Water fasting is one of the most effective bodily healing methods available to any of us; the process can be an intense ride physically, emotionally and spiritually, but the benefits can be incredible – as I discovered! Water-fasting allows the body to purify, reset and detoxify itself on a cellular level; and accompanying these pro’s are the spiritual benefits. Fasting can be an extremely enlightening experience, allowing the person to connect to him/herself, allowing greater stillness to enter their psyche especially as the body and mind become more detoxed through fasting. With the avoidance of food in the persons’ system, the detoxification can take place, allowing the mind to still and a stronger sense of connection to the divine-self.
During fasting, the cells within the body enter a process known as ‘autography’ – what happens here is the cells are literally eating themselves; yes this might sound crazy! But this is actually one of the fastest routes to enable the cells to detoxify themselves. During the process of autography, each cell creates an outer membrane that ‘eats’ diseased, toxic, dead and worn-out cells; stripping them of all things bad and use the new cleansed parts for energy and greater cell creation. This process literally is your body’s own recycling system, and if we continue to eat and eat and never giving our body that time to rest and recover; the toxic overload will continue to build up – hence the onset of dis-ease and illness. Autography makes the body much more efficient, enabling power to the cells to stop cancer growing and metabolic illnesses such as diabetes and obesity.
Over-Burden of Toxins
With the overload of toxins in todays’ society – in the air, food and water; we are subjected to much higher levels of toxins than our bodies are designed to handle. Our cells are therefore loaded with excess debris that can build-up and cause a whole range of illnesses and dis-ease. This is why the process of fasting is so powerful – we can clear up this toxic overload within a matter of days with water fasting.
My Water-Fasting Experience
Ok, so I have tried a million different techniques and dietary methods in order to try and get to the bottom of my digestive ‘issues’ and inflammation, that has consumed me for far too long! I almost thought it was time to let go, relax and just pray that the universe would heal me naturally; but no matter what I did, nothing was working. Until, I discovered the intensively grueling and yet extremely powerful and transformative effects of water fasting. I have always been a huge foodie, so the idea of not eating for 5 solid days, was not appealing in the slightest, and the closest thing to fast I’d ever gone through was in Peru in the amazon jungle when I was put on a 10 day ‘dieta’; again extremely transformative and cleansing but still not as brutal as water alone.
However, the challenge for me was the art of detachment that we all have surrounding food – I knew this would be the most testing element mentally. The physical side I could get my head around – so to speak! I spent 3 days prior to the fast, on a Core Energetics course (a marriage of body psychotherapy and spiritual development), releasing the attachment I had surrounding food. I had released that I had become mentally addicted to the process of eating over the past 3 years since giving up the drugs and alcohol, that food had become my go-to comfort. The mental thoughts towards eating were always there no matter how busy I was in life! Food would rule my day and really I wasn’t satisfied with how this was enfolding. I realised my body was always overloaded with foods that I would gorge on, never giving it a good rest. We all have varying relationships with food; whether it be healthy or not, lets face it the main reason we eat is to survive on a physical level, however, during the period of the 3-day course, I came to the realisation that a great portion of the population (myself included & I am completely willing to admit!) are attempting to fill that inner-void within the solar plexus, with food – only to receive a very short-lived, temporary level of satisfaction. Thus repeating the same cycle again and again, multiple times a day as the process of eating is so necessary and acceptable – not to mention readily available. The addiction for me actually became worse than any other for this very reason!
My Reasons and Goals for Water-Fasting
There are many reasons that I decided to embark on this intense 5-day journey, however the main reasons were:
Stomach & facial bloating
Digestive rest and rejuvenation (resetting my digestive system to reduce the inflammation within the intestines & bowel)
Cleansing of the bodily organs
More clear skin
To test my willpower!
To overcome my final addictive mental pattern towards food
Ah beautiful day 1! How easy you were for me! To my surprise, I didn’t really feel hungry on the first day. I had over-eaten the previous night and felt it was the final release of this burden for me. I called upon the help of guides, angels and God to assist me in the process and I can honestly say that this helped me immensely. Something was definitely looking after me! I felt I had slightly more energy and overall I felt lighter within my body. Only in the evening did I start to feel a little dizzy and lethargic, it was probably a mistake to go out with a few friends to a restaurant in the evening and just sticking to water was a real challenge! However, this tested my will-power to another level and has proven to me that I have the strength within that I didn’t know possible!
I finally felt in the first time in my life, that I was releasing the shackles of all addictive patterns. I would have the occasional thought coming into my mind from my ego ‘is this good for me or am I abusing myself?!’, but I would remind myself and research constantly for the benefits of what I was doing to keep me motivated! I knew I had enough fat stores within my body to be absolutely fine – so this gave me peace of mind. I didn’t have any major bad feelings on the first day, I was surprised at how easy I found the process! I had a few hunger pangs but nothing major. I felt proud within myself for finally having the strength to conquer this non-serving pattern. I found it hard to switch off at night but when I eventually nodded off, my sleep was fairly deep, of about 7 hours which is good for me! On day one I only had water, nothing else.
