Further Fasting

Last weekend I did a 36 hour fast, which you can read about here if you missed it.

This weekend I did another but, due to a different schedule, things were different.

Firstly, instead of starting my fast on Friday evening and ending it with a meal at my sister’s house on the Sunday, making it a 36-hour fast, it was my brother’s birthday on Sunday and we would all be meeting up a little later instead.

This would essentially push back the end of my fast, to noon, because I didn’t intend on eating before the party. The idea I had, therefore, was to also push forward the start of my fast, to noon on the Friday, to make my fast total 48 hours, consuming only water.

This slight extending of the fast at either end, I deduced, would have little effect on me because the main periods of not eating would still span Friday night, all day Saturday, and Saturday night; my mind and body would hardly notice the difference.

The only other thing I considered was the long bike ride I had done on Thursday. I actually thought ahead to my weekend fast prior to that trip, since I could have left the trip until the Friday, but doing so would have probably made think strongly against fasting; I needed time to recover, less make a fast more gruelling.

Thankfully it all worked out. I ate well during and after my ride and on the morning of Friday (basically consuming anything from my fridge that wouldn’t keep) and when noon came on Friday I was ready to start fasting.

The previous Saturday, during that fast, I began the day with a short jog, but this time I wasn’t up for it; my legs and knees were still feeling somewhat tired from the ride and not ready for a run. I was aware that this meant I couldn’t really compare the two fasts as accurately because I wasn’t using up calories on a run, but I’m sure my body was still recovering somewhat from that ride, so perhaps still down on stored calories. I did some yoga though which I had the energy for, and also different from the previous weekend I didn’t have such sharp tiredness spells or coldness. I pretty much had one yawn in the afternoon with a brief thought of “a nap would be nice…” and that was it. Hunger pangs were also very fleeting – these hardly bother me; keeping busy is the key and if physical activities are not desirable (although I prefer to start the day with them and then calm down) then reading a book seems fine.

I did want to make food though! I watched a couple of Youtube videos that mentioned making something to eat, such as cycling videos about rice cakes, and really I think such videos or TV shows about food should seriously be avoided. It wasn’t so much about hunger for me, but I felt strangely ‘bored’ for some moments and just wanted to make myself something to eat, again, not so much to curb any hunger, just as something to do, something I do.

Anyway, Sunday arrived and, following some more yoga, I went for my short run. I was keen to get at least one in during this fast since I hadn’t managed two like last time. This time however was more of a struggle; I was clearly lower on energy (although my legs felt better) and my heart kept beating hard in my chest, before I had even stepped out of the door; this was like the first time I attempted cycling up Sychnant Pass when not properly prepared for it. Low blood-sugar perhaps. Anyway, I got round my route okay.

I then had a few things lined up to make in the kitchen that morning (no not rice cakes): a loaf of bread following a bread machine recipe that would bake while I was out, some beans and rice in my slow cooker (inspired by this) for later after the party (if I was still hungry), and a rhubarb crumble in time for the party itself.

Even though they were all very simple to prepare, because that’s how I like food to be, I enjoyed and looked forward to the task. However nothing turned out as planned. Firstly the crumble, which I cook in my microwave because it only takes 15 minutes in there, ended up with the crumbly bit being rather solid (I think too much margarine) but it went down well with ice cream on at the party (a nice treat for me since, due to a lack of freezer, I don’t have ice cream at home). Secondly the beans and rice, being a first attempt with dried red kidney beans (I usually buy them canned), aren’t looking brilliant because I’d made too much for my little Crock-ette slow cooker and they had all expanded and pushed the lid up, letting the steam and moisture escape, drying out the contents and baking some to the sides. It’ll still be edible though. And thirdly the bread, for which I was partly following someone else’s bread machine recipe, just using half brown bread flour and half white and water instead of milk (because I had drank the last of mine on Friday morning), had ended up quite flat. Still edible I’m sure, even if it’s best used for toast.

The party, a BBQ, though was a fun affair, complete with misbehaving child, misbehaving dog, and my brother as well as celebrating the fact he’s a year older, also getting engaged – he didn’t see that coming while everyone else knew what was about to transpire as the cake came out adorned with the big question and ring. It was really quite beautiful (the proposal, although the cake was yummy). Somehow I, the person who hadn’t eaten in two days (though I wasn’t advertising the fact), ended up manning the BBQ and doing the noble thing of ensuring everyone else got a burger before me; no one else had really done a BBQ before because that used to be my dad’s job. Still, I wasn’t overcome with ravenous hunger, fasting being a good lesson in self-control and abstinence, so I was quite happy flipping burgers and burning* sausages (*aka charring to perfection). In the end though, I went from having not eaten for two days to eating too much, as I always do at our parties. Two double cheese burgers, one single burger, two hot dogs, a chicken drum stick, a plate of salad, a slice of birthday/”will you marry me” cake and a portion of crumble complete with ice cream later and my belly was feeling rather full – it had been lovely and flat when I arrived! There was barely enough room in me to wash it all down with tea and coffee, which was a slight issue because it was becoming a rather warm day.

Our family birthday parties seem to be an ideal excuse to overindulge; I’m probably now ready for another fast already! Instead, though, and in all seriousness, I want to try and avoid what I consider to be over-eating, during the week at least, and then I shall, I think, keep my fasting days to the weekend (and limited to 36 hours), the next one of which will return to normal (even though it’s still a new routine for me) so I doubt there will be more to say on the subject, unless anything else transpires worth sharing.

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