At some point in every conversation I’ve had about fasting the other person talking says, “I could never do that. I tried and it was awful.” Forty days is an extremely long time, but if I’m inspiring anyone out there to try a shorter master cleanse, please rest assured that you actually can do it and the awfulness goes away quickly. All you need is lemonade and motivation.
I tried and failed many times before I had any success. My first attempt went something like this:
Boyfriend, who suggested cleanse and was simultaneously quitting smoking, in a calm and supportive tone: “I know it’s gross but you just need to keep drinking the lemonade. It’s only day one, we’ve got a long way to go.”
Me in a blind rage: “What the hell do you think I’m doing?!! But it’s disgusting. It’s not gross, it’s disgusting! And I feel like shit! We’re not supposed to make ourselves feel this way. That’s it! I can’t do this. I quit!” Munch munch munch munch munch…
Ten days later, after he succeeded at both fasting and quitting smoking, I consoled myself. Clearly some people’s bodies just aren’t made for this, I thought. I didn’t quit because of my lack of resolve. I quit because my body told me to. (Yah, right.)
My second attempt was a three-day fruit fast. I made it halfway into day two until everyone at work wanted to kill me and I ate a slice of pizza. Attempts three through six lasted about twenty minutes each. Then I succeeded.
I realized after I succeeded that the difference that time was clear motivation to be healthier. Motivation came from having multiple flues, a blood clot, debilitating allergic asthma and Lyme disease right in a row. I was sick non-stop for two years with conditions that seemed to have nothing to do with each other. The last one, Lyme disease, put me over the edge of what I could handle. I’ve complained a lot about how much sciatica has hurt me in this blog but really it’s just pain on my right side. Lyme disease was the same intensity of pain in every joint and muscle in my body, plus a flu, plus severe headaches, plus nausea from the doxycycline. Feeling like that gives you a lot of motivation to do something drastic in order to feel better.
A year after my first successful ten-day master cleanse I tried again and it took me three failures before I committed. Even this time around, I thought about fasting right after I fell. I bought supplies and thought about it all through August. The lemons rotted and I threw them away. It wasn’t until the middle of September that I started to do it for real.
All I’m saying is it’s normal to feel scared. It’s normal to be overwhelmed by a fear of starvation. It’s normal to have headaches and a hard time with it in the first few days. This isn’t an easy thing to do. And why should it be? The benefits you ultimately receive are worthy of the work you have to put in. The time you succeed is the time you convince yourself to shut up and drink more lemonade.