In this 6,200+ word in-depth review, I’ll share my overall experiences with my 21 day fast (Feb 4 – Feb 24 2011) as well as week 1 post-fast (Feb 25 – Mar 3). I’ll include the positive benefits I’ve gained as well as the detox I had to go through during the process. This will be a holistic review and not a mere rehash of what I’ve written in my fasting logs, and I hope those of you who are interested in fasting/embarking on your fast will find it helpful.
If you’ve not read my original fasting article, you should do so first as it provides the background of my fasting trial and why I embarked on it.
All Fasting Articles + Logs
As the fasting series has quickly expanded into a huge colossal of articles, I’ve created a “content” page to line up all the fasting articles together. Access all the articles I’ve written on fasting, including logs of my 21-day fast and my post-fast logs here: The Fasting Series.
Overall, I declare the fast a great success. I’ve achieved all the key objectives I set out for at the beginning of the fast, which were (a) physical detox (b) establishing a new relationship with food (c) providing an open platform for Personal Excellence readers to learn about fasting together without judgment or prejudice (d) emotional detox and last but not least, (e) weight loss. There are also many other benefits I received which I did not anticipate, such as improved complexion, cleansed stomach/system, and finally reaching my ideal weight of 120+lbs (I expected to lose weight, but I wasn’t sure if I would reach 120+lbs with the fast).
For sure, I’ve emerged from the fast a different person than before – not just physically, but emotionally as well. I feel very renewed and all ready to start the next phase in life.
While there was no special reason why I set the fast duration as 21 days, in retrospect it was just right for my first fast. Any longer and it would have been too dragged out (I was cycling through similar revelations toward the end) and any shorter and I wouldn’t have experienced the deeper benefits of the fast. A lot of the heavy physical and emotional detox happened in Weeks 2 and 3 of the fast.
I’ll now comment on different takeaways I got from the fast, starting with the physical aspect.
My physical complexion has really improved with the fast. While my skin used to be oily (to very oily if I ate fried food), it’s now more normal to slightly oily. The zits I used to have on my forehead (I think due to my bangs) have fully cleared up. My pores have reduced a fair bit, to the point where make-up looks very fine when put on – like it’s airbrushed, even. My skin is a lot more radiant and brighter. Texture-wise, it’s definitely a lot smoother. I don’t recall the last time my skin looked this good. One of my coaching clients was very amazed when she saw me after the fast – she remarked that my skin looked really bright and radiant (and I didn’t put any make-up on when I met her for our session).
(For the record, my skin has never been disastrous; in fact people often compliment for having good skin. The difference here isn’t that my fast transformed my skin from bad to good. It’s that my fast transformed my skin from good to amazing. Almost like my skin has an air-brushed effect and is the quality of baby’s skin, believe it or not.)
Pre-fast, I’d get about 3-5 pimples every 1-2 weeks on average, which is a norm for many Asians living in a tropical climate like Singapore’s, since it’s very hot and humid here. Well, this didn’t happen during the fast. I didn’t have any outbreaks during my period too, when usually I’d have an outbreak before my period starts. While I had a few zits during the first half of the fast, I suspect this was due to my foundation/make-up, because I didn’t get any new pimples after I stopped putting on make-up.
For the record, I’ve not changed my skincare routine – i.e. it’s non-existent. I don’t have a habit of using skincare products, and when I do use them, it’s either to remove make-up or as part of a weekly cleanse. I find daily cleansing too much of a hassle, plus I don’t like to put stuff on my face if I don’t have to. Which is somewhat ironic as I used to manage skincare brands when I was working in corporate in the past. As you can tell, I’m really a big fan of natural, holistic therapy.
The skin improvement is a much welcomed change, because it can be quite annoying to get pimples. Those who get pimples regularly would know. First off it’s unsightly (it’s somewhat visible even when you try to conceal with makeup). Secondly you’ve to be careful not to damage the pimple lest it leave a mark later on. Thirdly it can really bring down your confidence level, especially when you have a bad outbreak.
