Cleanse, Purge, Fast….We’ve Heard it All

Cleansing, purging, and fasting. We’ve heard all about it, but you haven’t heard my story. As the holiday season winds down and we reach New Year’s Eve, no matter how many times I tell myself that I won’t indulge as much as in the past, I end up feeling like a beached whale again. This year, while out with friends for dinner on New Year’s Eve polishing off the last bite, I suddenly made an announcement. “I’m fasting all day tomorrow.”

What else was there to do on New Year’s Day except throw out old leftovers, nurse a hangover, feel disgusting, watch a little mummers, then feel even more disgusting. Nothing meant against the mummers. They are still a tradition but let’s admit that watching a bunch of hung-over and often disorganized comics looking, well, comical for lack of a better term, did not make me feel any better.

I had no obligations for the day so what better for the opportunity to do my own version of ‘cleanse’ using no supplements or store bought concoctions that boast a body cleanse, just pure fasting. Leave the stomach alone. Feed myself nothing but lemon water and tea.

That was the plan. All of the clogged up digested food in my intestines would now have the chance to clear the h…. out. Oh don’t make that face. You know exactly what I mean.

Fasting is never recommended due to the effect on metabolism however, intermittent fasting, if done right, can be okay. It’s only one day. How hard could it be?

So when 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve hit, I was done consuming anything but water. Midnight came and a couple of us rang our cow bells then went to bed. New Year’s Day opened with a cup of coffee.

Movement helped keep the hunger pangs under control so since there were plenty of decorations to take down, I stayed busy. Lemon water felt good on my empty stomach and I was looking forward to equally empty intestines.

I sipped green tea while staying active. I went food shopping as I felt a boost of energy. Surprisingly it did not lead me to purchase more than I needed as commonly believed as long as my hunger had a purpose.

By dinner time the combination of strong hunger pangs and a concern for electrolyte imbalance led me to a delicious mug of chicken broth. This experience gave me the ability to actually savor something as simple as broth.

By the time bedtime rolled around I found myself extremely restless and did not sleep well at all. I did not eat again until 8 a.m. the following day so I had successfully completed 34 hours of fasting.

Not only did I start the day with a gorgeously flat stomach and partially cleared intestines, but a realization that food tastes even better when it’s scarce and that every time I feel hungry, it’s not necessary to gorge. Slowly savoring smaller portions is possible, no matter how hungry we are.

This relates to my problem with portion control. Hunger always led to eating fast and eating a lot. This experiment taught me that I really can control myself if I try. It also shrunk my stomach a bit so that the next time I did eat, I got full faster with less food.

This is my way of starting my year out on the right foot.

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