I’ve done many a fast before, in fact I’ve been an avid intermittent faster for some time now; I’m talking 24 hours each week without food to give my digestive system a break…..BUT 10 DAYS, are you crazy!?!
That’s exactly the thought that popped into my mind when I decided to venture into an extended fast. People had been asking me why on earth I would “starve” my body for so long but I didn’t go into it with that mindset. I went into it in full faith that this would take my body to a whole new level of healing and detoxing, like pressing the reset button.
This is hard for me to admit but since May of this year when I miscarried our third pregnancy at 10 weeks my body hasn’t felt the same, it became sluggish again, lethargic and non-responsive to my ‘normal’ healthy eating habits. I guess a lot of that was related to the emotions of it all and the stress my body underwent but I knew I had to place a ripple in the path and make a major shift or I was going to venture further into self-destruct.
I knew about the amazing benefits people had reported physically from prolonged fasts but I was more interested in the mental and spiritual shifts so my why was more a holistic one. I wanted to not only cleanse out toxins in my body but cleanse my mind; to reach a greater height of connectivity to myself and God.
So here I was, day 1, optimistic, full of hope; heck I’d even laminated a one-page vision board setting out my intentions and goals….I am a bit anal that way but the visual representation was going to be my constant anchor to keep me going when it got tough.
Boy oh boy did it get tough! I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you it was the most amazing experience EVER and paint this super-spiritual awakening…..IT WAS BLOODY HARD! In fact, I’d put it on par with one of the hardest things mentally, emotionally and physically I’ve ever done.
The first 3 days were the hardest; this is where your body is screaming at you to eat but also when your body shifts into full detox mode so the symptoms weren’t pretty. I’m talking weak, lethargic, cranky, headaches and acne breakouts. On top of that I had to excuse myself from the kitchen every time hubby was preparing food – the smell would make me ANGRY, like I’m gonna punch someone if they talk to me about food or tell me THEY’RE hungry!
Roll on day 4 and 5 and WOW….these were good days, I was on cloud 9, I felt amazing! Mental clarity like never before, heaps of energy, hunger pains had reduced and I felt clear, energised and peaceful. I worked through my task lists like a bee going from one thing to the next with ease. On day 5 alone I cleaned my house from top to bottom, coached 2 clients, worked on my business, did 2 walks, prepared food for a farewell party and socialised….I was awesome!!
Oh how pride can be a wonderful thing…..come day 6….EPIC FAIL!!
Let’s just say it was pretty much downhill from there for the next few days and hubby got out of the way….poor fella!
Day 8 was fairly good again but uneventful, then day 9 a complete blur….I WAS READY TO EAT, my body had had enough!
On day 10 that big juicy papaya that had been calling me mentally since the beginning was like heaven on earth, I’m talking orgasm in the mouth; food has NEVER tasted so good!
Needless to say I was happy to have made it but even happier to be eating again.
I had intended to do just water but here’s what I actually did:
Day 1 & 2 = water alone every time I needed it
Day 3, 4, 5 & 6 = incorporated bone broth and herbal teas (my body wasn’t coping with water alone and needed more, once I incorporated bone broth I got through my days better)
Day 7, 8 & 9 = incorporated green juices (this really helped and was a welcome change on the taste buds)
Day 10 = slowly incorporated papaya in small amounts then had “liquid food” i.e. soups and smoothies for the first couple of days afterwards.
So what did I learn?
- I learnt that you HAVE to be mentally prepared and be extremely clear on WHY you’re fasting. NEVER go into a fast thinking “oh this will be easy, I’ll just do it coz I feel like it”. Having your WHY clearly outlined from the onset is extremely important.
- Not to have any expectations other than to take it day by day and listen to what your body needs. Going into a fast with the strict mindset of “I’m only having water the entire time” turned out a bad move on my part. By day 3 I knew I would crash if I didn’t have something else so the bone broth was a life-saver. I felt guilty initially as I’d set expectations from the start but then I released that and realised that I was still allowing my body a much needed rest from food.
- That I should have been more prepared with meals for my family – if you have a hubby like mine, a strong-willed, non-domesticated Italian (bless his heart!!), then it isn’t wise to leave FULL responsibility for food prep, cooking and cleaning to him for 10 whole days. In hindsight (isn’t is a wonderful thing!!), I should have at least prepared and frozen the bulk of the meals so he didn’t feel so much pressure to come up with meal ideas each night a.k.a. a lot of tension in our household!
- That 10 days was too long for ME! If I had fully tuned into what I needed I should have transitioned back into food on day 6 after a good detox at the beginning. Not everyone is built for a 10 day fast. Some cope well with 1 or 3, others can go to 40. It’s important to remember that every body is completely unique and has different needs.
- That I should have timed it better with my menstrual cycle….whoops!! I’m talking a starving hungry, angry, hormonal, emotional bit*h…..can you picture it lol, it wasn’t pretty! If you consider doing a prolonged fast, I HIGHLY recommend you DON’T do it when you’re menstruating
- I learnt to see food in a whole new light. Food is for so much more than over-abusing. Real food is the most amazing thing we have ever been gifted with; it can be used as medicine, to revive, refresh, sustain and nourish. I will NEVER take it for granted again and have entered into a whole new level of appreciation for the food we are blessed with on a daily basis.
What results did I see?
I certainly didn’t go into it for weight loss but I knew I would obviously lose some weight. Still, in 10 days I only lost 2kg which I know I’ll put back on again easily with lots of protein and healthy fats.
It’s still early days and I’ve yet to see anything major but I do feel clearer in my mind and cleaner on the inside; if nothing else I’ve given my digestive system and immune system a really good rest and I believe it will aid in my pursuit of a healthier, happier me.
I guess the biggest thing for me has been actually realising that I’m stronger than I thought I was; that at times I’m far too hard on myself mentally.
This has given me a welcome wake-up call to just trust myself more, love myself more and let go more. It’s also made me realise I have a pretty awesome family who, despite the pressure, came through for me in ways I’ll always be grateful for.