The One-Day Fast: Part 2
In Part 1 I talked about why I fasted. The breakdown from that article is that I fasted because I wanted to reset my hunger and fullness cues, to get in touch with my feelings by not using food to numb them, and to remember just how lucky I am to have access to all the nutrients I need. Here’s how the fast went.
During the Fast
On the day of the fast and for about a day and a half after, I kept a brief journal. Since I hadn’t planned to fast (which I wouldn’t recommend), I added in the information from the night before. I’ve edited the journal for grammar, but otherwise have left it as it was written. (Apologies for the occasional swears!)
Tuesday, Day Before the Fast
730 pm: Ate last snack (small quesadilla with cheddar and blue cheese crumbles — not the most balanced meal), drank pink wine spritzer (4 oz wine, 12 oz club soda), drank 12 oz of sparkling water.
915 pm: Meditation.
10 pm: Bedtime! (I love bedtime!)
Wednesday, Day of the Fast
515 am: Awake!
530 am - 615 am: 1 cup green tea.
615 am - 9 am: ½ liter water with greens supplement, while at work.
9-10 am: 1 cup green tea, while at work.
1115 am: Feeling really calm on my walk home.
1130 am - 2 pm: 1 cup green tea, ½ liter water with greens supplement, while working at home on this and other stuff.
1130 am: I realize that I’ve been savoring my beverages more, perhaps because of the scarcity aspect: This is the last green tea you’ll
have for a while. Taste it. Enjoy it. I don’t do that enough with my foods/beverages. I usually eat while doing other things, which doesn’t help with mindful eating. I’m also learning that I structure my life around meal time. I got home from my first shift, and could feel my body thinking, OK, what time will I eat? What will I watch while I eat. Will that ruin me for the day or will I still try to get things done after? I think eating has become priority #1. Oh, I have all these things to do, but I’m going to sit and relax (in front of the TV) during lunch. Now I don’t have that distraction.
1230 pm: At the edge of anxiety. As I bop around from thing “I have to do” to other thing “I have to do” I can feel myself get anxious. Like, OH NO! If I don’t send this email out RIGHT NOW, everything I’ve worked for will be destroyed! I notice that it’s hard to concentrate on any one thing, though I think that’s always true — I’m an inveterate multitasker. But not having the distraction of food or TV helps me to be mindful of feeling that way. And then I’m better able to take a second to calm myself. (Self-compassion, anyone?!?)
140 pm: I’m getting a bunch of shit done that I’ve been avoiding. Probably because I’m not distracting myself.
2 pm: Noticed that every time I get up to do something, I think about going into the kitchen to get food. I feel a little anxious, but not reactive. Meaning, I feel anxious in my body or I’m startled easily, but I’m able to calm myself pretty quickly. Also, I’ve just started to feel hungry again. And my hip and back have started hurting, but that’s probably from sitting too much. I’m preoccupied with food. I feel a little nervous about going back to work. 5.5 hours left in fast. I’m also a little nervous about over-eating when I’m done fasting.
242 pm: Feeling calm again, but starting to feel bored. Also, I WANT FOOD! I’m not feeling desperate. I am feeling relatively grumpy. My parents are on their way here to pick up their car. I’m slightly dreading seeing them. I should also make a greens drink and green tea. Should I? Is it time? I feel like I’m having trouble making decisions. I’ve been avoiding moving around a whole lot so I don’t waste energy that I’ll need for work. I feel a gnawing hunger in my stomach. My heart is anxious. I guess I’m not feeling calm? And yet, I do feel calm. Perhaps it’s the anxious-not-reactive feeling from before.
430 - 730 pm: 1 cup green tea, ½ liter water with greens supplement, while at work.
735 pm: Came home, felt really stupid. Putting things in the wrong place. Realized I forgot to feed the dog earlier. Jes tells me I also forgot to shut the door this morning. Made breakfast (spinach and eggs and sweet potato and avocado) for dinner. Delish. Started to feel full half-way through, but I finished it anyway. Partly because it didn’t make sense that I’d be full.
930 pm: So hungry! Wanted to gnaw off my own arm! Not really. Ate some cottage cheese.
10 pm: Bedtime! So awake.
Thursday, Post-Fast Day 1
515 am: Grumpy when my alarm went off. Didn’t sleep great.
6 am: Ate breakfast without doing work; I just ate. But I thought a lot and still wasn’t very mindful.
930 am: Ate a snack — normal snack of veggies, plain greek yogurt, fruit — while working.
12 pm: I ordered a sub and picked it up on the way home. I ate in front of the TV. I only ate half, however, when last week I would have eaten the whole thing. I paid attention to my fullness cues.
6 pm: I ate the second half of my sub in front of the TV.
After work that night: Today I ate less than I’d been eating. I did a better job of paying attention (and listening) to my fullness cues. I didn’t make the best food choices, but that’s not my concern right now.
I still felt calm this morning. I procrastinated on doing work, instead watching TV and dozing on the couch. When I finally got to work, I was able to work with great attention. I was sleepy after lunch and I’m sleepy now (at 9 pm).
By afternoon, I was rushing around. Late (or feeling late) to everything.
*My sleep tracker app from the night of the fast
Friday, Post-Fast Day 2
620 am: Slept in! Then had normal breakfast without distraction.
1215 pm: Lunch at Panera — normal lunch (½ tuna sandwich and soup), started feeling full 75% in, still had half of sandwich left! What to do! Took off bread, ate fillings.
320 pm: At Apple store, a little hungry, but not starving; anxious, had to rush to get here. Everything is going well, feel okay now. Would like to meditate, but probably would be weird at store. Earlier, noticed myself getting anxious at work. Tried to focus on breath for a few breaths. Seemed to help. Maybe I’ll do that now. 5 breaths.
The journal stops there. I was at the Apple store getting my computer fixed and while they were doing that I was working on my iPad. After that, I went home and ate a power bowl (picture a salad that has everything you want in a balanced meal). Then Jes and I drove up to NH for the weekend.
Originally, I planned to include a write-up on the things I learned about myself and about fasting in this post, but I was told the draft was, “waaaaaaaaay too long.” So, sorry folks, you’ll have to wait until next week to read about what changed (or didn’t change) post-fast, whether or not I think I’ll fast again, and whether or not I think you should try fasting.
See you next time!