On my recent trip to Maine I was intuitively guided to try water fasting. If you had asked me as early as last week if I would ever fast I would tell you 'NEVER'! In a million years. This was never something I wanted to do.
It didn't even come to me as a download until I arrived there. I had prepared a couple meals to bring with me so I wouldn't have to cook much at the Airbnb, and stopped at a cute holistic co-op grocery store in the town of Norway to pick up a couple ingredients to make the two meals for the rest of the week I was staying there.
I had all my snacks from a recent trip to Trader Joe's, and even vegan s'mores I was going to make on the campfire. My whole life I always woke up hungry and couldn't go more than a few hours without a snack. Or so I thought! I had heard about fasting for religious reasons before, and was always amazed anyone could do that. I started hearing more about water fasting from holistic healers in my circle, but never really looked into it.
I love eating why would I want to stop?
When I got to the Airbnb in the afternoon after skipping lunch on my drive up, I saw there was no microwave available to cook my prepared meals. I took this as a sign from the universe that if I was ever going to try this out, it would be here. Travleing and being in a different environment made it a lot easier.
Funnily enough, the owners of the Airbnb were putting in microwave the DAY I was leaving :)
I believe I was led to water fast in order to kickstart a personal breakthrough. In my research online, I noticed a few different articles that mentioned it was an amazing way to breakthrough in spiritual aspects and get past what is holding you back. In my case, it was fear.
Eating is something we are programmed to believe we need to do 3-4 times a day. Our ancestors didn't have food in refrigerators to eat all the time, and could go without eating for weeks at a time if they weren't able to hunt anything. In fact apparently a human can live up to 40 days without eating. (Note: I do not advise trying this)
In no way am I recommending intermittent fasting as a solution for everyone, however in the same vein it is something that everyone can do quite easily. It is not starving yourself, it is simply an eating pattern where you are limiting your intake for a specific amount of time, while still drinking lots of water.
The majority of our energy in our body is being used in our digestive system. It is recommended that giving our digestive system a break every once in a while is beneficial, as it gives it a chance to reboot.
You are already fasting when you go to bed at night and don't eat until you wake up. Check out this helpful blog I used that explains how you to do an intermittent fast.
For my first water fast, I wanted to see how long I could do it without needing to eat. It was around 30 hours from the time I first started.
I hadn't really planned to fast until I got there, so I didn't have a large meal before starting and felt I really needed a meal to make it an intermittent fast from that point forward.
I then moved to an intermittent fasting pattern where I would fast during the day until dinner around 5 PM.
My primary reasons for fasting were:
Breakthrough in my life, being able to see clearly where in me I'm holding myself back. When you are hungry all those buried emotions come up
Closeness with a higher power (to me that is infinite spirit, my higher self) without the outside noise
Free from attachment (not that I'm addicted to food, but sometimes eating just to eat and mentally attached)
Detox. Giving my body a break from the digestion which takes up most of our energy, so that that energy could be redirected to spiritual and mental aspects
Essential oils were an incredible support in intermittent fasting, particularly with the mood management qualities. I actually don't know what I would have done without them honestly, probably wouldn't have been able to keep the intermittent fast going for 5 days.
Below I share the specific oils I used to support my mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional wellness.
Trust me, you'll be able to clearly see what moods are going on when you're hungry. They show you what needs to be healed. Based on how I was feeling I would either put a specific oil in the diffuser, or roll one on. Travel tip: bring a diffuser with you on trips to feel at home anywhere you go. I have the very small and light Lumo diffuser from doTERRA that takes up barely any space in my suitcase, I loved having it with me in Maine.
Here are the doTERRA essential oils I used to support my fast:
InTune Focus Blend: First off I love how this one smells. It's musky, woodsy, and earthy. It has sandalwood one of my favorites, along with Amyris Bark, Patchouli Leaf, Frankincense Resin, Lime Peel, Ylang Ylang Flower, and Roman Chamomile Flower essential oils. This roller ball kept me focused on the work I was doing for my business, and most importantly, on the moment. Honestly I didn't notice the time go by because I was so focused at the task at hand, even when I was working in a very relaxed manner. Taking breaks, shifting spots in the house, etc. I also used this on my long drive home instead of coffee or tea to focus
Rosemary: Another oil for concentration. I put this in the diffuser when I started working on my biz each morning. It invites focus and clarity for the task at hand. This one was great because it would keep me focused on working and not where my thoughts would normally go about eating. The few times they did go there I was aware of it and let the thoughts just come and go, without resisting, just noticed they were there and moved on. Dizziness can come up when you move too quickly while fasting, and Rosemary prevented this by keeping my brain and body, alert and steady.
