My 7-day water(ish) fast.
Moving back to the UK, just before a global pandemic, and then being restricted from integrating into my new environment due to lock-down, followed by the important #BLM that has shown me how I too, have benefited from institutionalised racism has been A LOT to take in, in a very short amount of time. I’ve had to give myself permission to take more time, to rest more, to be sad when I feel sad, to process it all. I crave nature, tending to a garden, feeding my loved ones and giggling over a glass of wine more than anything now.
Abruptly I see things so differently as if I have been catapulted from one reality to another, where the old one was shrouded in a misty view of the world that I now see it from a more lucid perspective. My work has been focused on unravelling so much old conditioning, to allow the new that wants to emerge, breath its way in. There have been moments of pure elation and pleasure alongside moments of deep sadness and loneliness.
As the days here are getting warmer and longer, I’ve embarked on a water fast and a small social media hiatus to reset and breath some new space and life into my body and mind.
In yoga, focus on the exhalation is important because it creates space for higher quality oxygen and efficiency on the inhale. In life, focus on letting go and releasing is valuable because it offers us space to allow the new that’s waiting for us, in.
Let me preface this with the fact that I am not recommending this for you. It’s something that I have done for personal and spiritual reasons since my early 20’s and am well-versed in. I also have a very strong connection to my body and am always listening to what it is telling me. I would never embark on a fast without my body’s guidance, ensuring that I fast safely and in connection to what I need. I do me, you do you.
It was a dusky Thursday evening when, serendipitously my fridge was empty in leu of my Friday morning farmers market sojourn, I felt this strong urge to give my body a break. When I try to explain what that feels like it’s kind of like a frustrated, blocked energy in my body (lack of energetic flow) and this desire to create more internal space coupled with complete apathy to food, food preparation and eating.
I decided on some basic objectives: mostly water, some herbal teas and coconut water or vegetable broth with sea salt for bowel movements, for 7-10 days, as and when my body told me it had had enough. I like fasting for two key reasons: 1. it offers me a break from unconscious habits and offers me the objective perspective to choose or change them, and 2. it gives my body time to deeply heal.
Even though I am well-educated on the topic of fasting I like to encourage myself with resources. Here are some of the videos I watched: Science of Fasting, Facing the Fat, Water Fasting: The Complete Guide.
Days 1 — 3.
Really strong headaches and a very obvious insight into how I use food to comfort myself and numb the feelings that I don’t understand. There have been a lot of those feelings recently. The first 3 days are generally the most challenging as the body moves into ketosis. On the second day my hip, wrist, knee and ankle joints were making themselves known. I tried to move them out on a long walk. The emotions associated with joints are usually unexpressed anger, resentment, aggression, criticism (of self and others), lack of support, and fear. I journaled about those. On day 3 my skin was glowing and feeling so soft and clear. It’s astonishing what a few days without food can do for our organs.
Days 4 — 6.
On the morning of day 4, I woke up with the most acute hip aches. Research shows that healing usually occurs in reverse so from the most recent illnesses and injuries to the ones further in the past. I remembered feeling this same hip ache after my significant breakup 2 years ago and sensed it was a healing crisis. This yin yoga class really helped I did every day after that. The headaches were gone now and my eyes felt incredibly clear and light. My outer thighs ached as the emotions and toxins stored in those were processed on day 5 and I plagued myself with delicious-looking food from Lucia of Ambrosia’s Table. By day 6 I felt amazing but also ready to start eating again. I knew my period was due and my body needed nourishing soon.
Day 7.
I felt so much clarity in particular around my spiritual path. I am always challenged by the paradox of internal contentment and external success. I’ve never been one to chase a career or high levels of achievement, rather my intention has been to create a lifestyle in which I am supported and held to follow my inner guidance and insights. Sometimes it is hard to know how to balance that yin-yang in life. I’m willing to try and learn and find a way to navigate it though as it seems to be an important aspect of my human experience. By 8 pm I’m genuinely hungry and feeling some menstrual-like cramping so I bake a sweet potato in the oven and slowly eat it.
I wake up early the next to the strangest dream, where I am walking down the aisle to get married and have layered 3 white dresses one on top of the next that I peel off to the last one as I walk down the aisle to make the wedding more fun and exciting. I’m confused as to what it means and find it entertaining to think about. Two of those 3 white dresses currently live in my wardrobe.
I feel different. More present. More embodied. More able to listen to my body. Clearer. Kinder.
I’m so grateful for this fast, a little gift — a slice of time, for myself. It’s fascinating to me how the things that serve us the most aren’t often the ones you can buy in shops or get by having more.

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