I am fasting to overcome my food cravings and regain a sense of control over my diet
I am just about to embark on another 15 day juice fast. I attempted the same challenge last year, but I gave up on day 10. I hit a wall due to low energy levels and feeling a bit unwell – my willpower was not sufficient to keep me going. I didn’t particularly enjoy this juice fasting adventure, so why am I considering repeating it? Two reasons – I want to regain control over my diet and I want to overcome food cravings.
The Goal of My Juice Fast
One of the mistakes I made with my last juice fast was that I didn’t have a clear enough reason for doing it. I had some vague ideas about health improvements, losing some weight, detoxing my body, and enjoying improved mental focus. These goals were not enough to keep me motivated because:
– I knew that any weight loss would only be temporary
– My failure to properly research juice fasting/feasting meant that by day 7 my mental clarity had actually deteriorated.
– My ideas about health improvements were so vague as to be practically meaningless.
– There are experts who say the detox claims for juicing are exaggerated. These guys may well be wrong, but they did sow enough doubt in my mind to weaken my resolve.
– I didn’t feel particularly excited enough about any of my motives for the juice fast (this meant I had to rely on willpower alone).
My reasons for doing the last juice fast were not powerful enough to keep me motivated. This meant that I made a half-arsed attempt and ended up with a half-arsed result. This time my goal for the juice fast (and the 10 weeks of intermittent fasting afterwards) is going to be something a bit more meaningful:
I am fasting to overcome my food cravings and regain a sense of control over my diet.
Fasting to Combat Food Cravings
I escaped an alcohol addiction seven years ago, but I’ve used food in much the same way as I’ve used the booze – trying to eat away my feelings. At first I consoled myself with the idea that eating too much is preferable to being a drunk but that was where there were few obvious consequences of spending too much time at the fridge. I didn’t really notice the negative impact of this behavior on my life until I hit forty. I started to put on weight and the impact of junk food on my mood and health became more noticeable. For the last four years, I’ve been caught up in a pattern of eating well for long periods and then going on a junk food binge which will last for months. It only takes one chocolate bar or can of coke to trigger one of these binges.
The idea of never eating another chocolate bar, fast-food meal, or cheesecake scares me, and this is exactly how I once felt about alcohol. It is this fear that has led me up the path of compromises. I’ve tried to moderate my consumption of sweet things, but this only lasts for a few weeks. I’ve also tried to limit junk food to once a week, but I can’t maintain this long term. It is now obvious to me that my only hope is to quit eating my favorite comfort foods for good. I see this coming period of fasting as part of the process of escaping my food cravings.
Of course, I could give up sugary things without fasting, but this challenge will reset my eating habits and give me a running start into my new life. I’ve no interest in entering the debate about the detox effects of juicing, but I do know that my body did feel like it had been cleansed after my last period of fasting- even if this was a placebo effect, it was still an effect.
Fasting to Increase My Sense of Control Over Life
I attempted intermittent fasting and a juice fast last year, but I failed to see both of these challenges through to the end (I talk about this in my post Tired of Being a Habitual Failure). I don’t like failing at things because I know that it negatively impacts my self-confidence and makes it harder for me to achieve my next challenge. Overcoming my sugar addiction is going to require plenty of motivation, and by completing my fasts it will increase my sense of control over my diet. I’m creating a snowball effect that will make breaking away from rubbish food easier to manage and maintain. You could call it an extreme detox – just like I needed to overcome my alcohol addiction.