Every so often I fast for three days.
I have done three day fasts about ten times or more over the years. I fast for a number of different reasons: to boost or kick-start diets, to detox and for spiritual reasons as the mind absolutely becomes calmer and clearer. I seem to remember going on to a fourth day while fasting on a solo retreat and found the mind’s response very interesting and slightly different to day three. Day three is different to day two and so-on.
Usually, I eat breakfast on day one and an evening meal on day three. This is because in the past I have focused on motivation and it doesn’t ‘feel like’ one has to go so long without food. I have found it difficult not eating in the past. Craving for food kicks in at some point on day two and I find myself wistfully observing others eat or looking into the windows of food shops. Whatever, my strategy has worked as I have never broken a fast and always seen through the three days.
For some reason, this time I don’t feel that motivation will be an issue in the slightest as it feels to right to be doing it now so I haven’t bothered with breakfast on the first day. Instead I have bought myself a green smoothie.
Over the years, this is what I have learned.
- Hunger, if how you feel after three days of not eating is hunger, isn’t quite how one would think it is. There are occasional cravings that arise but it doesn’t stay in the forefront of your mind. I expect that over longer periods that changes.
- The craving to eat is more common at the beginning of the three days.
- The monkey mind will say. “OK, you can’t eat but you can drink!” and all sorts of suggestions for that will arise from coffee to smoothies that are like eating in any case! I did this once and it really didn’t help as my stomach churned. For this fast I will only drink water and if I do drink anything else it will either be herbal teas or very smooth and high quality filter coffee.
- I need to sleep at least an hour more per night to get a good night’s sleep.
- Mindfulness increases. The business of the mind most definitely diminishes.
- There is always some realisation or insight. I always learn something about my inner experience. I can see why this is a spiritual experience practiced in many religions as we are replacing the usual business of thought with a calmer experience and reconnecting with our bodies.
I hope to have the time to blog each day of this fast though I may blog on the day after so you can get an idea of how that day went.