Day 186 felt like a frying pan shot out from a fire-tornado and hit me in the head. I had some personal matters to handle, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her fight to cancer, the recent Southern California 4.8 earthquake’s started where my friend and family live, the wildfires are still burning, and let’s not forget we’re still in a pandemic. Friday, September 18 overwhelmed me, and yet somehow inspired me to take on my first 24-hour fast.

I wanted to put myself into a state of mind to sit, feel, and let go of whatever expectations I had. I wanted to clear the external noise and to be present. I don’t want to become numb or callous to what I feel out of self-defense. I don’t want to say “yes” to things out of obligation nor do I want to say “no” because I’m scared.  

I completed my first 24-hour fast between Friday and Saturday and observed my thoughts and emotions.

10 Thoughts and Observations While Fasting

Snapshot during my first 24-hour fast
My partner and I ventured into the city for the first time since Shelter-In-Place started. I picked a great day to do a full day fast, look at all the temptations.

I Didn’t Get Hungry 

I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting for two months now and my body has gotten used to time-restricted eating. My current eating window hovers between 2:00-8:00 pm. Since my body is generally in ketosis (I think? I’d need a doctor to help me verify), I’m primed for pushing to a 24-hour fast.

I also kept my hands busy with menial tasks and mentally occupied by reading books.

Temptation did creep up on me in the form of dumplings and boba, however, I noticed that I wasn’t hungry. Instead, I noticed that wanted to taste them. I resisted by supplementing myself with a little willpower and coffee.

Coffee + Himalayan Sea Salt Do Wonders

I carefully watched my hydration levels and my sodium intake. My tenacious efforts were all in the name of avoiding painful migraines. I kept my 26oz YETI Rambler water bottle within reach at all times and spent the day nursing two servings of salty coffee in my 12oz bottle. I prepped my regular black coffee but added 3g of Pink Himalayan salt to each serving. Our bodies need sodium for daily function and it’s not a component that our body can manufacture.

I didn’t experience has lightheadedness, fatigue, or headaches during the day. I felt energized enough to start the day with an hour session of yoga.

You Need a Big Obstacle to Elicit Big Change 

There are a few personal matters that I’m trying to overcome. There isn’t a readily available solution for them because several parts are out of my control. A couple of friends helped me understand my situation in a succinct manner: you need a big obstacle to catalyze exponential change. If something is bothering us it’s usually highlighting something hidden in us that we rather not bring to light. We should turn towards it and deal with it.

Stay Humble >>> Always Be Learning 

“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.”

Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

Those Who Have a “Why” to Life, Can Bear With Almost Any “How” 

I’m currently reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl and throughout his book he recalls and paraphrasing a Friedrich Nietzsche’s

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

The Only Thing that I Should Be Selfish About is Maximizing Myself in Service of Others 

For the last decade, I was a photographer. However, in our current state I can’t take pictures in the same capacity or manner as before. I now sit in front of a computer and wander the space between my bed and kitchen. I have fluttering thoughts of “What am I going to do?” and “What can I do?” I concluded that it’s my responsibility to keep growing and leaning into my curiosities to eventually service others. It gives me a sense of purpose and “why” for each day.

I’ve been sitting on this quote for the last week. Keeping an eye out for my “why” keeps me going.

My Present Self is My Past and Future Self Shaking Hands in Agreement 

I’ll give meditation full credit for helping me slow my thoughts and actions down. Making plans for the future is rough with the nature of 2020. I can barely fathom what next month will look like. What I can do is be present in the now, reflect on my past without judgement, and have my history inform the future.

If I Remove the Friction Causing Resistance, then I Don’t Need Willpower to Overcome It 

It takes a lot of energy and willpower to resist a nuisance. If I remove the the source of friction, then I could conserve my time and energy and thereby use them for something greater purpose.

“What I Need” and “What I Want” are Distinct 

There are plenty of things that I want! And I want them all now! But, do I need them? How often does “what I want” and “what I need” match up? I want this fancy Fellow Stagg Kettle that’s on sale now at Costco, but do I need it? No, I already have perfectly functional kettle. What I most likely need is to diversity my daily routines and not seek external elements.

This also goes beyond consumerism. If I bring this thought to my biological clock, do I want to have kids? Or do I need a sense of community?

Be Kind, For Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

It’s easy to sympathize and grace, when you can visibly see people suffering, but not every hardship, is visible. A lot of us wear different masks to hide the ugly parts of us that we want to cover from both the world and ourselves. Knowing that we’re all working through something, gives us reason to extend a bit of sympathy to one another.

My First 24-Hour Fast
Taken at 8:01pm, I can finally break my fast!

Final Thoughts

To my surprise, my first 24-hour fast was very doable. I stopped eating at 8:00 pm on Friday, couldn’t fall asleep until 3:00 am on Saturday, and woke up around 12:15 pm. This meant that I only needed to be awake and fasting for another eight hours. I spent the bulk of the fast asleep in bed.

Physically, I felt lighter –especially in my thighs. I felt calm and relaxed, which was exactly what I was seeking.

I may continue to practice a “Fast Friday” on a biweekly basis to return to this state of introspective.


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