Yesterday, Mike and I completed our first water fast in support of my son’s ground-breaking project Fast to Feed the World.
We’ll be adding loads more information about the project, albeit the website is quite self-explanatory, and about the health benefits of fasting, but I just wanted to share a blog covering our personal experience of our very first water fast.
I would say that Mike and I have a fairly healthy relationship with food. WE LOVE FOOD but not in a glutinous fast-food takeaways, burgers, chocolate, and cream cakes fashion!
Food has always been a big part of our relationship. I enjoy cooking and Mike enjoys eating my food. (Yes, it would be lovely if Mike cooked a nice meal for me from time to time, but that’s another story!)
We normally eat in excess of 5 fruit and veg a day and typically enjoy a Mediterranean style diet, We eat quite a lot of vegan food but are flexitarians, albeit I can’t remember the last time I bought red meat in any form.
I’m lucky enough to have never had a major problem with weight or suffered with any eating disorders. Yes, the weight tends to creep up a bit in winter, but I can normally get it back under control in the summer months with the lighter meals we enjoy during that period. Mike has put on a bit more weight than me and is a bit concerned about the ‘flabby middle’ which we know isn’t healthy. He would like to lose about a stone, whereas I would just like to lose a few pounds.
But we are no angels and, like most people, are prone to eat and drink a bit too much. Too many baby roasties… Too many glasses of wine…
So why fast?
For us, we didn’t fast to lose weight and although we were happy to have lost a couple of pounds, it wasn’t the driving force. We fasted as part of the Fast to Feed the World project which encourages people to fast on the 11th of the month – one month or every month – and donate the money you have saved to a project which supports the starving.
Before we made the commitment, we spoke to several independent, qualified nutritionists who were all very keen supporters of water fasting as beneficial for your health.
For example, when asked what her thoughts were on water fasting, without any prompts about the project, regular contributor Jane Hickey said:
I consider fasting as “one of my things” and have introduced it into my life since I first learned about the benefits. I’m fascinated by the tradition of fasting which has been practised since antiquity in most of the world’s religions. It’s perfectly normal for us to experience fasting – we do this naturally every day, breaking our fast with breakfast. Building on this with safe fasting puts the body under a little stress, which has so many potential benefits for health.”
In Germany, Clinic Buchinger Wilhelmi specialises in longer therapeutic fasting and has now published the largest scientific study on the effects of their fasting programmes. But as Dr Francoise Wilhelmi de Toledo confirms in this video, short-term fasting also has many benefits.
How was the water fast experience?
Neither has ever done a water fast before, although I have done a Ten Day Total Reset juice fast, and we were more than a little apprehensive, I must admit, but it was far easier than I thought.
Surprisingly, we didn’t even feel hungry. Oh yes, for sure, we thought about and longed for some food. Or just a cup of coffee. But no real hunger pangs. I felt very slightly light-headed by the end of the day, but certainly nothing untoward. And Mike, who has a tendency to continually focus on food asking throughout the day “what’s for lunch,” or “what’s for dinners” or when are we having breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. didn’t struggle with not eating at all. In fairness, when I’m not around he does tend to forget to eat anyway!
What was even more surprising was that we were expecting to feel really hungry when we woke this morning, but we weren’t! I was mostly looking forward to that first cup of coffee, but certainly didn’t feel the need to eat.
We ate our breakfast about 10:30am, a smaller portion than normal, and likewise our dinner will also be a smaller portion.
So, if you do want to lose weight, it’s a really good way of training yourself to want less food.
Who did we support?
We chose to support a local, Southend-based charity, the One Love Soup Kitchen. Although they can’t open the soup kitchen at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions, they are working in collaboration with Southend Council and other charities to provide meals and essentials to rough sleepers placed in emergency accommodation on a delivery only basis.
We have just transferred £15 to the One Love Soup Kitchen’s bank account. It’s not a huge amount of money but it represents what we have saved on food and drink during our water fast.
But just imagine, if hundreds or even thousands of people are doing the same thing every month, think how much could be raised. Think how powerful that is.
And water fasting is good for you, too!
So please follow Fast to Feed the World and join us on the water fast next month if you possibly can.