So you’ve decided to go on a fast, good for you! Take a moment to pat yourself on the back and acknowledge your awesomeness for taking a big step toward cleansing your body. Here are some tips for you fantastic fasters to help you get the most out of your journey.
- Read, read, read! Before you even start your fast, make sure you have done your research and adequately informed yourself about what’s in store. Jumping blindly into a fast is not a good idea, as you will not be prepared for the ups and downs that fasting entails. Reading up on fasting will allow you to go into the experience feeling ready mentally, which equates to a more successful fast. It’s also a great idea to have lots of books to read during a fast (particularly books on fasting to keep you inspired!), as you will have a lot of free time on your hands. Keep the TV off, and instead feed your head.
- Water Yourself: If you are doing a water fast (only for experienced, knowledgeable fasters!!), this one should be obvious. For the rest of you, don’t forget to drink ample water – the more the better! Proper hydration will the aid the body in releasing toxic substances, making your fasting experience much easier mentally and physically. Water helps to flush out all those organs that are working extra hard during your fast to cleanse your body – kidneys, bladder and digestive tract. Give your body a hand and drink up!
- Get Pampered: Before you partake in a fast, you should do your best to clear some time from your calender so that your body has sufficient time to rest and restore. If you are juice fasting, you will have enough nutrients and energy to get through a day of moderate activity, but if you are not resting enough, you will not get the full benefit of the cleanse. Take time off to relax, and while you’re at it, pamper the crap out of that sexy bod! Take mineral baths every night (add epsom salts or pink Himalayan salt crystals to running water) to draw out toxins from the skin. Book a massage to rejuvinate tired muscles and stimulate your lymph system. Drink exotic herbal teas while you luxuriate in front of a roaring fire. Dance around naked twirling scarves over your head and celebrating the temple that is your body. Allow yourself to be free and open. That deep sense of liberation will linger long after the fast is over.
- Clean it Out: Your colon that is! Fasting is an excellent time to get a colonic or administer an enema at home. Sure, it’s a squeamish topic for many people, but that’s why people experience so many colon-related problems. We could all gain a great deal of health if we committed ourselves to keeping our colons clean! So what exactly goes on in there? Basically, when you are fasting your body starts to clean house, getting rid of years of accumulated toxic waste. This waste is eliminated through your eliminative organs, aka skin, kidneys, colon, spleen and liver. What goes in must come out! Since you are not consuming fiber on your fast, which is what normally helps “sweep out” the colon, there is no bulk to push those toxins out of you. For some, this can result in a condition known as auto-intoxication, in which toxins are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This kind of defeats the point of a fast, so colon cleansing can go along way in keeping things moving (pun intended). If a colonic isn’t an option, enemas are a great alternative and can be administered at home. Look for 2 quart enema bags, and avoid disposable kits. If you are still totally uncomfortable with the idea of colon cleansing, herbal laxatives can be used as well. Senna root tea (Cassia) is a good choice, but don’t abuse it.
- Dry Brushing: Dry brushing is a wonderful self-care practice that is helpful during fasting because it stimulates the lymph system, which moves waste through the body for elimination. Every day, you eliminate 2-5lbs of waste through your skin (amazing, right?), and dry brushing helps to move that waste efficiently. Dry brushing will invigorate and warm your whole body (great for fasters because the body temperature is naturally lower), as well as give you glowing skin by removing dead skin cells. And as an added bonus, dry brushing is great for helping reduce cellulite! Look for brushes made of natural bristles, you can get a great one for around $10 at your local health food store.
- Clear Your Head: Fasting is naturally a more inward time, and the perfect time to go deeper into your meditation practice. Don’t have a regular meditation practice? Well, this is also the perfect time to start one! Being free from the bulk and heaviness of food grants a wonderful lightness to your being, and facilitates a spiritual practice like meditation. Take 15 minutes each day to quite your mind and place your attention gently on your breath. If your mind wanders, don’t fret, Just observe where it goes and direct it back to your breath. Think “Sat” (su-ht) when you inhale and “Nam” when you exhale. This phrase means “I am Truth,” contemplate this simple statement during your meditation and see where it takes you. Meditation has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and induce a sense of well-being in practitioners.
- Write it Down: A lot of debris gets stirred up during a fast, and it’s not all physical! Toxic emotions will be released too, and it’s important to deal with these emotions effectively. Keeping a journal is a great way to purge those emotions in a healthy and constructive way. See if you can’t work through the anger, pain, sadness or whatever it is you are feeling. Remember that often times, all we need to release a traumatic event or feeling is forgiveness, whether unto another or perhaps unto ourselves. Be compassionate, patient and loving toward yourself, like a mother to her child. Cultivating that attitude will take you far in fasting and in life.
- Listen to Your Body: Fasting is an excellent way to become more in touch with your body, but you need to tune in to gain any benefit! Notice the subtle changes in how your body is feeling, and try to intuitively decode what it is telling. Going with your gut feeling is almost always the right path, so take this time to practice hearing what your body is saying. It will tell you when it needs more rest, needs some exercise or fresh air, cool water or a warm bath. And most importantly it will tell you when it is time to start eating again. When true hunger returns, it is time to break your fast, and it is crucial that you not ignore your body’s signals. If you continue to fast past this point, you can go into starvation mode, where you are no longer cleansing, but doing damage. Pay attention and trust your intuition, it won’t lead you astray.
- Smile 🙂 This is “you time”. Enjoy it! Remember to smile and laugh, and not to take things so seriously. Adopt a carefree attitude and a light heart. Life is good <3.