Last month I decided to go on a therapeutic fast (“Heilfasten” in German).
I always wanted to do a real fast, just as an experiment and because I know there are true health benefits coming with it. I had done two 3-day juice fasts in the past but I feel they were not ideal as I constantly felt hungry because of all that fruit sugar spiking my blood sugar levels all the time.
Now that I had just come back from Australia I felt this was the right time to take it slow, go inwards and to support the process of letting go of the last chapter of my life with letting go of my usual food.
For my fast I followed the recommendations of a book by fasting expert Elisabeth Rabeder.
My fast started with a few “preparation” days on which I basically only had raw fruits and veggies and some vegetable soup. I also gave up coffee which probably was the hardest part, haha. I just love my coffee, mainly for the taste. Giving up coffee actually resulted in me having a headache for 3 days and made me realize how strong the effects of caffeine actually are! After 2 days I also started having some terrible lower back pain which made it hard for me to sleep just when I started to need more sleep. I did some research and found out that it seems to benormal to get back pain while fasting, already when preparing for a fast.
So after these days my real fast started which means for the next days I only consumed liquid food: fruit/veggie juice in the morning, clear or mashed veggie soup for lunch and dinner
These were my experiences:
Day 1: What I did first was taking some bitter salt to empty the intestine (which sounds worse than it is). Surprisingly I didn’t really feel hungry at all but I still struggled with my backpain, fortunately my headache was almost gone. In general I felt super low on this day. I had no energy and just wanted to sleep and I did sleep a lot. I also felt as if I had a light fever and felt super cold. On this day I felt like a lot of emotions were coming up and that I started processing the past and what I had left behind in Australia. Not sure if the fasting contributed to this but it wasn’t an easy day for me. As I’m not exercising during these days I decided to go for a walk in nature which helped a lot. I still went to bed with back pain but I felt it got a bit better.
Day 2: Compared to the other day I woke up quite early and my mood was a lot brighter which surprised me as I still struggled a lot with back pain during the night and had troubles falling asleep. I actually felt pretty productive and started tackling my to do list early in the morning. The whole day my energy stayed pretty high, my headache completely dissolved and my lower back felt a lot better, I could even do some yoga for backpain which felt really good. I felt a little bit hungry here and there but altogether I this had been quite a good day for me.
Day 3: The first day I really felt hungry! But only at 3am in the monring when I woke up with a growling stomach which was gone when I finally got up later. My backpain was almost gone in the morning, too. I also took some cbd the night before to help me fall asleep because of restless legs and I think it helped. This day I first had another glass of water with bitter salt because when you’re fasting your gut is not moving a lot if no solid food is coming so you want to help keeping your digestion active. For the rest of the day I felt pretty good again. Not a lot of hunger or any other negative symptoms.
Day 4: I don’t have a lot to say about this day, I just still felt very good – even though I have to admit I felt hungrier than on the other days. My back pain had completely gone, too. I had a little test: I visited a cousin with my parents and it was a bit sad to not have any coffee and cake with them but I wouldn’t say it was difficult.
Day 5: I decided to make this the last day of my fasting experience. For once because I just felt it’s been enough for this first time, I felt pretty hungry on day 4 or 5 with a growling stomach and decided to eat the next day. Which is strange… I thought I would be very hungry at the start and less hungry after a few days but it was the other way round. On this day I also had been very busy and felt I actually lack energy to do everything I need to do, I actually felt I should just have some food but I wanted to complete at least 5 days. Another reason was that I have some things coming up at the weekend and I didn’t want to break my fast just shortly before that but I wanted to give my body more time to slowly get used to eating again at home. Obviously after you finish fasting you don’t just stuff your face with anything you can find but slowly introduce your body to solid food again – just as you slowly reduce the food when you prepare for fasting.
Overall this has been an amazing experience and I feel pretty good after it, I can only recommend to try it out yourself (if you feel fit and healthy and have no problems with eating like an eating disorder!)
No matter what kind of fasting, just give it a go – you don’t have to go all in the first time and go on a water fast.
As I mentioned, I struggled on Day 5 because I had been very busy, was running and driving around a lot and so on… so if possible I would go on a fast in more quiet phase of your life when you have a lot of time for yourself.
Positive things I loved the most about this time:
-seeing how I can have the willpower and discipline to do something I decide to do (I just love food and coffee so I definitely give myself some credit here, haha)
-more clarity, I felt my mind was pretty sharp during these days
-I felt more connected and compassionate with myself which helped me accepting my emotions and dealing with them once they came up
-without thinking about what to eat and preparing food all the time, I had more time and energy to focus on other important things in my life
-with the headache I got it showed me how strong the effect of caffeine actually is (I always assume it doesn’t really affect me because I don’t really feel more awake after drinking coffee)
-you learn to value food a lot more again, have more appreciation for it and eat more mindfully – it even tastes more intense again