Erowid Canvas Tote/Shopping Bag
This reusable "Ecobag" is made of 100% recycled mid-weight
(10 oz) cotton canvas, printed with the Erowid logo.
Donate now and receive yours!
Attempts, Aftermaths, Thoughts
Fasting
by lotn
Citation:   lotn. "Attempts, Aftermaths, Thoughts: An Experience with Fasting (exp76983)". Erowid.org. Mar 11, 2018. erowid.org/exp/76983

 
BODY WEIGHT: 130 lb


I remember the first time quite clearly. I felt like I'd lost my best friend. Truth be told, I probably would have had to be force-fed to get anything in my stomach.

It all happened very suddenly. He felt betrayed by me, I felt helpless. Not much else seemed to matter in the aftermath, let alone eating. So I stopped. And I found that I didn't feel like starting again.

That first time was relatively easy, actually. Guilt, confusion and constant nausea will help make it easier. I had nothing for a few days but water, caffeinated soda and chewing gum. But then we started to work through it, rebuild the friendship. I broke the fast the third or fourth morning with a tangerine and English muffin. Things started to normalize.

While only a few years removed from that time in my life, I can no longer recall what made me want to explore fasting further. Having been raised Catholic, there was a rather obvious draw to the spiritual experience of it, even if I had stopped practicing years before. What could have motivated me?

It was a time when I felt lost, I'll admit. I was a recent college graduate still working as a pizza deliverer. Which meant my diet was crap. Vegetarian, but still crap. I think a part of me thought that cutting out one more of life's complications would help make the path clearer for me, set my resolve, get me headed in the right direction. Hey, it worked for Jesus.

And that first experience had been quite easy, at least from the not-eating point. I decided to try again. I looked into the subject, feeling that if I prepared myself, the results would come easily. Of course nothing's that easy.

I ate light the day before starting the fast, just fruits and simple grains. Still addicted to caffeine (getting headaches on days I didn't get my 34 mg), I also had a soda.

I kept a short diary of my fast at the time. It may be short on detail, but I will expand where I feel necessary at the end:

Monday - Didn't think I could go through with it by 11:30 AM (which was odd, since I usually don't even eat until 1-2 PM). Felt hungry, but figured it was probably just my stomach going through the motions. Managed to get through the day on just water and soda (as I had not yet stopped by the store for juice...nor had I given up caffeine yet.)

Tuesday - Bought a bunch of Naked Juice(s) (though I hear you're not supposed to drink 'bottled' juices on a juice fast. But I wasn't sure how long it would last and I don't have a juicer). Also had a soda that day. This is when craving set in. I found myself wanting to eat foods that I hadn't eaten in months or even years. For some reason, really wanted a chili dog (veggie, of course). Spent a lot of time thinking of food.

Wednesday - No more soda. Was expecting a caffeine headache (as I've gotten them in the past by evening time if I haven't had a soda). Was veeeeeery thirst, so I drank a lot of water. That probably helped with the headache, as it never really appeared. Found need/desire for food low.

Thursday - Bad day. You have good days and bad days as the body detoxes. Wasn't sure what my toxin level would be like as a long-time vegetarian and one who normally doesn't eat much, anyway. Felt flu-like. Collapsed on the floor at work, sweaty and cold and clammy. Threw up the carrot juice I'd had. Felt a little better, but not much. Wasn't sure if I could go through with it. Figured this was my body telling me that it was a bad idea. But I'd read about this stage and knew it was just a part of the process. Somehow managed to do my work without collapsing or causing any accidents (as driving is a part of it). It was hard. About an hour and a half after the sickness started, it was over. I felt great again. No need to have food at all. But the rest of the carrot juice was hard to drink.

Friday - Found myself thinking of food again. Thinking of what I'd eat when I finally started eating again (starting out with fruits and vegetables, of course. Might as well start eating better). Bought more juice. Found Watermelon juice not as great as I'd anticipated. Felt hungry at night, so drank some tea. I couldn't remember if chamomile was okay to drink, but I had nothing else so I figured it would have to do.

Saturday - went to movies. Sister wanted to know why I didn't want to share popcorn with her (as I do every other week). Made some excuse (didn't think she'd understand the fasting). Felt hungry for the rest of the day. Went to work. Body was just so hungry. I figured that was how it was telling me that it was done with this fasting thing. Gave up. Had three pieces of pizza (real healthy). Still felt hungry. Came home and had a salad. Still hungry. Peanut M&Ms (they'd been tempting me all week). Still hungry. Went to bed.

Sunday - Morning now. I feel bloated and hungry, odd state for the stomach. Not sure how I'll go on eating from here. But I don't think I'll have any soda today. So at least I've managed to give up caffeine.

Other stuff? Not sure if I lost weight. It was never a part of it, so I didn't weigh myself before or after. For the most part, I felt fine during the process. I could see certain detoxing symptoms. Not into enemas, but I definitely understood why most fasters use them (or at least why it's recommended). I'll try a longer one in a few months. I'd still like to do my 40-day fast for Lent, but after this experience, I just don't know. It would take a lot of strength. One day when I don't have to work, I'll try a water fast. But that's something that you need (alone) time and space to do.

