21 day water fast: days 12, 13, 14

can't sleepI’ve not written in the last couple of days because there really hasn’t been any significant change to talk about.  Subtle shifts, yes, but it’s taken a couple of days to establish whether these are real or just my imagination.

Maybe first and foremost has been a gradually rise in mental energy – as opposed to physical energy which, although slightly stronger, still falls into the “hitting the wall” category of debilitating weakness.  Over the last few days I’ve had to take care of some work on the computer.  My concentration and focus has been totally 100%, and in terms of stamina has been well above my everyday standard.  I put in a couple of eight-hour days without any breaks and without any fatigue.  The funny thing is that I’ve managed this on increasingly less and less sleep.  I just don’t get tiredContinue reading 21 day water fast: days 12, 13, 14

21 day water fast: day 11

old age roadsignWell, at this point I’m over the half-way point of the fast.  I would’ve thought it should feel like an emotional milestone, but it just feels like another day.  Physically, as well, there are no changes to speak of.  So far, the detox process during this fast has been extremely smooth.  Whereas in previous fasts there were periods of strong cleansing symptoms followed by rest periods – and the duration of these were seemingly random – there have been only minimal ups and downs throughout.  I suspect this is because previous fasting has eliminated the most urgent issues.  The only consistent symptom throughout has been a white, coated tongue, and the smell from my armpits.  Otherwise, I haven’t felt the sensation of old running injuries for days now.  I do think, though, that since yesterday morning I’ve entered a stronger period of detox, Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 11

21 day water fast: day 10

samadhi in forestNothing much new to report today, except that I’ve noticed a couple of trends.

The first change relates to weight loss.  From Day Three to Day Seven, I lost weight extremely consistently – at the rate of .5 kg per day – whereas over the past three days (since Day Eight) this has reduced to a consistent .4 kg per day: something I’m rather glad about, given my general lack of fat stores!  I know daily weight loss is supposed to gradually lessen as the fast lengthens.  I’m interested to see to what extent this pattern develops over the remaining eleven days.

The other change has been to my eyesight.  Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 10

21 day water fast: day 9

alone in the parkIn the same way that they say that the perceptive midpoint of an 80-year lifespan is around 30-35 years, I suppose that today should be more or less the perceptive midpoint of this 21-day fast.  I wonder…

I’m heading back to the country and solitude after ‘lunch’.  That’s a laugh, isn’t it?  We’re so defined by eating that we even divide up the day in terms of mealtimes!  I feel a hint of uneasiness in being alone again, of resettling back into a state of undisturbed emptiness. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 9

21 day water fast: day 8

virusLast night woke after four hours sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep.  After lying in bed for a while I meditated, which for the first time since beginning the fast, actually felt natural and good, not a chore.  I don’t know whether my resistance to meditation and yoga during the first week of fasting has been because it feels contrived, given that my general state of consciousness during the day (as well as during the sleepless hours during the night) is one of a natural vipasanna anyway, or whether the problem is that meditating feels too much like doing something.

Overall, I’ve been averaging around five hours of sleep a night since Day Six, which is certainly well less than my usual amount.  Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 8

21 day water fast: day 7

mcdonaldsSo here we are, another milestone in the fast: the end of the first week and, with it, the first third of my planned duration.  I feel good, just physically slow in ev-er-y-thing.  But this new tempo – precisely because of its more leisurely, deliberate speed, as well as because it’s different to what I’m used to – also evokes an increased consciousness in everything I do.

This morning I’ve noticed a lot of muscles making their presence felt.  My shoulders and thighs are very subtly sore – low and behold, completely matching the muscles used to carry the fridge yesterday!  Normally, I wouldn’t have felt anything today, but again this proves the point that while fasting it’s extremely important not to overstress your body physically.  You can do lasting damage to it, as Gandhi demonstrated.  Quite bluntly, muscle damage was done yesterday (no matter how minimally), whereas normally such exertion would have been well within my normal capacity.  Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 7

21 day water fast: day 6

thunderstorm pusztaAnother smooth day.  No resistance.

The day began at 3.30am.  I woke up and lay in bed, unable to sleep.  Then I became aware of a faint rumbling, which at first I thought must be from tractors working late in the fields to sow whatever they were sowing, before the rains predicted for tomorrow arrive.  But it continued, gradually growing louder.  I opened the window to discover it was actually a distant thunderstorm, gradually, ever so gradually approaching.  I kept the window and curtain open.  My kidney area was feeling a little stiff, so I did some stretching, and then lay back in bed, watching the ceiling light up with each flicker of lightning, listening to the still muffled thunder echo all around the landscape.  I just lay there, as the storm slowly, slowly slid towards the village.  Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 6

21 day water fast: day 5

spacesuitLike yesterday, another slow start this morning with low blood pressure, and I had to be careful not to stand up too quickly after lying or sitting.  I feel slow too, like Earth’s gravity has increased somewhat: almost as if I’m wearing an Apollo spacesuit.  Mentally I’m totally fine, but for the past couple of days it hasn’t felt good to exert myself physically.  Back on Day Three, for instance, I decided to do some leg lifts and a plank – something which has been part of my daily routine for years.  After a few minutes of the plank, though, I felt a lot of resistance building up inside myself.  I know I could have held out for the usual 7 minutes, but it just wasn’t worth it.  To a lesser degree the same applied to the leg lifts.  Why? Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 5

21 day water fast: day 4

nature-swirl drfawingWoke up after lots of sleep.  Again I needed an extra blanket because by the end of yesterday evening I was feeling cold.  I also woke in the middle of the night and felt my kidneys aching, but by morning the sensation had disappeared.  Detox and healing have definitely started.  As usual, I’m feeling this now on Day Four, which, for me, has always tended to be the hardest day of the fast physically.  I know everyone is different in this respect, with most people finding the third day the hardest.  But I tend to think that this is due to the fact that most people find kick-starting ketosis the problem.  In such cases, the third day is difficult due to low energies and the beginnings of detox.  Since I have years of experience in fasting, and since I also dip into ketosis on pretty much of a daily basis (because of long-distance running), it’s less the ketosis which is an issue for me than the way detox hits hardest on Day Four. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 4

21 day water fast: day 3

prison cellI eat, therefore I am

I know it sounds amusing, but it’s true.  Like yesterday, I find myself continually returning to the existential questions of life – and eating does offer a kind of blithe Cartesian certainty to the world.  Eating sustains our physical body, providing it with life.  It also generates feedback that we are alive.  We move our jaws to chew; movement is proof of life.  We taste the flavours of whatever we are eating; any stimulus to the physical senses shows us that we are alive.  We feel the food digesting deep in our stomach and intestines; sensation coming from the very core of our body.  Again, proof that we are alive.  Take away food and you take away one of the ego’s great crutches. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 3