Tag Archives: fasting

I Finished My Fast! Here’s What Happened.

October 26, 2012

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.

The Back of the Rodin Garden

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.

Mango For Breakfast

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)
  • Dehydration.
  • 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.

Coming soon!
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 contact@ziba-bynature.com. I will try to include your question and the answer in the guide.

 

Fasting For Health And Beauty

October 24, 2012

Yesterday, while walking around in the Tuilleries Gardens, I was telling a friend about my cleanse and the one day fast that it entails. We got on the subject of the benefits of fasting and why you should do it. My reason was very simple (or simplistic, if you will).  Our digestive system is constantly chugging along, working hard to eliminate all the food that we put in our bodies. When our diet is imbalanced and loaded with rich, heavy foods, stuff gets backed up from time to time.

(Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/)

I see fasting as a way to give a sluggish digestive system some time to catch up. Think of our digestive system as an assembly line, working as fast as it can to process everything that goes through it. Or better yet! Think of that I Love Lucy episode when Lucy couldn’t wrap all the hershey kisses fast enough, so the hershey kisses started piling up and in a desperate attempt to keep up, she started stuffing her hat and her shirt, her mouth full of hershey kisses!

Anyway, even if I had used the same I Love Lucy analogy, I’m sure my friend would have remained unconvinced of the point of fasting. He was also quick to point out how starving yourself can wreak havoc on your metabolism, which is something I’ve heard many times before: when you starve your body, it will start storing fat to stave off a “famine.”

So today, I thought I’d give these two questions on fasting a closer look:

1) What is the point of fasting?
2) Will fasting slow down your metabolism?

There are many types of fasting, and fasting does not necessarily mean having to starve yourself. Some people practice fasting for religious and spiritual reasons, others do it for health reasons (as I’m going to do tomorrow), while others try fasting as a means to lose weight. What you consume or do not consume during a fast and how long your fast lasts depends on your preferences and your personal reasons for fasting.

To give you an example, for the purposes of my cleanse I will be fasting for 36 hours. I will not eat any food during this 36 hour period, but I will continue to drink water regularly. Starting tonight, Wednesday at 8pm and lasting until 8am Friday morning.

Aaaah! Just typing that is already intimidating. Keep in mind that this is the first time I’ve ever fasted, so it’s kind of a big deal for me. I set out on this 7-day cleanse for the sake of health and beauty. And I’ve included a fast to help give my digestive system a breather. An efficient digestive system means a more radiant skin, more energy and a more beautiful you!

But do fasts actually help the digestive system become more efficient at eliminating waste and toxins from the body? So far, I haven’t been able to find solid scientific evidence to support this. But a lack of scientific evidence may simply mean there has not been any or sufficient research conducted on this matter. I will only cross off this possibility once I come across a scientific study disputing the idea that fasts are beneficial for the digestive system.

In the meantime, there are a host of other health benefits that come from fasting, especially from short intermittent fasts:

  • Intermittent fasting helps improve the body’s ability to process sugar, which helps reduce the risk of diabetes and some cancers. (Huffington Post)
  • Fasting periods accelerate the clearing-out of waste left by dead and damaged cells, a process known as autophagy. (Huffington Post)
  • Intermittent fasting has anti-aging effects similar to those of caloric restriction. (Mark’s Daily Apple)
  • Occasional fasting helps to boost activity and growth of certain types of cells, especially neurons and protect the brain against degenerative illnesses. (The Guardian)
  • Fasting can help you recover from illness or injury by redirecting energy from digestion to repair bones, tissue or organs. (Livestrong.com)

As for the effects of fasting on metabolism? According to this starvation study from Cambridge University, starvation that lasts 1-3 days actually gives a small boost to your metabolism. However, if starvation continues after this period, the rate of metabolism will sharply decline.

So there you go.

I hope this has helped to convince you of the numerous benefits of intermittent fasting. And if you are thinking of doing a fast for the first time, it’s important to consider your current physical condition and consult first with your doctor. Fasting can lead to fatigue and dehydration, and is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women or people with diabetes.

Well I’m sorry to keep this so brief, but I must be going. I need to savor my meal tonight, after which my fast will begin.

See you soon…?