Journal for the spring retreat, 7-day water fast: Introduction

Tomorrow we set off for the forest and hills around Hungary’s Lake Balaton to begin this year’s spring retreat, which consists of a 7-day water fast. This year, in addition to the participants from here in Hungary, we have people coming from the U.S. and England. Everyone has now arrived in Budapest, the staging point for tomorrow’s departure. Some of the participants already began their fast earlier today, and I’ll be sharing a last supper with those remaining in just a few hours.

Our accommodation at the millhouse

The weather is perfect, and set to be around 23C / 75F for pretty much the whole week. I already know that our setting next to a stream (with its own spring) is perfect, because every year we return to the same place: a converted mill house in a secluded forest clearing. With everything already so perfect, I’m excited to be getting this retreat off the ground.

This year I thought I’d share the week-long experience here on Every day I’ll be adding fresh posts, as everyone goes deeper into their fast, facing whatever they’re going to face, experiencing whatever they’re going to experience. I hope you’ll join us too!

3 responses to “Journal for the spring retreat, 7-day water fast: Introduction”

  1. I’ve learned a lot from this retreat. The venue and the hikes were magical.
    Experiencing the physical and emotional side of lent can be challenging but Tallis’ attentive thoughtfulness helps a great deal in overcoming your demons and ego.
    I am still enjoying the peace and calm I’ve found there.
    My heartfelt recommendations to anyone who’d like to get to know themselves better.
    I am grateful I had the opportunity to be there.

  2. S Radhakrishnan Avatar
    S Radhakrishnan

    Your email announcing the 7-day water fast in Budapest came today when I had just finished my 10-day water fast. It is only thanks to you and your encouraging responses on this site that I have done so.. Again thanks to your inspiration I developed the courage in Oct 2017 to do a 7-day water fast and your asking me to do a 10-day fast next in response to my email is what got me to do the 10-day one which ended today. I followed your valuable advice and cut out everything except boiled and cooled herbal water. I found it much easier to fast this time.than the last though contrary to expectations even the 7-day fast wasn’t the ordeal I thought it would be. I had been on a 48-hour weekly fast since then and I suppose that helped make the 10-day fast easier.

    May I share with you some observations? I found the first 3 or 4 days smooth sailing and had no great difficulties on the other days too. I found that if I kept myself occupied mentally with conversations with others based on enquiry rather than stating opinions, watching videos that explore topics that interest me, reading stuff that makes me think etc. I stopped thinking of food altogether which was what made my 7-day fast a bit challenging. The mental component is I think very important. I live alone and so I needed to work hard to keep myself occupied I also observed how on the last two days my mind slipped and I began thinking of food a great deal more, especially about what I was going to eat when I broke my fast! Though I was clear about what I was going to eat the thoughts became highly repetitive.

    There are a few questions on which I would be grateful for your help. No doubt you are terribly busy with the retreat you are organising so please reply only when you have the time. The first is whether there is anything like a safe protocol for re-feeeding coming out of a 10-day fast? At 5 pm today I broke my fast with a mug of weak milk tea and about 100 gms of walnuts – I took half an hour to have them. Then I had 100 gms of peanuts, again very slowly. Then at 6.30 pm I had a cup of vegetable soup made from store bought powder. At 8.30 pm I had 80 gms of emmer wheat porridge for dinner with a dollop of spicy coconut/garlic/red pepper chutney. I feel wonderful and feel already well- recovered from the fast!

    I lost a bit of muscle in my arms and legs and my weight reduced from 88 kgs to 80 kgs while my waist reduced from 110 cms to 103 cms. The belly fat visually seems quite the same despite this. What can I do to regain muscle and reduce the belly fat further?

    What activity do you recommend during these 7-day and 10-day fasts? I just got into bed whenever I felt like doing it. I do a lot of reading in bed normally. Is this OK? Except for a half hour or one hour of cleaning in and around the house I did not have any physical activity.

    My good wishes to all the participants at the retreat and to you in particular and I hope my observation about keeping oneself mentally occupied during the fast comes in handy to at least some of the participants.

    1. Tallis Shivantar Avatar
      Tallis Shivantar

      Sorry to have taken so long to reply – your comment caught me while I was in the midst of the spring retreat and I’m afraid it slipped my mind. I hope you’re back to normal eating again by now. I just wanted to go back and address some of your questions.

      1. In terms of protocols for re-feeding after a 7-10 day fast, it’s best to focus on eating fruits and vegetables over the first couple of days. I hope you survived the walnuts and peanuts! For many people, though, this would have caused digestive problems. Having said that, I’ve also broken fasts with small quantities of VERY thoroughly chewed nuts, and it’s not done me any damage.

      2. In terms of regaining muscle after a fast, the higher levels of growth hormone should take care of this by itself, especially with a little exercise to help stimulate muscle growth. In terms of reducing belly fat, your diet is essential, in combination with regular daily exercise.

      3. In terms of activity during 7-10 day fasts, it’s important NEVER to push your body too hard during a fast. Remember what happened to Gandhi, after all… Nevertheless, movement definitely helps to aid the process of detox. So I’d recommend a combination of rest plus gentle movement of any kind: from stretching to walking to perhaps simple and slow garden work.

      Many thanks for your good wishes for the retreat. It was fantastic!
      And I’m very happy to have helped you gain the confidence to fast,

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