Updated: Feb 16, 2022
My purpose for fasting for 12 days is to be kind and loving towards myself, grateful, patient and gentle so that I can listen to, observe and meditate on my body, mind and spirit, towards harmony, clarity of mind, a healthy physical body, magical days and infinite possibilities.
Here we go, twelve days. In the grand scheme of things, 12 days is nothing. Of course, time has a tendency to warp itself depending on what is happening in the mind; at least it does for me. Twelve days is nothing, until I take away some things that usually make living a little more comfortable :)
The longest fast with no food I ever did was 10 days, back in 2010 - back then I had experimented with fasting for about one or two years I think - and I thought I would never contemplate doing another one again. I also did a 21 days juice fast in January 2013 which left me feeling absolutely amazing. So, here I am, planning a 12 days fast. Why? Because it is calling. Since January 2021, I went back to fasting one day a week (every Friday); I find it to be a great practice. Lately, however, I have been feeling a little off, physically and mentally, and I just feel like I need a reset, from everything. The last eight months have been strenuous, mentally and physically; this fast is part of a process of being attentive to my body and my mind and figuring out my wants and needs in this period of transition. I thought it would be helpful to record the experience and write down my thoughts while I spend 12 intense and magical days with myself. It's not the first time I write about fasting, but I have never written about it while I am going through the process.
Day 1 / Friday 11.06.2021 9am
I woke up at 7am to breathe and meditate on the twelve days ahead. While in meditation, it came that I should write down and eight keys process for this adventure and clearly write the intention behind it (see above). I feel good about this purpose, I think it sums up very well what I want to create.
The first two days I will be doing a juice fast; I have broken up the twelve days into two-days fasts of different kinds. I am juicing first to ease up into this long fasting period, and give my body some nutrients before I move on to more restrictive fasts.
I started the day with what I usually drink every day in the morning: lemon water with a few drops of oregano oil. I prepared carrot/cucumber/ginger juice to drink throughout the day.
So far, so good. Friday is my weekly fasting day, so my body is used to the fact that this is what usually happens at this point in time. Also, I am juicing, so it is actually getting more than what it usually does.
End of day one. Technically it has already been 24 hours, but I always count my fasting days from the morning rather than the evening before. Either way, it is the end of day one, and I feel tired; more tired than I usually do on my regular fasting day. I did have a busy day, I was quite physically active, and I definitely feel it now. I am going to sleep well. Now that I think of it, I am also tired because I didn't sleep very much last night - a mere four hours. I am going to meditate and go to bed. I can barely write this :).
Day 2 / Saturday 12.06.2021 9.37am
I slept like a log. I went to bed at 10pm, and I woke up at 6.30am. I very rarely get 8 hours of sleep, clearly I needed to rest. I don't intend to be physically active for the duration of the fast, but I also have things to do; I'm not doing this in a retreat centre where I am shut off from the rest of the world, so I will be somewhat active. Having said that, part of being gentle with myself during this process is to minimize my physical activity as much as I can. I won't practise any dynamic types of yoga, I will keep to yin yoga if it calls.
This morning I feel rested and calm. I did some pranayama and meditated after waking up, I also meditated last night before going to sleep. One of my goals for this fast is to practise pranayama and meditation morning and evening (and maybe in the afternoon); I am still finding it challenging to set aside some time for meditation in the evening. I have no problem in the morning, it's almost a necessity at this point, but in the evening I just want to chill out and do nothing - that includes meditation, even though I sleep and feel better when I meditate before bed. Maybe these 12 days will help create a new habit, or I'll just stick to morning meditation and call it a day :D.
Today's juice is apple/grapefruit/cucumber/carrot/ginger. I'm not feeling hungry just yet; no doubt that this will change :). However, now the first day is behind me, and it is usually the hardest day. After the 24 hours mark, there is a sense of physical commitment already because I can feel my body going through some changes from the inside out. The article below talks about what happens in the body during different stages of fasting.
I feel tired once again, but it was to be expected; the first couple of days of fasting are often quite taxing energetically. I thought I would feel hungry today, I didn't. End of the juice fast, tomorrow I move on to teas and infusions (just as well because I don't feel like drinking any more juice :D).
I had a lovely afternoon; I went to Les Journées Découvertes of a wellness centre in a town not far from where I am currently staying. They are offering some talks in the course of three Saturdays, and I decided to attend.