Seeing how my skin has improved and switched from oily to normal/slightly oily has made me question how much one’s skin condition is really due to genetics and how much is due to diet. I always thought my skin was inherently oily and that I had to live with pimples for the rest of my life. Since 16, I started having pimples. I don’t get acne, but I do get zits and occasional outbreaks (the large pimples with pus in them). I thought the outbreaks would stop when I enter university, but I was wrong. There was a point when I was in university when I would get outbreaks every few days, and it was very depressing. The outbreaks stopped (somewhat) when I grew older, but I continued to get zits and small pimples. I’d pretty much resigned to deal with them for the rest of my life.
But this fast has clearly shown that it’s not true. While it’s true that oily skin leads to zits and pimples, and that your skin type is probably hereditary to some degree, it seems that your skin type can be dramatically improved via your diet. In drinking only clean water in the 21 days, my skin completely cleared up. And now as I start off on a clean diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and vegan meals in week 1 post-fast, my skin maintains the same condition as during the fast. In retrospect, I remember experiencing better skin after my 21-day raw food trials in the past too (I’ve been on 3 raw food trials in the past 2 years).
On the whole, I’ve lost a total of 10.1kg/22.3lbs during the 21-day fast and the 6 days after the fast. Below is a graph of my weight change throughout the 27 days:
- Weight on Day 0: 65.5kg / 144.4lb
- Weight on Day 21 (end of fast): 56.3kg / 124.1lb
- Total weight loss during the fast: -9.2kg / -20.3lb
- Average loss of -0.4kg / -1.0lb per day
- Full fat loss occurred from Day 4 onwards, when my body entered ketosis
- Weight on Day 6 post-fast: 55.4kg / 122.2lb
- Additional loss of -0.9kg / -2.0lb
This is the lowest weight I’ve ever been in my whole life – the last time I was at this weight was when I was 16-17 (and 2-3 cm shorter than my current height of 1.7m too)! Granted, some of the loss is due to not having food and sodium in my system (sodium causes water retention), so I can imagine the weight going up slightly after resuming regular meals.
To be honest, I never thought I would be able to lose the excess weight so quickly. Weight loss has always been something I’ve battled with for a big part of my life, with me constantly bouncing back-and-forth between exercising, wanting to eat healthy, and emotional eating. Because of that, my weight loss attempts always get jeopardized by binges. Over the past 8 years or so, my weight has slowly crept up by about a kg or so every year, despite efforts to lose weight.
Hence, it feels absolutely surreal to lose the weight so quickly through the fast. All the smaller clothes I bought in the past all fit great now, and it feels great being able to wear them. 😀 Overall, I’ve lost weight from all parts of my body, including my waist, hips, thighs, shoulders, and face. I’ve got quite a few people commenting on how sharp my jawline looks now compared to the past. Clothes-size wise, I used to wear size 11 (US) shorts, and now I’m able to fit in size 8 (US) shorts somewhat loosely. It’s also a lot more comfortable to walk in high heels, because I’m not carrying around excess body weight. My walking posture has improved as well (if you notice, heavier people tend to slouch quite a bit because of the excess weight they carry around).
In transiting to my new look/weight, I’ve thrown out all my bigger-sized clothes and plan to buy some new clothes in the next few months. At this point I’m not sure the weight my body will end up at after I resume normal meals – I’m also not sure the final weight I want to maintain – whether it’s 55kg, lesser, or more. I figure it’ll take some trial and error for a few weeks. I definitely plan to get back to exercising after regulating my diet to tone up my body, so the increased muscle mass will definitely lead to a few additional kgs. This is where I’m more focused on the overall look vs. just the number on the scale.
You might have heard the saying before “losing weight is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise”. It’s definitely true. It’s a lot tougher to lose 500 calories via exercising (which takes running about 13km / 8.0 miles), compared to cutting down your food intake (2 normal donuts or 1 Starbucks chocolate drink). My best recommendation is to lose weight via limiting food intake (be it juice fast, water fast, healthy eating, etc), then build tone through exercise. If you want to lose weight but you experience emotional eating behaviors, start by addressing that first, because chances are that’s what’s keeping you from losing weight. As long as you use food to feed your emotions, you’ll continue to battle yourself. Slowly does it – there’s no need to rush through the healing process.
