Fasting for Longevity, Health and Self-Improvement

Fasting is a challenge that’s fun and rewarding. I always feel lighter, more energetic and cleaner after a fast. I am more in tune with myself and can identify my psychological addiction to certain foods. I can tell when I need to eat versus wanting to eat.

Before I did my first fast, I read a lot of books (I know there’s a lot of good books out there. The best how-to I read years ago was a German book in English called Healthy Fasting by Hellmiss). I had a lot of American preconceived notions and mythical fears about fasting but the more I learned, the more I was encouraged and empowered that this was not only safe, but invaluable to my health. Most animals do it. Fasting is old-school (like b.c.), dating to over 5,000 years ago. This includes the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Baha’i. But in today’s world, it’s not solely driven by religion. There are many health advantages to fasting which include: prevention of illness, disease and cancer; weight-loss; detoxification; longevity-enhancing; and a house cleaning of sorts for your tissues/cells. While fasting your body enters auto-lysis, where your body decomposes all the dead, damaged, diseased, weakened and aged tissues and cells in your body. When you are eating, your body doesn’t have time for all this cleaning because it’s busy digesting and the little fast overnight isn’t significant to counter all the toxins we face on a daily basis (plastics exposure, air/water pollution, pesticides/hormones/antibiotics in our food, etc.)

There are many different kinds and ways to fast. You can eat raw, you can buy an expensive kit filled with supplements and pills, you can do all liquids (juice, water, tea) or the all-water fast (which I don’t think is appropriate for our modern world. I think it’s important to consume some calories from juice to balance the outside stresses). So, after my reading I designed a fast combining my new knowledge from all the books I read. My next post will detail the process of the fast so you aren’t overwhelmed by too much at once.

If you decide to fast, don’t forget to take this extra time spent not eating on something positive. I try to meditate more, take walks, do yoga and take baths. There are many ways to enhance the detox which I’ll cover in the day-by-day.

Don’t obsess.

After my first fast my weight dropped by 5 pounds and stayed there, which shocked me. My weight is pretty stable and I’ve weighed about the same the past 9 years. I’ve fasted since the big weight loss and my weight has not dropped after subsequent fasts. I think I must have had 5 pounds of poisons somewhere hidden in my body and the only time I’ve gained weight (those 5 pounds again) was being in South America for 7 months (and eating a lot of rice and potatoes and candy bars).

It’s very important to weigh yourself twice a day while fasting and know your average weight. The initial fast was planned to be 5 days, but I lost 4 pounds a day, 3 days in a row and reached a 10% loss of my body weight. I had to stop. Once you get under 10% your body changes from detoxing and cleaning to starvation mode. It can screw up your metabolism for life. You can start storing all your food as fat reserves. Bad news. So I haven’t been able to do longer than 3 days for a juice fast but that’s okay, I know I can’t force my body. So don’t force yours. Love it and take care of it. I think it’s strange that one of the best preventative things you can do for your body isn’t discussed or encouraged in our country outside of no meat on Fridays for Lent. That kind of a fast has always been a focus on restrictions with a negative viewpoint. Perhaps one day fasting will be seen by more as a positive thing, not about restricting yourself but using your willpower to quiet down the digestion and take time to clean house, physically and mentally.

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