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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Goff

72 Hour Fast

I would just like to start off this blog by saying that I am not encouraging people to complete a 72-hour fast based on reading this blog nor am I trying to promote that people should copy what I have done. If someone does decide to complete a fast it must be for their own reasons or intentions. Anyone considering undertaking a fast, needs to go and do their own research and reading around it and decide why you want to do it, without taking my word for it or following my lead.

With that in mind, I would like to share with you my recent experience of completing a 72-hour water fast as a personal challenge. COVID has given me plenty of time to reflect on my life and what my next steps are, but after reflecting on what I had learned during this time I then began to think about other ways that I could use this time for further personal development not just mentally but physically and emotionally also.

I have been involved in a 6-week stress management and meditation course with Damien Wade, of which we are 4 weeks in now. In week one he spoke about the impact of food and nutrition on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. One of his suggestions was to try fasting for whatever time period we felt appropriate and he provided us with the knowledge and tools to successfully undertake such an endeavour. As well as talking us through some of the benefits and how to adjust afterwards. After the webinar I thought to myself, I would never be able to try something like that, the thought of going without food for a few hours, never mind 24 hours, truly terrified me and seemed like an impossible task but now I realise that it clearly had ignited some sort of desire in me.

My next piece of encouragement came from Pat Divilly who, a few weeks after the webinar, started a 72 hour fast and tracked his journey on Instagram, so low and behold I followed his journey and by the end I felt that maybe this was something I could do.

Next up, was a really bad weekend of eating and drinking (I mean a really, really bad weekend) and I noticed a considerable drop in my mood and also, I became so unhappy with how I felt and looked. So, I thought to myself what more encouragement do I need and what better time to try than now, during “lockdown”. If I couldn’t do it now, locked away in my house, away from temptation, then I would never be able.

REASONS PEOPLE FAST; Fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions. It is defined as; “the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time” and includes many different forms of fasting but in general, most types of fasts are performed over 24–72 hours. Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function.

MY PERSONAL REASONS: I knew before I started that I had to have valid reasons for wanting to try this, to give me the encouragement to continue. For me I wanted to do this to;

1. Restart my body – I did not attempt this to lose weight, I just simply wanted to give my body time to heal itself, especially after having such a binge.

2. Prove to myself that I had the willpower, commitment and determination to see it through. A healthy challenge never hurt anyone did it?

3. Have the opportunity to create healthy eating patterns for myself afterwards.

4. To feel better in myself – physically, mentally and emotionally.

1. Promotes Blood Sugar Control by Reducing Insulin Resistance

2. Promotes Better Health by Fighting Inflammation

3. May Enhance Heart Health by Improving Blood Pressure, Triglycerides and Cholesterol Levels

4. May Boost Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders

5. Aids Weight Loss by Limiting Calorie Intake and Boosting Metabolism

6. Increases Growth Hormone Secretion, Which Is Vital for Growth, Metabolism, Weight Loss and Muscle Strength

7. Could Delay Aging and Extend Longevity

8. May Aid in Cancer Prevention and Increase the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

MY PERSONAL DISCOVERIES: What I learned from the experience was;

1. In the 72 hours of fasting, I never once felt hungry, even when other people around me were eating. Therefore, I now realise that the majority of the time when I eat, I eat for the sake of it or out of boredom and that I actually may not need to eat or a smaller portion may suffice.

2. It is so important to be conscious about how you treat your body and what you are putting into it, because it really does affect how you feel in so many ways.

3. It is good to restart every now and then and gives your body a break. Maybe try a 24 hour fast every few weeks, if possible.

4. I really do feel so much better in every possible way but especially less bloating.

5. I am super proud of myself for taking this challenge on and actually following through with it.

6. It has totally changed my relationship with food and I am much more aware of what I put into my body and the impact that it may have. Also, I feel like I don’t want to undo the good aspects of fasting for 3 days and am more determined than ever.

Overall, I had a positive experience completing the 72-hour fast. It was a personal challenge and a chance for me to reset my physical body and become more aware of my thoughts and emotional triggers around food. I felt that the time flew by and I felt good throughout it but in hindsight maybe didn’t get the large amount of insights from it that I thought I would have initially. Nonetheless, an interesting experience.

The main thing for anyone thinking about undertaking such a challenge is to have your own intention/s and don’t just do it for the sake of doing it. It will benefit some people and for others they may really struggle with it. It will really depend on the person and their intention as to what they get from it. Maybe a good place to start for someone considering this is to look at intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting involves allocating a period of time in the day where you eat your meals i.e. between 10am-6pm (8-hour window). This allows your body a break from being in a constant state of digestion and time to heal or recover and is always a good place to start.

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