I don’t care if it’s a cliche, I love to make goals and resolutions at the start of a new year. To start 2019, I did some smart things and some dumb things. Let’s talk about the dumb thing first.

Withdrawal

My weight started creeping up in 2018, mainly because in April, I decided to quit dieting and attempt “intuitive eating.” By July, I realized that my intuition was leading me to a body size I really don’t want and I started restricting again, but it was a constant struggle and over Christmas I gained so much weight that even my pajamas felt tight. I resolved to do an extended fast – ten whole days of nothing but water and bone broth. I spent the first few days of January doing a fast prep – drinking tea instead of coffee and avoiding all processed foods and sugar. My plan was to not even allow myself caffeine during the fast. I thought I would emerge refreshed, with all my bad habits broken.

The first morning (a Saturday) was not so bad, but by afternoon, I was struck with lassitude. I wasn’t hungry, but I had no interest in any of the things I usually enjoy doing. Life felt meaningless. I’d taken a naproxen to ward off headache, but by evening my head was pounding. I felt sick to my stomach and exhausted and went to bed hours earlier than normal. All night, my dreams were invaded with one thought: Just have tea. You must have tea. You can have tea. You will die without tea.

I got up at 05:30 on Sunday and went straight to put the kettle on. I had a lovely, lovely cup of tea and…immediately puked it up. I hardly knew how to process this new development, so went back to bed and slept for three more hours.

Rebirth

I felt slightly less awful when I arose again. Perhaps I’d absorbed a bit of the caffeine in the tea before throwing it up. I made a second cup of tea and drank it cautiously. I felt better, and then I felt amazing. Life was interesting again. There were books to read! Things to sew and knit and my house to work on! I allowed myself my midday coffee and it was glorious. I had so much energy that I put together a large kitchen shelving unit myself, despite the fact that it’s a two person job. The fact that I’d eaten nothing in over 24 hours meant nothing. I didn’t need food; I had tea and coffee. Indeed, I continued fasting all that day and Monday and Tuesday as well but didn’t make it through the full ten days, which I realized was unrealistic, although there ARE fasting clinics where you can check in for 8 or so days and be fed nothing. Maybe extended fasting is easier in a spa like environment.

I did lose the Christmas weight, but I still have to work to get rid of what I’ve gained since last April. And if all this sounds super disordered, I’ve had an eating disorder since I was about six years old. At this point, it’s just the way I am, but I have no intention of letting my weight get ahead of me again. Nor of ever, ever giving up caffeine.