Fasting for six days summary

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On Sunday, December 6, 2020, I ended my six-day fast at 12:00 noon. I wrote about “Fasting Feelings” on Thursday before, when I was only fasting for 72 hours straight. Let’s start with the conclusion: not recommended, much less recommended for long-term repeated implementation, and recommended to keep as a personal preference.

This fasting I successfully verified several things.

  1. hunger will weaken over time. That is, the first three days will feel a strong hunger, and not all the time, generally concentrated in the lunch time, dinner time and before bedtime. The maintenance time is not long, about 1-2 hours, and can be greatly relieved by drinking warm water. After three days, there will be a significant decrease in hunger, and the body gradually adapts to consume its own work.

  2. Fasting will heighten sensory awareness, making one sharp and alert, and the nerves are always excited, reducing the need for sleep. During these six days, I was able to smell very subtle smells, which I would not normally perceive; I was also able to hear very subtle sounds, such as heartbeats, which previously required my ears to be pressed against my arms to listen very intently; and my fingers were also much more flexible, manipulating various instruments steadily and swiftly, without dropping anything in six days.

  3. Fasting will make people look old and have sagging skin. Previously, looking at various ascetics, none of them are fat, red lips and white teeth, are like withered old trees, at that time there was speculation. After six days of hands-on practice, I found that the skin quickly lost its luster and became rough, supposedly losing its daily nourishment. At the same time the skin sagging, from the mirror, the whole face are “collapsed”, gradually tree personification.

  4. fasting does not greatly affect physical fitness. I used to think that because I stopped taking in energy, it would cause a decrease in physical fitness, and I would have to take two steps to get out of breath. But this is not the real situation, I found that after the body used fat metabolism, physical fitness did not change much. In the six days, except for Friday, which was my traditional day off, I still walked more than 10 km every day for the remaining five days, totaling nearly 60 km. Especially on Saturday, I walked 15 kilometers. There was no physical exhaustion, dripping sweat and pale face. However, on the last two days of walking I noticed an increase in heart rate, with the peak rising from 140 to 150 beats per minute, indicating an increase in the pressure on the heart.

These things were relatively unimportant, and it was the attitude of the onlookers towards me during the fast that was the most interesting part. Judging from the comments in the background, many people went into a frenzy because of my active fasting itself, as if I had done something treacherous, and even left messages directly rebuking me, saying that I did not understand science, foolish and deluded, etc.. Seeing them in such high spirits simply made me wonder if I had stepped on their tails? I guess the three daily meals are a sacred law for many people, and they find it unacceptable if anyone violates it. Anyone who violates it and writes about it with great fanfare is simply so wildly ignorant that they should be dragged out and beaten to death. Such people, I think, may have taken science, medicine and nutrition as theology and turned themselves into fanatics, or scientific guards. They feel safe in what they think is right, and a little beyond, they go on a rampage and rage, still essentially anti-rational.

There are also a significant number of people who act as if they are witnessing some kind of miracle and are in awe of the very thing of fasting. I did nothing but drink water every day, and I earned the reputation of being “really persistent”. In fact, I don’t have any perseverance, if I don’t have the confidence to carry on with something, or if I really feel it is difficult, then I will give up early on, after all, the title of “the first person in North China to quit” is not a vain name. When I have read so much information and done so much analysis, I can fully predict every bit of the process and all the possibilities of this fast. I was familiar with the physiological changes after the fast, and I was always monitoring the data, ready to stop immediately if the momentum was not right. So, it’s not a miracle, it’s an experiment, and it’s an experiment that has been done countless times before. The difference is only that I am my researcher and I am my mouse. The execution came down to not perseverance, but reason. If I knew what would happen at each step, there would be no such thing as persistence on my part.

Most unexpectedly, some of the ridicule and blowback came from my friends. To be honest, I did feel a little sad. Because over the years my way of making friends let me stick to one thing: If something is a lot of thought, a lot of preparation, and pay a price to do it seriously, then regardless of my personal judgment of the matter, I will publicly support my friends, at most to do private reminders. But I’m unlikely to oppose it publicly, much less openly mock it, to strike him in public, because this identity of myself as a friend makes him look like a fool in front of everyone, even his own friends are mocking. I think maybe I’m too outdated in this way of making friends and should get with the times and stop living so anachronistically.

Back to the matter of fasting, through my practice, I do not think it is something so special. It is not a rolled nail board, chest crushing. People have many misconceptions about fasting, partly from fear of hunger, partly from blind obedience to three meals a day. These are not strictly speaking science, but habit. Once a habit is formed, it is very difficult to break. There is a claim that three meals a day is a new human habit that emerged after the industrial revolution, because the bosses needed workers to have enough gas to work, equivalent to maintaining the machine. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, it’s a little ironic.

I think most healthy people can fast for 24 hours, 48 hours, and longer. From my own monitoring results, my body’s ability to self-regulate is excellent; it keeps my blood sugar at a certain level, it keeps my blood pressure down and at a normal level, and my muscles as a whole can still function well, even at a far more sensitive level than usual. You can think of fasting as a life experience, you don’t have to do it every day, but you should at least try it. It’s a kind of break from the usual flow of life, so you get some extra time and a different perspective to think about what food is? What is the body? And what is the so-called way of life. In particular, I believe fasting will give you the answer to the question of whether the body is a gourmand that must be fed at all times or a vehicle that can support you in extremely difficult situations.

Many of you know that I am a Buddhist amateur, and at the same time, a few years ago I wrote a book entitled “You don’t matter, your likes matter”. Isn’t there a little contradiction in between? Buddhism seeks no-self, while I emphasize not only the self, but also the self-loved. Why is this so? Just look at my fast this time and you can see that there are a significant number of people whose problem is not their attachment to the self, but the lack of a complete self at all. They are for or against it, not from the “I” decision, but from following the crowd. The vast majority of people believe in eating three meals, the vast majority of people believe that not eating breakfast gives them gallstones, and so they believe, simply because it is safe to stand with the side of the crowd. You ask him if he has read the latest papers? Have you seen what’s going on in the theoretical world? He says: No, I don’t need to, that’s right, that’s what everyone thinks.

When the ego is broken, broken, dependent, how does one break it? How do you break something that is already broken? That’s why I often say that the ego becomes whole. In the secular sense, first of all, one must be able to have an independent and complete existence of the self, and then one can talk about how to break the attachment to the self. In this way, covetousness is a good entry point, at least when you like something wholeheartedly, a little bit of your true self will grow out.

Back to the beginning, why do I not recommend long-term fasting? Because fasting certainly brings about autophagy and renewal of the body and has a restorative effect, but in any case it is a temporary behavior that burns a backup battery. Turning temporary behavior into long-term behavior, even though it starts with benefits, is still ultimately a great drain. If you don’t want to fly yourself like a kite, with sagging skin hunting in the wind, then there is no need to fast repeatedly over time.

Title photo photography by Alex

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