Although I had been dreading it, my fast came and went without much fuss. I ate my last meal (a small bowl of split pea soup) around 8pm on Wednesday. All throughout Thursday, I ate nothing. Then on Friday morning, I broke my fast around 8am. Overall, my fast amounted to 36 hours of consuming nothing but water.
I had assumed that Thursday would be the toughest day in terms of feeling hungry. But surprisingly, I didn’t struggle that much. I woke up, I took a few minutes to stretch and do some light meditation, drank a glass of water and then went about my usual business. I didn’t feel my first hunger pangs until around 11am. Now admittedly, I’ve been pushing my breakfasts later in the day, so I didn’t expect to get hungry until around 2pm. But for the rest of the day, I didn’t experience any remarkable hunger pains.
Later in the afternoon, I decided I needed to go on a walk and get some fresh air. I wanted to check out the Rodin Gardens which would have been a good 25 minute walk. But by this point, I was starting to feel weak. So instead of walking I took the metro to Place des Invalides and then walked from there across the river to the Musée de Rodin.
Although my stomach remained fairly quiet and calm, I kept randomly having memory flashes of different foods. I mostly caught memory-whiffs of their smells. The different foods that randomly flashed through my mind/smell memory ranged from something like roasted chicken, to fried plantains, to salt and vinegar chips and many others which, combined together, would have made for a very odd picnic basket.
The time spent being outside in the garden of the Musèe de Rodin was calming and helped me keep my mind off of food. During this solo walk, I found the most zig zaggy paths which eventually led me to a secluded space in the back of the garden. I stayed and reposed on a lounge chair, breathing in the cool air and looking up and around me at the colorful autumn leaves.
I continued to lay in my chair for a good while, mainly because I felt very weak and lifeless. I was content to just breathe in fresh air and watch people around strike silly poses for photos. Anyhow, Oliver joined up with me later in the afternoon in the garden and we took some silly photos of our own (I’ll post pics later).
I wasn’t that bothered having to be around food and not eating. Even though I’d been drinking water regularly throughout the day, I remained very thirsty. I could see how dehydrated I was by how badly my lips were chapped. This made sense. You get a lot of your water from the food that you eat.
Around 10pm, my hands and my legs became positively shaky. To avoid any hunger-related accidents, I decided it was time to sleep. I slept quite well for the short amount of time that I slept. But then, I woke up around 4am, unable to go back to sleep.
Breaking My Fast
How I felt yesterday was nothing compared to how I felt this morning during the last 4 hours of my fast. I had a headache, I was weak and I had the spins, the same kind of dizzyness that you get when you have a hangover. Basically, I was dehydrated. I knew it was time to listen to my body and break my fast.
When you’re breaking a fast, it’s very important to gently reintroduce food back to your body. Never eat too much, too fast. And choose simple foods that will be easy for your stomach to digest.
For breakfast I had a mango, a handful of walnuts and a boiled egg. A few hours later, I had a small bowl of leftover split pea soup from Thursday night.
As of now (the evening after I broke my fast) I still feel weak and continue to eat simple foods and rehydrate my body.
Thinking of Doing A Fast?
This is the longest period I’ve gone without eating. Knowing what I know now, If I could do this fast all over again, I would have shortened it to 24 hours instead of 36 hours. And then after having done a 24 hour fast, I would have increased it little by little until I could last 36 hours without having woozy spells.
I would advice anyone who’s thinking about doing a fast the same. Do it incrementally. Start small. Start by increasing the length of time between your meals. Maybe you eat dinner early, around 7pm and then push breakfast later in the day to 11am. If you go on a longer fast, try to do it on days that are not physically or mentally demanding. Also, just as you should eat light simple foods when breaking your fast, don’t try to eat one last big meal right before you start your fast.
If you do decide to do a fast, here are some things to expect (based from my experiences above):
- You are going to fantasize about food.
- Actually, you don’t have to fantasize about food. Your brain will do it for you.
- Hunger. (this wasn’t too severe in my case)
- You are going to feel very weak.
- You are going to be very irritable with the people around you, especially boyfriends 🙂
A note of caution: I do not advise pregnant women, people who have diabetes or people with heart conditions to fast. You should speak with a certified physician before undergoing a fast. And even if you are in a healthy physical state, if you do a fast and you start to get a headache and feel dizzy, I would advise you to listen to your body and break your fast. Gently, of course.
Although I still have two more days to go before I finish my cleanse, I have already begun to work on a 7-Day Ziba Cleanse Guide. This guide will include helpful tips, an example of a menu plan, recipes and photos to help you have a successful cleanse. There will also be a section on Fasting. The guide will be available to download in PDF form. If you have questions, send your cleanse-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to include your question and the answer in the guide.