It started with some pickle juice; an attempt to ease a headache that was going on 30 hours… I was exhausted, I hadn’t been able to remember things for hours and was even forgetting the conversation I was having mid sentence before finally excusing myself for bed by 7:30pm.
Once I drank a sip though, I was soon eating a pickle, and then some blackberries… Before I knew it I didn’t have a headache, but I was definitely not fasting anymore either. My evening binging monster got me again the moment my willpower had run out.
Offering Myself Forgiveness and Understanding
I have felt a lot of things today about what happened last night. A part of me wanted to give up this morning, feeling amazing until the realization of why I didn’t have a headache anymore sank in, truly for the first time.
I felt like a complete failure. I felt sad and frustrated with myself. I was angry too – I had been working so hard, just to blow it?!
I let the discomfort come and go, deciding to resume my fast, noting that a mistake is only a failure if you let it stop you. So, I forgave myself and then started looking for clues to my behavior, trying to understand what happened and why so that I can be more prepared to handle the same situation in the future.
Finding Unlikely Allies Amidst the Disappointment
I began to think over the incident with curiosity instead of judgement and was surprised by what I found. Despite “disobeying,” my body and compulsion really tried to keep to my commitment in their own subtle way. Somehow, I managed to stay under 500 calories during my binge, which, given that it was all I ate yesterday, still left me in a caloric deficit sufficiently low enough to still encourage the cellular and metabolic benefits of “fasting.”
How? Why? I’ve been pondering this all day. I believe I was asking too much, too fast, and this was my body and mind’s way of letting me know that.
Yet, given the lack of conscious control I displayed last night, I can’t help but believe that they don’t want to stop the fast either. Somehow, by finding that moderation between my extreme ideals and completely giving up subconsciously last night, I now feel more encouraged to continue than ever!
Redefining Success… Again
I can see now just how much my ego wanted to be calling the shots for my fast. It created an almost impossible regimen, probably to trap me in failure and give me a reason to return to feeling sorry for myself. Well, not this time.
I’m adjusting my regimen accordingly, allowing for some watered down bone broth when I feel overwhelmed by detox symptoms. I may find other supplementation as well, but I am still beginning every day fasting and will not be exceeding the 500 calorie mark for the remainder of my water fast (the juices I will start consuming on Tuesday will bring me out of this extreme fasted state, and I will continue supplementing as needed but without calorie restrictions).
The point of this process isn’t to prove myself perfect at fasting, it’s to learn and discover things about myself. Therefore, last night’s “mistake” has been just as essential to this experience as any other one will be.
Extending My New Conceptions of Moderation
This experience actually helped me to release attachments of my ego in another respect as well. I have been trying to abstain from making purchases of “things” since October 2019 but have found myself breaking that commitment to buy presents for international friends at Christmas time and now considering purchases as I will be exploring alternative housing options in the second half of 2020.
I will be taking my cats and living as a nomad from my van for at least 3 months, traveling through many western states and even British Columbia – so I ordered pet IDs and Passports for both my cats. I also bought a bike and am looking at a trailer/stroller combo for my cats so that they can accompany me when I leave the van too. Despite these things becoming necessary as upcoming changes in my life have become apparent, I have felt incredibly guilty too (oh ego, can’t you just leave me be! I’M TRYING).
This recent experience has helped me to cement a growing suspicion I’ve had lately: it’s not about buying nothing, it’s about buying the right things. That’s why I bought a bike: I love riding but have never owned my own bike as an adult, I also believe it is one of the most efficient modes of personal transportation, and essentially it’s a purchase that will bring me enjoyment, improve my quality of life and expand my sustainable independence.
Learning, Adapting and Growing in Love
The peice of my personal New Year’s Divination in which I was told what would help me achieve my goals this year is making more and more sense: “balance and moderation.” I have always been an extremist, and it’s always fed my ego’s proclivity to self-sabotage. Well, not any more.
Sure, I’m me – I will probably never stop trying to challenge myself – but, I’m starting to realize that doesn’t always have to include extremes. I can still learn from this fast, even with a more practical regimen. I can still be a mindful consumer and make smart purchases.
What’s important is that my goals are actually benefiting me. Adhering strictly to extreme ideals might be appropriate for a professional athlete who sacrifices their body for their sport, but I’m seeking an optimal and masterful lifestyle for myself. Which I’m beginning to find also means I am seeking a more balanced and moderate lifestyle.
Accepting My Own Grace and Appreciation
I just finished sipping a cup of warm broth. I have a slight detox headache but have managed to subdue the light-headedness I had as a result of trying to do too much today. I’m feeling silly about it, but appreciative that I am committed to providing myself with what I need – even if my ego has to step aside.
I’m sure I will find new ways to make mistakes on this fasting journey, but I am determined to offer myself grace again and again in order to continue and overcome. After all, there really is no ultimate that I am trying to achieve. Optimization and mastery are never ending – they are a way of succeeding as well as a way of failing.
In these ways, I’m finally learning to trust myself at 31 years old. Yes, I have traumas to heal, bad habits to overcome and good ones to create, but I’m also an incredible soul, mind and body that have chosen to align for the betterment of this world. I can’t do everything, but I can do the work of healing and use it to encourage others by sharing what I learn. And you know what? I think I’m happy to be just that, that I am.
Blessed be darlings! May you all offer yourselves the grace to find balance in your own lives as well.