The physical detox wasn’t easy at all. I’d divide it into 3 phases – Week 1, 2 and 3.
Week 1 was actually very easy. Pre-ketosis stage, which spanned Days 1-3, was a breeze. Since I had read up on water fasting on Days 0-1, I was mentally prepared to go into the fast with full force. I was also able to go about my daily routine as per normal.
Ketosis kicked in on Day 4. This was when my physical energy began to decreased as my body channeled the energy inward for healing. Slight nausea kicked in, along with light-headedness. My tongue started to be covered in white and my mouth tasted bitter. Physical mobility slowed down. My heart rate was slightly faster and stronger than usual, but still well within the 60-80 bpm average. These symptoms built on progressively with each day into the fast.
By the end of Week 2, I was in heavy detox mode. I was experiencing constant strong nausea, headaches, very bad light-headedness and stomach aches. I felt a lot of these detox were from the meat, processed food and junk food that I ate before I became vegetarian, because a lot of those past memories kept flooding over me then. When I wasn’t out with coaching, I would spend a big chunk of time sleeping each day, to the extent where I was very sick of lying down. I believe some of the physical detox spilled over emotionally too – facing both physical and emotional detox together was very overwhelming. Out of the 21 days of fasting, Days 14, 16 and 17 were probably the toughest.
In the middle of Week 3, the heavy detox signs cleared up. By then, I began detoxing on common ailments, such as sore throats, flu and fever. Many of these symptoms would show up suddenly during the day, then disappear after a few hours. These were very manageable, and was nothing compared to the heavy detox. By Day 21, all of them had cleared up except for a little phlegm. It was almost as if my body knew that I was going for a 21-day fast and it was wrapping things up. 😀
Some forum members were curious to know if I had any bowel movements during the fast. I didn’t, actually! I also didn’t do any enemas or colon cleanses. I figure if there’s anything that needs to be cleared out of the digestive tracks, it’ll clear by itself either during or after the fast.
My stomach has been cleansed out during the 21 days. As I wrote in Day 4’s post-fast update, .
[…] My stomach post-fast is now very different from pre-fast. For one, it’s very cleansed, in a very good way. The sight of oily food / unhealthy food honestly repulses me now. I absolutely can’t stand the thought of filling it with anything that’s fried/deep-fried/oily. The thought of doing so is like contaminating my body with junk. In retrospect, I can’t imagine how I even allowed myself to eat all those unhealthy, highly processed and junk food in the past.
I intend to keep things that way too. Read more about my post-fast diet plan further on in the article.
Heavy Emotional Detox
Like my physical detox, my emotional detox during the fast can be broken down into 3 phases as well. Week 1 was largely the clearing away of general attachments with food. Week 2 was deeper, where many underpinnings of those attachments unveiled themselves. Issues that I used to cushion away via food surfaced and hit me, one after another. Here’s an excerpt from my Day 14 update:
[…] Mentally I felt so compressed that I don’t think my headache was an actual physical detox but more of a manifestation of all my issues weighing down on my mind. I tried verbal brain dumping which helped somewhat, but there was too much, too fast, so in the end I just sat as an observer and soaked in all the emotions whirling around. Meditation didn’t really help either – it’s more useful when there is light bristling around you, vs. when there is a whirlwind hitting you each second (metaphorically speaking).
My key insights in Weeks 1-2 are food/eating-related. I’ve posted them under “Re-establishing a New Relationship with Food” section below, so I’m not going to repeat them here.
During Week 3, the detox in Week 3 went even deeper, and a lot darker too. I felt like I was soaking in a pool of emptiness, and underneath that was a huge, overwhelming feeling of self-contempt which felt very foreign and didn’t register even with my earliest memories. I could only guess that it pre-dated even my childhood years. I tried to work through them, but didn’t make major headway. However, the awareness in itself is a big step forward IMO, since it helps me become privy to my next leg of obstacles in my journey of growth. I KIV’ed it for future processing.
