I began a 25-day Fast on August 10th, after dinner, ending on September 4th. My initial fasting goal was 21 days, but still feeling good, I decided to head toward 30 days, with a re-evaluation on Day 25. By Day 25... what can I say... I felt bored with fasting, even though I wasn’t hungry or missing certain foods or anything similar. I was merely tired of fasting, and felt as though I had accomplished what I could, and that continuing the fast would begin to either be zero-sum or have negative effects. I had stopped losing weight, though I had made so much progress emotionally, mentally, and physically. The weight-loss plateau was not discouraging, because I could tell by my clothes and in my face that my body was much thinner. It seemed if I continued to fast, I would not be helping my body or mind any longer. My BMR had decreased, and I had also observed small losses of muscle and bone density. It seemed prudent to stop while I was ahead. I accomplished several goals and perceived that the changes I had sought had manifested.
At present, I’ve regained a nominal amount of weight: 2 lbs. An equal share of water, muscle, and fat. I find it intriguing that I can sense the increase in water mass in my body after a heavy meal; the bloating and inflammation after indulgence in a boozy weekend. My mental awareness of the specific reactions that occur in my body after eating has become very acute. I have discovered distinct physical feelings in my body after eating too much or drinking too many coffee cocktails last weekend. Specifically, certain substances I ingest correlate to a unique reaction; whether a normal, healthy response, or the opposite. This phenomenon is not something new to me, but over the past year I have obstinately ignored what I was doing to my body and how what I ate affected me, except for the resultant weight gain. “Coming down” off the boozy weekend to return to LCHF/keto food choices, my body shifted again, releasing both the physical water bloat and internal physical/emotional/mental feelings of excess. Once again, observing my body’s changing processes to food intake has been interesting.
In detail, the first week immediately following the cessation of my fast looked entirely different from Week 2. Coming out of that 25-day extended fast, I still had a deeper level of awareness of my mental goings-on; I continued to sit in an inner observation mode of my body, my mind, and my heart. The inner desire to nourish all aspects of my Self enveloped me as I began to eat again. This period lasted the 7 days until I went out to eat! The leaning toward self-care didn’t end with the meal: I blame the boozy coffees! I ordered a higher protein and fat meal than I normally would have at brunch—where I usually would have indulged in waffles or pancakes coated and drowning in sugary-syrup. Truthfully, the desire for sweets departed weeks back; during the fast. I didn’t want those sugary carbs, nor did I want to feel the resultant shitty sugar-hangover I would have felt if I ate those “shitty-non-foods”. Conclusively, the problem was not the food, because I only ate 7-8 bites before feeling full and getting the rest boxed up to go. The issue became the greed for the relaxed and euphoric feeling I got from one, then two, then three, specialty coffee drinks made with bourbon, which then fired up my appetite for more bourbon, which resulted in a stop at the liquor store on the way home, which resulted in... well, here I am. Going into the weekend, I thought it would be nice to have a boozy coffee the next day and Sunday, while sticking to mainly LCHF/keto items. But brunch turned into lunch and then dinner with subsequent cocktails! Although I kept my food intake on the LCHF/keto side, I definitely ate too much and drank too much. This put me into a downward spin of berating and angry self-talk. I awoke feeling awful and wasted a day physically recovering, but it took another full day to recover emotionally and mentally.
In assessing WHY THE HELL I acted like that: why I would undo all the outstanding work I achieved during the fast, I came to a few conclusions. Emphatically, I did not (and still do not), miss sugary carbs nor did I want to overeat. The past few months I’ve worked on the feelings of deprivation that stem from my history of dysfunctional relationship with food and eating. In consequence, now, when I fast, I no longer feel deprived of food on a psychological or emotional level, which means that I don’t have the desire to eat “all the foods” I’ve missed while fasting, or overeat foods I was “deprived of” during a fast. Intense inner work removed that warped sense of deprivation. I accepted and can now apply the adage: “I can eat again later; I can eat more later.” What this conclusion does not yet apply to is booze. Without shame, I will state that I enjoy wine and cocktails. I enjoy the taste and I enjoy both the physical and mental feelings of release that alcohol offers. I can also enjoy one or two without getting bombed (except on my birthday, because I always have loads of fun getting bombed on my birthday!), although I will admit to a tendentiousness toward using alcohol to numb painful feelings in the exact way I use food to do the same. Drinking when I am depressed is a terrible idea, just as eating sugary carbs when I am depressed equals the same; both are for the explicit purpose of numbing and avoiding emotional pain or anxiety that has become unbearable. When the aforementioned is not involved, I enjoy a drink or two. What occurred is the judgement of drinking as “bad” and “all-or-nothing” and therefore must be avoided. Thus, the feeling of deprivation I felt with food transferred to booze, and so I overindulged because I had “missed it”. This is a truth, I missed drinking. Consequently, I felt deprived and so I acted on these two and had to “finish it off”, similar to a pint of ice cream, a pack of cookies... a jar of Nutella. Within this realization, is the acknowledgement that the booze is not inherently “bad”, nor is it “good”. It is singularly, simply, booze. When I ascribe a judgement, I give it a power and a call to avoidance or indulgence. Instead of enjoying the drink, I focus on the fear of “not getting enough” and that I can only have it “this time”; it becomes a substance that I want but must deprive myself from having or enjoying. I forget that wine is beneficial in moderation, and the same for booze. I forget that “I can eat again later; I can have more later”. Layered in that realizing is the knowledge that if I remember my adage related to food, this also applies to drinking. Accompanying that knowing is a whooshing sigh of relief. And then a release on the grip. The fear of deprivation dissipates once again.
Gratitude comes into play in all of this—even in the fog of boozy coffee and a few days of feeling like utter shit. I am grateful it only took a few days of sliding into the Downward Spiral, rather than months or years as per usual. I kept my grip on the edge and didn’t fall entirely into the Black Hole. I can look back on that few days as a partial experience of the whole process: a learning experience and not a mistake, for it took me further inward toward discovery and freedom. I am back on track and feel relieved that that time is over, and yet immensely grateful that it happened, for I hold a new perspective, which will lead to new habits and neural grooves. A positive change comes forth. From boozy coffee! Ha!
surprised it is 2020! Holy crap when did that happen!
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