Getting to my ideal weight has been on my bucket list ever since I learnt the word ‘fat’ as a teenager. A skinny kid, puberty not only hit me like a sack of potatoes, it also made me look like a sack of potatoes. Even after I lost a third of my body weight within months of moving out of home and becoming great friends with instant noodles in college, I continued to see a fat person in the mirror. Even when I had to buy suspenders to keep my jeans in place, I still felt overweight. Over the years, I learnt to cook food that I find great joy in eating, and I fell in love with beer; the former doing wonders for my overall health and the latter contributing to my mental well-being. None of which has done wonders for the waistline, though.
When I wrote down the pootle list, I was at my heaviest and biggest – close to fifteen years of stress induced binge eating, snacking on chocolate bars to get through the work day, constantly craving the next sugar hit, living on caffeine – I felt terrible and looked worse. My own mother who always insist that I needed fattening up, gazed at me sorrowfully and suggested yoga for “a healthy body and mind”.
It was not pretty.
I have been good over the last eighteen months, reversing the trend line on my weight graph, for the first time in a decade. I suspect that a vitamin deficiency has contributed tremendously to the cause but let me not look a gift horse in the mouth. I seem to have hit a plateau in the past couple of months. Piling my salad with full fat feta for lunch every day has not helped. So when I stumbled across the 24 hour water detox yesterday night, I thought “why not?” I have never done crash diets, I don’t fast for religious or other reasons, I don’t ever stay off food. But the logic of diverting energy that usually goes into digestion into healing and repairing the body and cleansing it off toxins, was tremendously appealing. The only side effects seemed to be light-headedness about 16-20 hours into the fast. “I can do this,” I ventured, “I can live on plain water for twenty four hours.”
So let’s see how it worked out?
7:00 AM: I announce intentions to family who think I am stupid
7:30 AM: I start dying of hunger. Even though my usual breakfast time is still some time away
8:00 AM: Husband sits down to tuck in breakfast. I retire to bed because I don’t want to wish him ill
8:02 AM: “Perhaps I should do this another day”
9:12 AM: “They said I might have a headache due to toxins release. Seems like no toxins have been released yet”
10:00 AM: After weighing myself “How is it that I have PUT ON weight since the morning?”
10:35 AM: “Oh god. Why I am doing this to myself?!” The last time I had a “why am I doing this to myself” moment, I was skydiving. It was easier to jump from a plane with a bag strapped on my back than not eat.
11:03 AM: “I wonder what I would have for lunch IF I was having lunch”
11:09 AM: “Perhaps I should do this another day”
11:21 AM: “I always seem to lose weight when I have peanut butter. Mebbe a spoon of peanut butter will do me good.”
11:57 AM: “I last ate 14.5 hours ago. They should really give me the Nobel and be done with it”
12:38 PM: Peanut butter banana bread apple streusel pumpkin spice Nutella topping Peanut butter banana bread apple streusel pumpkin spice Nutella topping
12:52: “Nearly 16 hours without food. Where is the Nobel already?”
1:05 PM: Salt salt salt salt salt salt salt salt salt salt salt salt salt
1:11 PM: I go into the kitchen to fetch myself some water. It is very hard. The refrigerator is mewling for me. The apple on the counter is shouting my name.
2:00 PM: I still don’t have a headache. I hope this $#!* is working
2:15 PM: “If I sleep for a few hours…”
*has dreams of food for a couple of hours*
5:30 PM: I go off social media to avoid being exposed to food porn. Instead I look at pictures of bridges at sunset
6:00 PM: The opening scene of Chef comes on television. He grabs garlic and throws into the oil. I lunge for the TV remote to change the channel and sob softly.
6:20 PM: I google recipes of banana granola clusters and have visions of chocolate studded banana muffins. They are dancing.
6:42 PM: “If I do this for 22 hours, it is still legit right?”
7:00 PM: Check weight. Exult at losing 500 gm since the morning. “This is so totally worth it!!” Food visions stop their dance
7:02 PM: “Who the *%&# am I kidding, I shall put it all back on tomorrow! Oh *%&#!!” Food visions resume dance
7:15: I shop on-line for grocery delivery. Make sure to include lots of lettuce.
7:30 PM: I start writing to distract myself
8:15 PM: I see food in my future, in exactly 30 minutes. Want to start singing “Food Glorious Food.”
8:19 PM: “I have the beginnings of headache. Does that mean that my body has gotten around to releasing toxins only now?! Does this mean I should fast till tomorrow?”
8:20 PM: *can’t be published in a family friendly post*