Ten days, three monkeys, zero food…
Think of going 10 days without food and most would rather pluck out their own eyeballs and sit on them.
It’s pretty extreme (the fasting, not the eyeball thing), but I like to immerse in an experience and when I decided to do a 10 Day Water Fast in Bali over the last couple of weeks I comforted myself with the knowledge that some people do 14, 21 or even 40 days water fasting! My stomach cowered at the thought.
Here’s what happened…
First, I need to confess that I sometimes think I can get away with stuff that I just can’t. Superhero complex or something, especially where my stomach is concerned. I have such generally great health that I have a firm belief in the cast iron-edness of my guts. Ho-boy, was I wrong.
So with superhero belief intact, I stuffed myself right up until the night before the fast started. I ate everything that was put in front of me on the plane and would have eaten other people’s grub if I thought I could have gotten away with it. I snaffled extra bags of pretzels and scoffed them while my boyfriend was asleep and then felt smug about it.
I had pooh-poohed the idea that I needed to juice fast for a few days leading up to start day, with the same misguided confidence that the world had about Trump’s assured defeat.
Days 1 to 4...
...were a fest of hunger pangs, crankiness, headaches and fantasies about hot chips. People lying by the pool at the hotel started to look like succulent platters of snacks to me. I hope I didn’t stare/drool too much.
So when Day 5 hit, I was feeling pretty tired. You could have knocked me over with an aerosol spray. Stairs were feeling like Everest. I would have lost to a three year old in tiddledywinks.
Now, when you're not taking in food, things at the...er...other end can stop too. Protocol recommends doing daily enemas during a water fast to support your colon and move out all the years-old gunk in there (yep...years! Stuff can adhere to your colon wall and just sit in there having a grand ol' time...beer cans, old thongs, licence plates...no wait...that's whales and sharks' stomachs...)
If, like me, you're not overjoyed at the thought of enemas AND you have a grand disregard for recommendations and a superhero complex, you can do a salt flush - these are good when you're not fasting too, if you need to move the traffic along...get the trains rolling...release the hostages from the building....you get the drift.
Anyhoo...how to do a salt flush. Big recommendation: only do when you'll be at home that morning close to the loo. Mix 2 teaspoons of Himalayan salt into a litre of warm water. Drink a third, then do some rounds of simple exercises that basically twist your middle (half toe touches, swinging arms from side to side twisting the waist as far as you can each way, doing cobra position and twisting to each side). Then drink the rest and do the exercises again.
Show will begin within the hour. Do not allow other humans near you. Do not think you can fart and get away with it. Wear sturdy, military grade underwear. Have a peg handy.
From Day 6 things got serious!
There was no way you could have dressed what I was feeling up in velvet robes or frilly knickers to put a comfortable sheen on it…I was feeling like CRAP. My tongue was like the hide of a woolly mammoth, I stank, I could barely get up and I started to wish for the ability to throw away my stomach and grow a new one.
Conversely, my partner was bouncing around like a kid on red lollies saying how great he felt with so much energy, which just made me want to dissect him with something blunt with a few scissor-kicks thrown in for good measure.
I felt like I was seasick all day and about to cast up my accounts about every two seconds. I felt like I had eaten 4 boiled eggs too fast and they'd set up camp somewhere in the region of my sternum. My back was aching like I’d been sitting on the plane with several chubby toddlers behind me kicking the seat non-stop.
So, imminent chundering and all, I still hauled my carcass over to a monkey forest for a visit, hoping to distract myself from the awfulness I was experiencing. No day with monkeys in it is bad and this proved no exception.
One determined lad decided to climb up a woman's body to get to the banana she was holding, and in an unfortunate flash decision used her strapless dress as leverage. I don't think a public boob-flash was part of her planned itinerary, nor on the To-Do Lists of the startled onlookers but....heigh ho.
Watching the monkeys and their babies leaping about, snatching food, being mannerless, giving each other nipple cripples (luckily not to the lady tourist...that would just have been awkward and nobody wanted that, least of all the monkeys), was a salve to my heart. Gotta love nature and accidental wardrobe malfunctions.
It was amazing how hunger completely left the building from about day 5, we really felt we could have just continued on past 10 days, but for the last four days I felt like I'd been trampled by several Sumo wrestlers (wouldn't have been a flattering viewpoint to be lying on the ground looking up as they trampled me. Not sure why I just went there).
It's my own fault, I didn't fully follow the protocols....yes, yes, alright already...I know, stubborn, blah blah….but overall:
Super proud of self and boyfriend (who did 12 days) for sticking it out without maiming one another...
Amazed at how the body reacts to this process and how good we feel now....
LOVE the weight loss! 5.9kg WOOOT!! (The other half lost 8!)
I no longer have to worry about accidental top-of-bum-crack flashes because I'm asking too much of my long suffering bikini. I needn't fear meddling schoolchildren trying to throw pebbles or other sundry items down there for a lark.
I had some hot organic vegetable broth which was the most amazing thing I'd ever tasted (anything you eat after a fast earns that status...) and all I crave now is fruit and raw foods, topped off with more fruit. Junk food and anything processed has lost all appeal, and long may that remain.
So if you’re going to do it:
Juice fast for a few days leading up to your start day
Drink upwards of 6 litres of water a day and you won’t feel hunger
Do daily enemas – no skipping on this step!
Have an environment and people around you that will support your fast
Tell lots of people you are doing it so you can’t give up halfway through (and you’ll want to!)
Come off your fast gradually, with a few days of juices, broths and only raw food chewed up thoroughly
To learn about the full benefits of fasting, check out this video.
Now that I’ve been eating food for a couple of days I’m starting to feel good. I mean REALLY good. My eyesight is clear (normally I can’t see jack until about lunchtime, or post coffee), mental clarity is great. Energy is bounding back with a vengeance and I’m sleeping like a champion.
Despite my self-inflicted problems I would do this again, but I’ll be a lot smarter about it next time.
Stephanie Chan is a Sydney based Life Coach, Dating Coach and Presenter.
Her passion is in working with people to improve self-worth, confidence & strength in all areas of their lives.
For daily tips, articles and insights, follow Steph on Facebook