This is Part 3 of 4 of my Accidental Fast series.
I woke up thirsty several times in the night, but made myself go back to bed. This was a huge mistake. When I awoke for good, my pee was the wrong color (dark yellow), indicating dehydration. I was very, very nauseous, and I was freezing yet also very hot. I had read that nausea and flu-like symptoms are common in the first few days of fasting as your body begins removing toxins, but I knew that vomiting was a bad sign—a sign that the fast needed to be broken.
Luckily, I did not barf. Instead, I got myself a fizzy water and curled up on the couch, allowing myself to rest and rehydrate. Kevin was very encouraging, making sure I felt okay but also telling me not to be a puss and that I would be fine. He’s so sweet. (I find tough love more encouraging than coddling.)
I drank my bottle of water slowly and put myself back to bed. I just did not have the energy to get up and get ready for work. I slept for another hour and then headed to work.
Based on Kevin’s account, I expected Day 2 to be a lot easier than Day 1. As far as hunger, it was; the gnawing feeling that had plagued my cheeks and stomach the day before had vanished. In its place, however, was nausea, neck and back pain, a runny nose, and negative thoughts.
“I need to eat,” I kept telling myself, but in reality, I did not. I had not been fasting long enough for my body to enter starvation mode; all I needed was water and time.
At work, I drank a cup of green tea and felt my body oscillate between feelings of nausea and clarity. During the nausea, I would put my head down, close my eyes, and breathe deep, taking a yogic breath and imagining it healing me of my feelings of sickness. (It worked.)
Of course, it’s easy to say “I don’t feel hungry anymore,” but that doesn’t paint you the whole picture. Sure, my stomach didn’t crave food, but my mind did. I kept allowing myself to focus on what I would eat on when I broke my fast. I had planned to leave work at noon that day, meaning I could have whatever I wanted for lunch…pizza, Panera, Pokey sticks, Jason’s Deli’s salad bar. Admittedly, I even craved the things I’d swore to never eat again: land animals.
I think one of the most important goals of fasting is to train your thoughts not to focus on the hunger or the food and to find new avenues for contemplation and self-discovery. Unfortunately, this is very difficult, especially on a short fast, and especially for this noob’s first fast.
I spent the evening of Day 2 torturing myself by peeling and slicing fruit to be dehydrated and doing the dishes. After that, having expended all of my energy, I was back in bed with my book, dogs, and fizzy water. I read for 20 minutes before allowing myself to indulge in thinking about food again (bad me). Feeling defeated, I thought back to something a friend of mine, who is experienced with fasting, posted to his Facebook wall (he too had just completed a 20-day fast):
When your conscious mind gives you justifications to not follow through, just recognize it and detach from it.
So I tried detaching and fell asleep.
Unlike Day 1, I knew I would wake up throughout the night needing water, so I kept some by my bed. Indeed, I awoke several times throughout the night feeling nauseous and dry-mouthed. The fizzy water seemed to really help with the nausea.
Some thoughts I had today:
- How amazing is pizza? Like, truly amazing. The sauce and the dough and the cheese and the cheese and the cheese…mmmmm.
- Wow, there’s a place called Cowfish at CityWalk (where Kevin and I are going this weekend) that serves humanely raised burgers and sushi, two of my favorite things. Juicy burger, yummmm.
- Raisin bread, raisin bread, raisin bread.
Yeah, I was definitely not as thoughtful as yesterday…