Yes, 40 days.
Let’s just say that my diet has been crazy for a many months now — a constant cycle of restricting and binging. For many months I have restricted myself to 900-1000 calories, and those calories mainly consisted of graham crackers and sugars. Oh, the things we do to be skinny. I did lose weight, but I wouldn’t wish the hellish effects of it to anyone.
I did not stop there. This month I got some pro-ana friends, and started restricting up to 500 calories. That leads to disastrous effects. One day I just snapped and binged. I am eating at around 2500-3000 for a week now. As a result my stomach hurts a lot during those days, since it wasn’t used to a lot of foods. But if you are a depressed, highly-stressed, and sleep-deprived college student like me, you can shove anything to your system if you try hard enough.
But you know what, all those foods did not give any satisfaction. If you think a bar of chocolate would stop your depression and cravings, then you are wrong. Every time I eat I get even more miserable. I would start thinking, “Oh my goodness, I am getting fat… Well, I would just eat less tomorrow…” Well, it’s been 7 days and I’m not stopping yet.
I’ve read somewhere that it could be the aftereffects of restricting for a long time. A study shows that anorexics have high amounts of cortisol in their body. Cortisol is a hormone that has a lot to do with stress and appetite. So once an anorexic starts eating normally, there is a high chance that they would tend to binge-eat. (I would like to talk more about this, but it could be for another day.)
So why fast?
Apparently, restricting is very different from fasting. By restricting, you don’t get the benefits of fasting, because you are still taking in calories. To put it simply, the body uses calories for fuel. When you do eat calories which is far a lot less than you should, the body would still look for the calories to burn. If you restrict for a long time, you might train yourself to eat less, but if you start to go back eating normally, your body would be confused and would urge you to eat more because it would not know when you would be able to eat enough again. You might think that your body is sabotaging you but actually it is just doing its best for you to survive.
But in fasting, it is a lot different. Since you are not taking any more calories, particularly carbohydrates, it would not expect any calorie, and thus your body would turn into other sources of energy, i.e., fat deposits and would use that as fuel instead. This process is called ketosis. It is said to be effective for weight (specifically, fat) loss.
Or so they say.
I have tried the first one, which is restricting. I actually did the extreme version, which is mainly eating carbohydrates. And yes, I can confirm to what science says. It did not bode well so don’t do it, kids. It is not freaking good, especially if you are in a stressful environment, e.g., college. I conclude that yes, your body can adapt and you can actually do it long enough, but you’ll never know when you’ll snap. And if you do snap and let yourself go, it’s downhill from there. Not effective for weight loss. Coupled with ED you’ll end up suicidal.
Still, the search for truth is left unfulfilled. Call me desperate or crazy, I want to experience the other. Yeah, I believe in the science of it. However, I would like to experience it first-hand. (Maybe I’m just miserable and empty. Who knows. :c)
So there it is. I don’t want to make this post longer, so let’s just get right to the experiment!
EXPERIMENT: 40-day fast
DURATION: September 21, 2016 (00:00) to October 30, 2016 (59:59)
1. Not eat anything but water for the next 40 days
2. Have a daily log of experiences
1. To have a diet reboot
2. To know what real hunger feels like
3. To get rid of caffeine, sugar, and pill dependence
4. To lose weight
5. To get rid of food obsession
6. To gain the scientifically-proven benefits of fasting
The said experiment should be finished, unless the participant experiences —
1. Major decline in performance
2. Fits of great discomfort and sickness (e.g. fainting)