One time I lost a bet and fasted for a week

Ok so every year in March they have the NCAA Division I basketball tournament and they call it “March Madness” which is where 68 teams compete in a 3-week long tournament single elimination-style to see who will be crowned king of the dance, or some Jim Nantz-inspired term like that. So when I was a freshman in a college back in 20–(**does the thing where you hide your mouth and muddle your words to protect your age cuz I’m getting OLD**), me and some buddies all made brackets to see who would be crowned king of the bracket for king of the dance, I think we had an acronym or something. The winner would get a pooled cash prize (likely something in the $17 total range because we were pretty poor) and the loser had to do something real stupid like fast for an entire week. I think it was originally thrown out there as a joke example, but at some point it just became the reality of it. Now, this is a pretty harsh punishment as far as those go, but frankly, I wasn’t too concerned, because I am a SPORTS FIEND. Well, famous last words…

Ok, so do you like how I just jumped RIGHT into the story? So often times when you read things on the internet like blogs or articles or recipes or cheat code pages or erotic fan fiction or other stuff you get these long rambling intro sections that no one in their right mind reads all of and you just find yourself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and sometimes you get some really brutal run-on sentences and it just seems so silly like who has the time in their life to read through every single little detail you throw in there like it’s the autobiography of Scott Farrell or “Triumph, Tears, and Tales of the Stage” as some people know it which by the way I do not recommend reading because yours truly is coming out with the audiobook for it in a few months time here! And often times these articles/blurbs/blog posts/entries/articles/blurbs/blog posts will find any excuse possible to use every single synonym in the thesaurus to describe their story or their recipe or whatever it might be and it just ends up leading to these super long and bloated and and lengthy and protracted and delayed and dragging and lingering and prolonged and sustained and boundless and diffusive and dilatory and drawn-out and limitless and long-winded and draining and debilitating and taxing and tiresome and depleting and fatiguous (I made that one up) paragraphs that just go on and on and on and you find yourself what the hell you’re actually doing here reading it? Thank GOD I didn’t do that with my opening paragraph. That would be miserable.

AND THEN next thing you know it spills into another paragraph that just goes on and on and on…Ok, I’m kidding. I’m done. Anyways, enjoy this recipe for mini frittatas!

Ok, so as you can probably predict, my bracket absolutely tanked. I think I picked Wofford vs BYU-Hawaii in the Championship Game because I like a cinderella but man it just did not pan out. Yep, I lost, and thus, I had to fast for an entire week. No solid food. No yogurt or jell-o. No coffee. No tea. Nothing with calories or any nutrition anything. No vitamins. Just water. Plain ole Chicago tap water. The plan was to go from 12:00:00 AM on a Monday morning (start of the week) until 11:59:59 PM on a Sunday night, and this must’ve been sometime in April or May. I thought to myself, “Hey, this should be a good challenge, but it’ll be a great opportunity to work off some of that freshman 15 (which was up to about a freshman 23 at that point).”

Ok, so Day 1, Monday, was really not too bad. Classic Monday. Go to class. Take a nap (Nearly every weekday of Winter Quarter freshman year I would take a nap in my dorm room from 2-4pm and listen to some sort of John Williams or James Newton Howard film score). Do homework. Practice piano for 3-4 hours. It really wasn’t too bad. The first thing you notice when you’re on a water fast (for me at least) was not how hungry I felt, but how ’empty’ life felt without setting time aside for meals. I think this mental challenge was just as tough as the hunger pains for me over the course of the week, and it was the most noticeable thing for me on Day 1. Nighttime rolled around and I definitely started to feel the hunger come on — It’s pretty rare that we just cruise right through the night without filling up on a meal 2-4 hours before falling asleep, right? That part was a little weird, but I didn’t have too much trouble sleeping which was good.

Day 2, Tuesday. Same routine. Class. Nap. Homework. Piano. Classic stuff. By midday Tuesday at about the 36-hour point, it was starting to get pretty uncomfortable. I think I still pooped on Tuesday, but that was probably my last one for awhile. The hunger was flaring up about as bad as it would ever get. The one nice thing about the water fast is that your ‘hunger’ pretty much subsides once you get around 72-96 hours, it’s just the cravings and extra time all of a sudden that really mess you up. Tuesday was bad. It reminded me of the scene(s) in ‘Trainspotting’ when Renton (Ewan McGregor) tries to get clean by locking himself in his room. Turns out when you haven’t had food for 36-40 hours, all you really want to think about is how much you miss food. It’s harder to sleep. All you do is lie there awake thinking about how much you wish you could eat. How if you just had a sandwich or something from the student center this misery would all be over. Woof.

