|By: Robert Dave Johnston|
The reason for this is that the digestive system has either partially shut down if you were juice fasting, or - even more drastic - gone into hibernation altogether if it was a water fast longer than seven days.
In either case "The Bear" is asleep and it DOES NOT like to be awakened! It is very cranky, sensitive and demanding when roused from the slumber. The longer you fasted, the more acute these symptoms become, particularly if you were water fasting for 21 days and above.
What happened to me several times is a good example of what we are discussing in this article: When I completed a 40-day water fast, I was ecstatic and feeling great. But no sooner did I start drinking juice - at first - I was overtaken by a voracity that caused me to overeat in the subsequent days. This caused me terrible stomach pains and, needless to day, much shame and guilt.
All of the pre-fast symptoms returned. I was puzzled by this relapse because I thought that achieving a 40-day water fast had proven I had "the will" to overcome once and for all. What I failed to realize was that, before the fast, I was binge eating - a pattern that had gone dormant during my fast but was still there nevertheless and would fight tooth and nail to survive.
These patterns of destructive eating are like entities with a life of their own, and just because I was fasting does not mean it went away. An enemy asleep is an enemy nevertheless. But an enemy asleep gives me time to become stronger and wiser so, eventually, we can have a confrontation toe-to-toe.
There is much anxiety related to food. I was glad to have finished the fast, but walked around in pins and needles scared out of my mind - wondering when the binge monster would emerge and zap me. I was taking a defensive position rather than moving offensively by building a solid eating foundation and structure that I could follow.
This fear and lack of preparation in itself was a great instigator of my relapse. Beware of the following when breaking an extended fast:
* Do not allow yourself to be sucked into by the "mystic" experience of being so clean and detoxed. In other words, when one fasts for a long period of time, the body becomes so clean that everything you eat tastes and smells so much better.
It is almost like being a child again and experiencing taste for the first time once more.The problem was that I became consumed with the "high" and decided that if a grape tasted to fine because I was clean, then a pepperoni pizza could only taste much better. Oh God!
* I had to stop thinking that it was time to "celebrate" based on my achievement of a 40-day fast. I allowed this thought to fester and thus it led me astray. Any food decision that places me in arbitrary control of my eating only leads to trouble.
I must have a structure in place and follow it without wavering - at least for the first six months after the fast is broken. It is during this time that the enemy is truly destroyed and new belief systems and behaviors related to food are created.
A very important point that I learned was that when a prolonged fast is broken, any food you eat may at first give you a feeling of sluggishness. It is kind of like starting a car after it has been parked for an extended period of time.
Anything you eat at first will run through your system like a general with a garbage can lid banging through the barracks to wake up the cadets. But the recruits do not jump up for joy at the sound. Rather, they are at first annoyed, hesitant and even somewhat rebellious.
So don't become alarmed. Be patient and very vigilant.