Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fasting

I just completed a 49.5 51 hour fast from 10:30 am Monday until 1:30 pm Wednesday. My break-fast meal was white rice, pork, carrots and okra (cooked with the pork, garlic, seasoned salt, and tomato sauce), and bachelor meat sauce.

On Monday morning, I gorged on bachelor meat sauce that was enriched with double the meat (ground chicken; 1 pound vs the usual .5 lb) and double the rice (1 cup vs .5 cup). Despite feeling full after the meat sauce, solely on impulse I then machine-gunned nearly an entire 11 ounce bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. This was after eating normally over the weekend, including another 11 oz bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.

Feeling stuffed and a bit alarmed at my rapid high-caloric consumption, I decided to fast from 10:30 Monday morning until Wednesday noon - or 49.5 hours - in a non-vomiting, stretched-out version of binge and purge. I also wanted to try fasting just to do it and find out what it's like. I barred myself from ingesting solid food. I had no limit on drinking water and juice.

I discovered unsurprisingly that the biggest hurdle was not physical hunger but rather the psychological craving to cook something and eat it, which was strongest late Monday evening. The second strongest urge to eat hit me late Tuesday evening. The rest of the time, including Wednesday morning, I felt neither craving nor significantly compelling hunger. I didn't feel weak or irritable. The lack of physical hunger during my fast was unexpected, although starting it stuffed on enriched bachelor meat sauce and Cool Ranch Doritos may be a reason. Nonetheless, 49.5 51 hours without eating is 49.5 51 hours without eating, stuffed or not. I didn't increase the amount of water and juice I drank to compensate for hunger, which was somewhat surprising but also made sense since I mostly drink to accompany eating.

Eating is one of my few sensual pleasures, so I haven't decided to adopt fasting as a lifestyle, but it is a realistic option now. I learned while training as a soldier that three square meals daily, let alone meals plus snacks, are not necessary to be healthy even when exceptionally active. Moreover, the act of eating puts into motion the whole body power plant and factory; it's internally strenuous. Giving my body periodic breaks from eating makes sense. Maybe not 49.5 51 hour breaks from eating, like the fast I just completed, but 14-24 hour fasts are reasonable. For example, 14 hours would be the interval between a 6 pm dinner and 8 am breakfast, and 16 hours would be the interval between an 8 pm dinner and noon lunch.

Here is an informative Art of Manliness guest post about fasting and, for more detail, a free e-book about the author's experiment with intermittent fasting. He recommends working out right before breaking a fast. He likes daily 16 hour fasts from 8 pm to noon the following day, which means he eats lunch and dinner and skips breakfast. He says a 24 hour fast once a week works, too, but he found fasting for 24 hours twice a week had a negative effect.

Eric

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