Wednesday, October 14, 2009


On Saturday I have finished a 13-day-long fast. During that time I did not eat anything (except for medicine) and I was only drinking water and herbal teas.

There were several reasons why I was fasting:
  1. Spiritual: To show to the universe (God) dedication to my cause.
  2. Mental: I thought it would be a very good training of will power and that it would make me stronger: if I can live without food, I can live without anything else.
  3. Practical: I felt overfed in India and I wanted to let my body recover from that.

Initially I was not sure for how long I would be fasting and if I should be drinking water during the fast or not. After doing lots of Internet research, I decided that fast shorter than 7 days does not make any sense (from medical point of view), and that the best would be something between 10 to 14 days. Briefly I also considered trying not to drink anything for a day or two, but I gave up that idea quickly as in meantime I got pretty sick and the doctor told me that my body seemed severely dehydrated (even though I was making sure to drink plenty of water).

Not eating was surprisingly easy. I had no problem controlling hunger or appetite (if I felt them at all), the only problem was controlling acquired behaviors. At work we often have free snacks lying around and whenever I would be passing next to them my legs would start walking in their direction. I had to constantly remind myself that I was fasting and that even if I weren't, I still should not be eating food that I did not prepare myself.

During the first week of fasting my stomach and intestine were moving around a lot and, because of that, I was in a slight discomfort all the time. But during the second week that feeling of discomfort was gone and I felt perfectly fine. I think from then onwards food could stop existing for me. Actually, that was a bit scary. I realized how easy it would be to starve myself to death. (Unless there is a "starvation threshold" and if you cross it, your body starts to ask for food again. Right now, I have no intention of investigating this issue on myself.)

The most positive aspect of fasting was amount of time that I saved on not doing shopping, not cooking, not eating and not cleaning after cooking. I think I counted that in this way I saved around 15h a week! Also, I was happy not to generate any trash for two weeks.

The negative aspect of fasting was that during the second week I became very weak and I was not able to do any sports. However, I also got sick then, so I am not sure how much my weakness was a result of disease and how much of the fast. I am also not sure if my fasting contributed to the disease or not. Still, during the first week of fast I was completely fine and I was able to do as much sports as I wanted. So maybe a week long fast is the way to go in future.