Ok so that feeling of being easy? That didn’t last long! I felt much more dizzy, weak and lethargic on day 2. My hunger pangs were INTENSE and I just listened to my body and relaxed into it. I understood this process was teaching me many things, including patience; Rome wasn’t built in a day, our bodies aren’t going to fix themselves over night! I just had to ride the waves of weakness and hunger and remain strong within my mind. I understood it was the ego talk and not really my body’s need for food. I didn’t notice any improvement in my bloating on day 2, if anything it was slightly worse. My sleep was fairly deep and I just embraced what came up for me throughout the whole day reminding myself of the benefits of this process, taking things slowly and gently, allowing myself to go inwards and reconnecting to my true-self. I had one coconut water today to replace the electrolytes that I was losing in the hotter climate in Bali – this also helped with hunger!
I woke up with much more energy on day 3. My tongue was coated in a white layer which is a sign that the body is starting to detoxify itself. I managed to get myself to an Ashtanga class at Desa Seni in Canggu, however, lasted an hour before I had to leave from feeling too dizzy! My strong advice would be to go easy and gentle on the exercise during fasting periods! I spent the majority of the time on the beach this day and just relaxed into myself again. I have to admit, I felt a deep sense of presence throughout the whole process, which was fairly profound for me! I found that keeping myself busy and treating myself with other things such as massage and facials, was the best way to re-focus my attention away from hunger. I started to notice skin break-outs on day 3, again, another sign that the body is detoxing and also minor headaches. I was excited to see how I would feel the next day, so this spurred me on to continue! I slept better on day 3, about 8 hours which is a rarity for me! I didn’t have any emotional changes and in fact I felt positive and good all day! It was a great exercise to really focus and practice my self-love and gentleness, something I have always found fairly hard!
Day 4 was a challenge!!! This was the hardest day for me by far. I really felt the hunger today and emotions definitely arose! I also felt very tired and so incorporated a couple of herbal teas to help with hunger. I also had 1 coconut water to help replace the lost salts and minerals. I noticed my tongue wasn’t as white today (just slightly) and my headaches had subsided. I was determined to continue however, originally I planned to do 10 days, but listened to what my body was saying each day. I started to feel better as the day progressed and even made it to an awesome Yin class at The Practice yoga studio in Canggu. Afterwards, I felt such peace, presence and serenity. I began to notice a higher level of consciousness enter my being, a higher state of awareness as if my eyes were starting to widen moment by moment. I also treated myself to a massage and had 1 enema to clear my system out. I slept fairly broken, but ok sleep this night.
Initially I felt good, hungry but less exhausted and mentally clear. I felt positive and was looking forward to the day ahead. I noticed my heart was starting to race quite a lot, however, upon awakening, so I kept my awareness on this and listened to my body. I meditated for 45 minutes and actually felt much more inner-peace and stillness than previously. I ventured to a cafe where I did some work, but as the day progressed I began to feel not so good in myself- not to mention it was a full-moon also! People around me were trying to put me off the process, but I actually didn’t need anyone else’s advice – I was listening intently to my body and as the day progressed I decided that I had had enough and that the fasting process for me was coming to an end! I broke the fast the following day with a lovely green spinach soup from Bali Buda. My bloating has reduced significantly and I felt good! I noticed a lot of water retention had left my body and I was pleased with the results mentally, physically and spiritually. The whole process had taught me on an even deeper level, to love, accept and remain in the present moment. More profoundly than ever, I realised that in each and every moment, we are a completely different person, we are continuously stepping into new found power.
I drank smoothies, juices and soups today to break the fast. I lost 2kg since I started and felt so much less inflamed throughout my whole body. My bloating was gone! I started to incorporate probiotics and this also helped. I took a trip to Ubud, and as always, this place brings so much stuff up for me spiritually! Arghhh, no matter what, you can guarantee that Ubud will challenge you in every sense. The realisation came to me even more profoundly that I needed to up my meditation game, and live more in the present moment. Something we all struggle with! The whole fasting process for me, was an interesting experience. I will continue to water-fast 1 day a week to keep my digestive system rested. I also feel that perhaps I found the whole process slightly easier in some ways as I had already stopped drinking alcohol, caffeine and sugar 18 months prior, so my body was already fairly clean. I feel much more in control of my eating and respect food much more, not to mention the money I saved through the process! I feel more relaxed within myself and much more agile and at pole training I noticed my strength had increased. My energy levels weren’t massively noticeably different, but I decided maybe that’s just the intense energy of Bali wiping me out!
I felt this experience was one of the most profound I have been through when it comes to body healing. It allowed me to become extremely present, introvert, still and calm. I noticed a great improvement in my mental clarity, sleep and mood; also improvements in digestion.
If you are thinking of carrying out anything similar to what I’ve stated here, I would highly recommend you have medical checks prior to ensure your body is in suitable condition for fasting; also that you have nothing planned, as your energy levels are seriously shot down. Keeping yourself occupied in gentle ways during fasting, is the best way to distract your mind from any hunger pangs. Remember: hunger pangs are merely stomach excretions – as soon as you drink water – these pains subside significantly due to the neutralisation.
It’s incredible to realise how much time, energy and attention we focus around food. Our society has become completely attached by food and there’s no escaping the constant advertisements and promotions. Performing fasting is a great way to become less attached to the physical needs of the body and focus inwards, becoming more aware of your state of being and how you feel towards yourself and allowing more compassion and love to flood in.
Stay happy, stay healthy, stay conscious