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What are the Sensations of Fasting?
This is one of the booger bears of fasting. “I do not want to be hungry for 40 days.”
There are a lot of misconception of how you will feel when fasting. For example, it, most think, will be some sort of prolonged self imposed torture. For some this may go back to the use of hunger as a punishment.
For others hunger was associated with lack and deprivation of past memories of poverty. So they view fasting as a negative. But on the contrary it can be an extreme positive.
For others, it is what you have been taught to expect.
This would be an anti masochistic sensation. It is not masochism. When done for health purposes, it is developing your self-disciple for absolute self love. Remember the old saying, “No pain; No gain.”
But this fear of hunger is an old wife’s tale about fasting. It is not in the main about hunger. In fact for most of the fasting time there is no hunger. Strange as it may sound, depending on the length of the fast, you will not be hungry.
My personal experience is this. Somewhere between two and three days, I stop being hungry. My latest experience was that I stopped being hungry right after the second day started, a little over 24 hours.
I remember in seminary a term paper on fasting pointed this out also. It seems that there is a gland in the body that switches on during the fast. It starts its full operation at that time. This is when the body stops getting its nutrition from the intestines and starts to feed off the stored fat of the body. Basically your body says, “You do not need to eat now. I am dining on stored food right now.”
There is an interesting story in the Bible. Jesus fasted for 40 days.
[Do not try this at home.] Immediately after we are told he fasted for 40 days it says, “… and then he hungered.” Before I studied fasting and practiced it some, I saw this and thought “Daaaaaaaah”. Of course, I thought he had not eaten for 40 days; he was naturally hungry. I had believed the hunger myth about fasting.
After you stop being hungry in a fast, you do not experience it again until something happens. The body has been switched on to live off stored fat. However, the stored fat will not last forever.
When that food source is depleted, then your body starts sending signals of hunger. It is saying to you, “You better break your fast, because I am starting to eat off the organs in your body.” Starvation harm and death is coming into view. This is a survival hunger pain.
Jesus was not hungry and then he was hungry. If you are in a fast and hunger passes, and then you, after some time, become hungry again. Start breaking your fast! Listen to your body.
So, let us say that you a planning a seven day fast. You should on average not be hungry for a minimum of four days. [Everyone is a individual.] My last fast would have been nearly six days of not hungry.
The return of hunger is generally pretty far down the line. I would not expect it in, for example, a seven day fast. But let us say that you have intended a seven day fast, and you stopped being hungry on day two and a half. Then on day six you started feeling hungry again. Start breaking the fast correctly.
Do not be self discipline macho and force your way through. Listen to your body! To continue that fast might start doing you injury. The setting of time for a fast is somewhat arbitrary any way.
I can see a monk in a monastery
trying to be like Jesus and do a 40 day fast. He in some perverted spiritual quest finds that hunger has returned at day 29. However, he continues in abject self disciple to go for the 40 days. That is at best ill advised. Forty days is not the way to fulfill your quest.
Do not be goal oriented in fasting. Be health oriented. Listen to your body!