As you may know if you have followed me on here or on my Instagram for awhile, I have had a somewhat tainted relationship with food since I was about 12. Though I am absolutely in the best place I have ever been with it, I still have days (a lot of them) on this path to full recovery where I am CONSTANTLY over-thinking everything I eat and drink.
Last week, I was practicing Intermittent Fasting (the 16/8 where you fast 16 hours eat for 8). While that was indeed working, I was still spending FAR more energy thinking about and deciding on food than I wanted to, and I needed a change, though I didn't know what it would be this time.
Yesterday, I woke up and couldn't decide if I wanted a matcha latte. I was tired but didn't really want caffeine or a sugary beverage yada yada yada (as so the mental stories go). I decided to walk to the beach to try to wake up naturally instead. Once I got there, I figured I would meditate by the water because duh- so peaceful. I meditated for 15 minutes, then walked down the beach a little further. My mind was pretty clear, and once I sat back down to stretch a little bit, my Intuition was like "fast for a day" and I was like "shit, really?" (lol not even kidding-this was my inner dialogue with my intuition). Me being me, I essentially demanded a sign from the Universe if I indeed should do the fast, and I needed it in 20 seconds. Got it. Obviously. With a little hesitance, I asked the Universe for a sign if the fast needed to be that day (I was somewhat in denial lol), and again- I wanted it in 20 seconds. Got it, obviously, so I was like wellp....can't argue with that.
And so, just like that, I decided to do a 24 hour fast. I did not plan it. I did not do anything crazy the night before like eat extra or anything. I just decided to do it and committed.
Now, before I get into the details, I want to be transparent: I am not at a stage where I am being overly restrictive- I am at a stage where I am almost always eating or thinking about eating - often unsure if I am eating out of physical hunger or mental/emotional hunger. I am at a stage where I, for some reason, "fear" hunger, because society has made hunger SCARY. I mean think about that. Everywhere on social media, wellness bloggers and famous people alike are making sure people know they "ate more than the picture showed." But why? What if that small plate was actually all you wanted? So what? There are stores open 24/7 and food EVERYWHERE, constantly reminding us to EAT. People on social media are SO quick to cater to/are afraid to upset people who aren't eating enough...but what about the people that are eating TOO much? What about the people who are binge eating or over-eating or over-desiring food? Last I heard 70% of the world's population is overweight or obese, so why aren't we speaking to these people and helping them? Our bodies are designed to be hungry at times. Our bodies are designed to go long periods of time without eating, if need be. Our digestion is meant to have some rest. I don't mean to digress, but I felt it necessary to add this in here, because it has something I have been thinking about for awhile now.
Simply put: I am at a stage where food is more than fuel, and for ME, this fast needed to happen. If you are not at a similar stage, then maybe a day-long fast isn't for you, but it absolutely was for me. I have overcome wanting to throw up after I eat. I have overcome restricting myself excessively. I have overcome labeling foods and am comfortable with what foods make me feel great and what foods don't. The last piece of the puzzle for me is to know when I am PHYSICALLY hungry- when I need to eat, not when I want to eat because for 15 years eating masked my emotions. That is why I needed to do this.
Okay, so what was it like?
Honestly...it was amazing. It was seriously, truly amazing. I have often labeled myself as someone who "gets hangry" (my GF can vouch for this-I would tell her I was hungry and she would be like "oh no...). This fast helped me realize my emotions surrounding food are often just...well just stories. At one point during the day, I felt hungry, and I got irritated and mad and frustrated and wanted to throw in the towel. I was "hangry", but honestly not even THAT hungry, and I allowed myself to just experience the emotions while being in my body. I had a full day of experiencing emotions that come up when I am hungry. I had a full day of realizing how great my body felt while I was giving it a break. I had full day of realizing how it feels to NOT think about food-something I have not experienced since before I can remember.
I did not drink seltzer water. I did not chew gum. I did not drink caffeine (I had 3 sips of green tea to remember why I hate it). I just allowed myself to drink water and be present and be with emotions and be in my body. I taught a heated yoga class. I took a heated yoga class. I walked a few miles. I functioned in society without harming anyone out of hunger. Why? Because our bodies are amazing. I thrived yesterday. Just as our body needs a break from working out a lot, my body and mind wanted a break from food. And honestly, I was damn proud of myself because I stayed strong- NOT in a caloric deprivation pride kind of way, but in a "I know my body needs this so Imma give it what it needs" kind of way.
At 930 PM, 24 hours and 15 minutes after my last meal, I had a meal of veggies, tofu, hummus, and fruit. Before bed, I had a little dark chocolate with coconut butter. I did not binge eat or feel the need to eat something I usually wouldn't. I heard my body and what it needed, and I slowly ate-so mindfully, so full of joy.
As I sit here writing this to you, I am feeling amazing. It is 7 am and I am drinking some matcha and just feel...soooo good. I am sharing this with you because I want to be the voice on the other side of EDs that we hear a lot less about. I am going to be the voice that tells you just as it is okay to eat cookies if you want them...it's also okay not to. It is okay to be hungry and to allow your digestion a break. It is okay to allow yourself to experience hunger to see what emotions reside in your mealtime. You are okay. Your body is okay. You are in tune. Maybe you should try a fast. Maybe you shouldn't. All I know is that I did, and I will continue to do one every week, because I needed to. This is my final puzzle piece, and I am so grateful to my intuition for showing me where it goes.
As always, please reach out if you want to chat about this or have questions/comments/etc.
Thank you for reading, love you all! :)