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Fasting & Emotional Healing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Benjiro, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Benjiro

    Benjiro Peer Supporter

    Hey All.

    Wanted to briefly share on a healing modality that has benefited my mind and body quite a lot over the years: Fasting. Fasting, as it turns out, was routinely prescribed to treat a host of mental and physical illnesses in ancient times. Many people, including myself, still practice it for that same reason today, especially in Eastern cultures.

    I’ve fasted rather extensively over the years (nine 3-day dry fasts) as well as intermittent fasting a routine basis. One of the first things people notice when undertaking a fast is the emotional impact. You experience anger. You experience irritation. You experience sadness—all in waves that can be quite intense at times. You think about unresolved emotional issues that had escaped your conscious intention. And in my case you routinely dream about the past in the days that followed.

    Fasting is strong medicine, in my opinion, because it facilitates access to, and processing of, unresolved emotions. It should be undertaken with care and common sense, because there can be risk involved when we deprive ourselves of food and water, especially for a lengthy period of time.

    I could say a lot more about this, but I’m making this initial post to get a conversation started and perhaps prompt people to think outside the box of 21st century cultures deeply rooted in consumerist values.

    Has fasting ever been an item on your healing agenda?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Some people fast for spiritual reasons or for health reasons (autophagy) but I think it could be extremely problematic and stressful for many. I've read the science of fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and I did the 16/8 hour window for a year straight. Fasting can be very stressful both mentally and physically. I would not recommend it for the average person or someone struggling with TMS. Basically I would compare it to going on a meditation retreat and not talking for 10 days. Some people may love that but it would be my idea of hell lol! Also a lot of people with TMS are dealing with medications and other variables . To me it adds another layer of stress. If a person enjoys it and finds it beneficial than do it but if they think it's going to speed up the process of healing, it doesn't work that way. You can still heal without going to these extreme measures. My philosophy, is to make your life easier and less stressful. Food is a basic need....it's not like shopping or over spending. If someone has issues with food etc., fasting is just a set up for more distraction, anxiety and TMS. That's just my opinion but I think what you are describing would be unrealistic and too advanced for the average person in western culture who does not have certain spiritual beliefs and has work and family responsibilities.
    Ellen likes this.
  3. Benjiro

    Benjiro Peer Supporter

    I agree that no one healing modality is for everyone. And if someone has an eating disorder, that adds a new layer of complexity. Or if someone has very little fat on their body that would otherwise fuel the body in a fasted state. Maybe these types should avoid. But in my experience, fasting can absolutely promote emotional and physical healing. That is, in fact, what it tends to do. It makes sense since most of our ancestors had to go extended periods of time without consuming—or many of us wouldn’t be here.

    The way I see it lifestyle is often a reason why people are sick to begin with. People have to make time for any therapy and fasting here is the rule. I like to remind myself while fasting or meditating or exercising or experiencing emotional discomfort of any kind that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.

    I wouldn’t say I enjoy fasting. It’s a discipline to me. Some months I’ll fast a lot, other times I’ll go months without fasting. And it does put stress on the body, especially multi-day fasts. But to me that stress is comparable to the stress of exercise or weightlifting. The idea is to break yourself down to build yourself up even stronger. And the benefits aren’t mechanical. Fasting while going 100 mph is very different than fasting in a relaxed conducive environment.

    Intermittent fasting is just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t intermittent fasting to heal emotions—that’s more of a convenience thing. I have found fasts of longer duration (~1 day+) to be the most effective. Whenever I feel emotionally disconnected, fasting is one of my many recourses. It’s amazing what the human body can do when we get out of its way.
  4. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it's an advanced modality and not for the faint of heart. I also think you have to be in a good place mentally to do it...or at least you need to have some kind of foundation. Most people who are starting the TMS journey would not be ready for that I don't think. Of course everyone's journey is unique but most people who are in the beginning of the journey are already overwhelmed with pain and fear...so adding hunger to the equation is not a good mix. You have built up your discipline but 99 percent of average people can't last 2 hours without eating lol. 99.9 percent would not do extended fasts if you paid them. I'm just being realistic here. I think in Eastern culture, people build up habits for disciplines because it's built into the culture or belief system. Without the desire for that type of spiritual journey, you are left feeling "hangry " . I recovered from TMS without meditating or journaling....I just read what I needed to and did the boring work. I read some of the Eckart Tolle type stuff but it's not my cup of tea, I'm not on that type of spiritual journey and it's not even necessary to heal. Healing from TMS is a much more banal, less mystical process than people think but I do agree with you, you have to get out of your own way.
    Benjiro likes this.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes. I really get this. Why add any extra stress. I think for many battling with TMS, we already push on ourselves to "do well" etc. Fasting could be another way of pressuring oneself at the same time the basic biological needs are getting slightly stressed.

    I never heard anyone put it this way, but I guess I would agree. In this there could be some good applications for emotional work. The way I experience fasting is that it greatly increases awareness. Clears my head. And with this there is usually emotional stuff coming up, "purification" if you will. Clarity and immediacy of experience seem to come with fasting. I've only done it for 1 to 3 days, but each time found the same results.
  6. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    I have before done intermittent fasting a month just for health benefits, like 16h fast 8h eating window every day. I´m now trying a longer water fast (0 cal).

    I´m on 26h right now aiming for 36-48h. I would describe it as very helpful emotionally, and that the mechanism is this: addiction. Ever since hour 16 or so I find myself getting irritated, anxious or whatever, and I immediately start thinking about eating something as a distraction. Its not hunger. It´s distraction, like gambling or shopping or whatever. And I´m a fit, sporty person. Still I do this. And its very automatic. I don't want to feel this unease and my mind automatically wanders for the food solution. And I can't say I´m that particular hungry. Sure I´m hungry now and then, but not THAT hungry that I should have to think about food so much.

    I agree! We use food as a distraction from our feelings way too much instead of just fuel and enjoyment.

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