Before and after

I broke my fast four days ago, so I’m getting some perspective on the fast itself and the immediate aftermath. It was a far more arduous experience than I expected for reasons I never expected. I thought I would be hungry during it, but I never was, and never craved solid food. Instead, I was sore, miserable, foggy-headed, weak, and tired. The clearheaded, energetic state that people described never hit me, except maybe a little at the end. I think five days was just too short a fast for it to kick in for me.

Once I broke the fast, I continued to have no hunger. In fact, I couldn’t seem to get hungry. At my first meal, I finished a small bowl of soup and an apple, but had to take two thirds of the salad home. That night, I had the first of two nights of insomnia, walking around town at 2 AM. Maybe I should have waited for morning to break the fast, or maybe it was the energy rushing at an importune time.

The next day, I was feeling pretty great. I went to the farmers market, and found an arts festival going on next to it. I walked around and saw all the fried foods and had absolutely no interest. The fast really did reset my taste buds. Candy bars and pastries hold no attraction at the moment.

That afternoon, I started to not feel well, and by evening, I was sick. Really sick. I mean really, really laying on the sofa unable to get up and walk to the next room. I may have eaten the wrong thing too soon, but I think I was pretty careful about starting with simple foods. I really believe it was brought on by restarting Aleve too quickly. I took two pills in the morning, as you can do when restarting it after a break. It’s bothered my stomach in the past when I’ve taken it without food, and though I had it with a bowl of oatmeal and banana, I think my digestive tract said, “Wait, what are you doing here? We need to talk about this. Hang on while I get the rest of the body to help me clarify my position in the most vivid terms possible.”

I laid off the pills after that, and gradually got better. I’m on them again now, and feeling fine. I think I’m starting to get back to my routine, though with my sense of attractions towards foods definitely changed.

Things accomplished?

I set out three goals for this experiment, increased energy, general health improvements (possibly with good consequences for my neck), and weight loss.

The first was a wash. I noticed on re-watching the movie that feelings of energy hit fasters as they neared ten days and beyond, so it probably wasn’t in the cards for a five-day fast.

I do think it made me feel better by the end and after, and that the Night of Nausea was medication-related. I think it’s terrific that it’s left my body with an overwhelming bias towards fresh, whole foods.

My weight dropped from 146 to 138. I’ll attach the before and after photos. The body mass index says my minimum healthy weight is around 130. I’d hoped to reach 140 by the end of summer, so was happy to hit this mark.

And now… ?

Was it worth it? Would I do it again? What will I do going forward?

I think it was definitely worthwhile. I believe I’d do it again, arranging my preparations around my new knowledge of how my body responds (especially remaining off medication for a couple of days after the fast). I’d probably use the 10- or 15-day plan, both of which include transitions from days of simpler foods into and out of the juice-only period.

Going forward, I’m going to continue to make juice at least once a day. It seems to keep my system oriented towards expecting healthy fuel, which should also encourage me to make better use of the local farmers markets and CSA opportunities.

As a side bonus, I realized that having a juicer provides a good solution to a perennial problem of the single person, suddenly realizing you’re not going to be able to finish all the produce in your fridge. If you can’t get it eaten before its shelflife is at an end, down the juicing tube it goes!

(You can find all my updates from the fast here.)

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