My Fasting experience.
On Sunday January 6, I made the decision go on an extended Fast. It proved to be a very educational experience. So here are some of my observations as I journaled shared them on facebook.
Sunday January 13.
7 Days and counting. As of today I am have been fasting for 7 days. Goal is to get to the end of the month, 25 days. Weight loss so far 8lbs.
Daily intake, I shakeology shake daily.
Supplements; multivitamin, BCAAs and Moxxor Omega-3 suppliment.
Workout: Shoulder exercises. (rehab right shoulder)
Upright rows 3-6kg
Goblet SQ 5 32kg
Rows 5 28kg
Presses 5 28kg left only. ( right shoulder injured)
I choose this workout to test and maintain my strength during the fasting
Is weight loss my goal? NO.
I have always been intrigued by the process of long term fasting. The practice of fasting is almost as old as man. Fasting has been a part of spiritual, medical practices as well as warrior cultures such as the Sioux Braves of North America and the Warrior monks of Shaolin. Fasting was not only done cleanse the spirit, but to hone and strength the individual by teaching self discipline, control and restraint. Many of these warriors were also know for this quality of restraint and humility.
I have always recommended my clients start a new diet with a 24 fast and have been successfully using intermittent fasting as a diet tool for many of my clients since being introduced to it by SFG Senior Geoff Neuport and reading books like “Eat Stop Eat by” Brad Pilon.
That being said I was thinking what might be a good time to try a long term fast, and well, the best time is always the present! So I started. Wish me luck.
Monday January 21.
14 Days and counting. As of today I have been fasting for 14 Days. My plans are still to go to the end of the month, 25 days. Weight loss far 12lbs.
Daily intake still remains the same 1 shakeology shake daily. (See link)
Supplements: multivitamin, BCAAs and fish oils.
My workout still remains the same.
So far, things are going really well. Interestingly, hunger is not the issue. Your body adapts very quickly. Hunger pangs were only pretty bad in the beginning (1st couple of days) Now it kind of just comes and goes. I glass of water is usually enough.
The real challenge has been missing the ritual of eating. I would have to compare this with a cigarette smoker used to having something in his hands and all of sudden doesn’t know what to do with them. Like now, its lunch time, normally I would get some my lunch, sit and eat then just relax and reset for a couple minutes before getting back to work. Sure I can still take a break for few minutes, but it doesn’t have the same feel. On the other had this works out great in the evenings, I have more time when I get home. Normal routine would be, prepare dinner, sit and eat, clean up, then try to get a little more done before settling in and calling it a night. Feels like I have added a couple of hours to my day. J
Now the real challenge here is not eat just for the sake of doing something. At this point, it’s not about hunger, but it is about making a very conscious choice. And isn’t that after all the heart of the issue? So many people today eat unconsciously. They put food in their mouths (usually junk) without even think as to why. Fasting, well long term fasting is not for everyone, but I would recommend most to try it for 2-5 days. It will really put a spotlight on cravings and emotional binges. Once you get past the basic hunger, you expose the source of your cravings, and now, you must make a choice.
Tuesday, January 22. Energy Level.
Joined my 5am boot camp group for 400 swings 16kg. (did not want to overstress my shoulder that is still recovering)
One of the questions I have received on the journey is in regard to my energy level. Am I feeling tired or have I experienced any light headedness.
In answer to the first question, my energy level has been as good as and even better than normal. I feel like my body has become very efficient in producing and maintaining energy. In fact as I am not eating, my energy level is very consistent throughout the day. The only variable in these equations is rest. This has and continues to be a weak are for me. I normally only sleep for 5-6 hours per night. Thank God for naps. J With no meals to process, I am not subject to insulin spikes or post meal sluggishness during the day.
Watching the scale.
Watching the scale is not one of my regular pastimes, but it has been part of the ritual of this process. Even though I am very aware of fact that our body weight is in constant fluctuation, it has been informative to observe the process. The bottom line is that even during this process my weight can fluctuate as much 3lbs. What does that say for the average person consuming 2-3 meals a day plus snacks. Women also have to take into account their cycles. This is not to say that you cannot rely on the scale, this is to say you must understand the reality of the process. For the average person this can be both confusing and depressing. If you are one these people getting on scale every morning or more than once per week. JUST STOP!! You must have faith in the process and learn to wait. (see related article “Learning to Wait")
Insights on hunger.
This morning I was having a conversation with one of my clients who has been motivated by my fasting to be more disciplined in her diet than she had been previously. She has is very strong and has always been a hard a disciplined worker in regards to her workout, but like so many others she has struggled with her diet. It has been almost 2 weeks since she made the adjustment committed to doing the intermittent fasting. Yesterday she decided to splurge just little as a reward. She was very surprised at the reduced portion it now took to satisfy her craving and actually feel full. Her question was did I think I stomach was shrunken because she was eating so much less. So do I think her stomach has shrunken? Although this is indeed possible under extreme conditions, what is more likely occurring is another one of the positive experiences and lessons of fasting.
