Fasting has existed since biblical times and most likely before (I’m too lazy to do the research). Yet in today’s day and age the only time I hear mention of the practice is by Muslims during Ramadan. I am convinced that more fasting is happening in America, I just don’t happen to hear much of it. For this reason I’d like to share with you my own experimentation: The Mini-Fast.
What Is The Mini-Fast?
The biggest challenge I’ve had with a fast that lasts the entire day is that you can never predict what might happen when you go to work. What happens if you select your fasting day and some of your co-workers ask you out to lunch? I could never muster the courage to explain that I was fasting. Or what happens if there is a celebration and cake is brought into the office. Could I really turn down a free cake? I couldn’t. So I devised the Mini-Fast. Maybe I should call it the ninja fast since it’s a bit on the elusive side.
The Mini-Fast involves eating a vegetarian diet throughout the day. I try to eat only fruit, vegetables, and nuts. No snacks or cookies or anything on the heavy side. I time my last meal with the sun going down and then don’t eat anything until the next morning. It’s essentially having a healthy day of eating and skipping dinner. The last item I will eat is normally something that I’ve found to be healthy but filling: a hard boiled egg, an orange, or a glass of 2% milk.
* It is best to plan out a quiet evening. Going out drinking doesn’t count in my book and you’ll most likely have an awful hangover the next morning. Tuesday or Monday nights work best for me. Normally I spend my Mini Fast in solitude either reading or watching a movie.
* When I do the Mini-Fast I tend to get tired more easily than if I had eaten. I know, this sounds backwards.
* Coffee is a good way to keep your appetite down during the day but if you have it too late it will keep you up at night.
* The most rewarding part of the mini-fast is that I have the most vivid dreams that night. Normally I recall only certain blurry portions of my dreams and tend to forget most of it after I awake. Not when I have a mini fast. When I awake it often feels like the credits rolling on the silver screen, my mind is still caught in the dream.
* Hunger comes in waves. The first time is always the toughest. You will think about food a lot more than you normally do, almost fantasize about it. You have to fight it as best as you can and don’t give in. Eventually your body will stop sending the “feed me” signal. The longest I’ve ever had to fight it has been 45 minutes.
* Surprisingly, the next morning I wake up not feeling hungry at all although a bit weaker than normal.
What Not To Do
* Having a binge the following day accomplishes nothing. The Mini-Fast is not comfortable so the last thing you want to do is have all that sacrifice for nought. I will generally have a larger breakfast than normal but the rest of the day is business as usual.
* If you are a beginner, I highly suggest doing no more than one Mini-Fast per week. Your body won’t be used to this and you’ll weaken it too much. You’ll end up feeling dizzy and light-headed all day which is dangerous.
I advocate a mini-fast for a variety of reasons. First, one of the realizations I had is that my body did not need much food to get me going throughout the day. Granted, I did feel weak after my first Mini-Fast but that is only because it was a shock to the system. We all read about the marvelous capabilities of the body but actually going through the motions provides an education you won’t find in a book. Secondly, when used in moderation a Mini-Fast is an effective way–not a silver bullet of course–to lose weight. I would suggest combining this with exercise and a healthy diet for maximum results. Just remember that after a mini fast your stomach has shrunken a tiny bit. If you do one of these a week or even every other week, you will soon realize, as you did during the Mini-Fast, that your body needs far less food than you might think to get through the day. Finally, while I haven’t done the research to back this up, I feel that occasionally giving your body a break in terms of food intake should help extend life. I equate the body to a machine. If you are constantly using it, day in and out, it will most likely break down quicker than a machine that for one day is only used a bit. It’s controversial but perhaps the thought itself is a placebo effect enough to be effective 🙂