Frankly speaking, I knew it was a matter of time before I would eventually get back to the fundamental topic of personal growth – self-image and self-love, so in a way I’m really excited about it. I look forward to exploring more of that in the near future as I continue in my growth.
Re-establishing a New Relationship with Food
One of my biggest gains from the fast is the new perspective I gained surrounding food. I’ve always known for a while that I have many deep subconscious linkages surrounding food that need serious exploration, so I was glad that the fast gave me the emotional and physical space to do so.
A lot of these issues seem intuitive, but they’ve been so subconsciously embedded and closely interlocked that I was unable to draw light to them for a long time. By having the 21-day break from food, it really gave me time to take a step back from eating, and gain proper perspective on food, its role in my life, and what exactly I want it to be. I’m finally able to see and recognize food for what it is – a physical fuel to sustain life – nothing more, and nothing less. To be honest, I’m glad that I’m finally able to gain closure on many of these long outstanding problems after all these years.
The fast has helped me clear a lot of my outstanding issues with food, but at the same time I recognize there are still subconscious issues to be addressed. This I’ll continue to do in the future, as I embark on my journey toward healthy living. Bear in mind that fasting is not and will not be a holy grail which will resolve all your problems as I mentioned in 12 Tips To Achieve Fasting Success. It’s about making the commitment and conscious decision toward healthy living, through proper diet and exercise.
Below, I share 4 of my biggest insights I gained regarding food from/during the fast.
1. Food as Love
The first thing I realized was how much food was synonymous with love in my world. To eat was to be kind and to take care of myself. Food was a form of reward. This was how my parents expressed their love for me when I was young. Since young, my parents, especially my mom, would buy all sorts of food and snacks home, as a display for their affection. I remember they would buy an item from each food stall every Sat, just so me and my brother could have our pick of what we wanted. Even today, they continue to express their love primarily through food. The first question my dad asks me every day when he returns home is “Have you eaten?” or “Do you want me to buy any food for you?”. My mom, on the other hand, busies herself with grocery shopping and cooking (on top of running her fruits stall) in ensuring the family is well-fed.
Because of that, food was an emotional energy source for me. If I ever felt stressed, bogged down, or needed to do some brain work, I would automatically reach out for food to get relief. This was actually the source of a lot of my emotional eating. As bizarre as it may seem, food had become my companion, my friend over the years. For a long time, the dominant conversation running in my mind was “I need to eat; It gives me energy to do what I’ve to do”. Of course, this wasn’t true. Our bodies have all the reserves it need to survive for weeks without food. I didn’t need any additional food at all. It was just a fallacy.
2. Eating to Express Love; Feeling Obligated to Eat
Beyond eating to emotionally fuel myself, I would also eat to express gratitude and love to my parents. If my parents ever cooked or bought something, I felt it was an obligation to eat the food, else the food would go to waste. This led me to eat a lot of junk food, fried food, unhealthy food, etc, which I normally wouldn’t want to eat, but do so any way because they were there.
During the fast, it occurred to me that it was okay not to eat them at all. I saw my parents buying/cooking new food every day for the family (that I ideally don’t want to eat but would have eaten normally), of which the leftovers would get thrown away the next day. And guess what? The world didn’t end and life continued as normal, much to my surprise. They continued to buy/cook new food the next day, of which leftovers would again get thrown away. This continued every day for the 21 days.
It was then that I realized I have the right to say no if something is not the way I want it to be. It’s perfectly okay not to eat something if I don’t want to and to choose the foods that I do want to eat. This was a small, but very powerful realization that I now exercise every day in my meals.
As for showing love and appreciation to my parents, I’ve learned to stop using food as the proxy of expression, and instead communicate more openly with them. I’m now talking more often with them and I also make it a point every evening to join my dad in watching TV (his favorite evening pastime). For sure, such methods of conveying love are a lot more direct, and non-convoluted.
3. Eating to Recapture Past Emotions
The third thing was how I would eat as a way to recapture past positive memories. As I mentioned on Day 6:
In between objectively observing food, I got a chance to examine my feelings of nostalgia toward food. I feel that a large part of my past eating habits were never because of the food itself, but to chase down emotions I would get from eating them.
