How water fasting shifted my perception of food, willpower and focus.
I have always suffered from joint pains even from my childhood. My family used to remind me of the music I could do just by cracking my fingers and till today it could be an interesting hit.
It came to a point where my pain added to hot weather and health history pushed me into trying something I had never done before. I am used to fasting due to spiritual purposes but I had never done 24h, 48h, 3 days, to 5 days with no food intake at all. So in order to heal when you have tried all the medication you could find, I decided to do less and even do nothing: well I drank only water.
Your plan your strategy
I was in pain so I pushed my mind and body into a challenge. I didn’t have a plan nor strategy before me documenting on the process. After hours on the new age university (YouTube), I was decided to give it a try to feel better.
Your mental state before you start
My mental state was quite determined, I was willing to do something to lessen the pain and get my comfort back. I had nothing to lose, I was tired of medication and wanted a more natural alternative. I had already witnessed the healing of an injury years before just by letting my body do its work (less activity of the digestive system) but never acknowledged it for what it was.
The process: yes! because it’s a process
For the process it was simple, drinking water in a reasonable amount. I stayed close to 1 gallon a day and added no supplement to my water. Just mineral water, meditation and letting go were my staples.
My first attempt was 3 days
The first 24h were easy foodie thoughts, I think it’s because I had a lot of apprehension due to feeling too hungry. I thought a lot about food for a few minutes then it lessened as I focused on something else. The next morning was quite good, my sleep was fluid and I had a good amount of energy. During all the day, the positive feeling stayed and I didn’t feel hungry. The third morning was less energetic due to heatwaves and during the day some dizziness occurred due to high temperatures. but I stayed focused and positive because I was beyond 24h. What surprised me, even more, where the joint pains had lessened drastically, I worked for hours on my computer with noticeable easiness and flexibility in my hands.
The few hours in my last countdown were pleasant, I didn’t feel hungry and I was even thinking of going further. When I hit my goal I was really happy, light and my mind was amazed by the resilience.
I never thought I could last this long, I know now that I can only go higher.
My second attempt was 5 days
A month after my 3 days water fast, I decided to go for 5 days water fast to continue the detoxification and heal other physical pains.
I was kind of prepared to the first days, but this time my cravings were more present especially at the end of the experience. The moment I hit the 3 days, my body was doing good, it was mostly my mind playing and challenging me but overall it was not that extreme.
Hunger is a mental trick
While fasting hunger is not real, at least not before a sufficiently long period without the consumption of food. For me, the sense of real hunger with fatigue, dizziness, irritability, weakness started showing up from day 3.
So I stated that with all the fat stored in my body, how could I feel cravings, obsessions over watching food and many other side effect behaviours from shutting down the inputs in my system.
I had to remind myself that there was enough fuel in me to overcome the process.
I realized my body was not less productive as days went on, I could keep working and doing exercise even if I didn’t eat for 3 days. Therefore it was so evident that the mind was the one stepping in, to play with my emotions and trigger a going back to the “normal” way. My mind came up with interesting stories, with obsessions over food I even rarely eat, directing my energy and focus on food, food, foodie. I had to do more meditation and face my mind with a fact: my mind is not me, so if my body can go on why is my mind so disturbed.
The environment and people hack
The greatest challenge was to see other people enjoying food and them not understanding why on earth I would go without eating for days. A lot reminded me of how important it was to eat 3 meals a day and that my health was in danger. Their reactions were an in-between worry, amazement, bizarrerie but also mental illness perhaps. But as I kept persisting in my fasting, funny how I started seeing eyes impressed and realizing I am still alive. Especially when I went the longest in my fast. The more you do it the more the butterfly effect also influences the perception of people around you. I mostly was with family but I didn’t isolate myself, I enjoyed having “no meal” with them. I believe the upfront approach helped me in coping with external pressure, facing it rather than running away from it.
But again it is a choice of balance, I also Isolated myself some of the time to focus and think over what I wanted to gain out of this experience.
When you hit your goal: finally 72h or 120h
The first time I couldn’t believe I stayed 3 days foodless, I was in an ecstatic state, I never thought I would go this long. My levels of confidence just raised and even more on my second experience, the longer you go, the more confident you allow yourself to be. I realized the power of self-discipline and focus on a small goal but yet so powerful.
It is an experience to live, the aftermaths of water fasting are priceless: clarity, confidence, a sense of peace, lightness….power you gain just from not consuming anything other than water.
I experienced a new body and mind in a very short amount of time but also realized this was only the tip of the iceberg, that the more it became a part of my routine the more benefits I would reap out of it.
Food and me
Food, dear friend food, I became enthusiastic with healthy food again actually with healthy choices of food. I think I fell in love with veggies and became amazed by every natural ingredient I ate. I remember being at Tang Frères a Chinese supermarket and felt like I was looking at some fruits for the first time, it felt like a paradise. My joy of experimenting food in this mental state was beyond compare and I think contagious.
My first meal after my water fast revealed a lot about how I wanted to get back to a more “healthy” normal. It was a treasured series of spoons of soup, watermelon, smoothies…
Will I do it again?
I will, I discovered a way of reconnecting and tapping into a higher understanding of myself. I could have never had some powerful insights without going through those water fasting experiences. It revealed to me how many inner solutions we possess and are available at the tip of not overeating. The external influences added to the wrong food choices have not been positive for me. And today when I trip and eat not that healthy I can feel it, my senses are more alert and it helps me navigate and get back on track even if it is for 24h.
I didn’t go through a medical check-up but next time I will, because after my water fasting experiences, I reduced sugar, meat, and meals in a day. I believe it’s a good thing to check which vitamines may be missing in your system to be fully balanced after the waterfast.
Is it sustainable?
I realized it has a lot to do with listening to your body, it speaks way louder sometimes. What I have been doing is enjoying food but in an alternative way. The one meal a day was my routine after my water fastings but I evolved and play around with it. I allow myself to have cheat days but I focus on the quality and nutriments of food I buy. Its a growing relationship with food and being aware of patterns of behaviour I may have had with food and eating too much. Once you go through the process and reveal, things can never be the same again unless you allow them to be.
One thing I have been experimenting is to be present when I eat the best I can, especially when I am with other people. Just a few minutes to acknowledge the beauty of the food and enjoy.
Fasting is not a trendy topic, it has been part of many civilisations and I am happy I acknowledged it for what it is, a powerful tool to take accountability over the fuel I put into my system or technology. It’s interesting to meet people and start talking about fasting and co, exchanging tips and insights but mostly being aware of the power of it. It’s a journey and I am curious of the next levels of healing it can bring to me.
Extra nuggets of wisdom
. Sadhguru’s advises on fasting
. Virat Kohli’s inspiring transformation
. A healthy alternative plateform