the fast and the feast

So, I just fin­ished a 90 hours fast.

To get a bet­ter pic­ture: that´s close to 4 days with­out food — just water and tea.
I intend­ed to do it no longer or short­er, because for me this length seems quite man­age­able and gives a great amount of ben­e­fits with­out „over­do­ing“ it.
Well…it´s been only near­ly 4 days but the phas­es you go through while fast­ing are quite „inter­est­ing“.

Let me guide you through them..

Day 1: not that hun­gry til mid-day, a lit­tle moody, kind of impa­tient already, but over­all ok.

Day 2: „Why the fuck am I doing this shit?! I´m gonna break it, I´m gonna quit, I just gonna do it anoth­er time when I´m more busy and more dis­tract­ed! How can being pissed, rest­less and annoyed be health­i­er than fast­ing any­way? That´s it, tonight I´m gonna eat my scram­bled eggs with spinach and mush­rooms“ (that´s pret­ty much all I had in my fridge).
Don´t ask me how I made it through day 2, because I can´t even count how many times I bat­tled with thoughts of quit­ting and how many excus­es have cir­cled my mind – buu­ut some­thing in me some­how resist­ed to eat.
So I didn´t.

I decid­ed to break the fast the next day instead..

Day 3: I woke up. and felt..kinda good.
I imme­di­ate­ly decid­ed, nope I´m not going to break my fast today. I gonna make it through those 90 hours! I went for a run and actu­al­ly had great ener­gy, but then again..I also felt exhaust­ed after 15 min­utes.
By now my body has adjust­ed get­ting its ener­gy dif­fer­ent­ly with the result of me feel­ing bet­ter in my head with more steady ener­gy lev­els.

It´s pret­ty com­mon that the first two days suck. They are def­i­nite­ly the hard­est and worst.
If you can make it through the first 48 hours, you already made it half way through – even if you decide to fast for 10 days.

Day 4: „I actu­al­ly could go on…“
I real­ly thought this. My ener­gy got even bet­ter, I was more sharp and more moti­vat­ed (okay I was also look­ing for­ward to eat again that day).
But it real­ly did feel like I could go on for anoth­er few days.

How­ev­er, I´m not too much into longer fasts, even though chal­leng­ing myself to do a 5 day one seems quite appeal­ing (yea until day 2 starts..).

And maaan, does it feel good to eat again. You real­ly do appre­ci­ate food much more, its taste, its smell, and just being able to chew again.

So and with what did I break it?

I didn´t go for the whole fruit or juice thing, nope. After 4 days it´s usu­al­ly ok to go for smth more sub­stan­tial, at least for me. Every­one is dif­fer­ent.
So I made some eggs (there they are;) with some mush­room and spinach (of course), some cucum­ber aaand drum drum…beef liv­er.
Just because it´s deli­cious.

Fast­ing – espe­cial­ly dur­ing the first cou­ple of days — feels like you´re wait­ing…
wait­ing until you can eat again.
wait­ing until your life becomes nor­mal again.
and wait­ing until you can par­tic­i­pate in nor­mal things again, like going to a cafe with­out hav­ing to order tea…I mean who drinks tea in a cafe?
It´s. just. not. the. same.

So yea every­one goes through dif­fer­ent stuff, and some fasts can be eas­i­er than the oth­ers.
After hav­ing done it a few times before, 2 of which hap­pened last year. I can say that with this one I had to push through much hard­er.
I believe because I didn´t need to go to work. Being prop­er­ly occu­pied takes a lot of thought bat­tling away, and before you real­ize it, it´s bed­time and the next day is about to start. Some peo­ple pre­fer rest­ing.
I dis­trac­tion.

So yea, this was my first 90 hours fast expe­ri­ence this year.
Now I´m gonna show (or rather explain) you why I´m actu­al­ly doing this to me. And I bet after read­ing this, you gonna think about doing it as well;)

NUMBER ONE:

Fast­ing is stress.

Do I have you on board already?

No?

Well, yes fast­ing is stress for the body, no ques­tion. But so is exer­cis­ing. The mus­cles while strength train­ing are torn. They need to be under stress in order to rebuild them­selves again. That´s how they get stronger.

Same goes with fast­ing.

First­ly, it makes your immune sys­tem stronger and more resilient.

Why?

While fast­ing your body goes into sur­vival mode and tries to save ener­gy. It does it, amongst oth­er things, by get­ting ener­gy from oth­er sources than it nor­mal­ly would. One way is to recy­cle a lot of the immune cells that are not need­ed or even dam­aged. It´s like, only the strongest and fittest sur­vive;)

Basi­cal­ly your cells are going to start regen­er­at­ing, which leads to them replac­ing old cells with new and health­i­er ones.
Yes at first the num­ber of white blood cells go down while fast­ing, but when you start to refeed again, stem cells are acti­vat­ed and start to pump out new ones.
Fast­ing is lit­er­al­ly reset­ing your entire immune sys­tem, mak­ing you more resilient to tox­ins, bac­te­rias, free rad­i­cals etc. than before.

