Day 20 – A 36-hour Fast

This morning I’m breaking a 36-hour fast with a cup of thick Greek yogurt and some sweet and crispy fresh green grapes. It’s amazing how taking a little break from food seems to awaken the taste buds and makes me appreciate the act of eating: it’s something I can relish slowly instead of wolfing down the food.

Anyway I decided to try extending my fast day yesterday when I got home around 8 o’clock from a church service and didn’t feel hungry, even though our house smelled like a diner because someone had been frying some combination of beef and cheddar and tortillas. But since I wasn’t starving, I forewent my typical low-cal dinner meal in favor of a cup of hot decaf and exploring what effect an extended fast might have on my sleep.

It turned out my sleep was fitful. It was a rough night, honestly; the kind where the pillow feels like an unforgiving stone and I had vivid, weird dreams and the dog’s pacing nails clacking the hardwood floors seemed endless and extra-loud. But I’m not certain whether fasting or napping earlier in the day — or both — are to blame. I didn’t plan on napping yesterday but on most fast days I feel a slight afternoon lag and I made the mistake of lying in bed to read and watch YouTube, and then I conked out for who knows how long. If I stay busy or get on my feet, I can power through that slump. But yesterday I didn’t. Next time I think I might do a 36-hour fast I need to make sure I don’t nap during the day and sabotage a good night’s sleep.

Thirty-six, 48 and even 72 hour fasts have been on my radar as a future goal, but I didn’t plan on attempting anything longer than 24 hours in this month. I figured I’d get through March and check my weight and take some pictures to assess where I’m at before switching strategies. But now that I’ve done a 36, I know it’s really no more difficult than a 24, except for having to go to bed on an empty stomach. And regarding that I’m not aware that I actually felt hunger during the night per se; I just felt like sleep wouldn’t come. I wonder if the sleep thing is something my body would acclimate itself to, provided I did a longer fast once or week or something?

I felt energetic and alert yesterday, except for when I took a nap. Only a couple small hunger pangs which were easily defeated. My mood is good and outlook positive: looking forward to today, the first day of Spring, and to a productive, busy week.

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