Or: Why I ate nothing for 6 days
Recently, I decided it was about time to give my body a break. Unhealthy eating, too much food had consumed it too much, it was about time to let it recover for a bit. That’s why I decided to try out water fasting for 6 days.
So, how does it work? Well, it’s simple: you basically just drink water and eat nothing for 6 days. Sounds extreme? The effects certainly are – but not in the way you might expect. Now I want to share my journey with you, day by day, to give you a little insight of what I experienced.
I came to fasting due to my dad who tried it out before. After I heard it was indeed possible to live completely without food for a while, I decided to follow his path. I read the great book of Rüdiger Dahlke “Bewusst fasten” See more here (unfortunately I could not find the english translation of this book). He explained the benefits of fasting in such an interesting and intriguing way that I couldn´t wait to try it out for myself. I would recommend everyone who wants to do the same to read a book about fasting before you start. You could make a lot of mistakes in the beginning which are easily avoidable if you know about them. So, I learned, I studied and once I knew more I decided it was about time to give it a try!
Fasting journey throughout the days
I felt good. I was overeating so much the days before that my body needed and welcomed this break. I wasn´t hungry at all as I drank 5 liters of water during this day. I knew a had to drink a lot in order to keep my belly full and not grow hungry, so I prepared myself and bought 10 liters of water the day before I started. When I woke up, I started my day with a 10 minutes meditation as I always do. In the afternoon, I felt like moving for a bit, so I did my yoga routine. Yoga is the perfect exercise while fasting as you are not supposed to work out heavily and tire your muscles too much. Something I normally love to do lifting weights in the gym. But for a week I could live without it. Luckily, I didn’t have to work the first day, so I could completely focus on myself and get into the spirit of fasting a bit more. This time is a time you should take for yourself. It´s the time you give yourself and your body to detox, to clean, to heal. For me, especially the first day was an amazing start. I felt good about my decision. I felt strong that I could live just of water for 5 more days.
I started my day with 10 minutes of meditation as usual – and a big glass of water. On this day I went to work – and saw myself confronted with explaining what I was doing to other people. As I usually eat lunch with someone else, they remarked really quickly that I wasn´t eating and started asking questions. I was open about my plans and my journey. I told them about the benefits for yourself and some certainly were impressed. Some also did not believe this was even possible. I also started to realize that my skin condition was getting better already. As my skin is normally not that smooth and I have a lot of pimples even though already in my 20ties, I wanted to see if fasting would also help clearing my skin a bit. Maybe it was just imagination, but I started to realize a slight difference even on the second day. Coming home from work my afternoon was quite busy. Writing a blog post to publish it the next day, then going to the cinema with my boyfriend. While walking to the cinema I felt that I was not as strong as normally. My legs were not made for so much walking. I was very aware of how much my energy level had dropped comparing to the previous day. But that was okay. I could still do it, I could still take a nice and long walk. It just cost me a bit more energy. This was perfectly normal though, as your energy level tends to drop significantly on the second day of fasting.
I woke up quite early and decided to treat myself with a bit of mint tea. Best decision ever. I felt so good in the morning, I felt like I was reborn. I started my mediation again, then went off to work. This day, I really focused on dental hygiene. I knew from my previous studies that it was more than likely to get bad breath sooner or later during your fast. As your body starts to get rid of all toxins this is the same for your breath. So, I took my toothbrush with me and cleaned my teeth often this day. I also called my mom to tell her about how everything was going so far. I felt the urge to share how I felt. When I came home, I had the sudden desire to do something productive, to study, to learn. So, I sat down for 4 hours, studying, learning about a lot of different topics that really interested me and which will be important to me in the future. I was so focused, I felt like in school again – only that I liked it and that I really wanted to focus. I learned so much in those hours and was so highly awake and focused it was incredible. I would not have imagined that. All my goals suddenly came closer and clearer in front of my eyes. I knew where I was going and even started to type this post frantically. I was motivated like never before.
I woke up, took a nice cold shower and started my mediation. I meditated even longer than I do normally as I really felt the urge to get further into it. Then I went to work. I felt pretty good the whole day. When I woke up I drank half a liter of water, at work I kept on drinking a lot. What I noticed this day is that I felt a bit weaker than usual. When I went up to the 3rd floor of my workplace I could feel the exhaustion and fatigue of my muscles. When I was sitting it was fine, walking as well – just climbing up the stairs posed a bit of a challenge. However, I really felt productive during this day. Like things would finally fall into pace, like I had already accomplished a lot and the day was not even close to be over. Which was an amazing push. When I came home I felt a bit tired again but got up to make a smoothie for my boyfriend. I thought this would be pure torture as I was not eating and would not even be able to taste it. But when I made the shake I felt fine. I felt good about my decision. I could look at food, I could prepare food without starving internally. Realizing that also changed was my feeling about food. I really feel like I needed to eat healthier now. Not that I am a generally unhealthy person, but lately I fall off the wagon a little bit. Now I was just craving some healthy greens and looking forward to thriving on them again on day seven. And I realized something else during this day once again. The company of people gives me a lot of energy. I went to my boyfriend´s workplace where I know quite a lot of people so far. Chatting with his colleagues which are now my friends as well pushed me up to the top of my game once again. I wasn´t feeling the tiniest bit tired or exhausted. Maybe that´s also because I´m an extrovert, so I could get a lot of energy talking to them. I also crave being in nature, being creative and just doing things I like best.
