Before you lock a fridge and duck tape your mouth and rush to enjoy all the benefits of fasting , have a good motivation. It’s the second time I am doing a fast and while the first time started spontaneously when I simply forgot to eat, this time I woke up and my body requested that I hold off on food. You are welcome to borrow any of the following reasons that resonate with you.
Physical Benefits of Fasting
- Posture. A protruding stomach changes the center of gravity and so the spine needs to adopt to resist the gravity by creating new stability protocol. This typically is accompanied by cross syndrome, or better known as hunched mid back + swayed low back + forward head posture.
- Energy. Carrying less extra is easier on the body. It can conserve energy, as it requires less effort for movement.
- Flexibility. Our body organizes extra fat in layers like a cake. Each layer is lined with extra connective tissue which can limit movement and feel tense. Imagine this as wearing extra layers of clothing.
- Self-awareness. Living with scoliosis, I believe I can find a way to straighten it out. Self-assessment and correction is a daily necessity to maintain curvature. Minimal fat is better to see the bony landmarks and muscle tone.
- Balance. Human anatomy calls for a certain amount of fat cells. Extreme deviation leads to lower metabolism and proneness to disease.
- Cleaning. Spring-cleaning is common for a home. My body deserves better. I propose seasonal cleaning 4 times a year.
- Career. My body is the first guinea pig for new exercises, stretches, and recommendations before I hand it to my clients. Understanding all body functions makes me an expert in my field.
Psychological Benefits of Fasting
- Self-control + willpower. Big goals call for a disciplined mind.
- Stress resilience. Pushing the limits of comfort zone prepares body and mind for tough times and hence builds a stress resilience.
- Feeling powerful. Having the ability to do something that others can’t even imagine gives me that feeling of super powers.
- Fun. The time not spent cooking cleaning and eating can be spent for something fun. Also the money saved on food immediately goes into my vacation fund. Exploring the world is more fun then eating.
- Connection. Mind-body connection is important. Fasting improves this connection as you reach a consistant meditative state. Teaming up my mind and body for one goal makes it a stronger union for life.
- Communication. To better understand others, we need to get to know ourselves first. You become more philosophical on an empty stomach.
- Gratitude. Increase gratitude feelings towards food. Lots of things we take for granted. Coming from a borderline third world country I forgot how luxurious my food intake is now comparing to than.
- Emergency practice. Stranded on a deserted island, in the jungle, or other food limitation scenarios may happen as life is an adventure. It’s better to be prepared.
Environmental Benefits of Fasting
- To decrease waste. Food is good, yet processed foods are wrapped in unnecessary plastic and most are not meant to be recycled.
- To slow global warming. Less food needed to produce could mean fewer forests destroyed. But that’s a whole other story.
- To stop the virus. Take the stay at home order to another level.
I spent the day between bed and couch. I wasn’t hungry until 5 P.M.. “Here is some tea, you like it hot,” I told myself. Around 9 P.M., I decided to go to sleep. “You won’t feel hunger when the brain falls asleep,” I explained to my body. After watching some documentary I fell asleep around midnight.
I woke up to the rainy morning and checked on my body, “How are you feeling? Are you hungry? Are you up to do it again today and see what happens?” Silence—my belly wasn’t growling. Where I come from silence means yes. Around 1 P.M. the saliva had gathered in my mouth hoping I’d throw something in. Exploring my body, I found storage of fat around my belly and thighs. “Here, use some of this for energy”. When I heard the growl in reply, I went to the kitchen and started hiding all visible edibles. The oranges looked really good. “Is orange juice okay? Oh, an apple. I bet apple-orange juice is really yummy.” As I was securing the kitchen I found some items that were not vegan that I rushed to dispose. I might as well clean the whole kitchen now too.
I turned on the music loud for energy and to cover the growling sounds. That’s when I felt my favorite benefit of fasting— body awareness. I felt an imbalance. I clearly trusted the upper body weight to rest over my right leg more. “This needs to change, body” and I rushed to my 8-foot mirror to do one-legged exercises for balance. It’s 5 P.M. again. I never had a 9-to-5 job, so wondered why I was anxious to eat around that time? “How about some hot tea? I’ll even throw a peace of lemon in.”
For the rest of the day, I stretched, exercised and even got Vitamin D on my balcony.
It was 10 P.M. and I was still energetic, like my body was sticking around waiting for food. Wait a second. It’s not my body. It’s my mind that is waiting around, keeping my body up. It’s the mind that needs the sugar; it’s the mind that signals hunger; it’s the mind that makes the food choices. Now I knew whom I needed to be talking to.
I woke up after a good night’s sleep, early and optimistic. The hunger was definitely increasing. Attention-deficit started to show. I noticed more silly typos and a bad score on a simple test, which is very unlike me. At this point, if I hadn’t promised a friend to document this experiment, I would have eaten by now. Instead I decided to take supplements.
On another note, attention to things I hadn’t noticed around the house had increased. Dust, food crumbs, and other imperfections were jumping at me saying, “Eat me”. A piece of lemon from tea ended up on my tongue and I chewed it with passion. Basically, I developed some animal instincts. Although I never had a dog, possibly due to a fact that when I was a child, I had seen a big, beautiful dog eat poop of another dog, which I had little appreciation for. I suppose you could draw a parallel between me and a dog at this point, minus the willingness to eat poop.
In my study today, there is a chapter on nutrition—it felt like the longest chapter ever. Reading about proteins and carbs was not what I needed but I learned that our body needs sodium, so I added coconut aminos to my water, which had 10 g of sugar and 1200 mg of sodium. My mind really enjoyed that. I finished the chapter and went for a bike ride for an hour. Smiling at people felt a bit forced. The weather was nice and people were grilling in their backyards which made me pedal faster. After that I took a bath and fell asleep at 9 P.M..
P.S. mouthwash is delicious.
This was an extra day compared to my last fast. I woke up not feeling hungry. I looked for studies on fasting and there were some on intermittent fasting, but nothing concrete. Some bloggers reported that they did 5 days fast with day 4 and 5 feeling the best. Well, I’m not the person to miss out on the best, and I have a busy day today, so it shouldn’t be hard to keep away from food thoughts. “Are you ready body?” I confirmed with it.
Interesting thing happened at 1 P.M.— I felt like #2 coming on and while I thought that was impossible as no solids were coming in except for the supplements, I rushed to the bathroom just in case. The result—a hand full of excrements, pardon the details. My “scientific” verdict: I hang on to crap for too long.
Now I feel really clean and my mind is really clear, so that even old memories come to mind and I feel melancolic. I need to get out. I biked to the office and spent the rest of the day there counting hours till I hit that round number of 100 hours. First thing I ate was a spiced dry mango from Trader Joes. I don’t care how others “break” their fast, I needed an explosion of flavors in my mouth and that’s what I got. I also had a good portion of buckwheat with sweet onions. Surprisingly that meal didn’t knock me out and even though it was late, I was hanging out and watching movies.
No negative aspects like headache, anger, anxiety or injury happened during my fast. Based on my experience I can recommend it. Of course consult with your doctor and use your judgment to see benefits of fasting for yourself.