2 Things I Learned While Fasting

I preface this post by saying, what a gift it is to have food so easily accessible and that fasting was a choice for me.   

At 6pm today, I completed 72 hours of fasting.  As long as I'm not tempted by the smell of bacon lingering in the kitchen as I type this, I intend to go until tomorrow morning (84hrs).  It's been over 5 years since I've done a fast.  On Sunday, while eating a handful of chocolate chips, I was reading about several local folks and their experiences on this particular 3-day fast (*It's important to check with a doctor first).  My body said "YES" and my mind said "I'm in until it gets difficult".  I prepped the potion (lemons, green tea, lemons, maples syrup, and more lemons) and 3 days later, I've learned 2 things:

1.  Self-care is essential.  Never underestimate the power of nourishing all the senses.  Almost instantly upon waking up into Day 1, my other senses became enhanced.  I found myself taking deeper inhales to enjoy the smell of food (while prepping meals for family - slight torture).  While eating was not an option, here are some ways I nourished my senses through daily rituals of self care:  

  • Floss/brush teeth
  • Scrape tongue (#didthatreallycomeoffmytongue? Day 2 & 3 were shocking!)
  • Apply a chocolate face mask (especially lovely when craving something sweet! I used Andalou Cocoa Skin Food Mask from Healthy Habits)
  • Dry brush the skin
  • Take a hot bath/shower
  • Massage body with essential oils
  • Go outside  
  • Turn on good music
  • Yoga 
  • Meditation 

2.  The mind is powerful AF.  Yoga teaches "If you let the mind control you, then you suffer.  If you train the mind, then you have peace."  Well, I have a lot of work to do yet.  Fasting refined my awareness of tendencies and habits I've adopted.  Over the course of the 3 days, I gave my mind major kudos for being so darn powerful.  With so much conviction, the way it was trying to tell me stories on why I should give in and quit.  The way it would think about food nonstop like it was prepared to celebrate my failure during a weak moment (I thought we were on the same team, no?).  On Day 1 my mind was onboard, then Day 2 rolled around and my mind was ready to throw in the towel.  Isn't the middle of everything harder?  At the beginning of anything there is curiosity and anticipation.  The end is exciting, filled with accomplishment and celebration. But...the middle.  That's where the work happens.   Evolution gave us these big and complex brains.  We've got to do the work to understand the one we've been given.  It's an inside job.  I intend to live as a work-in-progress.  I'm inspired knowing that when I focus and harness the power of my mind, I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.  So, I'd say that was pretty profound.   

And one more thing I learned,   

3.  Watching your spouse eat a juicy BLT on day 3 is torture.

Additional awarenesses:

  • Odd and vivid dreams every night
  • The gift of a hot shower is magical
  • Having people to check-in with and share the experience was key (Thanks Erin,  Elliot, and Buddy!)
  • Day 1:  
    • I became aware of how infrequently I let myself experience the sensation of hunger before I'm grabbing a snack.
    • Noticed emotions or circumstances that trigger a snack.
  • Day 2:
    • I tongue scrape every time I brush my teeth, so I didn't think anything of it.  On Day 2 was literally scraping thick white stuff off my tongue (wow!).
    • I felt a bit light-headed and weak, so I supplemented with a bit of sea salt.
    • This was the most difficult day with energy and focusing the mind - mid afternoon I turned the corner.
  • Day 3:
    • I felt calm and content in mind and body.

And now, time for bed!  The quicker I go to sleep, the quicker I get to enjoy my morning coffee.  Tomorrow I will continue my self-care rituals and stay dedicated to my yoga practice.  I will ease back into healthy foods and appreciate breaking bread with my family.  Bon Appetit!