I’m writing this 38 days after the end of the fast. Why now? Because yesterday I finally ran a solid half marathon in the hills at my usual pace and with no sore muscles today. Because the day before that I reached my usual number of push-ups for the first time since finishing the fast. Because earlier in the week I stood on the scales and found that I’m fully back to my pre-fast weight again. In other words, physically, I feel myself again. This may seem like a long time to recover, but it’s more or less what I had expected. After previous week-long fasts, I’ve noticed it usually takes double the length of time to return to life as usual, and so, in this case, after 21 days of fasting, 42 days of recovery or thereabouts would correspond to this.
For me, the process of physical rebuilding tends not to take place linearly. Continue reading 21 day water fast: one-month follow-up after the fast
A lot has happened physically over the last seven days. My digestion is moving pretty smoothly again, though I’m lacking almost completely in appetite. Already during the first two or three days following the fast, my stomach was working well, digesting and passing on food to the intestines. From here, though, I could feel my intestines trying to draw out and absorb every last possible gram of nutrition. In doing so, a kind of digestive traffic jam began to build up as my body slowed down the forward progress of food to achieve this goal. Continue reading 21 day water fast: one-week follow-up after the fast
I slept five whole hours last night – and all in a single stretch!
This is my big news. Five hours in a single stretch: literally the first time for more than two weeks. I know the natural assumption is that it must feel like a relief, but, honestly, it’s not that simple. Of course, there’s always the relief of slipping back into a familiar old habit – and for me, five hours in one stretch is the norm, since I normally rise to meditate after this. But it’s also much more complicated. Once my biorhythm had accepted and acclimatised to the fasting routine of sleeping two hours and then rising, there was a certain beauty in sitting to meditate in the dead of night instead of the pre-dawn hours, there was a certain peace in sitting afterwards to write, with the silence of the night allowing my mind to express itself in an effortless, uninterrupted flow. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 22 (follow up)
I woke up into the darkness, with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude: for the universe, for Réka and the opportunity to be here – as well as for the fast itself. I sat down to meditate, with the expanse of gratitude laid out as a back-drop to everything in my mind. It felt and continues to feel like an inner smile expanding from all directions in and around my heart. Everywhere, almost as if my body were breathing the mantra: ‘thank you, thank you, thank you…’
I’m just so grateful. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 21
Today is the last full day of fasting. By the evening I’ll already be into Day 21. The feeling, which came to me as I woke up this morning, is that of when you’re about to say goodbye to an old friend whom you know you’re not going to see for a while. There’s an element of regret in parting from each other, but you know that your friendship is stronger than the time and distance you’ll be spending apart. And besides, you know you’ll meet again… Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 20
I woke up this morning, my first thought slightly tinged with sadness at how close the end of the fast is… It really is close now. After today, just one more full day before Day 21, and I slowly begin to reintroduce food back into my life. Otherwise, I’ve been completely at peace. I’ve no abstract sense of time or need to look at the clock. The day just passes as it does. It makes me wonder how life must have been so many centuries ago, before we began to ‘cut the day into shreds’ (in the words of Peter Gabriel). Before the days of clocks and time-keeping, we would have been so much more at one with the world and its natural rhythms instead of trying to fit our lives into the abstract mathematical divisions of hours and minutes. Just being with the day instead of anticipating ‘X’ o’clock and ‘Y’ o’clock and stressed by how much time it takes to get from X to Y… Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 19
Driving into town yesterday provided a reference point about how my consciousness has naturally and gradually opened from a more focussed perspective. In retrospect, the whole trip itself provided another, deeper reference point, because since then – in breaking the solitude and continuity of being here at the cottage, as well as in buying the food which will break the 21 days of pure water – I keep finding myself thinking about the approaching end of the fast. With only three more days to go, perhaps this would have been inevitable anyway, but certainly yesterday’s brief return to civilisation has intensified the feeling. In thinking forward to Day 21, part of me is looking forward to eating, but it’s not a very strong voice. I’m not planning any feasts in my fantasy of fantasies. (The only thing I’m really looking forward to is giving up this almost cripplingly low blood pressure.) Another part of me is preparing to bid farewell to these truly amazing three weeks. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 18
Today I went into town to buy fruit for the end of my fast. The thought of going to the shops had a certain exotic excitement to it – in contrast to my usual apathy towards shopping. And yet, mixed into the feeling was also one of slight sadness that the fast is going to end soon.
Driving the 10km from the village into town, I realised that I’m really not quite with it… Doing the driving felt very different from last week, when I had to go back home for a few days. Then, it felt no different from usual. But now… Now, it felt like my consciousness was occupying a whole field surrounding my body, rather than simply being in my body – or, more precisely, being my body. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 17
Last night I realised that I’m at the three-quarters point of the fast. But numbers mean nothing. They cut up the truth of unadulterated reality. The truth is, I often can’t even remember which day of the fast I’m on, let alone what day of the week it is.
I’ve had this dull ache in my left quad the whole day. At first, I couldn’t understand it. The feeling was and continues to be similar to what can happen during detox, or in the first couple days of a fast while the body is switching over to ketosis (and drawing from muscle tissue in the meantime). Obviously I’m firmly in ketosis now, but could it be detox? But if so, why is my right leg fine? Surely both should be aching if this were the case. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 16
Physically, no changes to speak of. I slept more last night – a good five or six hours. Maybe in the end I really have been sleeping too little. One more thought on that. The nights when I caught no more than literally two or three hours tended to follow the days I was working long hours on the computer. It’s true that my mind has been flying with complete and effortless focus, but I wonder whether it’s also started to wind up my energy levels more than otherwise. Compared to our everyday carbohydrate-based metabolism, I’ve always found ketosis to be slower reacting to the body’s changing energy requirements: slower to fire up in the morning and slower to fire down at night. Perhaps it’s possible that the higher daily energy levels demanded by my work were also continuing afterwards, into and even through the night. Anyway, I’m glad there’s no longer a need for any more craziness. Things are calming down again, so that the remaining days will increasingly stretch out without any demands for work, deadlines and the like. Lots of time to be. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 15