For example, a part of me thought about veggie pizza complete with cheese and all. However, I know eating it doesn’t truly make me feel happy. I’ve done it lots of times in the past and the result was always the same. Looking at the picture makes me tempted, I get excited about eating it, I feel happy when eating, but after eating I never feel happy. The same thing applies for other food items – be it waffles, ice cream (non-raw, non-vegan), my mom/dad’s cooking, fries, sushi (again, non-raw and non-vegan version), chocolate shakes, wafers, cookies, pastries – pretty much any non-raw/non-vegan item.
The thing is, I was never after the food. What I was after was the emotion the food would give me while eating it. It could be positive memories in the past when I ate it with friends or family. It could be positive memories at a particular stage of my life when I ate it in the past. It could be the supposed joy that eating the food brings, as always depicted in commercials, posters and TV shows. When I objectively explored each feeling of nostalgia, this same answer would emerge. Even as I explore the deepest side of me, I could feel a speck of nostalgia toward some meat items – not because I want to eat meat (I’ve absolutely no interest in eating meat ever since I turned vegetarian in Jan ’08), but because of past positive memories I had while having meat-based meals.
This was why I would eat so incessantly in the past, because food was never the answer. It was merely a proxy by which I could reconnect with the emotion, and because food itself wasn’t the source of the emotion, it led me to eat more of it just to chase down the emotion. And afterward, because I felt bad for eating something I didn’t even want to eat in the first place, I would eat more as a sort of self-punishment. And more, and more. It was an endless spiral. Food wasn’t a relief; it had become a prison. I felt that if I continued down that line, at some point I’d probably eat myself to death.
Being conscious of this relationship with food helped me to untangle the messy web I’ve entangled myself in. Rather than chase after food to reconnect with the emotions (and never getting anywhere), what I should do is to connect with the emotions directly at the source. If it’s a feeling of connection I’m looking with my parents, then connect with them. If it’s about connecting with friends, then get in touch with them. Doing so helps to tackle the issue at the root, and take food, an unrelated agent to begin with, out of the equation.
4. Finally Understanding True Hunger
Surviving perfectly fine without food for 21 days was incredibly eye-opening. It suddenly made me realize that majority of the general population actually know very little about the human body, and a lot of what they say about eating, diets, the body’s limitations and capabilities are not true at all. It was an extremely powerful realization, and there are actually 2 points I want to make about this.
Firstly, you definitely do not die from not eating for 21 days (in fact the average, acceptable weight person has reserves that can last 40 days, with longer duration for heavier people). By that standard, it’s actually really hard for anyone to truly die of hunger in the modern society. Drama serials depicting people on the brink of death from not eating for a few days might want to get some reality check right there. I also had quite an interesting time observing reactions of people who knew that I didn’t eat for 21 days and freaking out about that, because it reflects how deeply embedded these conditioning and beliefs are, despite being untrue.
Secondly, all the different signs and sensations people refer to as cue on when to eat/not eat are totally irrelevant to hunger. During the 21 days, I experienced all these supposed “hunger” sensations. From growling of stomach, to introduction of digestive juices, to the emptiness/fullness of stomach (very common indicator but definitely untrue), to mental cravings, to emotional cravings. Each time, each sensation would arise and fade away, and I continued to function fine. I didn’t die. I also certainly didn’t convulse in terror and pain from not eating itself.
Fact is, none of that is true hunger. Even at the end of the 21 days, I never experienced true hunger – the strong craving for food that comes not from the stomach, the mind or the heart, but the throat. Short of not having eaten anything for 40 days, I don’t think anyone has ever experienced true hunger in his/her life.
The funny thing is that I’ve lived a large part of my life freaking out and living in fear that I might die from not eating enough. In primary school, my teacher always warned us never to go without food for more than 4 hours because she suffered from irreversible damage to her stomach walls from irregular eating hours. (I later found out during the fast that gastric pain is due to present issues with the person’s stomach, and isn’t caused by not eating.) My parents, particularly my dad, would always tell me to eat more, and that I was not eating enough – even when I may well be eating enough. I had a friend in primary school who barely ate and was extremely thin and sickly, and she was etched as an image of someone one would become if he/she didn’t eat enough.