Neroli: While this is an oil that soothes partnerships and relationships, I found it had the same effect with my relationship to my self. I used the roller ball rolled on my arms at night since it has a sedative effect, and it eased any anxiety I was having with the fasting process.
Frankincense: Possibly one of the most 'spiritual' oils out there, I take this one with me wherever I go. You'll never find me without Franki! This oil went in my diffuser at night, it helped me to get still for meditation and connect with the higher power I believe in, infinite spirit my higher self. When you focus on this aspect and put your attention towards it you are fulfilled spiritually, and when your body isn't putting all its energy to its physical self in digestion you are able to connect here much more easily. Frankincense led to feelings of peace, wellness and balance.
Slim & Sassy Metabolic Gum: Not technically an oil per se but it is doTERRA's gum with the Slim & Sassy metabolic oil blend in it. With Grapefruit, Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger, and Cinnamon essential oils, this gum is intended to reduce cravings and that's exactly what it did! I don't why I didn't think to use this in the beginning of the fast it would definitely have helped so much. I had a piece on my drive home and it was like the second I started chewing I forgot about any cravings entirely. It lasted most of the 3 hour trip back! No hunger at all. This is a great hack for the next fast.
What I Learned
I learned a great deal from this experience, from first water fasting for 30 hours and then intermittent fasting for 5 days. What I learned is that it's all a mental game. A lot of what we've been told by food industries is not true, like the fact that we need breakfast first thing upon waking up. I still love breakfast and totally thought it was true!
It's actually recommended to wait until 1 pm to eat, and that was how I carried out the intermittent fasting for the last day of the 5 day fast. Eating only from 1 pm to 9 pm. The rest of the time I fasted during the day and ate at 5 pm for dinner, I find that interval works for me. There are a few different time periods you can use, it's all up to what works for you.
Unexpected (positive) side effects
Feeling grateful. Thinking of people around the world who don't have access to food and remembering how blessed I am.
Healed relationship with food. Much more mindful of what I'm eating and savoring it, realizing I don't need to eat to feel better emotionally.
Feeling empowered. If I can control my perception and relationship to food this way, I can see how this discipline and strength of mind can be applied to every single area of my life. This powerful force of connection to myself and to a force outside of myself (spirit) can carry me through anything.
Feeling at peace. Just an overall sense of peace and stillness in the moment. It felt good actually to savor the stillness and quiet, and be content in the moment. This sense of peace, that came from unrest initially, is something I'm carrying with me now through all my life.
Feeling very light. Almost like I could float away. I took it very easy during this time fasting. I actually dreamed I was floating above my bed and it seemed very real. Which leads to my next point
Vivid dreams. I already have vivid dreams this just took it to a new level. Dreams are very healing and I always journal on them and research what they mean online right when I wake up! They can bring you a lot of insight into your life.
Complete mental clarity. First off so much of our mental energy is used to think about eating: what to eat, where to get it, how to make it, yada yada. So much more time freed up when I wasn't focusing on this. Also, the energy that normally goes towards digestion was able to be used for brain function I felt much more alert and clear minded, realizing that a lot of the time I was in a sort of brain fog. Even when I eat a healthy gluten free and vegan diet, which is helpful in minimizing this, the energy is still going towards digestion. Giving my body a break to heal itself felt wonderful.
Clear skin. I had read this was a side effect and I'm not sure why, it totally cleared me of the occasional zit perhaps because of the connection with gut health and your skin, also I was feeling very relaxed with no stress
Whole. I felt ready to take on the next chapter of my life with grace and understanding. I see how powerful this has been for me and I want to make it a part of my monthly routine, because I saw the positive effects on my body, mind, spirit, and business.
Weight Loss. Not the main goal here, naturally since I was eating less and my metabolism got a break to rev up, that's what happened.