How to maintain energy during fasting
If you are worried that fasting is going to make you lose a lot of energy, you are not alone!
Fasting is an age-old technique practiced by different sects of people and is a prevalent practice in different religions. It can support the body to overcome illness and heal from within. One of its benefits is removing the excesses that are stuck in the lower intestines. It can also support improved cardiovascular health and weight loss. I choose to fast because I like to take a break from cooking and washing dishes – as simple as that!
The question I try to answer in this article is how to maintain energy levels during a longer fast.
During a juice fast, our bodies will get all the energy we need from the sugars in the fruit juice. The psyllium husk added to the juice provides the necessary fibre during the journey of the juice down the intestine. As the fibre travels down, it will scrape the sides of the intestines so that the excess waste that has not had the chance to be excreted from the body will now be released to do so.
As the body gets used to consuming fewer calories and moves to another process of energy production where the stored glycogen in the liver gets reconverted to glucose, we might feel a little light-headed. This is an adjustment. Other detoxification reactions can also be experienced – headaches are common. Sometimes stronger reactions can also occur. I sometimes have low energy periods due to the detoxification process. For this purpose, I keep wheatgrass/spirulina powder on hand to give me a boost. Add a teaspoonful of the powder to water/coconut water and drink up! You will notice a restoration to energy in less than 15 minutes. For those who are diabetic, the juice diet is adjusted to suit your needs and that will enable you to keep the energy levels up. Please carefully follow the instructions given and if you don’t feel well, inform your trainer.
Drinking plenty of water is another way to keep the cravings down – and keep the stomach full. This will keep away the need for food and also aids the detoxification process. During the fasting process, it is even recommended to keep drinking lime water with a little salt.
There is a physical need for the body to consume food and get energy while storing away the rest. On the other hand, I also see eating as a habit. While fasting, I am breaking away from established habits of eating. I find that this is a very good time to let go of other habits like dogmas or preconceived notions and to learn how the body and mind are connected. What is it that my body is telling me? How do I address this? Am I feeling more emotions, less emotions, more or less heat, more calm or more agitated? Making a note of all this and keeping a journal can be a great way to use your time wisely during the fast. Just write a few lines about your state of mind, what juices you drank today and keep a note of any experiences that stand out for you. You may be surprised by what you find. Or you may not. You can even use this time to make a wonderful new habit that you can continue even after you finish the fast.
When I fast, I find that one of the best ways to keep up the energy is exercise. Does this sound counter-intuitive? It is not. Perhaps doing extremely strenuous exercise like training for a marathon may not be the best thing, but, it is a great time to start a good asana practice. As part of your fasting regime, you will be given a bespoke asana regimen. If the detoxification process is going according to plan you should really feel well enough to do gentle asanas. Continue to practice asanas twice a day, do sadhana at least twice a day and move as much as you can. This will also help with the next mornings’ flush. (Flush is emptying the bowels by drinking lemon+salt water in the morning on waking. This is an important process for detoxification and elimination of wastes from the body)
For those who have fasted for many years, it is easy to keep going. It almost seems like no day is too difficult. Remember that if this is your first time then you can experience some ups and downs in energy. In this case, go back to the basics. Sing kiirtans all day long. Keep your mind on the Supreme. This is the best way to continue to keep energy at the highest level.
Here are 5 points to remember:
Sing plenty of kiirtan
Do sadhana twice a day
Drink plenty of water and lemon water
Do moderate exercise
Drink wheatgrass/spirulina shots for a boost in energy
When fasting, there is a lot of time to let the mind wander. It is easy to get demotivated. The best thing to do at this juncture is keep the mind focused on the Supreme, sing kiirtan and enjoy every moment of the fast. You are going to come out of it feeling better and with much more energy than before? Still not convinced?
Join us for the next fasting retreat September 21 – 25, 2021.