Citation: Stephen. "Mental and Physical Notes on 11-day Fast: An Experience with None (exp50687)". Erowid.org. Jul 25, 2006. erowid.org/exp/50687
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I had recently been a victim in a fight with my stepson that had been totally unexpected and out of the blue, since we had been very close friends, although he was now 25 and married, for 14 years. My mind was troubled and so I decided that it would be a good time for me to try out some time of meditation and thought that a fast can provide since a good time of our lives are devoted to all of the desires, planning and details of eating food. This would give me long stretches of time for me to think on what had changed to precipitate this monster that I had observed in my friend. My body I expected would be cleaner and leaner, I had been putting on the pounds. I was starting at the beginning of a new year 2004. I was 20 lbs over my desired body weight according to the charts and my cholesterol had measured 297 and triglycerides over 600 in a recent physical exam.
daily: 1 multivitamin and water (no food)
The experience brought about some changes in myself I had not expected. On the first 2 days I was mainly experiencing the adjustment to hunger and especially a little weakness on the second and especially the third day. On day two I also had some nausea but it passed and my stomach made funny noises. By the third day toward the end I expected I had hit the ketosis point as I felt a tad more energized and I was showing a more pinkish purple tone on the ketone stick urinalysis. I knew that from that point on my body would have to run exclusively on fats and protein if I did not exercise. I knew that this meant my liver's supply of glycogen must be spent and no more glucose could be provided by the usual mechanisms. Ketosis (or the conversion of fats into usful glucose) for mental processes especially, since the brain is the primary organ using the energy our bodies have obtained, in my case from my fat reserves, was being activated,... but not quite wholly. On the fourth day I decided to do some fast walking to see if I was really out of the need for extra glucose via the old route. It seems one must kick start this change over.
That fourth day seemed to be the kick start by exercise that left me winded as if I were walking at a 10,000 foot altitude ( I live in Arkansas at about 700 ft.). Once I came home feeling like I was a spagetti string it all changed. Within an hour I was cleaning my room, going though drawers and cleaning them out. I even helped clean the closets at my Mom and Dads. My mind was clearer and I felt much more open to learning and curiosity. At times I still would get tired but it only would take sitting down and a glass of tea or water and I would take exceptionally noticable pleasure in a sunset or clouds overhead... then I would be back to either cleaning and organizing and once done with all that, I would read and think. This was what I consider one of the many benefits of fasting. Along with saving money on food, more free time, and a loss of 17 lbs over the entire 11 days.
I have since done it a few more times but I think the impetus to do it longer came from the emotional disturbance that forced me to reflect on my being and the psychology of others after the lose of a friendship that seemed like a fortress impenetrable from any disruption. I began to realize that I had been considering my friendship as a form of strength from which I had gained much of my self confidence and that I needed to be self confident without the friendship before the friendship could work. Yet I realized that had been the cause of the disruption. I was already recognizing that. I felt I had been too dependent and my life was already changing, I just hadn't been ready for that much of a change. Sadly neither was he and his job fell apart as his substance abuse problems has become indiscriminant and unhealthy. I must state I have no problem with occasional drug use for the proper reasons and usually the reason is not just to get 'high' and party but for self help and mental adjustment. He was arrested and is now in jail. I should have reached out to help before it got so bad. But I felt he would have to search through his demons alone to know why he was so upset. Because of how violent he became and without even apologizing I felt he would call me if he needed me.
He never has and I don't think he can from where he is at or caller ID has weeded it out, because I never answer strange or 800 like prefixed #'s. In any case I feel no guilt in the result and plan to talk with him as soon a possible but the fast brought me to the point of understanding that it was nothing I did; except that I was already pulling away so he threw a fit I guess, much as any child would. Since I was really Dad he went so crazy but couldn't tell me why. It was neither of our faults.
I can say that fasting is a very very healthy and mind clearing experience at least for me. I was able to work out personal problems as well as bring my cholesterol down to a more acceptable 196 and my triglycerides to 88 and the rest of my numbers including red blood cell count and hepatic panel were normal. Even my eletrolytes which can be an issue with persons drinking only water (instead of mineral water and at least a daily vitamin) were all well in range. Sometimes persons with high blood pressure can find real benefit here as well as a challenge, because weathering the adjustment can be as difficult as it is getting used to new blood pressure medication. And of course one cannot fast forever. (of course in some tibetan monks this stands unresolved how long one can fast). Any way I ended up from 185 to 168 in 11 days. some report even faster weight loss. It has been 2 years or more now since that night of 5 hours of screaming threats with a hammer but I think I will try to get in touch with him. Seems like things should work both ways maybe he did need me around more than I needed him. It just took a while for the behavior to play itself out..... much longer than it did for my fast to help me figure things out!!
Well I hope this is a good example. It is certainly no more or less healthy in some ways than mind expansion with drugs. Rather I should say that it is risky for those who are not prepared or aware of the risks just as it is for drugs. No tool just like a screwdriver should be thrown around for fun you could hurt yourself if you don't realize the screw driver is for screwing and unscrewing screws; the ball is for catch...!!
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