I am thrilled to write about my first water fasting experience! Please note that I am doing this exercise under expert supervision as I also have a condition of hypothyroidism. I am not an expert or a medicinal practitioner.
Why am I fasting?
To enhance my mantra meditation practice! I want to build my concentration, but what I am doing right now is not enough. I need to do something different to see results and progress in my spiritual journey. I realised that though I have a great goal in my mind, my actions are not aligned. These are the things I noticed about myself when I started to analyse my day:
- Food has become a source of entertainment for me instead of nutrition for the body. I am buying and eating snacks that I would rarely buy. For example, every Costco trip will have a visit to the snacks aisle. My favourite was the Kettle potato chips 😉
- I’ve noticed that recently, I’ve been more uneasy than before. I noticed my restlessness when I am trying to focus on work and when I’m meditating. For both, the quality of my focus has gone down
- I need reassurance that I still have the willpower to do things my way. However, I fail to exercise it many times
I have been contemplating water fasting since the time I read Wellness Sense (A highly recommended book, by the way). Whenever the thought nudged me to try it, I would shrug it off. Maybe it’s the inner calling that finally has cornered me to do it. A certain voice kept telling me, “ It’s now or never.” So I reached out to Bruno (my nutrition consultant) and shared my goals with him. Last year I had done one wellness program with him. He said, “You can do it by yourself, why do you need my help?” I have been trying to find my path for almost two years, but for the first time, I realised how uncertain I was in just taking the first step. All it took was a one-hour session.
A talk with Bruno was the booster I needed to really start the engine. Every piece of advice he gave made me feel even more sure about this fast. After ending the call with Bruno, I thought my entire life I have always been the biggest bully to myself. Constantly telling myself that I can’t do this. I finally grasped the idea of self-acceptance. There’s this quote that really sums up what I have been failing to understand all these years. Ironically, the person who quoted this was a plastic surgeon and author, Maxwell Maltz; “Low self-esteem is like driving through life with the handbrake on”.
Now, obviously, these remarks will be empty without any actions. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people who’ll be super motivated to do something on the first day, but then give up by the next three hours. Trust me, I’ve been down that rabbit hole once and I am not going through that once again. In fact, I have completed my first twenty-four-hour water fast! Let me tell you- I have made some pretty surprising progress and my body has been feeling the best in years!
- First off, my biggest insight was that I was in fact overeating by having three meals a day. I always thought it was a normal diet. To stay healthy you need to eat three times a day. Simple right? I never questioned that. But thankfully grace made my way to realize that my body does not need that much food, and is better off having one meal a day, which moves us to the next discovery, I am feeling so much more energetic!!
- I was expecting to be more tired and to have less energy. I guess god had other plans for me.
- And finally, I don’t need grains! I thought I was an expert in body types and what to eat, but I didn’t even know what my body should eat. Some “nutritionist” I am. I don’t need to eat any sort of grain, which used to be a big part of my diet. My body doesn’t miss rice, wheat or potatoes at all. I have had only veggies, fruits and lentils in the last ten days. This week I plan to stay only on veggies and fruits. “What!?? How!!!” Says my daughter.
Alright, I have been talking too much about myself, but for any one of you who wants to pursue this fast, after consulting with your doctor or medical practitioner, here are (so far) my pieces of wisdom for you.
The water fasting myths that got busted:
I was carrying these notions in my head that were stopping me from taking up this fast:
- I would feel weak. I would not be able to be productive and would hinder the work commitments on the calendar.
- It would be difficult to carry on with a normal day.
- I will feel dizzy.
- I would be torturing myself.
- Life is a blessing in itself, by doing such a practice I am depriving myself of good food and a good life.
- If I fail, it would directly affect my self-esteem.
The challenges I faced:
- I was nervous the day before with the fear of failure. The “What if” demon was constantly nudging me.
- It was very difficult for me to complete my water goal. I am not in the habit of drinking water after every thirty minutes. The ‘before and after’ protocol of food intake was easier because I am a vegetarian. The protocol demands staying away from meat and any starchy food.
The benefits I got from water fasting:
- Indecisiveness was something I was heavily dealing with. It made me slower even at work. Not only am I quicker in doing things, I am making quicker decisions, and I also realize that I now have more room to think ahead of time.
- I don’t stand in front of an open fridge, thinking, why did I open the fridge?
- I am not double-checking, re-checking my bag for keys and essential stuff in the car before I step out.
- I am aware and take account of every minute passing by.
- I don’t feel bloated in my stomach. It feels great to inhale and feel it in the stomach with so much space available in there now.
I can’t imagine going back to my earlier eating habits! On 25th August, I completed my thirty-six-hour milestone!! I’m super excited to see what comes next!
I do enjoy brief moments of absorption during meditation. Some of it is totally new for me. I can’t say it was just because of twenty-four hours of fasting but it was a cumulative result of one week of mindful work. What I mean by that is, on average, there are 16-18 waking hours in the day. How I planned my day, how I handled the days when it is not going as I had planned, played a very important role in the outcome. Yoga, Pranayam, mantra meditation has helped me a lot to observe and be aware of myself. Even this post is an outcome of that awareness.
It is going to be a long journey, but I have taken my first step. And the returns of this fast have been multifold. It was transformational to switch from eating frequent meals to once in twenty-four hours. To end this blog on an encouraging note, the final thing I have to say is; “You have to do it to believe it.”
I found this infographic irresistible to share!