6 Days, 0 Calories.
There are a lot of good reasons to fast. Here is a list of 7:
- rest the digestive system
- allow for cleansing and detoxification of the body
- create a break in eating patterns, while shining a spotlight on them
- promote greater mental clarity
- cleanse and heal “stuck” emotional patterns
- lead to a feeling of physical lightness, increasing energy level
- promote an inner stillness, enhancing spiritual connection
My reasons were… not really any of your business, but I did decide to go on a fast. Six days with no food, drinking only water and unsweetened tea. FYI, I did not do this for this little blog either, but you better believe that I wasn’t going to spend the only day this week involving food eating something like marshmallows or spinach till I threw up. I told my mom about it and she informed me that you the people would be expecting something this week. So chew on this:
Let’s take a little walk through the days and I’ll let you know how I was feeling.
Day 1: I woke up, skipped breakfast and took a good run around lunch time. I felt like a champ. Who needs to eat? I got hungry, drank some water, told my body to shut up, and kept on rocking. Six days is a long haul, and I wasn’t going to get there acting like a baby on day 1.
Let’s talk about nutrition. According to a book I am reading, most things in your body would love to run on glucose, a sugar that you get from carbs. Your body stores enough of this magical fuel to run everything pretty smoothly for about 18 hours, after that it gets pretty scarce. No problem though, everything in your body is used to using other types of fuels. Everything except the brain, the retina, and the gonads.
Well about 15 hours in my brain started getting really foggy. I’m talking space cadet. About 2 hours later my eyes started to feel weird. No lie, it felt like work to look around and focus. Colors weren’t quite as bright, I had something a little bit of tunnel vision going on.
A few more hours passed… and no other symptoms became apparent. The body of a 26 year old man sure knows how to prioritize!
Day 2: I woke up with the nose of a bloodhound. This, apparently, is a common thing that people experience while fasting. I talked with my dad in the morning. He opened his mouth to say “hi” and in my foggy brain I instantly saw a parade of potato buns slathered in soggy reddish meat. “I just cooked lunch for 100 people,” he said. “What did you cook?” I asked, but I already knew it was sloppy joes.
Around lunch time I got pretty sick. I had cramps in the stomach, felt feverish, a splitting headache, I was shaky. I was doing some manual labor, and tried to keep a slow steady pace. I succeeded but it was difficult. I felt better in about 2 hours. Seriously hungry all day.
Day 3: Woke up horrified by my own breath.
The liver starts to convert fatty acids into something called ketone bodies which are made of fat but can be burned just like glucose. Good news for the brain, eyes, and nuts. Bad news for the breath. The body dumps the excess into the urine and respiratory system resulting in nasty breath. When combined with my bloodhound nose, this was bad news.
I was starting to feel pretty drained. I helped lead a mountain biking trip for some middle aged women who had not ridden bikes this season. Despite my mid winter and more recent half marathons, It took everything I had to keep up.
Day 4: Really tired. Worked hard outside all day. Some teaching, some co-guiding, a lot of miles. Really exhausted. Walking up the stairs leaves my heart pounding. I black out slightly every time I stand up. This is how even just a single flight of stairs looked to me:
Years ago I had an argument about whether or not a more acute sense of smell would be desirable. My position was that I love my already quite acute sense of smell; the good smells far outweigh the bad. Magnify the strength of the sense and the same would hold true.
I was so wrong.
There are millions of unpleasant odors lurking just under all of your everyday experiences. People with excellent oral hygiene still have stinky lungs. Don’t even walk by a bathroom. The trash can in the kitchen? That garlic you are cooking doesn’t fool your dog. Take it out. Wash the can too.
Day 5: Dodged out of some chainsaw work and did computer stuff all day. Tired but functional. People smelled terrible though. Don’t talk to me unless you are chewing gum, please.
My life felt kind of dismal. I didn’t feel creative, stuff wasn’t funny, I didn’t want to hang out with people. I moved so slowly.
Day 6: I have been utterly amazed how much in our lives revolves around food. I didn’t invite people over because I wasn’t going to be eating. I totally structure my day around food, without it, I didn’t know exactly what to do. I had so much more time in my day to read or stare blankly into space since I wasn’t preparing food, eating, or doing dishes. I never realized how many restaurants there really are.
The hunger returned with a vengeance. Also had a very surprising hour that was reminiscent of prune day. Still don’t know where that came from.
Breaking the Fast: Started at dinner time with a mix of fruit juice and v8. Waited till about 10:30 and got an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese from Dunkin Donuts. Slept almost 10 hours, and got up feeling perfect.
Obviously, if you are looking for spiritual enlightenment or health advice, come talk to me. I’ve got just the thing for you.