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I recently went on a yoga retreat. Infact it was a ‘detox’ retreat, I was going for a little holiday and some down time and didn’t intend  to do the juice fast.  I did the juice fast…






I learnt to ignore the feeling of hunger!

At home I eat well, and I eat three times a day, however I felt I was sluggish and not as energetic as I wanted to be. I am a Nutritional Therapist, I wanted to find some answers and the retreat offered me somewhere to explore for myself what fasting in a safe environment might mean for me.

I started the ‘juice fast’ and thought I was going to have crashing blood sugar and severe hunger. I didn’t.   I was doing 2 hours of yoga, a few lengths in the pool and long walks of 1 or 2 hours each day. I felt fine, of course I wasn’t holding down a 9 to 5 job and looking after kids and cooking, cleaning and having a ‘normal’ life during this time, I was in bed by 9.30pm everynight, it was bliss. However I was surprised by my body’s reaction.

So why am I sharing this with you? I did feel hungry and I felt fine ignoring my hunger. It was liberating. I felt light, energetic and quite focused, not thinking about food or the possibility of food was great, think how much time I had for more positive things for myself?

So what was happening by fasting? I don’t believe I was detoxing, but I was changing my physiology and improving my health.

Detoxing happens all the time and some people need extra support to detox efficiently, this may be a genetic variation or due to a high intake of toxins, most of us do fine getting rid of these so called ‘toxins’. Detoxing means removal of toxins from the cells in the body to the outside. Toxins can be from the body’s natural metabolic process, drugs, alcohol, hormones, chemicals from our environment and stress.

Improving physiology through fasting, what does that mean?

Reducing the amount of energy your body uses for breaking down and digesting food, gives back some valuable energy to mend, cleanse and restore and perhaps improve the bacteria in the gut, it gives your pancreas a rest too. Fasting can  have a tremendous effect on energy levels and clearer thinking.

Getting back to you and hunger: What do you do when you feel a slight hunger pang? Do you go straight to the kitchen or coffee shop to quickly satisfy that hunger pang? We rarely ignore it. We are hard wired to respond to this feeling of hunger, its a normal physiological reaction, but an outdated one, we should all start to interlectualise hunger pains.

The take home message is; next time you feel hungry, see how long you can ignore it, stop the reflex to reach for a bag of crisps, a biscuit or a fruit corner yoghurt or a can of fizzy pop.   A drink of water, a hug, singing, breathing better and getting creative can all help blunt that need to fill the void.   What can you do to change this pattern of eating on your hunger pangs?

I get my clients to think about how long they may last without food (not water) before their body would be unable to create energy, i.e. use fat and muscle stores to survive.  It would definitely be longer than two days!  consider that when you are reaching for a biscuit… you won’t die if don’t eat it, but constantly reaching for them may well be what kills you!

And notice how much we all eat, look around you, in the car, on the train, in the buggy, at the desk, watching the TV; food is all around us…  You can stop snacking!


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