Because of the above, I would always overeat than undereat. If I ever felt I wasn’t eating enough, I would freak out. If it’s been a few hours since I last ate, I would worry that I wasn’t taking proper care of myself (see #1 Food as Love). Looking back, a lot of my past eating behaviors were driven by emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations, all of which had nothing to do with real hunger at all. They were absolutely ridiculous. Not eating for 21 days straight during the fast and surviving perfectly well made me realize how far I’m away from ever “dying from hunger”. All my worries in the past were unfounded and merely figments of imagination and false conditioning.
Mental Clarity and Creativity
While some fasters reported having increased mental clarity and creativity during their fasts, I didn’t experience any of that. My take is that every fast is different, and everyone experiences detox on areas where he/she is most blocked on. For me my biggest gains during the fast were the physical detox, weight loss, re-established relationship with food and emotional detox. Mental clarity and creativity-wise, not so much. To begin with, I’ve never experienced any issues with mental clarity before my fast; consequently I’ve always felt improved mental clarity since switching to a vegetarian diet in 2008. Creativity has never been an issue either – doing what I love every day is a never-ending fuel for new ideas and inspiration.
I read in a fasting literature that fasts have to be longer than 21 days to “awaken the higher mind functions” – i.e. resulting in awakening of intuitive senses, creativity and deeper spiritual connection. Since my fast was 21 days, that might be another reason why I didn’t experience that. I guess that’s a separate fast for a different time then. 😉
Initial Difficulty in Breaking the Fast
After 21 days of not eating, my stomach had entered slumber mode. I experienced difficulty breaking the fast during the first 2 days, where the watermelon and apple pieces I ate were untouched by my stomach. I also felt nauseous after eating, and at some points my body tried to vomit the fruits out. That actually got me panicking for a while because it felt like I was stuck in fasting limbo – wanting to eat but not able to process the food! It was only on Day 3 that I finally succeeded in breaking the fast (more in Day 4’s post-fast update).
Today is Day 6 post-fast and I’m pretty much back on normal meals. This morning, I had a delicious Veggie Delite wrap from Subway, with tomato sauce. I think I went up to heaven right at the instant (if you recall, I was obsessing with vegetable wraps after seeing someone have one on Day 16 of my fast). The fresh vegetables were so incredibly tasty and energizing! In the evening, I had a cooked vegetarian meal, with brown rice, vegetables, potato and mock curry chicken. No problems eating and digesting. 😀
My Plans Post Fast
The fast has been a mind-opening experience. While many may be attracted to water fasting for the obvious weight-loss benefits, it’s so much more than that. While I have lost a fair bit of weight thanks to the fast and I’m happy for that, it is the revelations and physical detox that I’m most grateful for, followed by the weight loss.
For sure, just like any change agents, water fasting is just a platform to jumpstart the process. The most important thing is what one does after the fast to maintain the positive benefits, from improved skin, weight loss, physical detox, etc. Without proper follow-up plan and commitment to change, everything will simply revert to the way they were in the past. Some people use fasting as a quick fix for their problems, and end up looping through the same issues after their fasts are over. These people would no sooner become fasting junkies, and this isn’t what we want.
Having addressed numerous subconscious blockages with food during the fast, I’ve committed to make 3 key changes post-fast, all of which are diet-related:
The first thing is a commitment to a vegan diet. In Jan 2008, I switched from a meat-based diet to a vegan diet. While I tried to be vegan where possible, a lot of times I was flexible when there were limited food selections, hence making me more of a lacto-ovo vegetarian (i.e. vegetarian who consumes dairy and egg). Having experienced first hand the debilitating effects of toxic diets during the fast though, I no longer want to feed my body with animal-derived products ever again. That means no more eggs, diary, milk and cheese ever again (FYI for those who don’t know, there are vegan cheese made of soy so these can be used as animal cheese substitutes). There may be times when I’m not able to adhere to the guideline, but on the whole it’s the ideal I want to work toward.
