I have never been much of a faster previously. As many of you will know, I absolutely adore food! The thought of going without that nourishing experience for more than a day feels like torture to me.
If you have been reading my work for a while, you will know that when it comes to wellness, I am always open to explore different cleanses and try out various fads more as a learning opportunity to discover more about myself. I have tried intermittent fasting before, but never a full fast. This was about to change as I was invited to join 25 other brave souls on my first hard dry fast over the bank holiday Easter weekend.
As some of you know I have head various health concerns the last few years, and in a way it led to a journey of self discovery as I explored different technologies, detox plans, and plant based diets to help do the work from the inside out.
For me this fasting opportunity arrived at exactly the right time. With all of us in isolation mode, my normal fitness routine has really suffered, and equally so has my diet. If you’re anything like me, you might have found yourself reaching for heavy carbs like bread and cakes. And ironically the exercise I enjoy most such as swimming, and spin classes is a little bit tricky to recreate at home (bath time is proving interesting).
I am thankful for yoga, but like a Spring clean at home, a fast felt like the right thing to do at this time.
Luckily for me, I was not doing the fast alone, but would be guided and supported throughout the process by Mind Body Soul Spirit Coach Elliott Timothy Harlin-Bethell who specialises in fasting for optimum health, and also spiritual growth.
Fasting is so much more than a detox. It is a whole re-write of our system.
What inspired me to work with Elliott was his years of study, and also his insights into the body, and how we are all walking around with old programs and beliefs that are literally held in the cellular memory of the water we store. We are made up of approximately 65% water, and in some ways much of that water will have been in our body for a very long time.
Through techniques like wet and dry fasting we are able to encourage the bodies systems to utilise the older water, and reinstall new water that has been charged with positive affirmations and new beliefs.
Unlike many I wasn’t doing this fast to lose weight, but to learn more about my relationship with food, my mind, and the limits I place on myself.
Elliott informed me that when we can break past the majority of our mental barriers we realise that we can actually go for long periods of time without the need to eat food, thus putting into question everything else we have been told.
Wet Fasting was the technique for me!
I decided to opt for a 24 hour water fast, and then on to a hard dry fast for a further 5 days. I managed to last until the morning of the fourth day before finishing my fast.
Although I had gained control of my mind, and found myself with a surge of creative energy, by the time I awoke on day four I knew something didn’t feel right.
On my way to the bathroom I had a dizzy spell and lost my vision for around 30 seconds. It was really scary and I made the call that I needed fluids again. I felt very hot internally, like someone had turned on the heating on the inside. I have come to the conclusion that although dry fasting works for many, it is a fluid based fast that is the way to go for me.
Once I started drinking fluids again, my body temperature went back to normal. By the time I started eating fruit I could feel my body readjusting quite quickly.
In hindsight, I would have liked to continue with the liquid fast. I’m sure I could have carried on for longer, but what with it being Easter I fell into temptation.
It seems when our body doesn’t have the tasks of digesting loads of food, we can redirect our stores of energy on other things.
It is four days since I broke my fast, and I feel as if i have a creative surge of energy running through me. So many ideas, and thoughts about what I’d like to work on next, new articles to right. I feel in a bit of a flow, but in a different way.
What I enjoyed most about the fasting, was allowing myself the opportunity to wind down. I read two books in the three days, something I enjoy doing, but rarely give myself the luxury to do. I was really productive with various tasks, and got organised too. We never realise how much of our day is spent shopping, prepping, cooking and eating food. We claw back a good couple of hours at least that can simply be utilised elsewhere.
There were initial fears around not wanting to go into the kitchen. Or not wanting to see my Mum over Easter, or to look at food etc. I soon realised that in essence nothing is any different. We can carry on as normal, and treat a fast as we would any regular day. For me it normalised fasting, and actually taught me a lot about my habits. I also learnt how lethargic I get from eating food.
Fasting made me look at my relationship with food.
It is really only the first two days where my mind focused a lot on food. I found myself dat dreaming of what I was going to eat when all this was over. I also think this process reminded me to eat a bit more consciously. To only eat things I really enjoy, and savour it rather than eat in a rush. Eating for pleasure, rather than just for fuel. Although I always thought I did the former, I think I could take this to the next level.
I am super grateful to Elliott’s guidance on the fast. He created awesome videos to give us tips and tricks to incorporate into our daily regime. Topics including breathwork, meditation, and sun gazing practises which I have been doing every day since. None of it was new, however it was enough to start introducing more of it into my daily routine.
Would I recommend fasting to everyone? Yes I think anyone can do it. I would say start with intermittent fasting techniques, or one meal a day to begin with. Why not work up to a juice or liquid fast, and set yourself a flexible timeframe.
I’m already planning my next liquid fast. I really like the idea of opting for one day a week that I wet fast for 24 hours. This will allow my body a time to reset. Now I have experienced the wonders of fasting for myself it makes complete sense to me.