Every year, after Christmas, I review the year that was and reflect on the year ahead.
What worked, what didn’t work, what my vision, goals and plans are for the year ahead.
But last year I jumped on a plane to India on Boxing Day and spent a wonderful 17 days there.
Whilst I had a little time for personal reflection, it was an assault on all of my senses.
By the time I got home I was quickly into the swing of the year and for various reasons didn’t really pause to reflect until the second half of the year – much too late.
This year I’m doing it differently.
Seven days ago I started a 21 Day Water Fast……yep, no food at all, just filtered water for 21 days…
Well, that’s the plan, of course I reserve the right to stop if I get seriously ill.
I’m treating this as an opportunity for a total physical and mental reset.
Why a fast ?
Fasting is a traditional, natural healing method, known to man for thousands of years.
Animals, when ill, fast.
All main religions have a tradition of fasting.
Hippocrates fasted, as did Plato and Aristotle.
Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
Gandhi fasted many times, including two 21 day fasts.
The logic – which makes sense to me – is that the body is always intent on returning to health.
So – by resting and removing the workload of food processing and bad habits, the body has a chance to catch up and naturally restore health.
There’s a growing body of scientific evidence to support this….
Is it safe ?
Importantly – I am not a medical practitioner and I’m not advocating that you should fast.
I’ve done a lot of research and quite a bit of preparation, so I’m comfortable with what I’m doing.
At the end of this article I’ll reference some material that I found useful.
Fasting is not starvation. It would appear that most humans can live without food for 45 days plus before serious starvation sets in. Of course if you have any pre-existing medical conditions then that could elevate your risk.
What are my Objectives ?
I’m seeking physical and mental outcomes.
I’m seeking to improve my results on the following, which are all outside expected norms :
- Blood Pressure
- Iron Studies (I have Hemochromatosis….a condition that causes elevated iron levels)
- Uric Acid – an indicator for Gout
- Eyesight (I plan to not wear glasses as much as possible and do some eye exercises)
- Weight loss – in particular visceral fat..( I expect to lose 12 to 15 kgs over the fast)
- Sleep (no alcohol will help!)
- Food Intolerances (After fast end , I’ll take careful note of my body’s reaction as I reintroduce different foods)
I’ve had a comprehensive set of “before” blood tests done and I’ll repeat these at the end of the fast – and I’ll share the key results.
Similarly I had an eye test done just before the fast, which I’ll repeat.
I’m monitoring my weight and blood pressure daily.
Apart from giving the body the chance to “catch up” on processing waste & toxins – some of which are stored in the fat that will get munched up, is the process of autophagy.
Autophagy “is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that disassembles unnecessary or dysfunctional components and allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components.”
I think of it as a cell buff & polish.
So – it’s going to be very interesting.
Firstly it’s a challenge of self-discipline – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger !
The majority of fasters report a deep psychological impact, many describe a spiritual awakening of sorts and that would be consistent with the use of fasting by the major religions.
That will be interesting to observe.
I aim to spend as much time as possible just laying down with my eyes closed, and practicing meditation, as well as some deep personal reflection.
Other than that – there’s some books to read and a few tasks to undertake.
I’m aiming to do as little “work” as possible during this period….which is feasible because most of my clients are also on leave during this period.
In particular I’m going to reflect on my health philosophy.
This will be the longest period in my adult life where I’ve been alcohol and caffeine free.
Do I need to make some changes to my diet, my consumption of alcohol and caffeine ?
YouTube : search for any of these people…you’ll find a bunch of material dealing with different aspects of water fasting….they’ve all supervised many fasts.
Dr Alan Goldhamer
Dr Jason Fung
Clinical Fasting (this is a good place to start)