June 14: Optional Starvation

This challenge was to have a 24 hour fast.


Why this challenge?

There are a ton of health benefits to fasting, such as ketosis, longer life spans and better overall health. (very scientific explanation, I know) There are also psychological benefits, such as resiliency and more control over hunger. The reason I wanted to do a fast is partly those benefits, and partly seeing if I could do it.


Execution.

Not eating is kind of self-explanatory…

The only thing I consumed during this 24-hour period (00:30 14/06/17 to 00:30 the next day) was water. I woke up at 1 pm (which is cheating, but it wasn’t a planned thing) and immediately found myself going to the kitchen for food. I had to stop myself many times during the day. The shop’s food court was hell, but hunger pains kind of didn’t happen to me during this fast.

Was it hard? Not really, no. I had the expectation that it was going to be much harder. I think, however, that because I just agreed and accepted it, it made it much less of a challenge.

As soon as the 24-hour mark ended, I cooked one of the biggest meals I have had in a while. Seasoned chicken with broccoli and sautéed onion and mushroom. Top it with some quinoa and a rasher of bacon and I was in heaven:

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It doesn’t look pretty, but it was delicious.

What I’ve Learned.

I have learned how unnecessary the mental panic you get when you are hungry is. Think about this: whenever you are hungry, it takes up most of your brain power and pretty much controls you until you eat. Well, that is until you accept it. If you start having a conversation with someone, and ‘forget’ about the hunger, you aren’t forgetting it, you are subconsciously accepting that you will be hungry for the time being, and that allows you to focus on the conversation. The hunger is there, but the mental panic isn’t.

The other thing I learned about myself is just how much of what I do is on autopilot. I came to this realization when I blocked YouTube and still found myself searching for it. Basically, throughout the day I would get up and walk to the kitchen because I was hungry, even though I wasn’t going to eat. This act was only realized when I got halfway down the hallway and questioned what I was doing.

I compare this to the model of habit that goes as follows: cue, response, reward. In this example cue is hunger, the response is going to the kitchen and get food, and the reward is eating the food and the dopamine release that goes with it. It really showed me just how unconscious habits are.


 

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