The first talk today dealt with the importance of listening to our inner child in order to heal traumas often buried deep, but still following us into adulthood. I am familiar with this form of therapy, I think it is a very essential and powerful tool. I experienced a huge breakthrough in connection with my inner child back in 2016. The talk was very informative; I learned more about naturopathy and le psychogestionnel. The second talk of the afternoon was a breakdown of the seven pillars of health, equally informative even though I already know and incorporate a lot of what was talked about. It's always nice to be in a health-conscious environment, with people whose goal is to take care of themselves and who share their knowledge with others. I am looking forward to the following weekends.
Day 3 / Sunday 13.06.2021 9.48am
I woke up feeling very energised this morning, and my mind feels clearer. This always happens when I do 3-day fasts. I am now in the stage of the fast where the tiredness is replaced with a sort of mental euphoria. I also feel lighter inside my body, I love that side of fasting: feeling clean and freed up from toxins. Leading up to this fast, I had been eating too much bread and also chocolate :). Both of which I don't usually eat in big quantities, so I feel the lightness around my organs and tissues. I also hurt some muscles in my neck last week which left me with a slight tension, now it's completely gone.
On another note, today it has been 4 months since I last smoke cigarettes. I am drinking alcohol again, very occasionally. I went to a birthday party and had some drinks, it was nice to be around people and let my hair down.
My pranayama practice felt amazing this morning, especially the naulis. My breath was full and powerful, I could feel it move freely through me. I didn't meditate last night because I didn't feel like, I watched a movie instead and chilled :)
I just got off the phone with my friend Josh, who is over in LA. It was so good to spend some time with him; I have known him for over 15 years - so crazy :). I have said it many times before, but I will say it again: I feel so grateful for the friendships I have made along the way.
I don't feel nearly as tired as I did on the first two days of the fast, I feel good and clear-headed. It's usually what happens on day 3, but I also think switching to tea and infusions provided my system with some nutrients and vitamins. This is what I drank today:
A green tea when I woke up (I didn't have my usual lemon water before that because I want to stick to just teas and infusions)
A digestive blend infusion (chamomile/peppermint/lemon balm/lemon verbena)
Chilled hibiscus & fennel infusion (I love the colour and taste of hibiscus so much)
Nettle and mint infusion
Tomorrow is another day of tea and infusions. I had a beautiful weekend, and I feel calm about the week ahead. I know this could change at any time, fasting is a fascinating journey as far as the thoughts and feelings that can emerge. One day at a time...
Day 4 / Monday 14.06.2021 8.22am:
I am sleeping very soundly and ease fully; I have been falling asleep around 10pm for the past 3 days, which has been great since I usually get up around 6-6.30am. I am feeling good, no hunger pains. I am now in a phase of the fast when it is less likely to feel hungry.
I have noticed that I am doing things at a slower pace, not because I am tired, but maybe because my body is slowly everything down from the inside out to conserve its energy. I don't feel slow though, I feel like I move in a very conscious and poised manner. Nothing feels like a rush, which is a wonderful feeling.
I 'worked' this morning, if I must call it work. I hate that word, because I have been blessed enough to have an occupation which I very much enjoy and is part of my lifestyle for the past 12 years. I know what work is; I have had the shitty jobs that kill your soul one day at a time. I did that for a couple of years until I realised I was never going to sell my soul ever again. Anyway :), that was a long way to say I was busy this morning with helping someone (who is also paying me in the process) and it was physically demanding. First, I walked to her house, which is an hour's walk from where I'm staying. I don't mind it at all under other circumstances; it's a beautiful walk in nature (I love walking anyway). However, walking to then do something physically demanding is not the best thing when I haven't eaten in almost four days. At least, she gave me a lift back, so that helped - I would have asked anyway, I couldn't have walked back I think :). Needless to say, when I got back I felt tired. I drank the hibiscus and fennel infusion I had forgotten in the freezer and rested for a while. After about an hour, I felt much better again. There are no hunger pains and I feel calm, again.
I had a few things not 'going my way' when I tried to do some administrative procedures and other things I had to do. I felt the frustration and annoyance rising inside me, but, to my own surprise, I just decided to let it all go and see what happens in a few days. Now, I don't know if it's because I just don't have the energy to rage :D, I know my mind just wanted to be calm and stay focused. It was so soothing. That's definitely another level for me in my fasting journey as whole. It is very common for people who start to fast to become extremely irrate and angry at the beginning; food is a basic need and stimulating and comforting. When it is taken away, it creates what can be felt as a massive void, generating a lot of emotions and feelings. Over time and with more fasting experience, those emotions and feelings lessen in strength, as we allow ourselves to look beyond them. I think that is why I got so interested in fasting; every fast develops my willpower while it also brings a lot of self-reflection. And now that I am doing a longer fast again, each day that passes is like an awakening of sorts.
