Anyone here fasted?

Something I’ve been meaning to try for a little while now, but am a little scared of. I’m sure it’s safe, because you can obviously stop at any time, but how weak does a person get? Could I still, for instance, work my physically non-intensive job for eight hours a day? Further more, is it all it’s cracked up to be?

My brother-in-law has done in a few times, as part of a religious ceremony he personally undertook. However, his job is not one of high physical requirements. Nevertheless, he did lose a lot of weight, especially around his face in the week-long ordeal.
If you have a physically-taxing job, I would not recommend it for you. You can easily faint from lack of nutrition, or injur yourself in the process of doing something physical because of a weak, or dizzy spell.

A large number of mammals have evolved the ability to susrvive short periods of time without food, by feeding off the fat and nutrients stored in the body. If you do not have a good amount of weight on you to begin with, it could be very taxing on your system to forgo food for any amount of time.

There are other methods of fasting, from what I hear, which only require you to go without certain “luxury” foods, or things that you enjoy a great deal, and often. I suggest that you try one of these, which won’t jeopardize your physical health and/or job.

Personally, I never really understood the logic of fasting in the first place, but that is just me. No offense to you or anyone else who feels the need.

Having done it in the past, You will loose (most of) your hunger after you miss your 2-3rd meal or about 1 day. After that you (or I did) actually feel good about it - kind of weird. I would suggest taking in some form of protein or carbohydrate to prevent your body from breaking down itself during ketone-acidosis (which isn’t exactly the correct term but it’s close). Choose a untasty form or pills so you won’t go back into the ‘i need to eat’ mode.

Fasting is like a chess match with your self control. You have to prepare your body and mind for it in advance - it’s not something you decide, say, one morning in the shower “I think I’ll fast today.”

As Stupendous says, take in protein before you fast - a nice fish dinner the night before should do the trick - and be sure to take in some water during the day(s). Dehydration can be a drag. Hunger will come and go. If you’re prepared to deal with it ahead of time you’ll be more successful.

Fasting is not a good way to lose weight, by the way, so git dat outta yer head real quick. It’s more a trial of one’s will, spirit, and body. Hence, it’s easier to fast for a reason (some people view it as purifying, others as a way to mull over a big decision, still more fast for religious reasons, some folks do it as a test of will power).

If you feel dizzy or experience other physiological warning signs, it may be best to give in and eat. You can always measure your success against how you fared this time :slight_smile:

Ditto about it not being a good method to lose weight. You will lose weight and plenty of it. But first, it’s not neccessarily the weight you want to lose (the composition of what you’re losing, water, fat, muscle, is important). Secondly, your body learns that it might have to go into “starvation mode” at any time, and so builds up fat reserves against that eventuality. So after you stop fasting, the weight comes back quickly, and is harder to get rid of, because your body wants to retain that emergency supply of calories.

One of the local black protestant churches has been pushing fasting as a religous experience. What they do is not eat solid food only, you can have all the water, fruit juice, and vegitable (sp) juice you wish. They seem to be doing 1 to 3 days.

Broken, if you want to fast, I would recommend doing it on your day off. I’ve found that the longer I don’t eat, the more difficult it is to concentrate on simple tasks, and I begin to act…strangely. Of course, I’m hypoglycemic, so YMMV. This last Yom Kippur was the first time I tried to fast (I have a medical reason not to, but I figured I’d give it a go) and made it to about 2 o’clock before I felt like I had come down with a severe case of ADD.

Fasting can be tough at first, for the first day, but persisting for two or three days can bring about a good state of mind and body. Once you’ve practiced it some, you get used to it and get over that mental hump that forms a barrier to the experience. I used to do it every month for a day or two. I was never very good at going longer than three days.

Once your mind is attuned to it, you really feel excellent. It’s a good feeling you can’t get any other way. Why would anyone do such a thing? To quote Rumi: The lute makes beautiful music only as long as its belly is empty. When its belly is stuffed, no more music.

What’s important is when breaking the fast to go slow and only drink fruit juice at first. Do not overeat. Keep it light and give your body a chance to readjust. Drink plenty of water.

Okay, a lot of this helps. For the record, I’m not trying to lose weight as I’m already pretty slender. It’s more something I just want to experience and see if I can do, plus it might turn out to be a valuable life skill when I move out of the house. But I don’t want to do it for just one day (my day off), and I don’t want to miss any work. Basically my job is currently pretty easy, and requires almost no physical effort; but I want to at least have the strength to make it through eight hours. Should this still be possible?

