Fasters go through a lot of different emotional states, these can get intense and do change quite rapidly. The physical body, too, will manifest transitory conditions. Some can be quite uncomfortable. But, I don"t want to leave the reader with the impression that fasting is inevitably painful. So I will now recount my own longest fast in detail.

When I did my own 42 day water fast followed by two weeks on carrot juice diluted 50/50 with water, which really amounted to 56 consecutive days, my predominant sensation for the first three days was a desire to eat that was mostly a mental condition, and a lot of rumbling and growling from my stomach. This is not real hunger, just the sounds the stomach likes to make when it is shrinking. After all, this organ is accustomed to being filled at regular intervals, and then, all of a sudden, it gets nothing, so naturally the stomach wants to know what is going on. Once it realizes it is on temporary vacation, the stomach wisely decides to reduce itself to a size suitable for a retired organ. And it shuts up. This process usually takes three to five days and for most people, no further "hunger pangs" are felt until the fast is over.

Real hunger comes only when the body is actually starving. The intense discomforts many people experience upon missing a meal are frequently interpreted as hunger but they aren"t. What is actually happening is that their highly toxic bodies are taking the opportunity presented by having missed a meal or two to begin to cleanse. The toxins being released and processed make assorted unpleasant symptoms such as headaches and inability to think clearly. These symptoms can be instantly eliminated by the intake of a bit of food, bringing the detox to a screeching halt.

Two weeks into the fast I experienced sharp abdominal pains that felt like I imagine appendicitis feels, which compelled me toward the nearest toilet in a state of great urgency where I productively busied myself for about half an hour. As I mentioned earlier, I was experimentally adhering to a rigid type of fast of the sort recommended by Dr. Herbert Shelton, a famous advocate of the Natural Hygiene school. Shelton was such a powerful writer and personality that there still exists a Natural Hygiene Society that keeps his books in print and maintains his library. The words "Natural Hygiene" are almost owned by the society like a trademark and they object when anyone describes themselves as a hygienist and then advocates any practice that Dr. Shelton did not approve of.

Per Dr. Shelton, I was going to fast from the time hunger left until the time it returned and I was not going to use any form of colon cleansing. Shelton strongly opposed bowel cleansing so I did no enemas nor colonics, nor herbs, nor clays, nor psyllium seed designed to clean the bowel, etc. Obviously at day 14 the bowel said, enough is enough of this crap, and initiated a goods house cleaning session. When I saw what was eliminated I was horrified to think that I had left that stuff in there for two weeks. I then started to wonder if the Sheltonites were mistaken about this aspect of fasting. Nonetheless, I persevered on the same regimen because my hunger had not returned, my tongue was still thickly coated with foul-smelling, foul-tasting mucus and I still had some fat on my feet that had not been metabolized.

Shelton said that cleansing is not complete until a skeletal condition is reached--that is, absolutely no fat reserves are left. Up until that time I did not even know that I had fat on my feet, but much to my surprise, as the weeks went on, not only did my breasts disappear except for a couple of land marks well-known to my babies, but my ribs and hip bones became positively dangerous to passersby, and my shoes would not stay on my feet. This was not all that surprising because I went from 135 pounds down to 85 on a 5" 7" frame with substantial bone structure.

Toward the end of the fast my eyes became brighter and clearer blue, my skin took on a good texture, my breath finally became sweet, my tongue cleared up and became pink, my mind was clear, and my spiritual awareness and sensitivity was heightened. In other words, I was no longer a walking hulk of stored-up toxemia. I also felt quite weak and had to rest for ten minutes out every hour in horizontal position. (I should have rested much more.) I also required very little sleep, although it felt good to just lie quietly and rest, being aware of what was going on in various parts of my body.

During the last few weeks on water I became very attentive to my right shoulder. Two separate times in the past, while flying head first over the handlebars of my bicycle I had broken my shoulder with considerable tearing of ligaments and tendons. At night when I was totally still I felt a whole crew of pixies and brownies with picks and shovels at work in the joint doing major repair work. This activity was not entirely comfortable, but I knew it was constructive work, not destructive, so I joined the work crew with my mind"s eye and helped the work along.

It seemed my visualizations actually did help. Ever since, I"ve had the fasters I supervised use creative imagery or write affirmations to help their bodies heal. There are lots of books on this subject. I"ve found that the techniques work far better on a faster than when a person is eating normally.

After breaking the fast it took me six weeks to regain enough strength that I could run my usual distance in my regular time; it took me six months to regain my full 135 pound weight because I was very careful to break the fast slowly and correctly. Coming off water with two weeks on dilute carrot juice I then added small portions of raw food such as apples, raw vegetables, sprouts, vegetable juices, and finally in the fourth week after I began drinking dilute carrot juice, I added seven daily well-chewed almonds to my rebuilding diet. Much later I increased to 14 almonds, but that was the maximum amount of such highly concentrated fare my body wanted digest at one time for over one year. I found I got a lot more miles to the gallon out of the food that I did eat, and did not crave recreational foods. Overall I was very pleased with my educational fast, it had taught me a great deal.

If I had undertaken such a lengthy fast at a time when I was actually ill, and therefore had felt forced into it, my experience could have been different. A positive mental attitude is an essential part of the healing process so fasting should not be undertaken in a negative, protesting mental state. The mind is so powerful that fear or the resistance fear generates can override the healing capacity of the body. For that reason I always recommend that people who consider themselves to be healthy, who have no serious complaints, but who are interested in water fasting, should limit themselves to ten consecutive days or so, certainly never more than 14. Few healthy people, even those with a deep interest in the process, can find enough personal motivation to overcome the extreme boredom of water fasting for longer than that. Healthy people usually begin protesting severely after about two weeks. If there is any one vital rule of fasting, one never should fast over strong, personal protest. Anytime you"re fasting and you really desire to quit, you probably should. Unless, of course, you are critically ill. Then you may have no choice--its fast or die.