For anyone that may be interested I will be embarking on a Water Fast starting this Wednesday Jan 23rd and going until Tuesday Jan 29th. During the course of the fast I will be documenting my feeling, thoughts, energy on HE. I have done several Water fasts in the past and now generally do one every year. My wife is flying out to Montreal for 6 days so it a good chance for me to do this without disrupting our family routine.
I was inspired to fast after reading Gandhi’s Autobiography when I was in my early 20s. I fast for spiritual reasons: to enhance self-control, examine my relationship with food and to challenge myself. Over the years it has also served as an effective form a weight regulation for me– generally I will lose 12-15 pounds during a 5-6 day water fast. This is also a nice perk.
I thought I would document my journey this time as a way of giving back to HE, as HE has done so much for my journey towards enlightenment.
Generally I keep my fast strictly confidential as it makes it easier to be without food if you are not talking about food or being asked questions about food, but I feel I am able to add this educational component to the challenge.
I shall begin in a couple of days:))
@possiblehubris, It was going painfully well until I caved in today. It was my first real attempt at a fast and I found that working from 10-7 at a high paced job took its toll on my energy and to make matters worse my mom has been cooking these delicious, nutritious, home cooked meals every time I get home from work -.- I declined upon arriving, but as I went to bed and tossed and turned with my growling empty stomach the aroma of the food presented itself in my room and I couldn’t help it anymore. Best dish of food I’ve had in a long time, but it was definitely bitter sweet and it encouraged me to take a second look at the strength of my will power. I encourage you to stay strong in your fast. I fell off the horse, but I plan on getting back on the 1st of February and go 9 days.
Well good luck and good job listening to your body.
And thanks for the encouragement, it is a wonderful feeling for me to be sharing, it has made this particular fast very special.
It is not how long you do it, but what you learn in the process.
I did my first water fast for 7 days last summer. I am a student and didn’t want to risk trying a fast for the first time when I needed to do well in school at the same time. It was an awesome experience. Energy levels were okay most of the time; I continued my nannying job throughout with naps in the afternoons I was off. I did notice having to make transitional movements more slowly (sitting up, standing up from a chair, etc.). I was planning on doing 10 days, but at the end of the day on Day 7, I knew my body was telling me I needed to eat something. It wasn’t a growling stomach hunger (which I hadn’t really experienced past day 3), it was more of a thirst that radiated through my whole body. No matter how much water I drank, it didn’t stop. Through what I’ve read, this is what some people call “true hunger.”
I’ve also heard that’s important to start/break a fast in a coordinated way, in order to keep from feeling like absolute shit (unless you truly want that part of the experience). People usually say to have adjustment periods on either side of your fast that are half of the length of your intended fast, i.e. 3-4 days before and after your 7 day fast. Adjustments could include lessening the amount of you eat each meal as well as changing the actual foods you eat (for example, no meat->no dairy->no grains->only fruit->juice/broth—>beginning of water fast). I broke my fast with six ounces of organic veggie juice and 2 cups of watermelon and I was seriously stuffed for a while, just because of the amount my stomach pouch shrunk during the fast. It was the most delicious thing I had ever consumed, haha!
@arenofnote, Your reflections are very similar to mine. I find the pangs of hunger usually disappear after day 3 at the latest.
I like what you say about “true hunger” I have never heard that before. Is there a site that you could direct me to? For me, after 5-6 days the fast losses meaning, the new perspective starts to become the regular perspective so I know it is time to stop.
I am still a little too much of an egotist to break the fast gently, usually a couple of days before I finish the fast I start to daydream about the restaurant i will go to and the beauty and wonderment of my first meal. It is usually pizza for me, my favorite food– adolescent and stupid I know, but the texture, smell, taste, and going out are all traditions that help me celebrate the accomplishment.
Thanks for sharing your experience:)
@possiblehubris, ehh i waiver last night after 54 hours with a diet coke and some pretzels, but I’m back on it today…. approaching the 24 hr mark in about 7 hours… i’m somewhat disappointed but the fasting is helping with dealing with feelings without using food as a coping mechanism.
The sleeplessness is a bummer though, then I can’t wake up for the life of me.
End of Day 4
I took it easy pretty much all day today. It is amazing the amount of one can get done not being interrupted by meal times/ hunger.
I have started to notice changes in appearance of my body. My face is thinner and my hips stand out more in the mirror.
I need to be much more cautious getting up from the couch now– a couple of dizzy spells from getting up too quick today.
Dieting has never been my thing, and again losing weight is not my primary motivation. However, I am pretty sure I would not continue to do fasts if there wasn’t so last effect like dropping 15lbs in less than a week. Sure I could eat more sensibly, but this has been such an effective once a year tradition that I really do not feel guilty about my actions. It provides me with insights every time and regulates my weight. So that I do not have to give up on Carbs, or feel guilty about drinking a beer.
Physical: Energy 6/10, still very alert and clear minded.
Hours without food: 93
Weight 169 (-9lbs from start of fast)
@possiblehubris, You’re a boss. Everyone should have an annual fasting period – it must be humbling; makes you appreciate something as all-too-often taken for granted as nutritious food. People in third world countries ‘fast’ all the time and still manage to smile. And furthermore- hey what the hell! I just got honked at by an obese person on a scooter!
Keep it up man, you rock :)
@lookitskristina, well you got through the most difficult part of the fast. First couple of days is when hunger is at it’s worst. It just occurred to me when I was cleaning up some dishes I found that I have spent virtually no time in my kitchen these past four days. I do not think I have opened the fridge.
