Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fasting

OK, I told myself to fast after I came back from California (there was no point of fasting before or during my trip since my parents wouldn't have it any other way than to stuff me with food). I did gain a few pounds while I was out west, and when I got back, I was more than determined to lose those extra fat quickly.

So, Friday night at around 11 p.m. I had my last meal. Well, it wasn't really a meal, just a frozen fruit popsicle (and it was good). I woke up with the normal hunger but by then it was about 8 or 9 hours without food for me, so I realized I might as well keep going.

I drank a lot of water. I did cheat a bit, during the afternoon, with a bottle of Vitamin Water because I was feeling woozy, and I was about to go to the gym to work out. It's very important to exercise during a fast, by the way.

The first two days were the hardest. I kept having hunger pangs, but I resisted the urge to eat or even think of food. By Saturday evening, my feeling of hunger had dissipated and I felt calm and actually very good about myself.  Except for a cold that developed on Saturday. I supposed the toxins were being released from my body and whatever viruses lurking were attacking my system, now that it seemed weaker.  I took ColdEeze and vitamin C and, again, drank a lot of water. I also went to bed early, trying to sleep it off.

Sunday was much easier, and I didn't much think of food at all. I worked out, although a little lighter than usual as I was still feeling a bit under the weather, and I drank a lot of water.  I even went to the grocery store and did not buy any food. I was so proud of myself.

Monday was my third day, and I felt much better. I had almost no hunger, and I was able to go about my daily routines without any physical or mental problems. A few times I felt a bit woozy and I had to sit down and rest, but very quickly the feeling subsided. My cold was almost completely gone and I felt good. In the evening, I had an apple and some tea with honey just to get some nutrients into my body -- but that was all I ate. Normally you shouldn't do that because it may trigger your brain into feeding mode instead of conservation. But so far, it hasn't affected my fast.

By Tuesday (the fourth day), I've lost about four pounds -- no doubt mostly water and some fat. I didn't notice any muscle loss as I was very careful to exercise while doing this. The puffiness on my face has totally disappeared, and I look much leaner. Since I didn't have any sodium intake for a few days, I'm not retaining water and my blood pressure has been really normal. Not to mention I do honestly feel better. Maybe it's psychological, but I think I've flushed out a lot of crap and toxins from my body in the last 3 1/2 days. It can't be a bad thing.

Even though I wanted to fast for three days, I'm beginning to think I should do it for five days. It seems that it takes the body and the brain at least 2 or 3 days to get into the conservation mode, and that's when fasting becomes beneficial. 

According to all the research I've done, during the first few days, the body will try to take any glucose it can find -- in muscles, and from glycogen in the liver, etc. But after 2 or 3 days, that's when the body goes for the fat. There are about 3500 calories in one pound of fat, so to lose a pound, your body needs to burn the fat for a bit over a day (considering a person with normal activities burns about 2200-2500 calories a day). That's why it's more beneficial to fast for at least 5 days. Also, do you know that toxins are stored in fat?  So by burning the fat, you'd be releasing the toxins to your bloodstream, and it's very important that you keep yourself hydrated and try to flush things out -- by peeing a lot, or sweating. Therefore, using the sauna during this time is highly beneficial as well.

I've learned quite a bit about the process and my body during this "experiment." I wouldn't recommend anyone do this without any serious thoughts and research; and if you have health issues, please, please, please consult your doctors first. However, I have to admit I really do see the benefit of a moderate fast (3-7 days) -- it's good to the body and the soul. And I think it would be a good thing to do every once in a while.

Before you consider fasting, however, make sure you understand what you're getting into, and make sure you know your body well. It's also good to have someone to back you up just in case you're putting your health in danger. The first few days is going to be rough, and you need the discipline to keep going; once you hit the threshold by the 3rd day, it will be easier. I find that my attitude about food has changed. I realize I don't have to eat all that junk and can still be productive and happy. I don't need all that salt. I don't need all that fatty stuff. A simple apple becomes very enjoyable, and I don't crave for more. It's an extraordinary discovery about myself and food. In a way, it's rather liberating.


3 comments:

Carpe Diem said...

Heh.... What a coincidence. Since last week, due to a stomach infection, I'm in some kind of fast as well. It's not as strict for me--I do eat, you see--, but the list of food I can actually get is very limited. That, added to working out at the gym after the doctor let me, has been reflecting a little on my body. Besides, I've noticed my parents and siblings buy TONS of junk food.

Anonymous said...

Also, when you do a fast or cleanse, it is actually best to do them in spring and summer. Your body doesn't need to work hard to keep warm. Also, during fasts or cleanses you should take it easy--exercise and drink lots of water, but not too much exercise and not high stress stuff (like working tons of hours). --GW

Ray Wong said...

Absolutely.