36 hr fast weekly until a few months ago. Still kept up the extended overnight fast since I eat no more than 2 meals a day. Think I'll ease into it by doing a few 24 hr fasts.

    Anyone else still fasting?


  • norcals
    norcals Member Posts: 206
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    Hi SerenitySTAT

    Yes, I still do a 24 fast once every week and 16+ IF everyday. It's something that works for me and I feel better after. I have only done one 36h fast this year. I would like to do a 36 every six months, but it is much harder. My partner did the 36 with me and he felt great after.

  • santabarbarian
    santabarbarian Member Posts: 2,310
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    The other reason for fasting in general (such as 3 day water fast or 5 day fasting mimic) is to charge up your immune system. See Dr Valter Longo's work. Extended fast tells body to shut down slightly and rebuild favors revving immune system.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    NotCalS - When I fast 36 hours I feel good when I finish. I have to feel ready for it. I'm getting there. I usually fast on Mondays.

    santabarbarian - Yes, before I did chemo I read some of his work. There weren't many studies at the time. I fasted about 4 days for each AC (2 1/2 days before chemo start + 1 full day after chemo end). I haven't tried to fast that long since chemo. The 36-hr fast is much easier to do once I get in the habit. How often do you do a long fast?

  • paknc
    paknc Member Posts: 48
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    Chiming in here - I fast 14 hours overnight, this is a habit that was easy for me to adopt because I'm a night owl and never hungry in the AM. As they say, the best diet is the one you stick to. I've been doing this for about six months now and it's pretty effortless for me. I made the change to deal with the pre diabetes that spiked when on Tamoxifen. I have also read Dr. Longo's books. I did a few longer fasts a year ago using Prolon, but did these to combat some terrible nerve pain from bad dental surgery. I felt like it helped me to turn the corner with the chronic pain but those 5-day fasting mimicking diets were not a walk in the park for me!

    I am pleased to see more and more research pointing to relationships between insulin/metabolic health and breast cancer recurrence. I have read some studies indicating that the prolonged overnight fast can help reduce recurrence risk so I'm hoping I may address two issues at once - high blood sugar and recurrence risk.