Day 3, Wednesday. This was the day when I think I started to become more at peace with the situation both mentally and physically. I wasn’t as crazy hungry. I certainly wasn’t quite as tormented mentally, but the extra time in the day you get from not eating was still a big roadblock for me. See, it wasn’t a situation for me where it’s like “Oh, you have an extra 60-75 minutes in your day now, you can be so much more productive!” There wasn’t really anything else I was trying to do. I already had time for all the stuff I needed to do. You might think, “Hey Quinn, why don’t you read a book for fun?” Bitch please, college students don’t read books for fun. I think throughout the majority of the week I used my ‘extra time’ to play covers of Green Day songs on the piano. The other piano majors must’ve really loved that. Sorry guys.

Day 4, Thursday. At this point, I was at peace with everything going on with my body and my situation, but I was also starting to feel a little stir-crazy in the sense that up until this point, I felt like I had just been trying to ‘survive’ by doing as little as possible physically (which makes sense). However, I was really sick of sitting on my butt thinking about how great it was that I was actually surviving the 7-day water fast. So I decide to hit the gym. Now, this was a pretty cool accomplishment, considering I think I went to the gym all of 10 times my entire freshman year. I’d never really been exposed to a gym setting before college (other than the YMCA where I exclusively swam) so I had no idea what I was doing, but lo and behold, there’s pale overweight Quinn Furness, who hasn’t pooped for 48 hours, hopping on the treadmill without a single ounce of fuel in his body….I think I made it all of a mile and a half before my body basically said “Nah we’re good.” My oh my, that had to have been the biggest headache I’ve ever had in my life after that. One thing that is CRITICAL to successfully pulling off a water fast is drinking enough water. I’m happy to say that as I sit here writing this (on an 18:6 fasting fling of my own) in 2020, my water consumption is very high and that’s not a problem, but I can guarantee that back when I was a freshman in college, there’s no way in hell I was drinking enough water. Talk about a sick combo of dehydration and no food in your system. I was definitely out of commission the rest of the day.

Days 5-7, Friday-Sunday. I was over it as soon as I woke up on Friday. Fridays are great, right? End of the week, hang out with friends, have dinner together, do some late night snacking, all the hits. Well, when you take the food away, you lose a lot of the social aspects. I think I was too weak (in more ways than one) to go hang out with friends who were having meals, so I just started to feel more and more isolated. I would see my girlfriend-at-the-time Katie every day for sure, but being the pretty terrible boyfriend I’m sure I was when I was 19, I don’t remember her presence really doing too much for me one way or the other (that’s an overarching theme in general but I’ll save that for another post. Suffice to say though, it’s not her, it’s me) (Did that end up coming across like I wasn’t performing sexually or something? I didn’t want it to come across that way. We never had sex. She was really into dry humping though. First and last person I’ve ever dated who really liked that. Gotta tell ya, be careful when you’re doing that with jeans on. Woof, that can be tough on the boys). The last 3 days of the fast, I was really miserable. The hunger pains were not too awful, but I was just completely over the idea of me not being able to eat. All my friends thought I was a lunatic for not eating. The ones I’d lost the bet to didn’t believe that I’d gone this far without eating–Their doubting of my journey was really helpful to this whole process he said sarcastically. But alas, Sunday evening arrived, and around 11pm or so, I went to the student center to prepare for a feast. Because it was a Sunday evening, I don’t anything except for the C-store was open. Now, to be totally honest, I don’t remember exactly what I had. I’m fairly confident it included a 20-oz of Mountain Dew (maybe LiveWire or something), a family-size bag of potato chips, and definitely a sandwich of some sort, but I wanted to be careful as I’d read about how people really messed up their bodies by eating way too much coming off a fast. Ha, kind of funny how the guy who hasn’t eaten for 6+ days is worried about messing up his body. There was no big hoorah celebration. I ate my meal alone at midnight in the dorm kitchen probably watching Family Feud or something. For the most part, I had tried to keep this on the downlow, because no one who ever found out every had anything positive to say. Am I trying to defend the concept of water fasting for 7 days? Absolutely not. But constantly hearing negativity is going to decrease the quality of your life one way or another.

It was hard. It was REAL hard. As far as my “Hardest things I’ve had to do” list goes, this is at least Top 5, if not higher (other entries include detasseling corn in thunderstorms, loading a moving truck by yourself then driving through the night from Baltimore to Chicago then unloading the truck, getting denied by the vv cute Latina girl in my freshman dorm who I had a pseudo one night stand with but hey now she’s married and is expecting a baby boy so I’m actually really happy for her, and trying to stay in key and time with this really drunk lady in Wilmington, DE when we sang karaoke with Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There for You”). I never want to do something like this again, and I don’t plan to. I think I lost about 15-20 lbs total. Most of it was water weight, and I don’t think I kept any of it off, but damn those before and after pics were pretty amazing to look at. A true miracle of the human anatomy! **if this post gets 3 likes, we’ll release the photos**

Alright, that’s all I got for ya. Work’s been busy, but glad I was able to get this one in. I’m going to Alabama next week. If anyone has any survival tips, email me at Enjoy this fun picture — QD out

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