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Here is why I decided to try my hand at fasting. Also, a few handy tips about fasting for beginners, and what fasting has taught me!
Fasting is a conventional ritual that many Indians follow. However for someone like me, who is a beginner in fasting, it always sounded very intimidating. Whenever I read about fasting, I used to be impressed about the enormous benefits that it seems to have on our bodies.
It sounds simple – just don’t eat anything and you are fasting. Technically, while that may sound correct, I realized the intensity of fasting only when I actually did fast.
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We have many Indian festivals that call for fasting, starting from the most famous karva chauth to ramadan and many vrats like navratri, karthika masam, pooja at home etc. All these rituals in our society make the job little easier, where we need not dig deep to find reasons if one wants to fast based on certain beliefs. However fasting need not be just for the defined rituals, and can be done on any given day. And trust me it gives you more power if fasting happens on a random day.
While fasting is good irrespective of reasons, it is much better when you do it for self. Often it is done for reasons that the rituals revolve around. However, when you fast for no reason, it gives you tremendous control over yourself. Also with no reason, it is even more difficult to push yourself to keep a fast. The act to cleanse your own body and mind and not for anything else becomes the sole reason.
By giving importance to your body, similar to a workout routine, you will start loving yourself more and embrace your life in a better way.
When you want to keep a fast, just go for it the next morning without much waiting. As in my case, I have been thinking of fasting for a long time, and yet kept re-scheduling it, thinking of a better time, but to no avail.
Planning does not have to work for every situation in daily life. Few things are better when they are decided instinctively on the go, else they might just not happen anytime soon! However, the key in this case is to understand your body and if you are sure that it is in a state to do fasting, should you go for it.
I felt like I am in a slothful mode from the time I get up on the day of fasting, much like the sloths in Zootopia! Mostly because I was already convinced that I might not be able to handle not eating for a whole day. That is also the reason for not doing a complete non-eating fast.
I made myself comfortable with fruits and water to start with. To my surprise, I realized that I was not that hungry, apart from being in a slightly low energy mode. I also realized that I pump in too many calories otherwise and started to wonder if I need to eat so many meals at all on other days? I also felt very sleepy towards the noon time and took a quick nap which I guess was fine given the dull headache I had.
Your mind will have the tendency to think more and more about food on the day of fasting. More so when you are alone and not doing any work! Keep yourself occupied with the daily chores, travel, cooking, office work etc. so that you do not have much time to think only about food. It is however good to give a break to your workout routine, if it is some activity other than simple walking.
Do not opt for any tasks that require a lot of energy, be it taking a flight of stairs or walking in the hot sun or even too much talking. I realized that my decibel levels automatically came down during fast, even when my kid was at his ‘usual’ best. I found myself much calmer and peaceful when I talk less and in a low tone. See! All this helps indirectly in effective parenting too!
At the end of the fasting time, firstly give yourself a pat, for successfully finishing something useful for yourself with determination. At least I felt the same as I was fasting for the first time ever.
Breaking a fast is as crucial as keeping a fast, so do not rush in having a plate full. When you are breaking the fast, first try foods which are light on your stomach. You may start with juices, fruits, soups and then slowly move to solid foods without much spice with limited amounts. From the next day you are good to continue your regular diet. There are fasting recipes that you can search online if you are unsure on what to eat.
Fasting is a time to heal your body and mind. When you give rest to your digestive tract, your body’s resources are used on other essential aspects. Like it happens on an over night fast that we do almost daily, day fasting is a good extension for the same. Fasting is a natural cleanser even for your mind as you are a better person who has more self-control, has learnt determination, improved will power, be more calmer and the best part – appreciate the food more than even before!
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