Awareness of being full!
Having overcome the reflexive reaction to hunger, and now practicing eating as a conscious positive choice rather than just filling a need, next comes awareness and freedom. The freedom to be aware that you are satisfied. Not full or in most cases over full, but satisfied. Both physically and emotionally. Portion control has long been one of the main culprits of obesity. In general public, the general culture is one of over indulgence. We don’t eat because of what we need, but because of what we have been programmed to think we should. With her new awareness, my client is now free to enjoy her meals more, while eating less.
It’s been 22 days since I started my fast. My original goal was 25 days which would put me at Wed Jan 30. But, as I was looking the week and planning how work myself back to a regular diet, I realized I wanted to be insure that I would have given myself enough time that will be free to indulge on Super Bowl Sunday without any reservation. As I sat thinking about what I how and what I would be eating over the next few days, I start to experience strong hunger pangs. This really caught me by surprise as until this point, apart from the initial experience. I had not had any pressing hunger pangs. This was not the first time I had thought about food, as I love watching the food channel. Then I realized it was because I was not thinking about food with the specific intent of eminent consumption. This was a great demonstration of the body responding to the state of mind. This is where we have emotional eating. You feel a certain way, and your body responds according the patterns we have established. We then react to the hunger as a need rather than a choice. EMOTIONAL EATING!!!! As soon as I thought about it, and realized the cause and effect the hunger pangs subsided.
Due to the extent of time without solid foods and restricted calories, it is import that gently reintroduce solid foods to my system.
Here is how I have gone about it with.
Morning Lunch Dinner
Day 23. Monday: Shakeology Shake, soup (mostly broth). Soup (with some light noodles)
Day 24. Tuesday: Shakeology Shake, soup (mostly broth). Soup (vegetable & noodles)
Day 25. Wednesday: plain Omelet Chicken & Vegetable soup Chicken & Vegetable soup
Today was a little different, I had fellowship meeting this morning with my men’s bible study group and this morning we met at a dinner. I had planned for this, and order a plain (3 egg) omelet with sliced tomatoes and avocadoes on the side. Half way through the omelet I was full, but as I sat there, there was this tape in my head saying “common it’s only a half left you can and should finish it.” I immediately realized this went back to my training, and now habit of always finishing what was on my plate.
The lessons here are: First- we eat with our eyes.
What does this mean? Well out of our eating history and habits we expect to see a certain amount on our plate.
Then, we fully expect not only to complete what’s on our plate, but we are also convince that we need to eat that much to be satisfied.
So here we are at one of the main issues facing us today- PORTION CONTROL.
Don’t be a slave to your eating history. Break the chains.
Thursday: Shakeology Shake, Lunch- Chicken vegetable soup - Full Meal (to be determined) J
I think it’s important for me to say, I love good food and fully intend to go on eating it with fervor and gusto and in variety. Eating should fun, but we just have to eat with discretion. Learn to eat consciously.
You need to recognize what works for you based on your body and your lifestyle.
I thank you all for you’re for questions and comments on this journey. I hope my experience has given you some insight as to your own challenges dietary or otherwise.
I love to eat, but I eat to live!
Thursday February 7.
Well I thought the lessons from my fasting were all done, but they just seem to keep coming. I have been back on a regular diet since last Thursday. Super Bowl Sunday was interesting. I was at friend’s home with lots of west Indian foods. It was awesome and I ate without restraint, and it was good. So what’s really changed? I want to say my will power, but it’s more subtle than that. It’s a knowing, a knowing that I choose, that I decide without reservation, the what, when, and how much I eat. Why is that important? Well I was having a conversation with a group and there was comment that there was so much food there on Super Bowl Sunday that they even ate stuff they did not like. Hmm, so how often are we doing that just because it’s there. In may not be Super Bowl Sunday, it may just be an evening out with friends. How often are you eating foods that you really don’t like or would not have chosen for yourself under other conditions? This a classic example of how you eat out of control. We consume what we think we should based not our needs or desires, but based on external influences, friends, social event and the media constantly selling you something.
Weight Loss to date 14lbs. I weighed in today at the same weight I did last Thursday in spite of my being back on a normal diet for the past week. Yes, and that’s in spite on the copious amounts of food I consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. Now it’s important to note that my normal eating schedule during the week is very much a reflection of the IF (Intermittent Fasting) protocol. I start early mornings and don’t usually get to sit down to my 1st meal until lunch. My last meal will be whenever I get home after my last class or client, usually about 8.
While long term fasting like this is not for everyone. I do recommend all my clients try my 21 day Fat Loss Intermittent Fasting program.