I just broke a 72hrs water fast, the first one in some time. While I have continued to fast one day a week along with 48hrs fasts here and there, I had paused the longer fasts because I started gathering more info about the impact of fasting on my menstrual cycle.
I came across a really interesting video from Dr Mindy Pelz, her youtube channel is basically dedicated to fasting as it relates to women's health. In the video in question, she said something which has changed my approach to fasting: as beneficial and powerful as the practice of fasting is, fasting for long periods of time is a stresser. I watched that video right around the time when my cycle was getting really out of wack at the beginning of the year, and as soon as I heard that I reflected on the longer fasts I had done in the past few months. After years of sticking to 24hrs-90hrs fast max, a couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to try another looooonnngg fast as in twelve days long. That experience was amazing, I learned so much from it on so many levels – so much so that it awakened a desire to incorporate longer fasts from time to time. I successfully repeated the experience about 14 months later (I had started one in September of 2021, but ended it on day 6 because I got sick with Covid) with a ten days fast which, again, went amazing.
However, knowing what I know now, I think those longer fasts may have affected the regularity of my menstrual cycle. Prior to this year, I did not use to synchronise my fasting with the different phases of my menstrual cycle (at least consciously). I do believe that I intuitively started longer fasts in my follicular phase and ended fasts because I was in my luteal phase and my body was simply just craving nourishment instead of cleansing and detox. So, with all that new info in mind and a more acute awareness of where I am in my menstrual cycle, I decided to give longer fasts a break while I focused on restoring my endocrine health and menstrual cycle. With anything to do with the body, exercise and nutrition, I feel that it is important and necessary to switch things up from time to time because our bodies adapt to everything after a while.
For the past 6 months I played around with changing my eating windows (I ususally don't eat in the morning) while also not fasting at all for a couple of weeks and I know that this process has helped tremendously with recovering my regular cycle and also getting me out of the symptoms of perimenopause. I am grateful that the information is out there to be able to adapt my practice mindfully, gently and gracefully. I am not a fan of anything rigid all the time, it's all about balance, finding what works and what doesn't and adapt accordingly.
I feel very energised and cleansed from the inside out after the last 72 hours. Ready to have a lovely weekend with girlfriends, eating homemade healthy food and chilling out.