Reading this a few years after it was done, I now remember how draining it was, yet also how deceptively easy it could be. Besides the extreme physical reaction I had on that Thursday (it really was like the worst clammy-shivering-unable-to-move flu I'd ever had for a couple of hours), I remember times of stomach and bowel discomfort (hence the enema comment at the end). But also times when I went about my business as if I'd just had breakfast a couple of hours before.

I found the cravings especially interesting, as my body was asking for things that I hadn't eaten in years. Whereas normally I hold a few thoughts in my head simultaneous, I found that there were times that I could think of nothing but food.
Whereas normally I hold a few thoughts in my head simultaneous, I found that there were times that I could think of nothing but food.
I told myself over and over that I would gorge on all of those things once the fast was over. Once I had ended it, however, I no longer wanted to eat those things I'd craved so terribly. Odd. It left me more mindful of food and how I often eat without even thinking, without feeling hunger, without tasting even.

And obviously it left me wanting to try again.

Being a good, guilt-full ex-Catholic, I did still plan on an extended fast for Lent. Before I went the whole 40 days, I wanted to try two weeks. The fast described above was done in October. This next one would be attempted in February. I again refer to a diary that I kept at the time:

Day 1:
I've decided to start my preliminary fast that I'll use to build up to my proposed 40-day-zinger. I'm aiming for two weeks this time, but we'll see. Bought lots of fruits and veggies today in preparation...

Day 2:
I think the second day of a fast is the worst. It's when the body says, 'you're not serious. I'm hungry.' And then the mind says, 'you know. She has a point. I mean...one or two bites of something should be okay.' But willpower steps in and retorts, 'Don't listen to them. It's only day two! Listen to me.' So I did (despite the fact that work had made some extra cheesy bread up for the taking and it is one of my favorites).

So I decided to try to juice vegetables. I took every vegetable I had (brocoli, celery, tomato, spinach, carrot... I think that was it) and blended it all together. It tasted like death. I had to throw it out. The thought of it still makes me want to throw up. So I had pineapple juice instead (a whole pineapple for one glass).

Right now I'm choking down a banana/strawberry puree. I think a prolonged juice fast is going to be difficult for me, considering that so far there are two juices I can stand over a long time (carrot and apple), and I'm sure to get sick of those. Too bad citrus is out
(note: I believe in my research I found that citrus juice is not a wise choice for a fast). I could drink lots of citrus juices. Flavor is awesome, especially when it's derived from something I like a lot...

Day 3:
I stopped my fast on day three. I was just very unhappy with it. I can only guess that I just am not mentally ready (or physically, for that matter). Thusly my Lenten fast will be put off.


Now that brings back some very clear memories. I was miserable for that small stretch of three days. Every time I looked at food, I thought about how much I wanted to eat it, how terrible forcing myself not to was making me. It was physically difficult, though without the vomiting or other discomforts. Mostly I remember how mentally punishing it was. And it was only made worse by my knowing that I was choosing this for myself, that out of all of the innumerable options one has for each moment of each day, I was forcing myself to accept the one that was not only giving myself the least pleasure, but perhaps the one that gave the most suffering. I hated it and I hated myself for taking that path. Obviously I was not mentally prepared for this.

Still, it did have some far-reaching implications. While I had lost weight while fasting, I gained it right back each time I started eating again. By that summer, I was at my heaviest, weight-wise, making lots of unwise choices about quality and quantity. Knowing that I could control my weight through food intake alone, I began to only eat once a day, essentially fasting every day from morning until evening when I would have a simple meal. I began to exercise a bit towards the end of that summer, and that is when my clothing began falling off of me.

Honestly, though, I still wasn't happy. I was, instead, developing an eating disorder. I refused to give in when my body screamed for food; I took a certain pride in going to bed with a grumbling stomach. I wanted to indulge, but I refused to. Ribs began to stick out, there was a good deal of visible empty space when I wrapped my thumb and forefinger around my wrist.

I stepped on the scale one day and saw that I was down to 100 lbs. I'm 5'6'. This is not a good thing. In fact, it was my red flag, my wake-up call that I had taken this too far, that the relationship I had developed with food over the past year or so had taken a wrong turn somewhere. Besides, I loved food. Did I really want to deny myself these pleasures and live like this until...until when, exactly? I wasted away?

My life has turned around since. I am eating well, eating healthy, exercising daily. Because this is what makes me happy. This is a pattern that I can continue for the rest of my life. Happily.

I do still look into fasts and cleanses once in a while. There will always be a part of me that is interested in experimenting with my physical body through deprivation, I think. But I realize now that I am happy and healthy and that there is no reason to change what works.

I have no claims on what fasting experiences have been like for others. And I don't regret that I gave it a shot. In fact, there's still a part of me that takes a certain pride in being able to say that I didn't eat for six days. But then I wonder why on earth I would consider this something to be proud of. Making oneself miserable should not be a point of pride.

Exp Year: 2005ExpID: 76983
Gender: Female 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Mar 11, 2018Views: 1,306
[ View as PDF (for printing) ] [ View as LaTeX (for geeks) ] [ Switch Colors ]
Fasting (178) : Difficult Experiences (5), General (1), Alone (16)

COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid.
TERMS OF USE: By accessing this page, you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving written permission prior to your downloading the data.

Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.


Experience Vaults Index Full List of Substances Search Submit Report User Settings About Main Psychoactive Vaults