Part 1: Why?
Twenty-one days… fasting. Why would someone do that to themselves willingly? Don’t you get hungry? These may be some of the questions that are coming up in your mind when you Read “A 21 Day Fast”. It is my intention to answer some of the most common questions I was asked about my fasting experience, along with documenting my personal experience over the last month.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor am I providing any medical advice. I am only documenting my experience and answering questions based on my experience. If you intend to fast, please do your own research and speak with your personal doctor.
Phew… now that that is out of the way. Why did I do a 21 day fast? In all honesty, I initially had no intention of completing a 21 day fast. At most I had intended to go for a week or ten days. The purpose of the fast was multifaceted. First, I had been feeling a little bit off; feeling like I hadn’t been fully myself over the last few months. I had gained about 25 lbs from October through January, I was stressed from my graduate program, and anxious from still being in the initial phases of starting my own business. I had been using food to treat or mitigate my personal stress and anxiety. This behavior is nothing new to me, it is something I have done since being a child. So, part of the answer as to why I was fasting was for health and weight loss in addition to reconnecting to my core or essential self and rebuilding my relationship with food as medicine. The other reason I decided to fast was for personal integrity. As a healthcare practitioner, I feel that it is my responsibility to lead by example and to show that absolutely yes we can take steps to improve our health and wellbeing.
But why 21 days? Well honestly its because I really do not like doing a lot of extended block fasting and I am not the biggest fan of shorter four-day block fasts either. This may sound strange, but the first three to four days are the worst and hardest part of a fast to me. The reason for this is because it takes those initial few days to enter a deep state of Ketosis. During that time is when I experience the most hunger, anger, emotional turmoil mood swings, and my survival mechanisms are arising as my body switches from glucose-based energy to fat-based energy. Once that hump is cleared it just seems to be a mental game. How long are you willing to go? Beyond day four the hunger just sort of disappears. Occasionally there might be a passing wave of hunger, but it is nowhere near as intense as the first four days. That being said, my initial goal was seven to ten days. By the time I reached ten days, it felt like an appropriate goal to do two weeks. At two weeks of fasting (which I had done last year), I decided that I had already come this far, and I did not want to go through the initial few days again, so I set the goal of 21 days or 178lbs. In short, it was an effort vs. reward situation; I saw more reward with sticking with the fast for an extra week.
By now you may be wondering what the rewards were and what exactly my protocol was. Do not fret my friend! That will all be covered in Part 2 of A 21 Day Fast.
To see the before and after images, click the image below.