My friend at work does fasts 3 or 4 times a year, for almost a month at a stretch. He drinks loads of water and some kind of syrup garbage. Not only does he work just as well, but he also jogs and goes to the gym regularly, or even more than usual. Amazing.

He reccomends a book called “The Master Cleanser” by Stanley Burroughs. Personally, I can’t decide if he’s a genius or lunatic, but it seems to work him just fine. Use at your own risk.

I’m a Muslim, and so just finished fasting for the month of Ramadan, meaning no food or drink (or sex or drugs, but maybe some rock’n’roll) more or less from sun-up to sundown for about 30 days. (If a billion-plus people around the world manage to fast for a month each year, it can’t be that detrimental to one’s health.)

When I do fast, it’s only the first few days that I’d feel slightly hungry or light-headed around lunchtime, but I’m pretty convinced that it’s mostly a result of conditioning. (YMMV. I’m about six feet tall, 170 lbs. A female friend of mine who’s got a very slight frame doesn’t fast during Ramadan because she gets very light-headed and ill when she does.) I found it was quite easy, however, because even when not fasting, I usually don’t eat much during the day: no breakfast except maybe some juice (bad for me, I know), light lunch (usually a salad), and a sensible dinner. However, I also work a desk job, so my workday isn’t very taxing.

In high school, Ramadan used to fall right in the middle of fencing season; because fencing puts intense strain on one’s cardiovascular system and is massively dehydrating, I tended not to fast on competition days. But since sundown would come pretty early, I managed to warm-up for practices (lots of sprinting as well as long-distance running) and yet not drink for an hour or two without a problem.

Aside from the spiritual/theological benefits of fasting, there’s definitely a psychological bonus: you prove to yourself that you can let temporary physical urges (e.g., stomach growling) pass through you until only you and your resolve remain (cf. “Dune” and fear being the mindkiller :)). And you might also begin to reflect seriously on just how much food you actually need to sustain you, which (in my case) can lead to constructive re-evaluation of one’s eating habits.

Plus, you feel so purified by it that when you do savor that first slow sip of water at the end of the day, it’s about as close an intoxicating sensation as anything that this teetotaler has ever experienced. :smiley:

It is certainly possible. I know lots of Moslem doctors who fast every day for Ramadan (and eat only after sundown) for a month. I often ask them whether it affects what they can do, and they usually say no. Eight hours should be no problem.

I used to fast regularly (one day a week for about a year or so). I still do it every few weeks. I usually just go without eating for most of the day (12-16 hours) and then have a little to eat before I go to bed so I can sleep; sometime I fast for 24 hours. I’m a Christian, and I do it for religious reasons. If anyone wants to know more about it, I’ll post, but I will say that it can be a powerful experience.

You have to be careful - I make sure to drink lots of water or juice (sometimes milk), but you’d be surprised at how long you can go without eating anything. And let me echo SaxmanM - your first meal after fasting tastes heavenly, no matter what it is. Fasting from other things is good, too, like music, TV, etc…

I’ve done it a few times.

Twice was for 24 hours periods. It was great. I drank fruit juice and chewed gum. Hardly bothered me once I got past my first couple of meals. It was part of a volunteer thing to raise money for countries without a lof of food. So, while we fasted, we teenagers did work! We cleaned up, fixed up, re-pained and weeded a smallish community center’s backyard in inner-city Oakland. That was hard work. The second year we went around to homes of elderly people in the city and weeded their yards for them.

I never regretted either time and would do it again in an instant.

The third time I fasted was while on a backpacking trip with a home for teenagers I was living with at the time. At the end of the backpacking trip, we each were sent to our own little isolated spot in the woods. We were each placed near a water source and were allowed to take only our sleeping bag, our canteen for water and our Bibles. This lasted 3 days. No hunger and I got a lot of soul-searching done. Not to mention I built a smallish shelter out of my sleeping bag and some sticks and a tree. :slight_smile:

On average, I only eat about once a day. My body has become so accustomed to just not eating, that it’s as though I do fast for 16 hours out of every day.

Once you start going without what you think you need, you realize whatever you are giving up is more excessive than you ever would have considered otherwise.

The American Indian youths went on a vision quest in a high place fasting for days on end until they were given their spirit names and contacted their spirit guides.