04 Dec To Fast or not to fast?
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that for the last 7 days I fasted. Every day I shared on my Stories about my process, different symptoms, tips, what to expect and how to make the fast more easy and enjoyable. There was so much feedback, that I actually decided to offer Coaching Services specifically on Fasting.
But if you haven’t seen my stories, you may wonder, why the heck would anyone decide not to eat for 5 Days and have 4 days of soups and maybe a smoothie only?
Aren’t detoxes and cleanses just a lame trend that is designed to rip you off, fuel eating disorders and make you believe that you some illusionary toxins leave your body?
Let’s have a look at these questions from my own experience!
So, I just want to share very briefly about my own history with fasting.
Before a major insight changed my life, I had a time where I hardly ate. I did have smoothies, lots of fruit and was making sure to eat as healthy food as possible. Just not a lot of it.
While there are many reasons and causes that I could find in my mind why I was doing what I was doing, this is entirely irrelevant (and also fleeting, sometimes I might feel it was one thing, another time I might feel it was a completely different reason).
The point is that while I was attempting to support myself in the best possible way, I really didn’t know how to do that.
While it was this time in my life as a teenager that sparked my interest in nutrition, food, and wellbeing – I simply had too little experience of how to implement all the information in a beneficial way.
I was very much someone to test everything out. I tested all kinds of things on myself, to understand not just my limits but also to see the consequences.
Like for many, my own body was my scientific experiment.
When I fasted and detoxed at that time, as well as when I was doing Yoga and Pranayama and Meditation, of course, I felt a mental clarity, beauty and pristine side of reality.
And – also like many – you could say, I almost got addicted to this way of perceiving the world.
As a result, I did more practices, more fasts, more meditations, etc.
This is something that I can observe in many people in the wellness scene.
The error is in believing that everything that is clear and beautiful and peaceful means it is real.
Well, it is not.
It took some time of fully embracing “dark” sides of reality – you know all those things that we don’t want? Confusion? Anger? Jealousy? – to understand that they were just as filled with reality and included as the clear and beautiful things in the world.
Using the example of fasting and detoxing, it is so clear to me that this addiction to mental clarity, insight and positivity and non – identity can be just as harmful as any drug or other mind-altering method or means.
With real consequences. In my own case, over a course of 2 months, I was so thin that even a blanket was too heavy for me.
I was lucky, for me it was always an experiment. So I would always set limits. And adjust my behaviour back to what is beneficial when I saw it was too much.
But let’s not lie, going to that extreme point gave me a lot of pleasure. Of which I did want more.
What has changed?
Today, my view on fasting and detoxing is entirely different. I don’t see it as a means of becoming better and I don’t see it as some cool trend to follow.
Fasting is also not addictive for me anymore.
Instead fasting, is a means to being more healthy and in line with what our bodies need.
How did it happen?
I learned to embrace all experiences. And I learned NOT to look for wellbeing in any kind of special state or experience. I can now find well-being in any circumstance, no matter how mundane or extreme it looks or feels.
So would I still recommend to do a Fast or Detox?
Fasting, like any other “remedy”, is a means to an end. It is a tool. It is like a medicine. You should only use it if there is some specific reason to do so.
Would you go and take some Advil if you don’t have any pain? Probably not!
It is the same here.
Fasting or Detoxing can have wonderful effects on our body, but there is a lot to consider!
Here are some good reasons to and benefits of fasting:
- You have been eating mainly processed foods in your diet
- You have been exposed to heavy metals
- You have a lot of sugar in your diet
- You want to stop having caffeine
- You want to improve your skin quality
- You are feeling tired and fatigue without reason
- Your digestion is troubling you
- You are experiencing one of the chronic illnesses, which have been linked to evidence that fasting can support its cure. You need to be sure that this is the case! There are some chronic illnesses like high blood pressure or diabetes where more intense forms of fasting should NOT be performed! Instead, a clean whole food diet should be aimed at. However, there are many linked cases that show that fasting can help cancer patients.
