The description of my fast of seven days, which appeared in “Physical Culture” some time ago, will probably be of interest to my readers.
During the last fifteen years I have frequently fasted as a cure for threatened illnesses that attack even the most careful in this age of civilized or rather uncivilized dietary.
I have been seriously threatened with pneumonia and numerous other ills of less importance which have quickly succumbed to this effective means of ridding the system of impurities. Though there are now some valuable works on this subject, when I first adopted these theories, they were based entirely on my own conclusion and instinct and the well-known fact that all animals fasted when ill.
Until this last experiment I never fasted over
|After Seven-day Fast.||Normal Condition.|
SHOWING HOW THE FACE WASTES DURING A FAST.
four days, and even then I usually ate an apple or a bite or two or something light each day, thus at no time previous to this last experiment did I fast absolutely.
I have frequently made comments on the value of fasting in “Physical Culture,” and determined to test the effects of an absolute fast of one week on strength and weight. I did not take a particle of nourishment in any form, though drank freely of pure water.
The first day of the fast, I lost five pounds and the next day two pounds and the loss gradually decreased each day, and on the seventh day was but little over one pound. Altogether in the seven days, my total loss of weight was fifteen pounds.
My loss of weight was far greater than is usual when one is fasting. This was caused by the great amount of exercise that I took daily. In fact I lost about as much weight in this one week as one would ordinarily lose in two weeks if no exercise was taken.
Each day I walked about ten miles, and surprising as it may seem, I felt weaker the second day of the fast than at any time thereafter.
I always took my walk in the morning
immediately on rising and usually felt weak at the start. This was however entirely morbid, for after traveling one or two miles, it would entirely disappear and I could walk with a strong steady tread, and at the conclusion always felt equal to ten or twenty miles more.
Frequently when rising from a seat after a short rest I would feel quite dizzy for a few moments, but this would quickly pass away.
The first four days were the most uncomfortable. I did not seem especially hungry, but I was languid, except for a while after exercise at which times I always felt strong and energetic.
I attended to my daily duties during the entire fast with the same regularity as usual. My brain seemed especially clear, and mental work actually required less effort than when eating regularly.
At times difficulty was experienced in inducing sleep. The gnawing sensation in my stomach would not cease, though a plentiful supply of cool pure water seemed of great advantage, and was of valuable asistance in wooing slumber.
The sixth and seventh days of the fast were really by far the most comfortable. I felt that it would require but little effort to continue on for three or four weeks, but the object of the fast
Putting up 100-lb. dumb-bell high over head with one arm after seven-day fast.
was accomplished and I was not at all anxious to continue it further.
The most important feature in lessening the effects of fasting is to keep the mind employed so one will not be continually referring to the desire for food.
The only time there was the slightest danger of my giving way to my appetite was on the fourth day. At this particular time I mention, there was nothing of importance for me to do and after conversing a short time with some friends, I went out with the distinct intention of patronizing the nearest restaurant.
After walking a short distance and giving the matter serious consideration, I determined not to break the fast and instead of the restaurant, I visited a gymnasium and spent thirty minutes in vigorous exercise, and in consequence felt much better, and all thoughts of giving up the fast were abandoned.
The comparison photographs show how the body wasted away during the fast. The face thinned especially and the eyes sunk considerably.
But the astounding fact in connection with the fast was the strength possessed on the