It has been quite some time since I posted anything to the blog. And although a little break has been in order, I'm excited to think that I'm coming up on the 5 year anniversary of my first post! So now it's time to jump back in with one that is a bit different than my traditional musings about endurance, or beer, or both. Instead, this post will chronicle my one week experience with a juice "cleanse" or fast. Over the next five days, I plan to limit my eating to a diet of mostly vegetable and fruit drinks, with the occasional broth or yogurt thrown in for good measure. Why on earth would I do this?
I've been toying with this idea for a couple of months now. With the wife and kids away for a few days, it's as good of a time as any. This way my fasting doesn't interfere with their eating or vice versa. The main reason I'm doing this is that I really need a reset for my diet. Despite my best efforts, I've not embraced a healthy eating regimen for quite some time. As a result, I continue to gain weight and currently weigh the most I have in a number of years. I suspect that my metabolism has shifted and I'm not as good of a fat burner as I used to be.
In fact, all of this indulging has dampened my overall enjoyment of food. I still like the taste of food but I don't savor anything. Fasting will really help me to focus on what I'm eating on a daily basis. By eliminating the snacking, junk food, etc. over the next few days, I hope to gain a new perspective on food. I don't plan on giving up "treats" forever, but I'd like to get back to eating within reason. I also want to try eating healthier foods not just for their nutritional value, but also because they taste good.
Most fasting plans recommend that you ease into fasting over the course of a few days. This way your body adjusts to eating less in a softer, more gradual way. I've done nothing of the sort. Instead, prior to starting the fast, I've continued to eat whatever I want. I am beginning on a Sunday afternoon however, so that when my fast begins, I won't have to endure a full first day without eating.
Ironically, one of the first things I've done to prepare for the fast is to go to the grocery store. I've stocked up on a few different fruits and vegetables, as well as some different drinks including sparkling water, tomato juice, and low calorie Gatorade. As I mentioned at the outset of this post, I will actually be eating during this time, but my diet will be limited. Throughout the next week, I'll reflect on my experience, logging how I'm feeling both mentally and physically throughout the week.
6 hours: My fast officially began at 2:00 this afternoon. I managed to eat right up until the deadline so as I write this, I've only been fasting for about 7 hours. As such, I'm only starting to feel slightly hungry. I've had a Vitamin Water, some plain H2O, and a cup of Green Tea. I also spent an hour spinning easy on the trainer downstairs. My plan is to continue to exercise, though as the week goes on, I'll probably reduce the intensity of the exercise. A lot will depend on how I'm doing. Current weight is 191.7 lbs. which is about 15-18 lbs. more than I'd like to be. I use a Withings digital scale to track my weight so all of the data automatically transfers to my computer.
32 hours: I'm now about 30 hours into this process. This morning I weighed in again and there was about a 7 lb. difference from the night before. Hmm. I'm good but not that good, there was probably a slight error on the scale from the night before. I'd estimate that I began today at about 184 lbs. which seems consistent with where I've been of late. After a morning swim, I had a "green smoothie" for breakfast which consisted of a mix of pureed fruits and vegetables with a touch of fresh ginger. Pretty tasty. I also had a coffee. I know that some fasts include the elimination of caffeine from the diet, but that wasn't going to work for me. To this point, I've felt fine. A little hungry at times, but not ravenous. A bit tired, but not more than usual for a Monday.
56 hours: Tonight I went to yoga for an hour. They say that in a fast this time frame is the sweet spot in terms of how you feel. I think that's probably true as I haven't felt terribly hungry or tired and I'm down around 181 lbs. or so. By morning, I'll be a little more than halfway through the fast.
80 hours: I will officially end this on Friday afternoon when I hit about 120 hours time. Today was a lot like yesterday. This morning I did a swim workout, keeping the intensity fairly low. I have felt a little hungrier this afternoon, but it kind of comes and goes, but what do you expect when you're only eating somewhere between 500 and 800 calories a day? I have to say that I haven't really had cravings for different things. I don't find myself daydreaming about specific meals or different foods.
104 hours: Tomorrow afternoon will mark the end of this experience. My current weight is about 178 lbs, which puts me into my goal range. Today has been the most difficult in terms of actually feeling hungry. Even after tonight's meal (a bowl of Tomato Soup), I still have some hunger pangs. Oh well, I can definitely hold out for another 16 hours or so.
112 hours: This morning I weighed in at 176.5. I'd planned to go for a swim but wound up working out at home instead. Again this was a low intensity workout, but I felt fine throughout. Surprisingly, I didn't feel all that hungry this morning after my workout but I went ahead and ate anyway and I'm glad that I did. By about 10:30 this morning, my hunger was back with a vengeance. To counter this I drank some water which helps to create a "full" sensation. I have a feeling that some of my hunger had to do with the copious amount of food in our staff lounge (holiday season!). It smelled delicious and I was eager, after five days, to finally get to eat something.
120 hours: My fast finally broke this afternoon around 2:00 p.m. I'd set aside some of the snacks from our school party including a sandwich and chips. Just prior to diving in, I remembered hearing that if you jump back into too much solid food too quickly, you can really make yourself sick. I cut what I'd saved by half. Interestingly enough, eating solid food again was somewhat anticlimactic. For dinner, I joined our staff for our holiday party where I indulged a little more, enjoying a plate of Nachos and a couple of beers. I ate a bit more this time, and quickly discovered that I was full.
So how did all of this impact my objectives for doing a fast in the first place? In terms of a diet reset, I feel like a lot of my cravings have disappeared. Throughout the fast I didn't find myself fantasizing about any particular food (even beer!) which was perhaps the most surprising thing. It's not that different things sound bad, they just don't sound that great either. As I mentioned previously, I've also enjoyed trying some newer and fresher things, and that's something I'll plan to continue. I also will be working to eat somewhat smaller portions of food and eating a bit more slowly. I think that too often I eat quickly and I don't realize that I'm actually full until it's too late.
Coupled with the change in my feelings about indulging is the fact that I've managed, for the first time in nearly a year, to actually lose a bit of weight. And while I know that I'll gain some back as I start to eat regular food again, I believe my new habits will help me to stay closer to the weight I want to be.
Thanks for reading!
|Nothing to do with fasting, but here's a pic from the RCHM which I did a few weeks back.|