After weeks of Puff the Bakery school baking I was starting to feel the effects of the increased butter and sugar in my diet. I realised I needed to give my body a bit of a break, and so, whilst the weather is too hot to have the oven on, I’m going to have a week or two off from baking. That’s the first step of course, the second was bringing a bit of balance to my diet. I’d read that doing a 24 hour fast, once a week, is a great way to give your organs a rest, whilst giving you a whole host of other benefits (check out this article for a rundown). Having spent the year so far being open to everything, I thought I’d give this a try.
To be completely honest, I have done Intermittent Fasting before – fasting for 16 hours (mainly overnight) and eating in an 8-hour window. This fits into my natural pattern of eating: I’d normally start my eating window at 12pm and finish at 8pm each day. I’d felt good and happy doing this, but hadn’t done it for a while. With that base in mind, I thought the 24 hour fast wouldn’t be too bad. Oh, sweet naive Hannah.
I stopped eating at 9pm on Tuesday night, and wouldn’t eat anything until 9pm Wednesday. At first, I thought it was ok. I’d gone for a small run and a walk and was generally going about business as normal. It was just after lunchtime when I started to feel a bit light-headed. Although I’d been careful to make sure I’d had plenty of water, I realised I should maybe step it up a notch. After a drink the light-headed feeling definitely disappeared for a bit.
I kept going, but I found it difficult, and surprisingly not because of any physical discomfort (my stomach only made noise once or twice). I did find it increasingly difficult to concentrate though, and couldn’t stop thinking of food – even more so than normal! Without meal times to punctuate my day, time seemed to move twice as slow as usual. By the time my husband started making his dinner, I was pacing around the apartment, trying to make the minutes pass by any means possible (hello German homework). It wasn’t fun.
I basically spent my day waiting for the clock hands to reach 9pm so I could finally break the fast. For some bizarre reason I’d been dreaming of eating tuna for most of the day, but I decided to break the fast gently with some nuts, some peanut butter on rice cakes, and some grapes.
I was so desperate for food, but I could barely manage half of it. I was heartbroken!
It felt great to finally eat something and end the fast, but the problems didn’t end there: I had slept terribly. I was more fidgety and agitated than usual, and I woke up with a killer headache. In hindsight, I realise this is probably through lack of salt so I tried to remedy that with breakfast, but the bad sleep was the final nail in the coffin.
In the final minutes before 9pm, I’d convinced myself that it wasn’t so bad and that maybe I could do it again as the health benefits were so large. After feeling the effects continue through the night and into the next day, I realised this absolutely wasn’t for me.
Instead of giving my body a rest, I spent the whole day making a list of foods I wanted to spend the next day eating, and vegetables didn’t appear on it once (tuna certainly did though?!). I’m not ruling out going back to Intermittent Fasting, but I certainly won’t be doing any 24-hour fasting in the future.