50 Ways to Leave Your 40s: #22 Mind Over Matter

Fasting Before Surgery

I can’t remember going 36 hours without food before. Ever. I can’t remember going an hour (or two) if I’m honest. But last week, due to medical reasons, I was forced to go without solids from Thursday morning until Friday evening – and at times I thought I was going to start on my own body parts to ease the hunger pains.

Now before I started my ‘fasting’ I panicked; thinking there is no way I could go without food for that length of time. What would I do by Thursday evening? Surely my tummy would be protesting loudly by then and I’m not known for ignoring it. I’ll have a huge breakfast and that’ll keep me going, I thought. Genius! And, if I have it at brunch time, maybe that will put off the hunger pains for a while. Even better! Suddenly I felt more positive and trotted off to Swim Fit with a tummy full of scrambled eggs and a spring in my step.

Scrambled Egg on ToastClearly there was a first rookie mistake in the fasting world. Exercise. What on earth made me think swimming with dumbbells for 45 minutes was anywhere near a good idea when I couldn’t go home and stuff my face afterwards? Funnily enough my scrambled egg on toast had long been digested and I was now starving. Damn blast. I’d got at least 27 hours to go until I could even think about eating anything. Reaching for yet another glass of water, I willed the hunger to go away and kept myself busy.

Mind. Over. Matter. It became my mantra for the day.

Now I won’t go into details of what happened from 4p.m. onwards but let’s just say I had to drink a lovely lemon concoction and literally wait near the bathroom for the ermm….’results’. It wasn’t a pleasant ‘first’ experience and I can safely say, not one I wish to repeat in a hurry. I got very acquainted with my bathrooms (thank GOD I have two!) on Thursday evening and the early hours of Friday morning and by the time daylight was upon us, I was glad to get up and drink yet more water. However, it did take my mind off eating…so, silver lining and all that.

Mind. Over. Matter. That’s all.

And this is where the whole experience got interesting for me. By the time I went to hospital on Friday afternoon, I’d forgotten I hadn’t eaten since the day before. I was no longer hungry – I was way past that stage. My mind had taken control of the situation and convinced my rumbling tummy and weak legs it didn’t need any food now; that it was perfectly okay to keep drinking liquids; that I could actually survive on water for a good while longer.

Mind. Over. Matter. It was working!

I went in for my procedure at 3p.m., had a lovely brief anesthetic induced sleep (aren’t they the best?), and woke up a short while later expecting to be starving. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I was craving a brew, but I wasn’t anywhere near as hungry as I thought I would be. I was offered some toast, which I did nibble at, but my tummy was in rejection mode and I pushed it away after a couple of bites.

Hmm, well this is a first – not hungry after 36 hours of fasting?!

Mind. Over. Matter. It had won!

To read more of 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s, click here.


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