Updated: Oct 10, 2020
I had a client book a session with me to help him lose weight. He had tried many times to lose weight, with varying degrees of success and failures. Usually he ended up putting more weight on.
I began to think of ways to help him psychologically, so I decided to experiment and fast for 48 hours to gain an understanding into how the mind and body would react to the process. Below are my findings to this experience.
I stopped eating after my dinner on Sunday evening at 7.00 pm. I went to bed at my normal bedtime 9.00 pm. As is my routine, every day I am awaken by my alarm clock at 3.30 am. Now normally I would make myself a cup of black tea, but this time I did not prepare my tea and breakfast as usual, instead as I was working away from the office for several days, I packed the van and drove for an hour to the location I was going to be working from.
On arriving I started on my daily morning ritual, I started my meditations and mental rehearsals, this whole process takes about 60 minutes. Usually after my meditations I would start eating my breakfast, but surprisingly I didn't feel hungry.
By 9 O'clock I was in trouble. My body was sending signals to my brain that something was wrong. I was feeling uneasy in my stomach, like butterflies not flying in formation. My body started to crave something sweet so I made myself a chai tea with honey. This seemed to work and my body calmed down a considerable amount. By 1.00 pm I was feeling so hungry that I could have eaten the crutch out of a low flying duck. Just as well I was indoors and not near a pond.
I involved myself in my work for the rest of the day, trying not to think of food and slipping chai teas. Surprisingly, even though my tea intake had gone through the roof I wasn't eliminating much. It was as if the fluid was being absorbed by the body. The evening came and so to the end of the work day. The hunger pains that I had felt earlier on in the day seemed to be no longer there even though the butterflies were still in my stomach.
I decided to go to the local gym for a weights workout. This would definitely take my mind off eating. I found that my strength had not lessened and I had an abundance of energy. After the workout I became tired, its been a long day. I sipped on some water, got into bed, then sleep came.
Usually my normal sleep pattern is to fall asleep quickly, wake up during the night once for a pit stop then fall back to sleep no problems. I hardly ever dream and if I do, I forget them the moment I am awake. But this night was far from normal. I had so many vivid dreams. I would awaken from a dream, fall back to sleep, and instantly slip into a another, this cycle continued until my alarm ripped me out of the last dream at 5.00 am, I felt exhausted.
I started my second day of fasting just like every other day with my morning ritual. But today my head was very fuzzy and I had difficulty focusing on my meditation. When I was at work I spoke with a friend about my vivid dreams. My friend smiled and nodded, and told me that he partakes in Ramadan every year because of this religious faith, and that he dreams so much during the Ramadan period, and the dreams are always erratic and vivid. I started to think that perhaps this is because the energy that is normally used to digest a belly full of food is now in abundant supply, making the mind overactive?
As I continued to work through the day I realized that I was not thinking about food anymore and the hunger that I felt yesterday was today not apparent. I found this very interesting. My body had given up sending signals to my brain, because the brain was not listening. The brain in effect was overriding the bodies signaling.
This phenomenon could be likened to when one feels an itch but does not scratch that itch. The body turns up the volume on the itch until normally one reacts and scratches it. But if one continues not to scratch the itch then the body stops sending the signal to the brain and the itch is gone. This is a technique that I teach my students which increases the distance in between the stimulus and one’s response to that stimulus. If we do not react for a long enough period of time then the mind wins over the body. Regardless if it is an itch, discomfort or even pain. In doing so the person has gained in self-awareness and emotional stability.
As my second day of fasting continued. Clarity of thought returned and my energy levels, instead of deteriorating, were high. The evening came and I drove home. It was now 7.00 pm. I sat in front of a steaming hot bowl of soup but I was not hungry in the slightest bit. How interesting, I thought to myself. I thoroughly enjoyed eating the soup and was amazed at how my taste buds danced with joy. After I had eaten, I felt extremely full, the meal felt like a led weight in my stomach. Possibly next time I should eat a smaller lighter meal after fasting.
In Summary, I noticed how my body and mind reacted to not eating. In the beginning I was extremely hungry, in the end not hungry at all. My body had grown accustom to not eating. We are creatures of habit and comfort. Most of us like to stay in this safety zone where both the body and mind feel comfortable. This comfort leads to a life of boredom, mediocrity and habit. By pushing myself past the initial discomfort both physically and mentally, I found myself in another zone, I felt comfortable, relaxed and harmonious even though I was not eating. By pushing through the pain, I found a fasting nirvana within me. Anything is achievable, one just needs the will and conviction to stick to the plan.
Using this information I will help the client recognize the feelings of hunger and teach them not to react to the body's callings for food. I will also help the client find other activities to partake in which will distract the mind from the body's calling. I would suggest the client try fasting for 5 hours at a time during the day and modify their diet reducing sugars and carbohydrates, enabling the body to use stored fat cells as energy instead. I would suggest that the client set a major weight loss goal and break that goal into small attainable goals along the way. The use of affirmations would reaffirm and re-motivate the client throughout the day.
Just remember, if you are thinking of fasting then I strongly suggest you follow the link below before doing so. There are several types of people that should not attempt this and should first seek the advice of their doctor.
Give me a call if you are going through a difficult stage in your life at this present time. It may be weight control, lack of meaning, anxious thoughts, angry outbursts, loss, addictions or even relationship issues. My professional service is fully confidential. I will work with you to get you back on the road to a better future.
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