I tried fasting and what did I learn

It is ramadan and everyone at work who are muslim (90% of them) are fasting. I got intrigued by it so I started asking them how hard it is. Then I learned few things:

  1. It is a community activity. The break of the fast is usually done with friends and family.
  2. It is a way to control cravings and practice discipline.
  3. The fasting period is not as long as I thought. They get up at 4am to eat, and break fast around 6pm. I thought it was a 24 hrs fast.
  4. Fasting means no food and water.

Why I wanted to try? I am intrigued to experience the physical and mental struggle of it.

How I did it?

I did drink water, coffee and tea.

I didn’t eat at 4am.

I fasted from 7pm until 6pm the next day.

I kept myself busy with 5 meetings from 10am to 5pm.

I didn’t run as it was my rest day. I did 40 min yoga/pilates.

How did it go?

It went better than I expected. I didn’t find it as hard as I thought. I did experience headache/brain fog, but nothing that is not manageable. I felt hunger less than 30 min of the entire time, which I found super interesting. I did tell my coworkers that I was doing it with them, so I felt I had to finish it.

What did I learn?

I realized that I could easily just do breakfast and dinner if they are big enough. I learned that snacking/eating throughout the day is more of a mental break from work than actually needing food, super interesting again. When I did break fast, I thought I would get hungry which was not the case. I ate what I thought I needed to refuel, and not because of physical hunger. I jokingly said to my friend who was fasting too and was kind enough to check on me often throughout the day, that they should modernize the fasting, to allow water and remove devises. I think that’s harder to control than food these days.

Will I do it again? Probably not. Because I feel better eating smaller portions than big meals, and to ensure adequate food intake. But I will be less concerned if I skip a meal. Feeling hungry is not the end of the world.

3 thoughts on “I tried fasting and what did I learn

  1. I was just talking about snacks with my husband the other day too. When we were in Costa Rica, I really never ate any snacks, mostly because I didn’t have any to eat! We ate almost every meal in a restaurant, and we didn’t buy many “groceries” to keep in our hotels at all. Just the way it worked out this time. Anyway, this meant that I usually just ate breakfast, and then NOTHING again until later when we’d have lunch, and then dinner. And many times, I would find I wasn’t even that hungry at dinner, so we’d share an entree or something (especially on days we might have eaten a later lunch). But when I’m at home working, I swear I’m hungry every 5 minutes! I’ll eat breakfast at say 8:00, and by 10:30, I’m wanting to eat something again. It’s crazy! I don’t know if it’s just that when I’m traveling we are active and busy and I don’t even think about it, versus just sitting at my desk= kind of boring sometimes, so my brain is looking for a distraction?? I don’t know. And the interesting thing is that in the restaurant meals, I didn’t usually even eat that much, and yet I still didn’t feel that hungry- AND we were super active on our trip! I would maybe eat a couple slices of a quesadilla, or a shrimp ceviche, etc. Not like I was eating big burgers and fries or anything in the restaurants every time. I think I preferred how I felt on vacation overall- more activity throughout the day, more clearly defined eating times… not sure how to implement into regular life, though.


  2. I have tried a few different types of fasting and none of them have been as hard as I thought. A long time ago, I did a five day cleanse where all you can have is lemon water and I was a bit hungry the first day but then you do arrive at a place of clarity and you become kind of zen with yourself, if that makes sense. I ended up missing chewing more than missing actual food. The other thing I found was that I didn’t know what to do with myself half the time. Our big thing at work was to go out to lunch together and I found myself not sure what do do with that empty time. ‘

    I have also done one accidental 24 hour fast recently where I ate such a big lunch that I wasn’t hungry and then next day I got busy at work and ended up eating about 24 hours after my last meal and I was perfectly fine! I have also done daily intermittent fasting with a fast of 16 hours (from 7 pm to 11 am) for a few weeks and like you said, I was actually not hungry too much. Two things I found was that: (1) we often eat just because it is “time to eat” and (2) I stopped doing it because I am a runner and it was harder to do endurance exercise while doing a long fast, at least the way that I timed it.


  3. I have never tried fasting before. I feel like it would be hard but probably doable like you experienced. The timing of Ramadan really makes a huge difference. It can shift so drastically during the year. This is a ‘good’ time for Ramadan here in the US since the days are still on the shorter end. Years ago I volunteered with an ESL program and we had a number of Muslim students. Ramadan fell during June or July that year which is a time when our days are very long! Our class was in the evening so the students were pretty tired and hungry by that time. I do love the community aspect of breaking the fast, though!


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