In 2023, as I approached my 47th birthday I started noticing that my body was changing. It wasn’t all terrible, but noticeable, at least for me.
During this time I had done some minor intermittent fasting with great success. The fasting made me fee good and came pretty easy to me. These were anywhere from 12-16 hour fasts. It became habitual only after a couple months. I did notice some improvements with my energy, focus and digestion.
After all I have gone through with my health, especially 8-10 years ago, I have learned how to listen to my body’s responses and how it feels overall. I have also noticed that as I age my body wants and needs different things. Fasting seemed logical to try.
I mention this to those in my network, but I’m always “experimenting” new health modalities on myself. Mostly so that I can speak about my experiences with clients, but also just so I know what it truly is like to do them, try different meals, practices, etc. How else will I truly know it, unless I do it myself, right?
I could tell that my body needed a clean slate. I could just tell that I needed to hit the “reset” button.
So I did just that.
I have been following many doctors around intermittent fasting for a while, but most recently, Dr. Mindy Pelz. The reason being, she speaks and educates about the impacts of fasting on hormones, specifically for women. That intrigued me because I knew that I was now inside the window of perimenopause and I didn’t want to mess with ANY of my hormones… not one bit!
It was after the holidays in January 2024, the first week of my cycle and I dove right in and started!
Here is the day-to-day view…
Hour 1 – 24:
- My fast started at 7pm on a Monday night. I did this so my first 16 hours included sleeping hours.
- In the first 18 hours, I did ok. No major issues besides the fact that I realized how habitual eating really was. (Such an eye opener.)
- As I approached 24 hours, I started getting a headache. It wasn’t horrible, but I still didn’t like it. I rarely get them, but I knew this was the effects of the body detoxing. I just kept drinking water, tea and resting my body so it could do it’s thing.
- Once I was approaching 24 hours (keep in mind I had done a 36 hour fast before, so this wasn’t my first time), I started to feel a little nauseated. The headache continued too.
- Around 10pm Tuesday, 26 hours in, I allowed my body to just vomit. All it was was the liquid remains of stomach bile and my fluids.
- After this happened twice within an hour, I actually felt much better. I chalked it up to my body detoxing and trying to get rid of old bad gut bacteria or wanting to take advantage of the fast and get rid something it no longer wanted. Whatever it was, I just trusted my body knew what it was doing.
- That night I went to bed with an ice pack on my neck (for the headache – it was more annoying than anything) and slept the rest of it off.
Hour 37- 48:
- Once I got to this point, things got WAY easier! I got through the detox and started feeling great! I continued to stay hydrated and noticed that my energy was back!
- I also noticed that I was more alert and focused.
- The only hard thing was being the primary cook in the house, making meals and not habitually eating ingredients or taste-testing! LOL!
- I also tried making a new granola bar recipe and couldn’t even try it. I had to have my boys be “taste testers” and save me one for when I was off my fast!
Hour 49-Day 3:
- Making meals and food and not being able to eat them or to be mentally present enough to not allow the habits of taste testing to stop my fast.
- I was determined and had gotten past the point of wanting food. I didn’t feel hungry at this point. I was also past the habitual feeling of needing to eat. This surprised me a little actually.
- I started noticing that my sleep was better and my clothes where feeling loser. No surprise with this though!
- One thing I had noticed was that I was constipated. If things stopped going in, then things stopped coming out! All I did was drink a tea that helped move things along. Yet, I knew that by doing this, I’d have to drink even MORE water to keep me hydrated.
- So both of my boys had hockey tournaments starting at this point. Fellow hockey parents wanted to meet for “safety meetings” (aka. happy hour) before the games, yet, I decided NOT to attend the meeting for today. I didn’t want to subject myself, but also just wanted to sit and give myself a quiet break before the busy weekend.
- At this point, I was proud of my body to know what to do and I found that I wanted to be super caring and gentle with my body
- This was the day that I posted THIS on social media. Wow… it sure got some attention, especially in my person Facebook page!
- Today was the day that I planned my first meal post-fast, and how I was going to break the fast
- Due to the hockey tournaments and timing of breaking the fast, I was trying to plan my day accordingly.
- As Mindy Pelz calls out, I was going to break my fast with healthy fat, so I had a perfectly ripened avocado with my name on it!
- I had also planned dinner which included seasoned chicken, veggie and rice bowl for my first meal. (So yummy!)
- By this day, I could have easily kept going on the fast (really!), but I didn’t want to overdo it either. By this point, the fast was so easy and routine. My desire to eat and hunger signals had shut off a couple days prior and I felt really good. I knew my body had reset and was using stored fat as fuel.
- I felt energetic, happy and one cool thing I noticed… my intuition was strong! The only way I can explain this is the fact that my 15yo son asked me a question to guess an answer to a fact, and I had NO CLUE what the answer was supposed to be. I just stopped, took a breath, said to myself “ok, what is it?” An answer came to mind and I said it and he said, “YES! How did you know that?!!!” I said, I have no idea! It just came to mind and it felt right, so I said it.
Yes, it could have been a fluke, but I did feel more “in tune” with myself, that’s for sure! I know many others report similar experiences on a longer fast.
- I broke the fast with an avocado (and salt and pepper) and then waited about an hour before eating my meal. I wanted to ease back into eating again.
- One thing I noticed is how easy my digestion was working. No issues what so ever! No aches, grumbles, bloating, etc. It was like I hadn’t eaten the avocado, and my digestion worked with ease!
- I decided to mindfully eat my dinner and enjoy every single bite. It was delicious and I took the time to enjoy it.
Here are some of my suggestions if you are thinking of fasting.
- Start slowly, especially if you haven’t done it before. Start with having your last food at 8pm, then skipping breakfast and eating an early lunch (10am).
- If you are a female, I highly recommend the work of Mindy Pelz, so you don’t impact your hormones at all.
- No matter the fast, drink plenty of water (half your body weight in ounces), add a splash of lemon juice if needed and even a pinch of Celtic salt to help with mineral absorption. Note: if you are a coffee drinker, then check out Mindy’s videos on how to drink coffee on a fast. Here is one… and here is another.
- As Mindy suggests, if you really want to know your blood sugar or if you are in a ketosis state, get the tools to check it. For some people, plain coffee can spike blood sugar, so it’s good to know for sure. (Note: I did not do this as I kept it to just water and tea)
- Make sure to prepare the people around you and ask for their support. If they want to do it with you, that’s a bonus!
- Be ok with saying “no” if you are finding that you don’t want to go to restaurants, etc. No guilt or shame in it! You are taking care of YOU! In this case, it’s ok to be selfish.
- For a long fast, plan for it. Even put it on the calendar. Since I’m a girl, my cycle made it easy to do this too. I also liked that I was able to do most of the fast during the weekdays. 😉
- Journal and track how you feel so you can recall it later if you decide to do it again.
- Lastly, make sure to understand what the potential “affects” could be while on the fast. Do your best to prepare for any symptoms that may occur.
- Be gentle with your body. Trust it. Breath and explore. Yet, if you just can’t do it any further, break the fast… and don’t feel bad about it either. Just try again another time. No big deal!