I really started to feel amazing on this day. I woke up and meditated as usual. In the morning I felt a bit weak again, but that changed throughout the day! I felt stronger and stronger while still only drinking water. During my break at work I felt the need to go for a walk and to spend some time in a natural, calm place. So I did. I went to a park, sat down and started to write down some general plans and ideas of what I want to accomplish in the next weeks. It felt incredibly good to fix my plans, my goals so that I really knew what I was striving for. Also just sitting under a tree and breathing made me feel alive all over again. After work I felt a bit tired and wanted to lay down. However, I didn´t allow myself to. I went on to do some shopping at a local fruteria – I bought some fruits and veggies I was already looking forward to on day seven. I was already excited to eat again, but I was not bothered waiting for it one more day. It felt amazing to really having the strength to go through with that decision. Everybody knows that I love food, but today I also was fine with my friends eating some amazing vegan meals in front of me and just thinking “I´m really glad I started this journey”. Again, I was surprisingly productive and met up with my friends. As I already mentioned I can draw tremendous amounts of energy just from talking to people. As an extrovert, being in contact with others is crucial for me. I even took part in a friend´s YouTube video and worked for my blog again.
This day was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. But let´s start from the very beginning. When I woke up I mediated – even longer than usual and decided to do some yoga at home. I felt really good after yoga as I usually do, but also realized I had to pay attention to the limits of my body. When I was feeling I couldn´t do a particular position anymore, I just went back to an easier one. Listing to my body was my most important lesson here. Afterwards I started to work at home and experienced a very stressful, exhausting and frustrating situation as I was somehow stuck and couldn´t go back nor forth. During this period of stress I was overwhelmed with a feeling of hunger, I felt the screaming urge for chocolate or something sweet. I usually treat myself in such periods as I feel I really deserve and need it, but this time I had to resist. It´s interesting to see how stress affects me and how I am dealing with it. Maybe not in the best way, as I am realizing now. Luckily I calmed down and didn´t need to stuff my face with chocolate to survive. Afterwards mastering this situation without the standard candy bar I was, again, feeling stronger. Strong enough to do some grocery shopping and carry 3 heavy bags 20 minutes to my home. That might not sound so tiring, but with having to pay attention when doing heavier physical exercise it was. But after I was at home I felt fine again. Fine enough to clean a bit and go to work again. So that´s what I did. My energy level was amazing. I would never have thought I could have as much energy without food but it´s actually so simple.
What I´ve learned from my period of fasting
I definitely learned to listen to my body way better than I did before. If something is too much for me, I simply stop. If I start eating a meal and feel full after only having finished half of it, that’s okay. I simply save it for later. I will only be able to tell a bit of time after my fasting is over, but I feel like I will not go back to this very unhealthy behavior of completely ignoring what your body really needs. I also felt the urge to eat really healthy. If someone would set me a burger in front of my nose the day after my fasting ended, I could not have eaten it. During this period, it just felt too heavy and too unhealthy for me. I was more looking forward to a green smoothie and water melon. Nothing could get me more excited than knowing I would have watermelon for breakfast now. I also noticed that I could focus better, that I was way more concentrated and could get more work done in less time. The time I meditated increased, my self-awareness increased as well. As did my energy level after the 4th day. Day 3 and 4 were the worst, energy wise speaking. Afterwards, I felt completely fine. Coming to day 5 I wasn’t even hungry anymore. And from that time on I just continued to feel amazing.
Tipps for a better fast!
- Fast in a quiet environment. I have to admit, I didn´t do that, but I wish I had. I felt the urge to escape to nature to often but could never do so as I am living in a really busy city. Of course, you can fast and follow your routine like I did. But I am convinced it would be even more beneficial to do so in the middle of nature for a few days.
- Be prepared for bad breath. Take this very seriously. You have to be prepared. As you are not eating, and your body is cleaning itself, every toxin in there is coming out – resulting in bad breath. I usually had my toothbrush with me at work to avoid bothering anyone around me.
- Drink a lot of water. I drank up to 5 liters a day. If you don´t drink enough you will feel dizzy and weak. Drinking enough will keep you full and energized. Once your belly is full you won’t even feel hungry anymore – while just drinking water. I always felt great after drinking water, I could feel the energy rushing through my veins.
- Don´t get discouraged. Depending on how your eating behavior was before it might be hard until day 4. I still experienced a bit of hunger up to day 4 , even though I was drinking enough. Don´t get discouraged! Just stay in there a little longer and the hunger will go away eventually.
- Get some rest. If you feel like you need some rest, lay down, rest for a while. Afterwards you will feel much better.
- Switch up water and tea. That really made a difference for me. Even though I love water, I liked the taste of my mint tea once in a while – and you don’t get tired of water that easily.
- Get into it with the right mindset. Don´t make fasting all about losing weight. Yes, it can be used in that way, yes it will have certain positive effects on our body. But everybody is different. If you get into it just thinking about losing weight you might miss out on all the other wonderful effects that go with it. Don´t be impatient to see the results.
- Don´t get bothered by people eating food. Yes, it might be hard to see people eating your favorite food in front of you, but just keep in mind why you are doing it and what you greater you will achieve
- After fasting, always keep in mind: if you can go without eating for 6 days you can do so much more. You have such great potential and discipline as not a lot of people would go through the same thing. Just keep that in mind the next time you´re struggling. It will lift you up again.