Hey, guys! What is up? Hopefully, everyone is doing well. It’s Friday, so the weekend is upon us, which is always a blessing, huh? I mean, unless you work weekends. In that case, I’m sorry. Really, really sorry. As for what’s been up with me, let’s get into that.
If you’ve been following my water fasting experiment and you read my last post (if not, what are you doing with your life??), then you already know that my attempt at a ten-day water fast was a major fail. Now that I’ve had the chance to recuperate, reflect and eat, I’d like to share my thoughts about the experience. Perhaps it will help someone who is a newbie or fasting-curious (as I was) get an idea of what to look out for.
What The ?@!*$ Happened?
So here’s the million dollar question people may be wondering right now: Why didn’t I finish the ten days? While I know what was going on with me at the time I opted to end my fast early, I truthfully don’t know why it happened. Even though extreme fatigue, aggressive hunger and borderline migraines are hardly akin to skipping through a field of daisies on a sunny summer day, I was dealing with it.
If I’m completely honest, I am rather used to feeling tired and “blah” on a regular basis. So, if you pair this with the fact that I was fully prepared to experience such symptoms, this wasn’t a cause for concern. However, when I experienced pain that refused to go away, I became worried. When it first started, I tried to discount it as something immaterial and benign because some degree of pain might be experienced as the body heals. This being said, the severity of pain I was feeling did not seem to be a “normal” part of the healing process. But you know what? If it was…I’ll pass.
By the time I went to bed the night before last, I was absolutely wiped out. The pain and nausea had me feeling like I’d been hit by a semi truck…after it reversed back over the top of me. Though I continued to chug water (in hopes of clearing out my system), I had ZERO interest in food. That’s actually the most ironic part of the entire ordeal. Here I’d spent days dreaming of green grapes and apples with peanut butter, only to become so ill that even the mere mention of food made me retch in response. Pfft!
The Day After The Day After
Okay, enough of the dramatics. Perhaps you’d like to know how I’m doing two days after my pathetic fasting efforts. Somehow, some way, I woke up yesterday morning feeling epically amazing. I jumped out of bed around 5 AM feeling as though I could take over the universe. No pain. No headaches. No fatigue. I hadn’t felt that good in…years. No lie. My energy and motivation were back in full force, so I got a lot of work done.
I felt so good yesterday that I worked out for the first time in…well, a minute. Please don’t judge me—I’ve been busy trying to move out here! Anyway, I didn’t want to press my luck and overtax myself, so I only did forty minutes of cardio. My arms and legs didn’t want to play ball, so each step felt like I was lifting blocks of concrete. I kept pushing through it though. Outside of my leg nearly popping out of its socket and my boobs hitting me in the face, I’d say it went swimmingly! Luckily, today’s workout went better. Much.
The number one thing I should have done before starting my fast is be better prepared. Although this was something I’d been researching for at least six months, there are a few bases I could have covered better.
Outside of being mentally prepared and well informed (which I believe I was), it may be even more important to get yourself physically prepared. Even though I opted to try water fasting without a doctor’s supervision, in hindsight, I should have at least had a checkup before beginning. It might have been beneficial for me to get an update on pre-existing medical conditions beforehand just to be sure that I knew how water fasting might impact them. If I had known that I had a squeaky clean bill of health prior to starting, I might not have freaked out and taken my pain as a sign of serious trouble.
So, even though many people water fast without getting a medical evaluation first, I highly recommend that you make sure you’re healthy enough to partake in this process before doing it. Although I believe water fasting is an excellent healing tool, it is not worth potentially injuring yourself! Besides, taking preventative measures never hurt anyone.
Something else I wish I’d done differently is make sure I had informative tools available. By “tools” I mean a scale, ketosis strips and electrolyte tablets. Of course, none of these items are absolutely mandatory. Still, having them would have allowed me to observe, track and better understand what was going on within my body. While I was over here trying to be a maverick, I should have taken the time to secure the things I might need during my fast, instead of focusing on not wanting to utilize them. Who knows? Maybe popping an electrolyte tab may have prevented some of the issues I was having. I’m curious to test this out next time around.
The final thing I wish I’d done differently is ease myself into the fast. Once again, I knew that this step was recommended, yet I completely ignored it. I really should have prefaced my fast with a few days of juices, broths and other easily-digested foods. Initially, I viewed this step as being necessary more from a psychological perspective. You know, to help your mind adjust to the idea of you consuming nothing but water. Meanwhile, I completely glazed over the notion that my body may need a test run or prep period before dropping food cold turkey. Eh. You live and you learn!
Much Was Gained
In spite of these simple mistakes, I can look back on this experience having no regrets—surprisingly. Sure, it’s a bummer that I had a fatal hiccup and wasn’t able to finish the full ten days, but I didn’t go away empty-handed.
Even in the short space of three days, my body has undergone a noticeable positive change. I am feeling clear minded, healthy and full of energy. This wasn’t exactly the case prior to the fast. My cravings for caffeine and sugar are completely gone, which is a tremendous victory for me. Of all the physical changes I can note, the most impactful one are my improved willpower and an increased awareness of my body’s needs.
No longer do I catch myself mindlessly snacking or grabbing whatever food is in front of my face. I am highly conscious and deliberate about what I’ll eat, how much and when. I have a heightened taste for vegetables and far, far less interest in high carb items. And who would have guessed I’d be drinking more water than ever? Well, I am! I’ve kicked soda to the curb and am enjoying my purified water way more than when I was fasting.
In addition to improved physical well-being, the fast—however short it was—gave me a deep appreciation for food, as well as my ability to access it at free will. Even though I know I am very fortunate and my desire to be grateful for all I have is never lost on me, going without food and all of my “edible luxuries” influenced me to think long and hard about the issue of hunger around the world.
In less than three days, I became utterly miserable, but what of those who lack a reliable, steady source of nutritious food and clean drinking water on a regular basis? Even had I completed the entire ten days, I still would have known when I would eat next. I can not imagine being one of the countless human beings around the world who truly don’t know when their next meal will come…much less from where. That being said, this experience made me immensely grateful for all that I have.
All in all, I learned a lot about fasting and general health as I went through this process. I figured out what to do and not do the next time I attempt a long-term water fast, as well as gain a better understanding of where my health and weight loss journey needs to go from here. My research helped me to discover a few new bloggers, Youtubers and books to check out too.
Last, but not least, this experience encouraged me to do something that I’ve been putting off for awhile now: start this personal blog. Despite my first published adventure being a fail, I’m really glad that I found the inner strength to start sharing my life stories with others.
Although this isn’t a weight loss blog, being able to share an aspect of my life that sometimes makes me rather uncomfortable is a big hurdle that I have now overcome. This has definitely granted me the confidence to connect with others who are living similar life experiences, as well as go on to try other things I’ve been wanting to do. Whether I fail or not is of little importance. What matters most to me is having the opportunity to inspire others to chase down their dreams, whatever the cost.
And so, it looks like this fast was a success after all.