So I had sent this pix and caption to my squaddies and shared same to my whatsapp status and it literally shook up everywhere.
A 74 hour autophagy?
What is autophagy?
So what were you eating? (This was the funniest of all lol. What was I EATING when I was FASTING?)
How were you feeling?
Can a Nursing mom do it?
Is it not dangerous?
And so on…
Even before the questions, I had already planned to do a detailed blog post sharing details of it. Even though this was not the first time I was doing an autophagy, this time around was so much more different. I will share with you as openly and practically as I can, and I hope you take a thing or two into your own life.
First, what is autophagy?
I love Health line, so I would be happy to share their definition and explanation.
Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. “Auto” means self and “phagy” means eat. So the literal meaning of autophagy is “self-eating.”
It’s also referred to as “self-devouring” While that may sound like something you never want to happen to your body, it’s actually beneficial to your overall health.
Get more gist from the Health line full article on Autophagy
Autophagy: What You Need to Know
I also love what Cedars-Sinai has to say about autophagy
Autophagy: Recycling Is Good for Your Body Too
So basically, you starve or fast for a couple of hours, letting the body cells rest from the work of digestion, absorption and all other processes involved in metabolism of calories as a result of food ingestion (sorry, quite a mouthful).
This is really necessary, and as a #JesusGirlsFitness Coach, the language I would like to use for it would be a “Food SABBATH”
But the seventh year the land will take a Sabbath of complete and total rest, a Sabbath to God; you will not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.Lev 25 v 4 MSG
I think this is just the sweetness of God right there. The land has been working hard for you for 6 straight years. It deserves the time of rest from work abeg.
This is why regular fastings are great, e.g. the 12 hour fast most of us #JesusGirls do. For your spiritual lives, they work to strengthen it, and for your physical body, they work a treat too.
Autophagy is when you prolong the fast to anything from 24 to 72 hours. Recall the body has to enter starvation mode, so it MUST finish breaking down all the food already eaten previously, and this can even take 48 hours for some foods e.g. meat, before you now enter the real starvation mode. I personally think even for starters, 36hours is a better time frame to let the body rest.
So yes, you don’t consume calories in those hours, but you are allowed to drink water and zero calorie teas like Green tea and Twinnings Flavoured teas
So, I learned of autophagy last year and I did it twice from June to December, both for 48 and maybe 60 hours. I knew I was due for one this year and I was just watching my body to know when I would be ready.
Full disclosure is I kind of live a fasted life. When I am not fasting spiritually, I follow the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, usually the 18:6 or 15:9 timing.
I just prefer to allow my body less work daily, so I can say I am not that into breakfast, and I stick to two meals a day. Yes, I still consider dinner the most important meal of the day, thanks to all my studying on weight loss psychology
WHY DINNER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY
Food is what it is… I eat for energy to get me moving and active for God’s work daily, and not for fun, or even worse, for weakness, which is what happens when we eat JUNK on a regular.
So now, my story starts. Look out for clues. They are all within the story
I had been on a spiritual fast, and one night, awake and working on a project, I got hungry and decided to have a bowl of cereal. Easiest thing I could whip up. First bowl, second bowl and I was like “hey, what kind of hunger is this?”
Note that this was about 4am.
Instantly, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me it was time for an autophagy.
I also had a few personal reasons, both spiritual and aesthetic, for planning an autophagy. Apart from the health benefit, I really did want to hit my weight goal of 75, I had been on 77 to 79 all year, and even though I was well within my BMI ideal weight, and looked good on the outside, I wanted to see my 75kg please.
I love that Joel Osteen says a part of his confession is “I weigh what God wants me to weigh…” I believe God wants me to weight 75kg so I wanted to hit it. I feel my best whenever the scale is reading 75 to under 76kg.
I also knew an autophagy would lean me up VERY FAST. My stomach will shrink and muscle definition will be more obvious. Yup, I wanted that too,
And then, I KNOW that autophagy will take discipline to the next level. I am always open to being a disciplined woman abeg, so I wanted the autophagy to help. If I am disciplined in food and with hunger, then I can take that discipline to other areas of my life too.