Anoth­er great ben­e­fit of fast­ing is the increase of human growth hor­mones, which plays an impor­tant role in growth, metab­o­lism and mus­cle strength. Some ath­letes out there take sup­ple­ments to inhance their human growth hor­mones, because it speeds up recov­ery time, helps to build mus­cle faster and burns fat faster! So why not do it the health­i­er, more nat­ur­al and also more chal­leng­ing way! (you know.. strength­en­ing your willpow­er is not a bad thing either..).
Fur­ther­more the boost in human growth hor­mone enhances col­la­gen pro­duc­tion (for healthy nails, hair, skin and joints), and also improves bone den­si­tiy. Oh and just so you know..it´s also called the anti-aging hor­mone.
So yea..we def­i­nite­ly want more of that.

My favourite ben­e­fit of fast­ing is actu­al­ly its effect on aut­phagy.
As humans we need to elim­i­nate waste from our body… well, so do our cells. They need to get rid of their waste and con­stant­ly restore them­selves in order to per­form opti­maly. Autophagy is basi­cal­ly the cell recy­cling and refresh­ing itself and fast­ing turns on this process immen­seve­ly, because now, with­out any food, the body has time to do so.

When you are in a con­stant feed modus, the body is main­ly occu­pied with all the food you con­sume, digest­ing it as fast as it can, before the next load comes in. (btw, that´s why we lose our appetite when we are sick, because our body needs the ener­gy to fight off bac­te­ria and get healthy again).

Autophagy is also a rea­son why prop­er sleep for exam­ple is so cru­cial. Dur­ing that time our bod­ies actu­al­ly do all the repair­ing and restor­ing, mak­ing us ready for the next day.
However..nowadays with the amount of stress we are con­front­ed or put on our­selves, the food we eat (or not eat), the alco­hol we con­sume, the con­stant snack­ing dur­ing the day and til late in the evening, as well as lack of sleep itself, makes this clean­ing process of the cells hard­er and hard­er and this comes with a bunch of con­se­quences.
From fatigue and diges­tive issues, to autoim­mune dis­eases and oth­er severe phys­i­cal but also men­tal ill­ness­es. It shows up dif­fer­ent­ly for every­one.

And since we talk about stress… fast­ing does help here as well, because you will be improv­ing your body´s gen­er­al resis­tance to stress in the long-run.
Expos­ing your body to dif­fer­ent kind of stres­sors such as excer­sic­ing, cold show­ers, sauna or fast­ing makes your body, as said, more resilient and there­fore more capa­ble in deal­ing with life´s ongo­ing stres­sors.

There are so many more great ben­e­fits to fast­ing and I´m not going to cov­er them all here (feel free to look them up) BUT, one last impor­tant one I want to men­tion is its effect on our brain.
While fast­ing the pro­duc­tion of a pro­tein called brain-derived neu­rotroph­ic fac­tor (BDNF) is stim­u­lat­ed, which plays a crit­i­cal role in mem­o­ry, learn­ing, and gen­er­ates new nerve cells! Fur­ther­more it makes neu­rons more resistent to stress.
The process of autophagy that I men­tioned ealier, does not only apply to the cells in our blood or liv­er or skin…obviously the same goes for our brain with all its awe­some regen­er­at­ing ben­e­fits (ok I hope this was the last time I used the word ben­e­fit here……damned!).

To sum it up…with fast­ing we give the body the oppor­tu­ni­ty to lit­er­al­ly heal itself by killing off aka starv­ing all the old and unhealthy cells, includ­ing autoim­mune cells and even can­cer cells, mak­ing the immune sys­tem stronger than before.

Fast­ing is an expe­ri­ence that is men­tal­ly, emo­tion­al­ly and phys­i­cal­ly chal­leng­ing.
But at the same time reward­ing on so many lev­els.

The best part of all?

Your first meal after your fast.

because believe me…

…even mush­rooms and spinach turn into a feast.

Recources:
http://www.brainfacts.org/thinking-sensing-and-behaving/diet-and-lifestyle/2018/how-does-fasting-affect-the-brain-071318
https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-of-fasting-that-will-surprise-you.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits#section7
https://ideapod.com/study-finds-fasting-72-hours-can-regenerate-entire-immune-system/
https://rawlsmd.com/health-articles/can-fasting-renew-your-immune-system

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *