This Is What Happened When I Fasted For 7 Days
Last summer, after years of hearing about fasting, I decided to finally do some research on the topic. I wanted to see if it was a legitimate approach to improved wellness or just another fad diet. The literature was compelling. Yes, there’s a weight loss component but it’s the least interesting side-effect of fasting, in my opinion. The anti-aging, detoxification, anti-inflammatory and mental health benefits are far more compelling. So at the end of last summer, I started with a 3-day fast. It was brutally difficult but I emerged renewed. I continued on an Intermitted Fasting plan with a weekly 24 hour fast. However, after a number of months of this, I slowly lost momentum. Intermittent Fasting can be a little anti-social because you have a limited window where you can consume calories and like it or not, much social connection revolves around the consumption of food and drink.
Recently, after attending an illuminating talk by Dr Nick Jensen from Divine Elements, I was inspired to get back into fasting and wanted to document the journey. The only thing that I allowed myself to consume was water, sparkling water, apple cider vinegar (to flavour my water), teas & Himalayan sea salt (for electrolytes).
Day One. Monday.
Feeling irritable. All I can think about is food. I even feel a mild case of anxiety at the thought that I won’t be able to eat for days. I feel lethargic and spend most of the day in bed. Energy at 20%.
Day Two. Tuesday.
Feeling horrible but slightly less grumpy. Definitely still feeling weak. And obsessed with the thought of food. Energy at 20%.
Day Three. Wednesday.
Slightly more energy. Feeling a bit more at ease. I notice that the ache in my shoulder seems to have dissipated. Hunger pangs are slightly less obvious. Energy at 50%.
Day Four. Thursday.
I seem to have consistently moderate energy today. I’m still hungry but it’s only a mild rumble. My thirst doesn’t seem to be quenchable though. My eyesight seems sharper. My mind feels more focused. I have the sudden urge to do a deep clean and purge of the apartment, so that’s what I proceed to spend the whole day on. Energy at 70%.
Day Five. Friday.
I had weird dreams last night and was only able to sleep 5 hours. As I was up at 5 am, I decided to continue with my cleaning and was able to complete the decluttering of my apartment. I feel an unusual sense of clarity, empathy, inspiration & purpose. My sense of smell feels heightened, so food smells especially delicious. Even so, my hunger is surprisingly manageable. Energy at 80%.
Day Five. Saturday.
I was only able to sleep 4 hours. I’m tired but awake. My body temperature feels low and I need to wear additional layers (even though it’s summer). Nevertheless, I have an exceptionally productive day today. Energy at 70%.
Day Seven. Sunday.
I was only able to sleep 3 hours. I’m exhausted but wide awake. I suspect that drinking caffeinated tea may be the cause of this, so have decided to avoid that today. I feel a bit uneasy but I suspect that’s from a lack of sleep. My hunger is slowly returning, which I take as a signal that my body is ready for this to end. I’m fairly productive and still manage to get things done. I can’t wait to eat tomorrow. Energy at 60%.
I broke my fast at noon on Monday. After not eating for 7 days, that first meal was filled with anticipation, gratitude & satisfaction. It’s the longest I’ve ever gone without food and it tasted like one of the most delicious meals of my entire life. There is a lot of pleasure derived from eating, so not eating isn’t fun. Also, while at no point during the week did I feel that I was at 100% energy, remarkably I managed to complete many more tasks than I normally would have. I felt a significant increase in mental clarity and wanted to just get things done. It was also interesting that I became so sensitive to tea, that even the caffeine in a couple of green teas during the day would keep me up at night. I would definitely do another long fast in the future, perhaps once a year (but with less green tea) and may only do up to 5 days, as I felt that there were diminishing returns after that period.
All in all, I’m very glad I did it. In today’s world, many of us live with the privilege of never having to go hungry. But perhaps, that does us more harm that good.
Note: If you plan to do a long fast for the first time, it would be wise to consult a health professional beforehand. Fasting may not be appropriate for everyone.