Today's tea & infusions:
I started the day with a green tea and rosemary blend
Tomorrow I switch to Montmorillonite clay and psyllium husk fast. That should help me get over the hump :)
Day 5 / Tuesday 15.06.2021 9.28am:
I practised some yin yoga last night, which was followed by some breathing and meditation. It felt good for my body to stretch. I went to sleep afterwards, but was unfortunately woke up at 0.45am and was unable to go back to sleep. After a while of tossing and turning, I listened to a few episodes of a podcast I really enjoy (Braincare by Heights). I was still alert after the 4th episode, so at 3.30am I sat to breathe and meditate once again. I managed to fall asleep afterwards, but woke up at 7.30am - not great. I feel ok, considering; mostly I feel annoyed at the circumstances which led to being woken up. I practised some pranayama and meditation after I got up, again - I'm expecting to levitate out of those 12 days :).
This morning I drank the water of the Montmorillonite clay I had prepared last night; I only drank the infused water for now and left the clay at the bottom to be mixed again with water. I usually drink the clay also when I do clay and psyllium fasts, but because I have been fasting for 5 days I want to go easy on my system. I am actually thinking that I will only do a clay fast, leaving out the psyllium because I feel like it might be too much on my stomach. Psyllium husks expand when they are mixed with water, and I just can't contemplate the thought of that right now. We'll see how I feel tomorrow, as I intended to add the psyllium tomorrow anyway; today is only clay and water.
As of yesterday I have serious cotton mouth (nice :D), but morning oil pulling is really helping with it. Overall, I'm feeling very well, very light internally and clear-headed.
Well, my clear-headedness did not last too long; the lack of sleep and the emotional which have been plaguing the few days before my periods really did a number on me this afternoon. I fell into a moment of deep despair there. My personal situation has been challenging to navigate, as I feel trapped in a situation which only seems to get worse. "only seems", wow, take it out of context and there you have it: a passing moment, an illusion. It's so damn difficult to stay centered sometimes, the emotional reaction can be so powerful that to give in seems to be the only way. And perhaps it is, just give in to this passing moment so I can make it to the next one. I'm already feeling more focused and calm, but I know it's a down day today and that's it. I'll take care of myself and hopefully have a good night sleep, and I'll get over it - again. Another week to go.
On another note, I prepared lunch and some food for my mum for this week ahead. It was really nice to make deliciously nutritious food for someone else. Some peeps can't be around food when they fast and, don't get me wrong, I know the senses get heightened and scents and good-looking grub can make it hard not to stray. Having said that, cooking and preparing food is different for me; it's a very joyful experience, which brings feelings of gratitude even if I can't have any of those delicious items right now. I see it as a part of the meditative state that takes place when fasting. Yes, there is a lot of willpower involved (more so the first couple of days), yet it also requires detachment with awareness - something that brings me peace.
Day 6 / Wednesday 15.06.2021 9.05am:
Halfway through, I almost don't know what to write :). My body feels like it has gone into a deep state of homeostasis; I have no cravings for food, my cotton mouth is gone and I feel calm (calmer than yesterday). This definitely feels very different to the ten days fast I did in 2010, but then again, I have a lot more experience with fasting now.
I literally have nothing else to say this morning. Oh, I made some delicious food for my mum this morning :); lentil salad with cucumber, oven-roasted beetroot, sweet potato and parsley:
Emotions were running high today also, but I recognised them as the hormonal fluctuations which accompany my period; that makes it a little bit easier to manage them. Also, I have to say that the mental calmness I am getting from fasting is a massive help. When I realised my period would coincide with the fast, I wasn't too impressed, and I thought I was making something already taxing, even more taxing :). This is not the case at all; if anything it is much smoother.
I went to sit by a tree next to a river this evening, it was beautiful. Nature is so majestic. I feel great right now, peaceful. Hunger seems like a distant memory :D
Day 7 / Thursday 17.06.2021 8.22am:
I am made of infinite possibilities. This is my mantra for today (and most days lately, if I'm honest), it is usually the one I use in my meditation practice on this day. I feel the most energised since the beginning of this fast; I feel light from the inside out and serene this morning. I have the goal to practice pranayama and meditation morning and evening (and afternoon if I'm not running around doing something), but I have mostly done my usual morning routine and a couple of evenings. Maybe something will shift with that in the next 5 days :).