The second thing is to consume a diet that’s as healthy as possible. It’s possible for one to be vegan but still be very unhealthy, since vegan food can still be junk, processed and oily. I’ve seen a lot of obese/over-weight vegetarians/vegans and I’m not sure if they are all that healthy to be honest. I don’t want to be like that. That means no more oily/fried/deep-fried food and as little processed food as possible. I’m also cutting out instant noodles too (one of my staple foods in the past), which is essentially just a pack of dried, fried flour with no nutrition at all. I’m also going to include as much raw fruits and vegetables in my diet as possible.
Ideally I’d go with a full raw vegan diet, but ultimately convenience is a big thing to me, and the raw diet is not at all supported where I live. I do see this as a transition phase to a full LFRV (low fat raw vegan) diet in the long run though.
The third thing, and perhaps the most important of all, is to eat based on my daily caloric and nutritional needs, and nothing else.
In the past, I ate based on many different sensations and emotions which I thought was hunger. From the growling of the stomach, to how empty/full my stomach feels, to the time of the day (i.e. for breakfast/lunch/dinner), to the time duration I last ate, to mental craving, to emotional desire for food, and so on and so forth. Truth is, all of them were irrelevant to true hunger, which is physical craving of food from the throat. Anything else is merely an illusion of hunger.
Now that hunger has a new-found meaning in my books, the question goes back to – Why do we, as humans, even need to consume food to live in the first place? Certainly not for pleasure, for acceptance, nor for comfort. The primary reason why we eat is because it’s a fuel so we can live longer, and have a richer experience of life.
Given that, the guiding factor as to how much and what we should eat a day should then be based precisely on that – what’s required to fully meet our daily energy and nutritional needs, so we can live our life to the fullest. Sure, we can and should still enjoy food as we eat them, but we should never misplace this primary role of food in our lives, or it’ll no sooner lead to a relationship that spirals out of control – where one overeats, obsesses about eating/not eating something, switches regularly between “craving”, “indulging”, “resisting”, to “controlling” his/her appetite when around food, gains weight despite intentions not to, etc. All these are tell-tale signs when one has a non-ideal relationship with food, because he/she has made food take on the role of something else in his/her life, a role which it will never be able to fill as a proxy. I went through this for many years, and it was a painful struggle in the later few years. I hope that in sharing what I went through above, you’ll be able to get insights on your situation too if it applies.
I estimate my daily energy expenditure is about 1,600 calories, so I need the same amount to maintain my weight. Since I’ll be sticking to a clean, vegan diet that’s high in fresh fruits and vegetables, I do not foresee any deficiency in the area of vitamins and minerals. I won’t be counting calories because it’s laborious, though I’ll weigh in weekly to ensure my weight stays consistent on the whole (though I’m planning to get back into exercising in a couple of weeks, so there might be some gains due to increase in muscle mass).
That’s about it with the fasting review and I hope you found it helpful in some way. 😀 I’d like to thank all of you for following my progress through my fast, as well as your continuous support in the forums. A large part of what gives me joy in life is the ability to pursue my growth and actively share my endeavors and experiments with all of you, so all of you can take the best lessons for yourself. It was definitely a very enjoyable experience doing this experiment and sharing with all of you. If I was not running PE, I doubt there would have been as much incentive for me to take on a 21 day fast and document it to this extent, so thank you for being a part of this journey with me.
I feel that the fasting experiment has definitely been a big step forward in bringing the Personal Excellence content quality to a whole different level. Beyond just a good breadth of topics, I also wish for Personal Excellence to be an alcove with strong depth of coverage in life’s different personal growth topics. My plan for this year is to further expand on the boundaries of growth and produce more powerful content that makes a real difference in people’s lives. I’m excited about what’s next, and I’m excited to have all of you here with me. :hug:
I’ll likely post another post-fast update at the one-month mark post-fast, just to let all of you know where I’m at.
Update: My Post Fast: 1 Month Update is up!
Image: Meditating at beach