6 March 2016 was the day I broke my 25-day water-only fast. 1 year, 7 months & 16 days ago at approximately 9am to be more exact.
That was just over a year and a half ago, and I still very often think back on my first extended fast experience. They are 25 days I am very grateful for, 25 days that challenged me physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, and ultimately shaped my being today.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. All in good time.
But before I begin to even think of when my next extended feat will be, I want to talk about my post-fast experience, as many have asked me about, my suggestions to successfully breaking your fast and achieving long-term post-fasting success. Besides, what self-experiment would be complete without the long-term results?
A glimpse of my transformation over the months:
Allow me to first clarify that my main motivation to fast for such an extended period of time was not for weight loss, but for health/healing, spiritual awareness and growth.
As I talked about in my previous post (← read for background), I was able to successfully break my fast by re-introducing solid foods slowly and gradually. I applied this principle for the next few days and weeks, allowing my body to gain a healthy amount of weight back. Once my energy returned (which was pretty immediate) I went back into my workout routines. I started with light weights, to re-gain my strength, and running.
It’s amazing how quickly the body restores itself.
I got on a weight training program and witnessed my strength increase in a very short amount of time.
I maintained my plant-based lifestyle and with frequent performance training, my appetite naturally increased. As a result, I gained more weight, mostly muscle mass. It may be news to some, but it is possible to build muscle on a diet that consists of only plants!
From working at a gym and having access to heavy weights and equipment, which I made use of pretty much daily, my routine underwent a change when I started to travel for a living. I adopted body-weight exercises and circuit training that I could do just about anywhere – no gym membership required. All I travel with now is a SKLZ band to add resistance to my workouts. I enjoy being able to keep my health & fitness up while traveling and keeping things cost-effective, time-effective, effective (in general) and fun.
Before my fast, I was very active and definitely enjoyed my plant-based foods, maybe a little too much. After the fast, I learned to have more of a balance between rest (getting enough, as possible), working out (not over-exerting myself), eating (not overeating) and having peace of mind.
Sometimes we must unlearn to re-learn. Starting with the basics. Re-set.
Today, I keep a b a l a n c e with daily movement, eating whole-food, plant-based and by having a positive outlook (a must).
Simplicity is key.
Albeit an abridged version of my last year and 7 months after the fast, I hope this sheds some light on the subject. And for anyone who is planning to undergo any type of fast / is fasting, my top pieces of advice would be this:
- Always come into a fast with the right motivation. This allows the fast to be more meaningful and sustainable.
- Use the process of the fast to de-clutter, minimalise and simplify your life. Take the time to reflect on how you’ve gotten to where you are today and the direction you want to go. Intention.
- Be gentle with your body coming out of a fast; eat slowly, be patient, remain intuitive. Appreciate the little things and focus on what matter most in life. Perspective.
New to water fasting and intermittent fasting? Here are a couple of resources to get you started.
The Myriad Benefits of Intermittent Fasting: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/health-benefits-of-intermit…/
Fasting – A History (part of a whole series on fasting by Dr. Jason Fung): https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/fasting-a-history-p…/
The Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting: https://www.nerdfitness.com/…/a-beginners-guide-to-intermi…/
Further reading: books on fasting (both water and intermittent):
The Complete Guide to Fasting (Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore – covers both Intermittent Fasting and Water Fasting – Probably the best book to start out with): http://amzn.to/2rxFMmQ
The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting http://amzn.to/2r7cesT
The Warrior Diet (one of the first books ever on Intermittent Fasting): http://amzn.to/2rxxLOF
Periodic Fasting (great resource if you like to get really technical on how our bodies work when fasting): http://amzn.to/2qNdBfj
Fasting and Eating for Health (Dr Joel Fuhrman offers a vegan perspective on water fasting): http://amzn.to/2qH1ZeJ
^(c/o James Alexander Jack, Water & Intermittent Fasting)