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My Own 56 Day Long Fast

Categories: Fasting
Sources: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor

Fasters go through a lot of different emotional states, these can

get intense and do change quite rapidly. The physical body, too,

will manifest transitory conditions. Some can be quite

uncomfortable. But, I don't want to leave the reader with the

impression that fasting is inevitably painful. So I will now recount

my own longest fast in detail.

When I did my own 42 day water fast followed by two weeks on

juice diluted 50/50 with water, which really amounted to 56

consecutive days, my predominant sensation for the first three days

was a desire to eat that was mostly a mental condition, and a lot of

rumbling and growling from my stomach. This is not real hunger, just

the sounds the stomach likes to make when it is shrinking. After

all, this organ is accustomed to being filled at regular intervals,

and then, all of a sudden, it gets nothing, so naturally the stomach

wants to know what is going on. Once it realizes it is on temporary

vacation, the stomach wisely decides to reduce itself to a size

suitable for a retired organ. And it shuts up. This process usually

takes three to five days and for most people, no further "hunger

pangs" are felt until the fast is over.

Real hunger comes only when the body is actually starving. The

intense discomforts many people experience upon missing a meal are

frequently interpreted as hunger but they aren't. What is actually

happening is that their highly toxic bodies are taking the

opportunity presented by having missed a meal or two to begin to

cleanse. The toxins being released and processed make assorted

unpleasant symptoms such as headaches and inability to think

clearly. These symptoms can be instantly eliminated by the intake of

a bit of food, bringing the detox to a screeching halt.

Two weeks into the fast I experienced sharp abdominal pains that

felt like I imagine appendicitis feels, which compelled me toward

the nearest toilet in a state of great urgency where I productively

busied myself for about half an hour. As I mentioned earlier, I was

experimentally adhering to a rigid type of fast of the sort

recommended by Dr. Herbert Shelton, a famous advocate of the Natural

Hygiene school. Shelton was such a powerful writer and personality

that there still exists a Natural Hygiene Society that keeps his

books in print and maintains his library. The words "Natural

Hygiene" are almost owned by the society like a trademark and they

object when anyone describes themselves as a hygienist and then

advocates any practice that Dr. Shelton did not approve of.

Per Dr. Shelton, I was going to fast from the time hunger left until

the time it returned and I was not going to use any form of colon

cleansing. Shelton strongly opposed bowel cleansing so I did no

enemas nor colonics, nor herbs, nor clays, nor psyllium seed

designed to clean the bowel, etc. Obviously at day 14 the bowel

said, enough is enough of this crap, and initiated a goods house

cleaning session. When I saw what was eliminated I was horrified to

think that I had left that stuff in there for two weeks. I then

started to wonder if the Sheltonites were mistaken about this aspect

of fasting. Nonetheless, I persevered on the same regimen because my

hunger had not returned, my tongue was still thickly coated with

foul-smelling, foul-tasting mucus and I still had some fat on my

feet that had not been metabolized.

Shelton said that cleansing is not complete until a skeletal

condition is reached--that is, absolutely no fat reserves are left.

Up until that time I did not even know that I had fat on my feet,

but much to my surprise, as the weeks went on, not only did my

breasts disappear except for a couple of land marks well-known to my

babies, but my ribs and hip bones became positively dangerous to

passersby, and my shoes would not stay on my feet. This was not all

that surprising because I went from 135 pounds down to 85 on a 5' 7"

frame with substantial bone structure.

Toward the end of the fast my eyes became brighter and clearer blue,

my skin took on a good texture, my breath finally became sweet, my

tongue cleared up and became pink, my mind was clear, and my

spiritual awareness and sensitivity was heightened. In other words,

I was no longer a walking hulk of stored-up toxemia. I also felt

quite weak and had to rest for ten minutes out every hour in

horizontal position. (I should have rested much more.) I also

required very little sleep, although it felt good to just lie

quietly and rest, being aware of what was going on in various parts

of my body.

During the last few weeks on water I became very attentive to my

right shoulder. Two separate times in the past, while flying head

first over the handlebars of my bicycle I had broken my shoulder

with considerable tearing of ligaments and tendons. At night when I

was totally still I felt a whole crew of pixies and brownies with

picks and shovels at work in the joint doing major repair work. This

activity was not entirely comfortable, but I knew it was

constructive work, not destructive, so I joined the work crew with

my mind's eye and helped the work along.

It seemed my visualizations actually did help. Ever since, I've had

the fasters I supervised use creative imagery or write affirmations

to help their bodies heal. There are lots of books on this subject.

I've found that the techniques work far better on a faster than when

a person is eating normally.

After breaking the fast it took me six weeks to regain enough

strength that I could run my usual distance in my regular time; it

took me six months to regain my full 135 pound weight because I was

very careful to break the fast slowly and correctly. Coming off

water with two weeks on dilute carrot juice I then added small

portions of raw food such as apples, raw vegetables, sprouts,

vegetable juices, and finally in the fourth week after I began

drinking dilute carrot juice, I added seven daily well-chewed

almonds to my rebuilding diet. Much later I increased to 14 almonds,

but that was the maximum amount of such highly concentrated fare my

body wanted digest at one time for over one year. I found I got a

lot more miles to the gallon out of the food that I did eat, and did

not crave recreational foods. Overall I was very pleased with my

educational fast, it had taught me a great deal.

