I am writing this of my own accord. In other words, I have not been reminded to do it. I am not attempting to convince anyone to fast. I am just sharing my experiences based on my own empirical evidence gleaned from years of fasting. Fasting ought not to be attempted without first consulting with your physician.
No food = no calories? Or no sold foods, but you're drinking sugars? Simply put, are you starving yourself for weeks at a time?
I'm still baffled by the whole thing.
I've done short term fasts, 12-24 hours. I get the spiritual motivations. But practically, food deprivation is like sleep deprivation for me. It diminishes my ability to think and function professionally and personally.
Correct (no food and no calories). I don't ingest drinks with sugars whether I am fasting or not. Am I starving myself? No, I'm fasting. I have never met anyone who is actually starving. When people say that they are starving, I believe that they are incorrect. What they really mean to say is that they are hungry. Starvation mode occurs much later than any fast I have ever undertaken. That is something (as I mentioned above) that I would never allow myself to do, as quite honestly that is dangerous territory. When you fast, you will become acutely aware of various 'triggers' during the fast. In other words, you will know when to continue and when to stop. This recent fast was about my fourth attempt to reach forty days. During the other times, I knew it was time to stop short of that, so I stopped. In other words, my biofeedback trumped my desire to reach a goal as far as length of fast is concerned. It's really not rocket science.
As I have said more than once, every fast I have undertaken -- be it a three-day, one-week, two-week, three-week, or forty-plus days fast, has been done responsibly. If during any fast I have ever felt anything out of the ordinary (and I have a few times), then I have stopped the fast. To reiterate, biofeedback always ought to take precedence over a predetermined amount of time to fast. In my four-plus years of fasting, I have become aware of various signals ('feedback,' if you will) and I know when I ought to fast and when I ought not to fast. One of the doctors with whom I correspond frequently reminds me that biofeedback trumps theory.
I can't go without sleep for very long, and frankly I wouldn't even try that. When I was eighteen or nineteen years old, I once went seventy-two hours (I had my reasons at the time) without sleep, and that is something that I will never do again. I also don't believe in dry fasting, although I belong to Boards on which several members seem to enjoy the benefits of that as well as water fasting.
Truth be told, the first three days of any no-food fast are the most difficult for first-time fasters. After that, the hunger disappears, and your mental clarity is heightened markedly. I attribute this to more oxygen being routed to the brain, although that is speculation on my part. It may be in part because the body does not have to work virtually every minute of every day digesting food (a physiological process that seems to take a large amount of energy for our bodies to accomplish). I do like the lower metabolic rate (this is actually one of the reasons I began running back in the 1970s -- more on this later if you wish) when one gives their digestive system a rest. A lower metabolism is something one can 'feel' -- especially for someone like myself who over the past thirty-five years has become very attuned to his body (e.g., active and resting pulse, blood pressure, and various other cardio-related aspects including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia). Some of the evidence seems to suggest that a lower metabolism may equate to a longer life span, and this is very intriguing to me.
Another benefit of fasting that I experienced during my last fast was how my wife and four of my children were sick at various stages of the fast, and yet I felt wonderful the entire time -- no cold, no headaches, no nothing. To me this makes sense since the immune system is strengthened when it isn't being asked to 'fight a war on two fronts,' so to speak. I have wondered for years why I am never hungry when I am sick. It may be because the body is telling me that food isn't the answer; rather, curing whatever ills reside in the body is paramount, and the immune system needs to concentrate on this first and foremost rather than on ingesting and digesting sustenance.
Edited by Ockeghem, August 16 2013 - 06:04 AM.