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My First Honey Water Fast - The Wins and Woes
For six years after giving birth to two daughters, I was putting on a presumably insignificant kilo every year, until I scaled a weighty 66kg and realized that my wardrobe was changing far too fast and that standing at 1.66m with a protruding tummy was not at all flattering in any kind of outfit. Other than blaming it on my slow metabolism rate and a natural love for food, I discovered that there was surely more I could do – going on a diet. However, that was equally daunting. I was not ready to keep up with special diet plans and ensure the preparation work for making special foods for each meal. Then, one day, incidentally while browsing in the library, I stumbled upon a Chinese book with the title “Slimming with Honey” (as I would translate it in the best possible way into English) written by a Taiwanese expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Being a honey enthusiast, I was naturally spurred to flip the pages to ascertain its usefulness. And when I read that the author lost 2kg and improved her skin complexion significantly in just three days by going a body detoxification program with honey and water as the only source of sustenance, I immediately checked the book out of the library.
Yes, I went on my very first 3-day fast, losing 3kg as a result. My tummy was reduced, my thighs didn’t seem to rub against each other so much anymore when I walk, and I felt lighter, and could even fit into some of my old clothing. The beauty of this 3-day fast is its simplicity – no complicated diet plans to follow from Monday to Sunday, no fat-burning pills to pop, and no creams or ointment to rub on the tummy regularly. What it requires only are the available of pure honey, a resolution to fast for three days and a correct attitude when breaking fast. Knowing how nutritious honey is helps in bracing me up for the program. I was convinced that this natural sweetener containing a myriad of small doses of nutrients and vitamins and a horde of antioxidants, is a wise choice of food during a fast. But what probably also inspired me a great deal is the well-known proposition that our organs occasionally deserve a good break after working so hard non-stop since the day we were born and allowed ourselves to indulge in the immensity of so-called good foods. Moreover fasting isn’t a rocket science; for thousands of years, almost all cultures have used it to help clear the body of toxins, give our digestive organs the opportunity to rejuvenate and restore optimum function.
This Honey Water Fast Simply Involves the Following:
For 3 days, take only honey with water or tea. For each 150cc of water, mix with 1 to 2 tablespoons of pure honey. Drink this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and whenever you feel tired or thirsty. Keep yourself hydrated the whole day but limit total consumption of honey to 150cc each day.
The temptation for food and to break fast and start all over again was very real for me. I constantly felt hunger pangs and my mind just kept slipping into images of my favorite foods. However, reminding myself of what the book shared – “one should get used to it on the 2nd day” gave me great consolation and courage to stay on. Focusing on my work in the office nonetheless was a big challenge when every nerve and cell in me was screaming for food.
As per what was described in the book, I experienced more energy instead of weakness, and my bowel movement was smooth, but sort of explosive. However, what was disappointing to me was – there was no euphoria high as I continued to fast and my yearning for food did not seem to get any lesser. I somehow didn’t get used to hunger like how the book has described and all I wanted to do when I got back home from work was to sleep and forget about all the ill-feelings.
I was a bit surprised by my energy level in the morning and happy that I could still keep up with my usual 30-minute workout at 6.30am. And thankfully, my gastric did not give me any problems like in the past whenever I skipped meals. However, by noon, I was feeling famished again and by 5pm I was actually getting frustrated and moody about the depravity of food. And one strange phenomenon that was really not funny - I became extremely sensitive to odors and even the smell of people’s breath! To brighten up things a bit on my last day of fasting, I expanded the range of tea varieties that I use to chamomile, rose, and fruit, and also increase the floral varieties of honey to clover, leatherwood, and manuka. By evening, when I stepped unto my bathroom scale, I had already lost an unbelievable 3kg and a big bulk of my tummy.
To break fast, I followed the author’s advice of going on a soft diet and abstaining from meat, diary products, and oily and spicy stuff for the first two days. My breakfast consisted of a small bowl of oat cereal mixed with honey, but to my surprise, I didn’t feel excited at all when I tasted food again. In the afternoon, I was hungry and eager to go for some nice soft food but at the same time also felt somewhat revolting. Eating seemed to be a brand new experience. Flavors and textures of foods had become so different for me that I actually could not appreciate their tastes like before. My appetite was so bad that it was almost like having dreadful symptoms of morning sickness. In the end, I ended eating only a slice of fresh papaya, half a bowl of plain congee, a cup of water melon juice for the whole day, and honey water for the whole day. It was when I felt such disappointment did I realize that breaking fast is even be harder than fasting. My breaking fast experience today was far from what the book has prepared me mentally for – do not lose control and overeat, do not jar the digestive system by gorging on meat and junk food.
The start of the day was not as depressing as the day before. I began to respond to food more positively and continued to take plain soft food. By evening, to my relief, my appetite was back to normal and that was when I did something stupid – I took a bottle of cold lemon juice to quench my thirst. And result? I ended the day with a big mess, whining like a baby, throwing up big time and feeling weak. What a memorable anti-climax to my fasting experience!
I slowly normalized my diet, but still avoiding too sweet, sour and spicy, or salty foods, so that my stomach could slowly get used to having different types of foods again.
12 Things I Learnt From This 3-day Honey Water Fast:
1. Take only pure honey. Raw honey which is the most nutritious form of honey of course is the best. Use it if it’s available.
2. Make use of different honey varieties and assorted tea types to make the 3-day fast less dreadful.
3. Stay away from icy cold water, strongly caffeinated teas such as red tea, and oolong tea, alcohol and don’t smoke.
4. Do not add to your tea and honey any lemon, which can be too hard and stimulating for the stomach. Take just water, and soothing honey and tea.
5. Following an amazing theory in the hibernation diet which I had previously read, I take a glass of warm honey drink before going to bed so as to fuel the liver, speed up fat-burning metabolism, and keep blood sugar levels balanced.
6. You could modify this three-day fast to two days or one day, or even one meal to suit your needs. For instance, on occasions when you feel you have overeaten, you might wish to detoxify the body for a day by replacing all foods with just honey drinks.
7. I wouldn’t recommend this diet for young children, pregnant mothers, and people with a medical condition. If you are ill or recuperating from a sickness, postpone your fasting.
8. This detoxification program is so easy that I feel it could also be very suitable for men who are trying to lose weight but would not bother a bit to figure out how to prepare all the special meals, or have no time or energy to do so.
9. Whenever you are about to give up while fasting because you feel you could not withstand the hunger, tell yourself that it is really possible and you can make it. If others can do it, so can you. Always go back to your initial intention – what makes you want to do this. Picture yourself in the desired state of health, distract yourself with lots of things to do, and persevere.
10. Remember that fasting is not complete without proper breaking of the fast – which is just as important and can be even harder. Be mentally prepared to put up a fight when confronting food again because a slumbering digestive system is highly sensitive and needs time to get back to speed. Take fresh fruit and vegetables slowly and drink fresh fruit juices. Avoid cold and citrus stuff. Eat smaller meals, chew your food well, and eat according to hunger.
11. The longer the fast, the more time is needed for breaking the fast. Typically, a period of no less than one half the length of the fast is required for breaking the fast. A disciplined re-feeding process helps me to reinforce good dietary habits and I am now more conscious of what I eat.
12. Finally, it is erroneous thinking that you can eat all you want since you have deprived yourself for a while. We need to get this right: Fasting is not a cure for obesity or any sickness, it is a process that facilitates the body’s own healing mechanism. Rightly conducted, it is a sure, quick, safe way to unload a toxic overload. Abstinence from food, followed by rational eating, has proven very effective in helping thousands to give up bad eating habits, re-establish health and strength.
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