Fasting 101

A few times a year I fast for three days. I don't bother with the praying part, but I get it. To each their own. Fasting ain't no big thing. And it makes me feel great. A corporeal jump-start, if you will. There are myriad ways to fast but I came to this method by trial and error over the last decade. Here's what works for me:
  1. The day before starting the fast, skip a meal. This is when people tell me they can't possibly because, oh no, they'll pass out. Really? Have you ever tried it? So not true. Just because your body is used to food ingestion, doesn't mean you actually can't go without food. Stop being a pussy. Do you have any idea how resilient the human body is? We can go for weeks without food as long as we stay hydrated. In case you have doubts watch Hunger, it's a very good film about the Irish hunger strike of 1981 in which a group of imprisoned IRA members starved themselves to death in protest of their incarceration by Margaret Thatcher. The group included Bobby Sands who died on the 66th day of his fast. Sixty. Sixth. Day. That's 1584 hours. Don't tell me you can't go 72 hours. Those guys weren't even doing it for the health benefits. On a side note, can you imagine having that much conviction for anything? Impressive.
  2. Start hydrating. With PLAIN WATER. Get over yourself and do it. Drink a lot of water throughout the fast. If you start feeling hungry, drink some water. Surprise yourself and see what happens.
  3. Buy a bunch of vegetable juice and some broth. This is what will sustain you through the fast. Amazingly well in fact. To the point of really questioning what the big deal about fasting is.
  4. Simply begin in the morning by not eating solid food. Period. It's noon on the second day of my fast and I've had nothing but one large cup of coffee with milk. I'm fine. Not weak or lightheaded. Just a bit peckish. Have 12 to 24 ounces of vegetable juice for lunch and the same of broth for dinner.
  5. Drink more water. Use a straw if it's so damn difficult.
  6. Stop worrying about feeling hungry. Get used to it. Embrace it even. Ask yourself, when was the last time you were really hungry? Why is it such a terrible thing? We won't die and we shouldn't eat just because food commercials tell us to. Hunger pangs don't last long, you'll eventually forget about them. Consider incorporating them into your daily schedule. They'll help you fend off your inner fat bastard.
  7. Immediately delete those recipe-of-the-day email messages you get. Don't even think about opening them. Put away your food magazines too. If your friends and colleagues don't enjoy torturing you, they'll kindly stop talking about food. It's only three f-cking days people.
  8. If you're addicted to caffeine and like booze with dinner, there's no reason to stop with those habits during a fast. That would be asking a bit much. Save it for rehab. Maybe cut back a little on the vices, but that's it. 
  9. Expect to be in a craptacular mood, particularly the first day. With that, however, comes a heightened sense of everything. Smell especially. That street food isn't spiced differently or stronger this week, it's just that you're perceiving it that way. Enjoy it. Your body is functioning as it should. Sight could also improve slightly. I assume it's a throwback to prowling for small animals to kill and devour. Squirrel!! Try to resist the urge to hunt.
  10. That's right, more water. Even if it means you visit the loo ten times before noon.
  11. You will lose weight. I typically lose 5 to 8 pounds. Meaning I actually weigh what my driver's license says and hey, that feels good. Weight loss won't last as you return to your normal eating routine, so unless you permanently lower your calories, don't get all upset when the pounds return.
  12. On the second day reward yourself by planning how you'll break the fast. I usually do it with a small healthy dinner at home. My boy is a talented chef so I leave that up to him. It's something you've earned and will taste ten times better than it ever has. You'll feel full much sooner than normal. 
  13. Try to sustain your newly discovered talent by eating smaller portions post-fast. Oh yeah, keep up the water consumption if you can.

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