Love your website! Wish I had seen it before I did my first 5-day fast. I had done a couple of 24 hour fast, then did a 48 fast that went so well I just went for 5 days instead. I was greatly encouraged with the results. I could have gone longer but 5 days took me right up to Thanksgiving day and I couldn't skip our extended family get together.
Unfortunately, I did NOT do my homework on how to end an extended fast and really blew it. I ate what I considered a lighter meal on Thanksgiving, but it was still way too much. Even so, that worked pretty well, so the next day I went back to normal amounts of eating and bang! My digestive system pretty well shut down for a day or so. I was sore and miserable. I'll never do THAT again.
As you encourage folks to fast, make sure they hear you about how to END a fast well!
On a positive note, I waited a week and then did another fast this week to give my system time to heal from what I did to it the first time. I am on Day 4 and feeling really good. My plan is to go until I start feeling hungry again - probably 5-7 days. This time I WILL follow the guidelines on how to end an extended fast.
Unfortunately that's one way people often learn how NOT to end a fast. ;) Don't feel bad, it happens a lot. Usually not from lack of knowledge, but from the eagerness to eat again, combined with the memory of old eating patterns. It's easy to say, "I'm only eating a THIRD of what I normally eat, so that must be good for breaking a fast." But not necessarily. Going from zero to a third of what you normally eat may be too much. It's best always to FEEL your way slowly.
Yes, I want everyone to be forewarned about properly breaking a fast (see here for the Guidelines), but sometimes it doesn't matter how much you warn, sometimes a person really needs to walk the experience to get the tune of their own body and really figure out, get a SENSE, of just how slowly they may need to proceed. And the first time is always the trickiest. Experience will always be the best teacher, so it certainly does get easier.
Social occasions are surely the most difficult scenario when ending a fast--whether it's Thanksgiving or a planned lunch with a friend. (Though I must admit, Thanksgiving is THE worst! So be easy on yourself about it.) Part of the issue with social gatherings is how they pull your attention outward, away from your inner world and subtle intuitions. Just like fasting, breaking a fast is best done without such distractions.
When planning a fast, add a couple days before the actual fast and a couple days after the actual fast, and mark those days off the calendar as "not available" for social activities. I know it's hard to do sometimes, but well worth it in the long run. The more time you devote to turning inward, the more you will get from the fast.
I think it's amazing that you're doing these fasts! And you are, no doubt, learning a lot about your body and developing an inner knowing and connection with it. Good on you!! But I would make one precaution, for the benefit of the readers, about the frequency of fasting -- be careful that you are indeed allowing enough time to rebuild before taking on another fast. (See the page How Long Should You Fast for recommended lengths and frequency.)
Thank you, Nita, for being willing to share your experience with others! It's wonderful when we can learn from each other.
Many blessings and keep up the good work!