Fasting: Days 16-17

This is the update for Days 16-17 of my 21-day fast in Feb 2011 and probably the most in-depth fasting series you will ever find online. If you’re new to fasting, get the full background here: Fasting Experiment. Access all my articles on fasting: The Fasting Series.

Meditation at the beach

Here are the stats for Days 16-17:


 Day 16Day 17
Today’s Weight127lbs / 57.6kg126.3lbs / 57.3kg
Diff vs. Yesterday-0.7lbs / -0.3kg-0.7lbs / -0.3kg
Total Difference-17.4lbs / -7.9kg-18.1lbs / -8.2kg
Water consumption1.2 liters1.2 liters
Body Temp34.9 C / 93.9 F35.1 C / 94.5 F

Overall Review

I went through another round of detox during the past couple of days. It was not as severe as Day 14, but tiring and taxing all the same (physically, mentally and emotionally). I notice the detoxes have a pattern — there’s the physical discomfort, followed by mental and emotional detox, and this goes on for a while until I suddenly feel fine and well, suggesting the previous detox is over. This lasts for a short amount of time before the next round of detox starts.

Physical Detox

Physical detox in the past 2 days has been mainly nausea and stomach pains. It gets quite uncomfortable at times. Yesterday I woke up with a slight fever which dissipated quickly. Today I woke up with a sore throat which subsided about 3-4 hours later. For the past few hours I’ve been experiencing flu-like symptoms but it looks like they are subsiding soon.

As I mentioned above, after each episode of discomfort, I’d suddenly feel fine and well, which I take as a sign that my body has finished a round of detox. During this time, I’m able to stand up without feeling light-headed and do things as per normal without feeling drained. This lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours before the next round of detox starts.

My tongue continues to be layered with a thick white coating. I suspect the bitterness of the coating contributes to the nauseousness, so today I brushed off the white layer on the outermost part of my tongue, revealing a nice and pink surface underneath. That alleviated my nausea slightly.

Mental and Emotional Detox

Like Day 14, I went through mental and emotional detox in the past 2 days, though not to the same level as Day 14. I felt mentally heavy and unhappy, even to the point of feeling depressed. Working through the feelings one at the time, by thinking through them or brain dumping, helped quite a bit. Each thought could be traced back to past incidents, whether food or non-food related. A lot of this reaffirms what I wrote on Day 6 about eating to chase a certain emotion, so I’m not going to repeat that here.

I’ve gone through so much emotional and mental processing in the past few days that my brain feels quite exhausted at this point. I feel like I’ve spent enough time working through the past for now and it’s time to move on in real life. Anything else is quickly becoming meta-thinking — thinking about thinking — and it’s counter-productive. More on this at the end of the article.

Weight Loss

Today I’m at 126.3lbs / 57.3kg, which is -0.7lbs / -0.3kg vs. yesterday and a loss of -18.1lbs / -8.2kg in total. At this point I’m becoming thinner than what I ideally want to look. I think most women in Singapore would probably want to be as thin as they can, but I’m actually quite happy with how I look currently. I don’t want to look like a pack of bones for sure and I don’t think it’s very attractive either. So as far as weight loss is concerned for the fast, I’m good to go.


Food Cravings

On Saturday I had a coaching session with my client at a salad bar, during which I saw someone having a veggie wrap. It looked really good. After that I couldn’t get the image of the wrap out of my head. For the remainder of the day (and even today/Sun), I kept fantasizing about having the wrap and eating it after my fast. I’ve already arranged to meet my friend at a salad bar for dinner one week post-fast so that I can have the wrap. The reason I’ve set it to one week later is that I need a week to transition to juices first, then fruits, and finally raw meals after my fast, as I wrote in my original fasting article.

Observations Surrounding Food

After digging into my interest in watching others eat (as I wrote in Day 14‘s log), that behavior stopped surfacing. For example, when I met my client on Saturday, she had a salad and a drink. While I’d normally think “Gosh I have to get some food item or I’m missing out” or “Wow this person is eating, so I should eat too,” there was strangely none of those thoughts. In fact, I wasn’t concerned or bothered by her eating at all. It was merely something happening in the background and didn’t grab my attention. It was strangely releasing.

In retrospect, I was a prisoner of mental conditioning surrounding food in the past. I feel there’s lots more to uncover, but at least I’m slowly working through them one by one now. Thinking back, ever since I was a child, my dad would observe what I eat and was quick to comment/criticize whenever he felt I wasn’t eating enough (even if it was a sufficient portion). On the other hand, whenever I overate, even taking two to three portion sizes, he never saw it as an issue. I could eat an entire large pizza with potato wedges and he wouldn’t comment on that at all. To my dad and mom, eating is a good thing, and to eat more is a luxury. Even today, he continues to comment if I’m not eating as much as he thinks I should. If you imagine a child being critiqued each time for supposedly not eating enough, imagine the kind of beliefs that get subconsciously ingrained in his/her mind about food.

Because of that, I became subconsciously repressed when it comes to food. Subconsciously, I’d always feel like I’m not eating enough. In my mind, eating more is better than eating less. This, together with the subconscious belief that food is love, turned food into an extremely complicated agent in my life. Now as I slowly heal my relationship with food, I want to consciously form my own set of guidelines surrounding food/eating, based on healthy eating ideals, without being imposed by what others say or think. It’s going to be a very delicate phase for me, quite like a newborn that needs delicate care and protection. Because of that, I want to protect this space until I’m sure my relationship with food has been properly restored.

My point for writing this isn’t to express any sort of resentment against my parents, but to drive the message that the things we say to children often have far-reaching consequences in their life. If you have children, be aware of what you say to them, right down to the smallest comments. Many times, issues from adults get transferred onto their kids because the former are not conscious of those issues. By being conscious of our personal trappings and working through them as much as possible, it helps free our (future) kids, nieces, and nephews from re-enacting our own problems in their lives.

Looking forward to the end of the fast

The detox has been very helpful in cleansing my body and soul, though at this point I feel that I’ve gained what I’ve set out to do at the beginning of the fasting experiment. Everything I’m going through now just further reinforces the benefits I’ve been getting. I continue to lose more weight, which frankly speaking is starting to make me look thinner than what I want to be; the emotional and mental detox continues to be about the same things which I already plan to work on once the fast ends; I plan to establish a new relationship with food once I’m able to resume regular meals. I’m also eager to do actual work, write new articles, and launch new plans at the blog, all of which I can’t really do in a fasting state.

Hence at this point I’m really just waiting for the fast to end. Contrary to what one may think, it’s been very tiring to lie on the bed the whole time, especially for someone like me who enjoys taking action. On average I’m spending about 14-16 hours (at least) lying on the bed, and it feels very debilitating. I’m so rested that a lot of the times I’m just lying on the bed and waiting for time to pass. Just spending an extra minute there makes me feel sick and more nauseous than I already am. I imagine this is what a lot of hospital patients feel, so I can really empathize with them. At the same time I can’t do anything much too — watching TV or using the laptop feels draining, and my body is too tired to move, so I’m really left with nothing to do. I’m also tired of drinking water again and again.

The good thing is there are now 4 days left. I look forward to the end of the fast soon.


Update: Days 18-19 update is up!

This is the update for Days 16-17 of my 21-day fast in Feb 2011 and probably the most in-depth fasting series you will ever find online. If you’re new to fasting, get the full background here: Fasting Experiment. Access all my articles on fasting: The Fasting Series.

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