If I had undertaken such a lengthy fast at a time when I was

actually ill, and therefore had felt forced into it, my experience

could have been different. A positive mental attitude is an

essential part of the healing process so fasting should not be

undertaken in a negative, protesting mental state. The mind is so

powerful that fear or the resistance fear generates can override the

healing capacity of the body. For that reason I always recommend

that people who consider themselves to be healthy, who have no

serious complaints, but who are interested in water fasting, should

limit themselves to ten consecutive days or so, certainly never more

than 14. Few healthy people, even those with a deep interest in the

process, can find enough personal motivation to overcome the extreme

boredom of water fasting for longer than that. Healthy people

usually begin protesting severely after about two weeks. If there is

any one vital rule of fasting, one never should fast over strong,

personal protest. Anytime you're fasting and you really desire to

quit, you probably should. Unless, of course, you are critically

ill. Then you may have no choice--its fast or die.

Common Fasting Complaints And Discomforts

The most frequently heard complaints of fasters are headaches, dry,

cracked lips, dizziness, blurred vision with black spots that float,

skin rashes, and weakness in the first few days plus what they think

is intense hunger. The dizziness and weakness are really real, and

are due to increased levels of toxins circulating in the blood and

from unavoidably low blood sugar which is a natural consequence of

the cessation of eating. The blood sugar does reestablish a new

equilibrium in the second and third week of the fast and then, the

dizziness may cease, but still, it is important to expect dizziness

at the beginning.

It always takes more time for the blood to reach the head on a fast

because everything has slowed down, including the rate of the heart

beat, so blood pressure probably has dropped as well. If you stand

up very quickly you may faint. I repetitively instruct all of my

clients to stand up very slowly, moving from a lying to a sitting

position, pausing there for ten or twenty seconds, and then rising

slowly from a sitting to a standing position. They are told that at

the first sign of dizziness they must immediately put their head

between their knees so that the head is lower than the heart, or

squat/sit down on the floor, I once had a faster who forgot to obey

my frequent warnings. About two weeks into a long fast, she got up

rapidly from the toilet and felt dizzy. The obvious thing to do was

to sit back down on the toilet or lie down on the bath rug on the

floor, but no, she decided that because she was dizzy she should

rush back to her bed in the adjoining room. She made it as far as

the bathroom door and fainted, out cold, putting a deep grove into

the drywall with her pretty nose on the way down. We then had to

make an unscheduled visit to a nose specialist, who calmly put a

tape-wrapped spoon inside her bent-over nose and pried it back to

dead center. This was not much fun for either of us; it is well

worthwhile preventing such complications.

Other common complaints during the fast include coldness, due to low

blood sugar as well as a consequence of weight loss and slowed

circulation due to lessened physical activity. People also dislike

inactivity which seems excruciatingly boring, and some are upset by

weight loss itself. Coldness is best handled with lots of clothes,

bedding, hot water bottles or hot pads, and warm baths. Great Oaks

School of Health was in Oregon, where the endlessly rainy winters

are chilly and the concrete building never seemed to get really

warm. I used to dream of moving my fasters to a tropical climate

where I could also get the best, ripest fruits to wean them back on

to food.

If the fast goes on for more than a week or ten days, many people

complain of back discomfort, usually caused by over-worked kidneys.

This passes. Hot baths or hot water bottles provide some relief.

Drinking more fluids may also help a bit. Nausea is fairly common

too, due to toxic discharges from the gall bladder. Drinking lots of

water or herbal tea dilutes toxic bile in the stomach and makes it

more tolerable.

Very few fasters sleep well and for some reason they expect to,

certainly fasters hope to, because they think that if they sleep all

night they will better survive one more deadly dull day in a state

of relative unconsciousness. They find out much to their displeasure

that very little sleep is required on a fast because the body is at

rest already. Many fasters sleep only two to four hours but doze

frequently and require a great deal of rest. Being mentally prepared

for this change of habit is the best handling. Generalized low-grade

aches and pains in the area of the diseased organs or body parts are

common and can often be alleviated with hot water bottles, warm but

not hot bath water and massage. If this type of discomfort exists,

it usually lessens with each passing day until it disappears


Many fasters complain that their vision is blurred, and that they

are unable to concentrate. These are really major inconveniences

because then fasters can't read or even pay close attention to

video-taped movies, and if they can't divert themselves some fasters

think they will go stir crazy. They are so addicted to a hectic

schedule of doingness, and/or being entertained that they just can't

stand just being with themselves, forced to confront and deal with

the sensations of their own body, forced to face their own thoughts,

to confront their own emotions, many of which are negative. People

who are fasting release a lot of mental/emotional garbage at the

same time as they let go of old physical garbage. Usually the

psychological stuff contributed greatly to their illness and just

like the physical garbage and degenerated organs, it all needs to be


One of the most distressing experiences that happen occasionally is

hair loss. Deprived of adequate nutrition, the follicles can not

keep growing hair, and the existing hair dies. However, the

follicles themselves do not die and once the fast has ended and

sufficient nutrition is forthcoming, hair will regrow as well or

better than before.

There are also complaints that occur after the fast has been broken.

Post-fast cravings, even after only two weeks of deprivation, are to

be expected. These may take the form of desires for sweet, sour,

salt, or a specific food dreamed of while fasting, like chocolate

fudge sundays or just plain toast. Food cravings must be controlled

at all costs because if acted upon, each indulgence chips away the

health gains of the previous weeks. A single indulgence can be

remedied by a day of restricting the diet to juice or raw food.

After the repair, the person feels as good as they did when the fast

ended. Repeated indulgences will require another extended bout of

fasting to repair. It is far better to learn self-control.