- You feel there is a need for a radical change in your diet or in your life
- So you can see I am a big advocate of making educated decisions about the health choices that we make.
We shouldn’t just do something because it is the recent trend or everyone around us is doing it.
And instead always consider, is it actually something we need.
Not a reason to fast:
- Weight-loss: You will just gain your weight back after the fast. Maybe even more.
- Looking for that Mental High / Self Satisfaction
- Following a Trend
How do you fast properly?
When you have good reason to reset your system through a short period of specific foods or liquid foods only, what is most important is to have support.
Most people go about a detox or fast on their own, relying solely on information they have read in books or on the internet.
However, most information on fasting and detox on page 1 of Google is not necessarily true or relevant.
Instead, it is often coming from Marketing and the intention of building up a trend rather than a sincere analysis of what is going on in our bodies and how fasting can help.
It is because of this that fasting and detoxing has grown a bad reputation.
Do it right
A proper fast or detox considers your Health History and Health Goals, your current diet, past diet and any conditions you may have.
From there, it is decided what type of detox or fast is the right one for you.
There are many different options for a Fast:
- Fruit and veg only
- Raw fruit and veg only
- Veg Only
- Raw Veg only
- Liquid Foods only
- Juices Only
- Sugar-Free Juices Only
- Water Only
- ( I know there is also the cream fast for people who are moving to a ketogenic diet…)
In addition to the foods that you intake, there are also different options when it comes to supporting yourself during the fast. From taking special herb mixes, teas, probiotics to enemas, massage treatment, and movement.
When it comes to making the decision to what is right for your unique case, it is good to have guidance.
You don’t want to get yourself into something that you can’t handle, or something that won’t have any effect.
Obstacles that you might face in your fast:
- Hunger + Cravings
- Bodily aches and pains
- Mood Swings
- Light Headedness
Wonderful things you may experience in a fast:
- Mental Clarity + Insight
- Euphoria and Lots of Energy
- A different and new perspective on your life, environment, people around you
- New relationship to hunger and food
- Feeling an easier shift into a new diet
- Greater clarity of how different foods impact your body
- Time to rest
No matter whether you are experiencing troublesome physical and emotional symptoms or super elevating and wonderful ones, it is good to see both with a grain of salt.
Allow them to settle and see how they change.
In this way, you can easily learn that not everything you perceive is real or permanent.
Even if it feels like it at the moment.
Easing into the fast and Breaking the fast
The times before and after the fast are just as important as the actual fasting time. Especially, when you go a bit further towards juice fasting or water fasting.
It is important to allow your digestion to get used to a different kind of work that it is going to do, and when it can start to resume its old (improved) work.
This also helps your body to get familiar with the new foods and remove all the foods you would usually have in your system, which can help with symptoms.
When it comes to something like fasting, which can often be quite an extreme state, it is important to be as gentle with ourselves as we can.
There is no reason to push too hard or make our life more difficult than it has to be.
This is about taking care of yourself and doing something good for yourself – not torturing yourself.
Saying that: Don’t break your fast with pizza, cake or coffee: After the fast, you will be more susceptible to all these stimulants and may have some difficulty to digest heavier foods.
So again, taking it easy is most important!
When you do it right, fasting can be a wonderful launch pad into a healthier life
When you fast in the right way, taking it easy and with taking support, fasting can be a wonderful way to reset your system.
It can help you to start with a new or healthier diet.
Can make you more conscious and familiar with your own body and inner workings and can give you profound insights of how you want to live your life, how you want to contribute and how you want to enjoy your life.
Doing a fast when it is needed or maybe once a year can be very helpful.
The key is to always listen to your body, to what you need instead of what you think you need and to take support.
As mentioned, because I received many questions and requests, I have created a Coaching Package just for Fasting and Detox. Take a look and Book a Session, if you feel Fasting might be right for you!