One week, time is such a strange concept; today seemed so far away last Friday, and now I feel like I could never eat again :D. I'm so glad I gave longer fasts another shot, such a different experience this time around. I am going to stick to the 12 days this time around but I want to this again, on a regular basis. Up until now, I have been doing one day a week fasts and three-day fasts with the changing of seasons, but I want to experiment with longer fasts again. I have to think how often I would like to do them and when. I embarked on this 12-day fast precisely now because I knew it would end with the summer solstice, therefore including my usual 3-day fast with the seasons. Maybe I will do a 3-day fast once a month and a longer fast with the changing of seasons. We'll see.
I just remembered that I dreamt I was eating cheese last night :). It's funny because I was really relaxed about it in the dream, I only realised I had eaten after the fact, but just brushed it off, and said I would just carry on with the fast as normal hahaha Pretty fucking chilled.
Today I switched to an only water fast, I never had the psyllium in the end, only the clay; I didn't feel like experiencing the texture of the psyllium in my mouth. Anyway, now I am just drinking water, today and tomorrow.
Day 8 / Friday 18.06.2021 9.52am:
I have now been thinking about how to end my fast, it's a very important step of fasting and I am planning how many days I am going to take to break the fast. Usually, I take one or two days to reintroduce more solid foods depending on the fast being one or three days. However, because this is a more extended fast, I probably will take 3 days, maybe 4, so that my body and my mind are not shocked back into eating. I will start back with the usual juicing day, then I think smoothies on second day, then soft fruits and yogurt (vegan, I don't like milk), then more solid fruits and veggies on fourth day, plus yogurt to be gentle with my stomach. The reintroducing of different foods after a fast is also a good opportunity to notice any reactions or intolerance to certain things.
Energy levels are good, I feel calm and alert. My senses feel heightened.
Day 9 / Saturday 19.06.2021 10.27am:
I once again dreamt about eating last night :), this time I know why. It wasn't about the act of eating related to hunger, but more about the social aspect of eating. I went for a walk around in a town I had never really explored before, around lunchtime, and there were a lot of people sitting at terraces, drinking and eating, enjoying the summer days. There were also a lot of lovely scents coming from all parts of the world: Italian, Chinese, French, Lebanese cuisines and so on. Needless to say, my olfactory sense was having a filled day. I wasn't hungry though, but I longed for the joyful experience of sitting at a terrace (alone or with friends) and just relaxed there, watching the world go by. Hence the dream :D. I dreamt I was full on eating this time, I was at the beach (another fantasy of mine at the moment, I miss the ocean so badly) with some friends, laughing and eating under the scorching sun. Even in that dream my conscious caught up with me as I thought to myself that it was ok (once again) and I will just keep going with the fast tomorrow - the cheek on that gal hahahaha. This is a challenging part of fasting, particularly extended fasts because it is not only food that is cut out, but everything around the concept of food and eating. I think that it is this challenging part that brings the most reflections out of the practice. Every fast is an exploration of my relationship to food and eating, in some small or massive way. It's truly fascinating.
I have now moved on to the strictest part of this twelve day fast: dry fasting. It is a first for me, I have never dry-fasted before, and, to be honest, I am taking it one hour at a time. So far so good, it's almost 11am now so I might make it through the day.
I have a beautiful day awaiting, I think it will help with the dry fast. It is the second Saturday of Les Journées Découvertes at the wellness centre, and I am attending two more conferences (one about Emotional Freedom Technique EFT and the other about sophrology). In addition to that, I have a reflexology session planned AND a Korean relaxation session. I can't think of a better way to welcome summer and close my fast.
What a wonderful day! A real treat :D. I tried reflexology for the first time in my life, learned about EFT (which I am really interested in finding out more about), had a very creative sophrology workshop and tried oxygenation cellular (that was so good). If that wasn't enough I started the afternoon with a 'sophro walk' connecting to the energy of nature, and ended the day with a 45mins session of Korean relaxation. So damn grateful right now. My body is relaxed and renewed.
I am 24hr into the dry part of the fast, it was ok. I thought I would get thirsty, but it's all good. I will drink tomorrow if I feel dehydrated. I believe that the eight days leading up to now have prepared me well enough to sustain the dry fasting. So, here we go, approaching the finish line: 3 days to go. What an experience.
