Tuesday, July 20th, 8:37 Am, the sixth day of a 10-day water fast. It’s been herbal tea, flavored soda water with cero calories or no sweeteners, and water with lemon whenever I am hungry. I have also added two sodium and magnesium pills every other day plus a little salt diluted once or twice a day. The following words are my water-fast story.
Last year, during early spring, I did my first ten days of water fast, intending to deal with a torn shoulder.
After using different approaches to deal with a pain that seemed to disappear only to come back stronger, I decided to give water fasting a try.
At this point of the development of this shoulder issue, I had to stop surfing or using the strength of my upper body because of the pain I was feeling, and needless to say, I gain fifteen pounds.
The inflammation around my arms and my chest was getting a little too obvious
So, after long conversations with some of my friends who are doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors, and dietitians, I decided to give water fasting a try, hoping that I might be able to manage the pain better by reducing inflammation.
That first ten-day fast reduce my pain to almost 98%. I remember during the fifth day when I showed my wife that I was able to put shirts on my own and that the movement of my left arm had returned. You have to understand something; I had lost full motion of my left arm; I wasn’t able to do a circle or carry heavy things with that arm. Swimming or surfing was done by carefully moving my arm in a way that didn’t disturb that area. Surfing was almost out of the question on days where the paddle out required a lot of effort. I would simply just sit there and wait for a nicer swell.
I have fasted before, and for different reasons, but mainly for health or spiritual purposes. Fasting is not a new thing to my body.
The first time I fasted, I was sixteen years old, aboard a makeshift boat struggling to make it to the United States. The trip took five days. I fasted for four of those days and paddle pretty much for sixteen to eighteen hours every day, with barely any sleep.
At some point, I remember heavy hallucinations, listening to the sound of music, people talking, and colors appearing and disappearing in the sky and around us. I have no idea that there were so many uses for fasting and had so many side effects and health benefits.
Early spring of the year 2020, I started my fast, and like the one I am in right now, the first three to four days were challenging
The first day I felt hungry and a little irritated. The smell of food triggered all sorts of things. However, I managed to entertain myself, did some online work, and kept to myself as much as possible.
When the second day began, I started the day with a bit of Hierba Mate tea to spike me up and curved the hunger I was feeling. Making an omelet and toast for my children didn’t help at all. The smell of the butter melting on top of the bread was a challenge. After doing that, I went into my office and worked a little until I felt I needed to rest.
I spent a couple of hours researching water-related articles and videos to gain a little momentum and not disturb the process. However, I did find some exciting things that fired up my interest in continuing the fast.
When the third and fourth days came around, the struggle was real
During these two days, images of food preparation, smoothies, and fruits were often present in my mind. I blocked them as best I could, but every time I was in the kitchen prepping something for my children, I could see in my mind’s eye my arms reaching out and grabbing something and placing it in my mouth. I had to stop myself many times, realizing that I had the food in my hands.
Because of this uncontrollable urge to eat, I decide to implement something else:
Every time I have food in my hands or the desire to eat, I grab some fruit. Then I smell it, observe it, close my eyes, and smell it deeply, to the point that all my body starts to enjoy the aroma. Then I put it down and continue doing what I am doing.
This simple thing has brought me to today, the sixth day of my second ten-day water fast. I have been able to cook black beans for my family and prep food for them and not taste or feel bad about it. But, of course, I keep my herbal tea and my lemon water close by if the urge is too intense. Remember, I have not been eating for 132 hours and counting. So it is only normal to be hungry, irritated, and tired.
I don’t want to spend too much time talking about our forefathers ravaging the woods looking for food on an empty stomach. We all know how challenging was for them to find food.
But today, on the sixth day of my second ten-day water fast, I want to share with you four basic things that will help you make your experience a little better.
It is not an easy task to water fast. You must tune into a different way of paying attention to your body, and it will require that you learn tricks to tap into this.
- You are not alone. On any given day, others are either starting a fast or are in the middle of a fast. Maybe they are about to finish one. Fasting is more common than we think. Think about those who are also struggling. Find some camaraderie among the ups and downs of those doing a water fast. What better way to do this than by researching the journeys taken by others? I find this trick very inspirational, many people used this to make sure that they keep a healthy lifestyle after the fast.
- Make sure to have the drinks you have decided to use beforehand. Coffee without sugar (I never used it) seems to be a go-to for many people. In my experience, three drinks helped—soda water without any type of sugar or additive. Lemon or lime squeezed into what I drink and herbal teas once or twice a day. Those are my leading drinks, and they seemed to quench my thirst as well as curved my hunger somewhat. You must know that hunger is going to be there permanently. Our bodies require fuel to live and eating brings that fuel. How you react to those eating impulses determines the success of your fast.
- Sodium and magnesium tablets. I learned the hard way that we need minerals and electrolytes constantly. We can stop eating but not drinking unless we are breatharians and only eat prana as our primary food source. I am not there, therefore every other day, during the fast, I take a couple of tablets of sodium and magnesium, and I add a pinch of salt to my drinks to make sure I am replenishing my body with electrolytes. Also, during those days when the lower back pain kicks in during a fast, it is a good idea to add some minerals and electrolytes into your system.
- Aromatherapy has been around for centuries, and it so happens that the smells of foods can trigger digestive enzymes, prepping the body for a meal. Therefore, grab some fruit, and close your eyes and smell it for a minute. I know this sounds like torture, but if you do it with the object of simply observing and feeling, I promise you that it will curve your hunger pangs. By far, this has been a cornerstone during my fast. I have smelled garlic, watermelon, oranges, strawberries, beans, rice, toasts, and I must admit that it becomes sufficient during a fast.
It is the morning of my sixth day, and it has been a challenge, but remembering the hunger endured in the history of humanity pushes me forward a little further. I hope I make it and can finalize this with another article. Watch a couple of episodes of the show Alone. It might inspire you to continue and not cancel your ten-day water fast journey.
You are not alone, drink plenty of liquids, add salt to your drinks and smell fruits. You got this!