And if it was just the pretzels and a diet coke then that is a minor infraction. The challenging part would be getting your hunger satisfied and then going through the two days of withdrawal all over again.
Keep at it, the right timing is very important.
And generally speaking, it is best to isolate yourself as much as possible and tell as few people as possible.
End of day 5
I am ready for this fast to be over:) As I mentioned previously, once it stars turning into routine it is generally the sign for me to quit, that is what today was like. And I am seriously missing food!
I never mentioned hiccups as a side effect of fasting, I had hiccups a few times today.
I realized that I am a lot quieter and am speaking a lot less then I normally do. The last couple of days I have been home much more.
I did go for a 30min walk today and felt fine. My heart rate is increase more than normal when climbing the stairs or climbing a hill.
I will break the fast tomorrow probably with a late lunch. I am not certain what my first meal will be but I know it will involve Onion Rings– for some reason I have been craving them:)
Physical Energy: 5/10 would prefer to not move much.
Hours without food: 118
Weight: 168 (-10lbs from start)
@possiblehubris, Nice job man. Very inspiring.. Im going to do something similar tomorrow but considering that I have barely gone a day in my life without at least 1 meal, Im going to drink one of those odwallas in the morning and eat some kind of broth at night. And water all day. Should be pretty exciting. Thank you for sharing.
End of Day 6
I have completed another successful fast. I was hoping to go until lunch time today but after a rough sleep, decided to break the fast with some breakfast: OJ, cereal, and toast. Not as sensational as some of my “first meals” from the past, but nevertheless it was delicious and well received.
Sleep as never been an issue for me during my fasts. This time around however, I was generally sleeping only about 6 hours per night. I thought this was because I was not bogged down with food and had cut out caffeine/ alcohol. But I wonder if hunger was waking me up?
The yearly fast strengthens my self-control and makes me more conscious of what is and is not going into my mouth. It teaches me that we are in charge of our own health, and rekindles my awareness of the incredible power of an individual’s mind and body.
My stomach has definitely shrunk. Experience tells me it will expand within a few days as I start to eat regular amounts of food. This experience really makes me aware how subjective word like hungry, full, regular diet are. Take a close look at what you are eating; it is all about choices.
Thanks everyone for the support. I can not imagine being able to share this experience anywhere else. I hope you learned something.
Physical Energy: 5/10 lightheaded and troubles sleeping.
Hours without food: 131
Weight: 167 (-11lbs from start)
@possiblehubris I’m now two days into a fast, inspired by yourself. I did a 3 day fast last August and felt great, and have been occasionally trying to do another one for the last couple of months but haven’t made it past the first day. Reading this has definitely helped me to just man up and get the thing done.
I’ve been reading testimonies from people who have fasted for two weeks onwards and the healing effects that it has had for them, and was initially hoping to carry on this fast for as long as possible, although forgotten that I had promised to take my girlfriend out for dinner at the weekend.
I am at the end of day 2 of my fast that was also inspired by this and the juice fasting article on the site. But since I am an avid exerciser I am having a protein shake in the morning and for stress eating ( one of the things I am trying to break with this ) I am eating celery. I am also drinking a lot of hot tea. I want to go seven days.
@savmot, Good luck. The thoughts of food will pass, block them from your mind as much as possible– find other distractions. You do not have to walk to the fridge, just grab that bottle of water and have another slug! You will eat again:)
The weight loss is great but your losing alot of muscle too, not just fat. and certainly only distilled water is a terrible idea. You will eventually die if you only drink distilled water. Its TOO pure, you flush essential vitamins and nutrients out with distilled water while not replacing any. Atleast just do normal spring water which has some minerals and such.
I was also inspired by this whole thing, and thought, hey! I should try a fast!, and then of course life had to be it’s ironic self, and Monday I got stuck at work almost three hours longer than I should have been. Now, this didn’t really bother me, I love my job, but I’m a grazer, and I generally consume some amount of food every hour or so. By the time I got off work I felt ill, I had stomach pains and was dizzy and nauseous, I had to stop at the grocery to get food, and I was so shaky by the time i got home I dropped the blackberries I’d just bought everywhere. This was just going about 5 hours without food (all the feeling awful symptoms went away about 15 minutes after eating).
I do want to have that better relationship with food, but i don’t think I can handle not eating. I was thinking maybe a broth fast?
@possiblehubris, I was contemplating a 5-6 day water fast next week and had a few questions which I was hoping you could help me with:
1. While researching the water diet, i came across this website (http://www.waterdiets.net). The diet here recommends certain fruits and vegetables as supplements and this isn’t a ‘pure’ water diet. I was wondering what your opinion was on this diet?
2. Your experience sounds quite pleasant and enlightening. However, as you mentioned, you have done this diet before. As this would be my first time, can I expect it to be more challenging?
3. Is it recommended to start slow with fruits and vegetables when I break the fast before getting back on meat and carbs, or can I start eating normally from the get-go?
Thanks for the help :)
@possiblehubris, I’m in. It’s a little silly to say that this is dangerous. Obviously your body needs nutrients to survive but it is not going to permanently damage you to fast completely from food for a few days.
I didn’t read all the comments so someone may have pointed this out already but there have actually been studies done that show that fasting actually increases your mental capacity during the fast. As the study states, this is likely do to an evolutionary solution to a lack of food in that when you are hungry you are able to focus on the task of obtaining food more easily. I look forward to see how this goes for everyone, including myself who tries this.