Experiment: What I Learned From a 48 Hour Fast

I occasionally read an idea that immediately makes me go ‘I want to try that’, sometimes the results are underwhelming or expected, other times they are eye opening and profound. I figured I may as well write about them as they come up, in case anyone else can get something out of it.

Hungry, irritated and impatient, the first time I ever tried fasting beyond 12 hours during the daytime, I found it to be a powerfully uncomfortable experience. I was determined to do well in the health competition I was in at the time though, and the thought of sweet victory pushed me through the hunger pangs. As time went on though, and 12 hours became 15, then 20, and the next morning came, the effects became very different. Eventually it became easy to do a 24 hour fast. If I drank enough black coffee and water, the worst I got was hungry.

Often I’ve read about people doing intermittent fasting 1-2 days per week, and I had read a post from someone who said they do both their fasting days back to back at the start of the week to get it over with. Complete madness I thought, 48 hours? While I got used to 24 hours, 48 seemed completely unrealistic. So I did my research, found various studies of people who fasted, and felt it was safe enough to try it out myself.

And what I found is… that it was easy. After the first 24 hours, which I never allowed myself to fast for longer then, various other effects arose. I found a whole slew of resources previously left for digestion, now made it to my mental faculties. There was even science to back it up.
The first time I considered fasting for 24 hours some months ago, I didn’t really believe I could do it. But after reaching 48 hours just this morning, and enjoying a meal that was more like an experience then food, I proved myself wrong again.

It’s ideas like this that make me question other aspects of my life. What other false beliefs might I be holding onto? Over the last two years, I’ve had countless experiences where my beliefs have been completely shattered and had to be built anew. Talking to strangers on the street, dancing on subway platforms, even getting up on stage during an improv class. The simple idea of “What would happen if?” makes life a lot more fun. In the past, if an idea like “What would happen if I didn’t eat for 48 hours” popped into my head, I’d think “yeah, that might be cool to try sometime”. Our brain seems to certainly love familiarity, which helps our survival for sure, but it’s not always as much fun is it?

Next time you get an opportunity to try something, even if it sounds a little ridiculous, I’d encourage you to try it. It might end up being a lot easier, or the result may end up being a lot different from what you expected to happen.

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