Choosing to embark on an extended fast is a personal decision and each person chooses to fast for different reasons. I think it is important before a fast to gain an understanding of what you hope to achieve or your reasons for fasting. There are times when fasting can be difficult and understanding why you are doing it can help you get through those difficult times.
I fast for many reasons. At the end of the day I like how fasting makes me feel. Not necessarily how I feel in the first couple of days. As those of you who are following my fast may know, I did not feel too great yesterday and am still a little tired today (day 3), though I do feel better than I did yesterday. After about 3-4 days my head starts to feel really clear and I feel so productive. It is an interesting kind of focus in that I feel more open to new information and experience a higher level of mindfulness. My mood is also very even when I fast. I feel like nothing really bothers me.
Another reason I fast is to become more connected with my physical self. I am more aware of real hunger and sensations. I become aware as sensations come and go. Most uncomfortable sensations only last a few minutes and then they are gone. Most of the time what feels like hunger is actually thirst and most food cravings are connected to boredom or feeling tired. In these situations getting up and doing something or sleeping when I need to sleep is more effective than consuming food would have been. I find that there is a spiritual component to fasting. I become more aware of things outside of myself and feel more of a connection to the earth. I also become more aware of what is going on inside of myself. I am more aware of my thoughts and values.
Finally, I fast to cleanse my body. Even when I eat relatively clean I know I exposed to chemicals that are unhealthy for my body. Even organic products use some form of herbicides or have some preservatives. It is very difficult in today’s world to get away from all harmful chemicals. Fasting serves as a sort of re-set for me. It helps me focus on nutrients and fueling my body as opposed to focusing on taste. Fasting also places your body into autophagy which is basically the process of the body eating itself. Autophagy allows the body to consume unhealthy cells and helps to generate new healthy cells. This helps reduce disease in the body and not only addresses symptoms, but eliminates the underlying causes of the symptoms.