You know that feeling of being really full? So full you couldn’t eat another thing?
I’ve never actually felt that.
Sure I know i’ve eaten and have taught myself to stop eating at a certain point, more for social reasons that anything else, but nature doesn’t play any part in helping to let me know when i've eaten enough. As far as I can remember, I have never had that natural feeling of being 'full' - and that's no exaggeration. I tend to eat what is on my plate, a bad habit i’ve picked up. When I was a baby, my mum tells me I would drink constantly. If milk was there, I would drink it. I later learnt this is an actual THING. Some people don’t have have active HDAC5 enzymes, and therefore don’t get that full feeling. I think I may have developed a whole host of problems with digestion and sleep as a result.
A few years ago I got really into sustainable living in every way. As a part of this, the quest began to adopt a new, permanent way of eating - something which I can do every single day, regardless of where I am. I wanted to find something which didn’t feel like a ‘diet’, something which would make me feel energised, healthy and happy and sort out my digestion problems too. I never really have been into diet fads. Sure, i’ll try something out, but with aims to integrate it into my long term lifestyle. If I can’t do that, then it’s not sustainable for me to continue. There really is nothing worse that starving yourself into a bikini and something I’m not at all keen to try.
I’ve mentioned before that i’m plant based and a big fan of intermittent fasting. You can read more about why and how I do it, here. I love it because it’s something I can do every day with ease and which my body has positively adjusted to.
Intermittent Fasting has become so natural and normal that now it doesn’t feel like fasting at all. I’m unsure if that’s a good or bad thing. As a result I feel as though my body and well being has kind of hit a plateau. I’ve been reading and researching about 24 hour fasts and their benefits on the body and mind. It’s thought to help with both digestion and sleep problems - two things I suffer with badly. This week I tried my first 24 hour cleanse and i’ve got to tell you.. after just one 24 period, I could feel the benefits.
Here’s how it went:
7pm Monday - Ate dinner
8pm Monday - Started fast
10pm Monday - 2 glasses of water
Wake up 8am Tuesday Morning - Drank water - 2 glasses
Sipped water throughout day as necessary
Tuesday Afternoon - 2 glasses of water, 1 black coffee (there are conflicting reviews about whether to include or exclude coffee from your fast - I include, even in intermittent fasting)
7.30pm Tuesday Evening - Salad with spinach, kidney beans, avocado, tomato, cucumber, beetroot, carrot and hummus.
8.30pm - Ginger tea and water
10am Wednesday - Ate breakfast as normal
How did it feel?
The hunger comes in waves. By midday I wanted to eat something, then it went away. Around 3pm I was hungry again. Battled off the hunger with some coffee and water. By 6pm I was counting down the minutes til I could eat again.
Things I omitted during the fast
- I didn’t exercise that day. Usually I would do some kind of exercise every day, but as it was the first time i’ve tried this, I wanted to give it my full focus and concentrate on not collapsing! Also I think it's really important when trying something new to give it the breathing space it deserves so you can properly measure it's impact.
- Complex carbs - even in my break-fast evening meal
- Refined sugar
I slept like a baby Tuesday night. I don’t know if that’s because I was exhausted from a lack of food, or if I could sleep better because my body wasn’t trying to digest heavy food. Either way I woke up feeling completely refreshed and slept for 7 hours and 57 minutes, which is very unusual for me! Usually my sleep is more broken and much shorter. Wednesday morning I felt less hungry, more alert and just a bit lighter in general.
Important things to consider
- Drink plenty of water to keep you body fully hydrated.
- Don't try this if you're extremely overweight, incredibly active or have medical conditions (I am not an expert).
- Make sure the meal you break your fast with is as nutritious and nutrient dense as possible. Your body will need that goodness! It's no good breaking your fast with a pizza for example.
- This is not a healthy solution for weightloss and should not be used as so.
Going forward I am going to try and do this bi-weekly to give my body a rest from food and to help improve my digestion and sleep.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, nor a trained professional here to advise you. This is simply my personal opinion and experience.
I would love to hear opinions from people who have tried this!
Have you tried a 24 hour fast before? How did it feel?