And of course, since I was on a spiritual fast, I could also plug in deeper spiritually as I shut down the flesh even more.
This autophagy was going to win on PLENTY levels.
Truth is, I had been scared of an autophagy. I have so much on my plate now, and literally NO TIME to spare. I feared an autophagy would keep me hungry and unfocused. I mean, I was even struggling with breaking my fast at 6pm 50% of the days, as I was using up a lot of mental/brain fuel for work, hence my hunger.
Just so you know, food is not just fuel for the body, it is juice for the brain too. Which is why heavy mental activity often makes you hungry, and especially crave sugar for quick energy.
Again, weight loss psychology.
So going for 3 days? Did that mean I would lose 3 days of work?
Err, that didn’t sound good.
But that night, as the HS told me, I felt a release and wave of grace take over me, and I was like, Oh ok.
Made sure I finished eating at 5am and I started my fast.
That was Saturday 5am, so I was going to end Tuesday 5am.
I worried just a little about the distractions of weekends and how I was going to cope, but again, GRACE.
Mondays are so work heavy and I also hoped I would not tire out easily before 5am Tuesday, and again, GRACE
So because I knew Grace came with that instruction at that time, I zeroed in.
So FIRST TIP, you must zoom into the SPIRITUAL, even if you are doing it for diet and health reasons only.
Even if you don’t have that sort of experience like I did, you can determine a time and pray into it that God’s grace and strength meets you there.
That was also how I got through the first two autophagy fasts I did.
Ok, next thing, I also had to do was to mentally prepare for it. I had to tell myself verbally that I was doing this. Will hunger come? Yes. But I would ask for strength divine. I literally purposed in my heart, like Daniel, that I was doing this no matter what. And for nothing less than 72 hours
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…Daniel 1 v 8
So that is TIP 2… PURPOSE IN YOUR HEART
With those first two points, I was also going to feed myself spiritually.
I believe that the word of God can actually give PHYSICAL ENERGY.
Your words are so choice, so tasty; I prefer them to the best home cooking….Psalm 119 v 103
Like David, #JesusGirls prefer the WORD over the best home cooking
I love that scripture. I also love this one on Revelations.
And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]… let him come, take, appropriate, and drink the water of Life without cost. [Isa. 55:1.]Revelation 22:17 AMPC
And of course, the Bible tells us that we don’t live by food alone but by the WORD
So I knew that if I was starving my body of physical food, grace and determination aside, I had to be feeding it with SPIRITUAL food so even before hunger attempts to enter my street, I would get out my Bibles and FEAST.
I believe this was SO KEY in keeping hunger away because frankly, I powered through those 72 hours. I also took communion daily, but mostly, I take communion daily so that was just me continuing a spiritual discipline.
By the third day, I would get up how I usually got up, and instantly would feel light headed and woozy until I steadied out by holding a wall for support, so I started to rise from a sitting or lying position a little more slowly. That helped a lot.
That aside, I never felt a crazy hunger or urge to eat because I was TIP 3… EATING THE WORD
Moving on, I drank water. I know some people fast without water, but I literally cannot, even the regular till 6pm. I was drinking waters, and green/Flavoured teas, all zero calories. I believe hydration also gave me physical strength, but hey if God calls you to a dry fast, I believe as the RIVER OF LIFE, He will hydrate you so don’t let my own stop yours.
But my TIP 4 would be STAY HYDRATED
I also conserved energy where I could. Work is work and important so that didn’t exactly reduce, and domestic work has to be done, including cooking so I still did all that, even had to wash toilets and kitchen on Day 3. I hate a dirty home, honestly so I did what I could do. So the major way I conserved energy was to NOT workout.