On another note, I made this amazing curry, which is currently in the freezer, but will definitely be eaten very soon (it looks and smells absolutely amazeballs). Potato & green peas curry in a sweet potato sauce with onions and garlic and lots of spices :D:
Day 10 / Sunday 20.06.2021 11.44am:
It's officially the start of summer, and it's fucking raining over here. I miss hot countries and endless summer of scorching sun, but that's enough of that since I'm here and it's not going to change right now. So, it's raining, yay!
I made it to the double digits of this fast, and in a few hours I will enter unknown territory since ten days is the maximum I have ever done on water fast. I feel very good, I am still doing the dry fast; I am more than 36 hours into it now. My mum asked me if I felt the difference between water and dry fast yesterday, I responded that, because I had already did nine days of fasting, I think my body was well prepared for it. This morning, however, I noticed something which led me to believe that my body is indeed (I said indeed because this is what is listed as one of the powerful benefits of dry fasting) cleaning itself even deeper than with a water fast. (Disclaimer: this is about to get very real, but hey, we all do it! we'll literally and figuratively be in the shits if we didn't). In the past ten days I haven't felt the need to defecate, since I am not eating. However, today I felt the need to do so, which led me to believe that something different is happening inside me. It is said that when we cut off food and liquid, our body searches every corner of our being for sources of liquid while it also basically undertake a massive spring cleaning, essentially getting rid of all the crap and hanging on to the good stuff. I won't go over 48 hours of dry fast this time around because it is my first time, despite the fact that I feel very good and I feel that I could go on longer. I don't really feel thirsty, I had a couple of times when I thought I would drink, but the thirst went away quickly. Also, I am not dehydrated yet as I am still urinating. If I notice I don't need to pee this afternoon then I will break the dry fast.
I just drank my first glass of water in 43 hours, what a delight! I heard the call for hydration :) I am definitely going to incorporate dry fasting in my regular practice; I think my weekly fast day will be a dry fast, then do a three-day fast once a month and an extended fast with the changing of seasons. The monthly fast will be anything from juice fast to clay to only water, it will depend on the month. I am looking forward to all this. I can 100% feel the benefits, not that I ever doubted.
Day 11 / Monday 21.06.2021 10.26am:
I am drinking teas and infusions today, I wasn't sure what to do for the last two days of the fast, but decided on that this morning. I can feel the energy from the green tea and rosemary I drank this morning. Tomorrow I will juice so that I can ease into the breaking of my fast on Wednesday.
I feel clear-headed, positive, refreshed, calm and excited. My pranayama and meditation practice this morning was beautiful. My breath was full and healing. I did not keep with my goal to breath and meditate in the evening, but that's ok. I still intend on doing that more.
I am going to buy some veggies for juicing, yummy :D
I'm having an epic stomachache... from drinking water! Unreal! I haven't had any stomach pain in eleven days and its hitting me on the last day. I am going to make myself a digestive blend infusion, hoping it will soothe my belly.
Apart from that, all good. Nothing to report really. I can't believe this is the end. It felt like there was so long to go this time last week :D, but I made it. I feel really good, in body, mind & spirit. I am looking forward to include these extended fasts in my regular practice. I plan to do the next one in September, I think 15 days. But for now, I spent the day preparing all the good things I will put back in my body over the next 4 days or so.
Day 12 / Tuesday 22.06.2021 8.35am:
I read my purpose for this fast, like I have done every morning for the past twelve days, and I feel like I am stepping out of these twelve days with harmony, clarity, motivation, a healthy body, magic in my steps and once again connected to the field of infinite possibilities which I am made of. I needed those twelve days to shake off all that is not serving me right now. And, I personally think that this is a factor in every fast, I needed to take control of something while I am living a situation where I feel I have very little control over. Actually, perhaps instead of control, I needed to let go of feeling like I must control the situation, and simply live it for what it is.
This is it, it's technically the end of the twelve days, although I will not eat until tomorrow morning. A part of me feels strangely sad, it has been a beautiful gift to myself. I feel empowered, and healthy. Today I drank juices and a delicious organic gazpacho to get my taste buds going again :) I definitely felt the energy from the nutrients nourishing my body today. Tomorrow morning I will have coconut yogurt and berries for breakfast, get some probiotics in me. I'll see how I feel after that.
I am going to close this fast with some pranayama and meditation (and maybe some yin yoga).
I didn't sleep long last night so I hope to get a good night sleep tonight.
Wednesday 23.06.2021 9.03am:
Now it is officially the end, I came full circle. I had a beautifully simple and delicious coconut Greek style yogurt with blueberries. Life is good.