Saturday, June 28, 2014

Three-day Fast.

"The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them."
~Tariq Ramadan

Utah County (point of the mountain)
taken from the Frontrunner train

On Wednesday evening I started a three-day fast. What? Why would you do that? Well, a couple of reasons. One, I was going to be fasting for 12 hours anyway in preparation to get my blood drawn for my yearly physical. Two, my mom has talked to me about the benefits of long-term fasting for my health and resetting my system. And three, I read this article about the immune system benefits of a three-day fast. As you know, I have had my share of health problems and illnesses over the past two and a half years (has it been that long?) and the idea of resetting my immune system was appealing.

But three days?!? Oh my. That's a long time. I'm not very good and certainly not regular in fasting for 24 hours, which is a customary practice in the Mormon Church once a month on the first Sunday of the month. I was not sure I could make it. I knew I could expect physical and mental discomforts, but I also felt that it would be a good opportunity for personal reflection regarding my eating habits, determining my motivations when it comes to food and how much of that is mental, and figuring out ways to combat my mental relationship with food.

Day One: Actually not too bad. On a normal day, I drink a lot of water, so I knew that wouldn't be a problem. In fact, I added about 30 ounces to my normal intake. Although on a regular day I eat breakfast by 9am, this time it didn't bother me. I had my water. I was good. By lunch time, I was a little hungry and I was smelling the goods my co-workers were having for lunch in their offices. I went downstairs to my car with my water bottle and took a nap. (Sleep is my other self-medication.) After lunch, I was a little uneasy at my desk, since usually I eat a piece of fruit or a sweet treat to get through the afternoon. But I knew I was getting my blood-work done that afternoon, so I powered through and took hope in leaving at 4pm to get that done. Interestingly, after my blood-work, as I got into the car, was the hardest moment. Typically when I'm fasting for blood-work, I have a little something to eat right after I'm done. This time however, I suddenly felt like I was starving myself. It's okay. Though I considered going shopping that night to keep my mind off of eating, I decided to go straight home so I wouldn't have the temptation of any food places. Since I wasn't eating dinner, I went up to my room and began blogging -- I have a lot of catching up to do. At about 7:30pm, I heard KDJ downstairs preparing her dinner and then within minutes I smelled the lovely smell of tacos. But I was okay because at that point I was proud I'd made it past the 24 hours mark. But don't get me wrong... being online there are food enticements everywhere! I began thinking of all the food I could make next week, when I will be easing my way back into eating. But let's be truthful... none of the food I'm thinking about is going to "ease" me back into eating. Four-cheese lasagna, sushi, cherry cobbler?

Also, right at about 7:30 or 8pm, my stomach started growling for the first time that I noticed all day.

Day Two:

I am now constantly thinking of all the yummy food items I could make. One pot pasta. Lemon blueberry cake. Phở. (Ooh, pho would be a good way to ease into eating again.) Pizza.

Right now I'm feeling irritable and a bit angry. I'm also feeling a bit light-headed. Every time I refill my water in the break room (today I'm already at 64 ounces), I get really sad that I can't fill up a mini dixie cup with snacks. There are three snack jars in the break room that are typically filled with things like nuts, or trail mix, or dried fruit. Today, I wish I could be snacking on yogurt-covered raisins. Or are they craisins? I don't know, but I'm starving myself, so I can't have them. This is ridiculous.

It's funny how I feel unsure of what to do next at every turn when I can't eat something. It's funny because it's not like I'm constantly eating on normal days, but maybe I am grazing a lot or something. Like last night when I didn't even want to be downstairs because I couldn't eat, so what was the point? I just stayed up in my room. Drinking my water.

Tonight, I happen to know that KDJ is planning to make black bean and mango salad. I want some so badly. Yum.

Day Three:

Well, interestingly, Day Three is easier than Day Two was. I guess I also know that I'm going to be eating dinner tonight too. That may help. I've already planned it. Phở. Yum. I can hardly wait it sounds so delicious. If you've never had it, you must try it.

I guess the thing I've noticed most in the last three days is how much of my life involves food. Social gatherings, sitting at my desk at work. I just think about food a lot. My relationship with food is complicated, I've noticed. Apparently, I eat out of habit, boredom, stress, anxiety, depression. Often, I found myself going to the fridge and just opening it up.

Water is my best good friend.

This has been an enlightening experience, which I plan to do again. Focusing on the spiritual and mental side of it has been interesting and I'd like to do that again. Interestingly, I've lost about 10 pounds. I'm sure it will come back as soon as I have the cycle of food in me, but it's nice to see that it can come off. Challenging myself and making myself come to terms with myself (if that makes sense). Maybe in a month or two. Maybe I'll be able to be more mentally controlled this time. Practice makes perfect, right?

But for now, I'll look forward to my delicious phở dinner tonight. Maybe I'll even get some Vietnamese fresh spring rolls. Delish.


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