For those 3 days, I didn’t work out, even if slow walk for 15mins. I just let my body rest as much as it could, even when I had to work from the bed for that to happen. But some people can work out, like I did the previous times, but this time, like I mentioned, I was super busy and working on a project that has been keeping me up almost all night daily, so working out would have been too much for my body. Maybe if I could afford 8 hours or even 6 hours of sleep daily, I would work out but hey, my TIP 5: CONSERVE ENERGY. DO NOT WORKOUT
Aha, now the final one that I think really helped me focus was that I didn’t tell ANYONE. I however didn’t tell my husband or mention it in my squads. I just didn’t send meals and workout pictures, and thankfully nobody asked. I could just FOCUS without anyone wondering if I was about to die just because I coughed, or tripped.
The last time I did an autophagy, I shared with some of my squaddies, and the questions were plenty lol. Every time Someone would want to be sure I am still alive lol. While they were being caring, which is great and I am thankful for, I also found it distracting so I knew this time, I would not say until I was done.
I mentioned to my best friend by Day 2 evening but I also knew she would not distract me, and she didn’t.
Yes, I didn’t tell my husband too, even though we were at home together. He knew I was on a fast, and even when I broke, some days he would ask what I was eating, but those 3 days, interestingly, he didn’t ask. Or notice.
I only told him the night before the 5am I could break my fast, and he was SO SHOCKED. Lol. And trust me, that same night he kept on asking me if I was OK, when I would eat, what I would eat and so on. I was like, “See why I didn’t tell you, Sir” lol.
The next morning, he woke up and was dancing. I asked him why he was joyful and he was like “yaaaaay you have finally eaten”, to which I said Nope, cos I hadn’t found the time to eat.
Now, I would put a caveat here. If this is new to you, tell someone please so they can check up on you especially if you stay alone. And start with 24hours first, or even 6 – 6 fasts. As a wife too, if this is spiritual and you would like to stay away from carnal pleasures like sex, you may have to tell your husband, and if you NEED accountability, please tell someone.
So let wisdom and common sense guide you, but wisdom for me guided my TIP 6: AVOID DISTRACTIONS AND MANAGE THOSE IN THE KNOW
So those are my 6 tips in getting through my 72 hour autophagy.
Now to breaking the fast. I knew I wanted to begin by drinking my celery juice and then letting my body process that for 2 hours before taking more solid foods, which was what I did. After celery juice which I took 74 hours later, I had apples and mangoes, then couscous and egg stir-fry with tigernut milk.
The couscous had been in the freezer a long time so that choice was made for me. All that is advised is you introduce light food first which I had done with the celery juice and fruits, before food.
And because biscuit and cheeseballs are my thing lol, I had 2 coaster and 1 cheeseballs just for long throat sake.
And because my body had been starved of food and sleep, once I was done eating, a level of tiredness I could not explain kicked in and I bowed to the power of sleep which was wisdom at the time.
When I woke, my regular fast kicked in till 6pm and we were back to regular programming
Now did I get my results?
Discipline kicked back in as days after then, 6pm meets me not feeling hungry at all, and even when I eat a little, I am good. Win-win.
I also leaned out in my torso and my belly muscles got more visible
And finally, I hit my goal of 75kg
Win on all counts. My body felt better, my mind sharper and my spirit STRONGER
Win! Win!! Win!!!
And this morning, just as I finished this post, I decided to weigh myself, even though I have had about 1L of water and a cup of tea, I weigh 76.2kg, so this means I am certainly in my 75kg weight range.
So there you go. I hope my story answers all your questions, and that you plan ahead and take an autophagy fast. Start with 24 hours, choose a time that has you expending less physical energy, even if you sleep a lot abeg, e.g. weekends and practice all my tips above, modifying it where you have to
If you do this, come back here and let me know, let’s celebrate together
Interestingly, there is no conclusive report on how often to allow your body go into autophagy, but I would say every 3 months is a good time to do that, especially if you maintain a relatively good diet.
I love how Cedars-Sinai likens it to taking out the trash.
Let’s allow our body take out the trash abeg and let those cells die and generate new cells.
If you have more questions, please let me know
This post was first published May, 2020.
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