Why I almost quit my 14-Day Mango Island
The video version at bottom.
All right! My 14-Day Mango Island is officially done! For real, I only ate mangos for 14 days. Honestly, I am surprised I did it; more than once I wanted to quit. Here is my experience…
On day 4 I was really struggling. I felt constantly thirsty and overfull. I was having a difficult time figuring out how much to eat at each meal and how much water to drink. I wanted to quit. But then I heard someone mention that Islands are great for healing the body because we spend a lot less energy digesting one food versus multiple foods, which frees up the body to do other things such as healing. Then I moved my shoulder and neck and noticed that the injury I sustained at Hardcore 100 (severe whiplash and possibly a minor concussion), felt significantly better. I felt more improvement in the last four days than I had in the weeks since I injured myself. At this point I knew I had to keep going.
On day 5 I really started to hone in how much I needed to eat. My goal was to eat two meals a day, one around 11-12 and the other around 5:30-630. This way of eating feels natural to me: I feel good during both my training and writing sessions, I can meet friends for dinner, and I sleep well. I was also aiming to feel ready to eat before the meal and not tired but energized after. If you feel tired after a meal you are doing something wrong.
“ If you feel tired after a meal you are doing something wrong.”
I completed the first week. My body was feeling better and I was into my 2-meal-a-day rhythm. I had only intended to do 7 days, but I felt like I was supposed to be doing Mango Island so I set my sights on 14 days.
On day 9 I hit a major snag: I bought inadequate mangos. After eating so many mangos my taste buds had become acutely aware of the quality and sweetness of mangos. Less than ideal mangos wasn’t going to cut it; I only wanted the best. Thankfully, I knew of a stall in the market that always had decent to amazing mangos.
On day 10 I hit an emotional snag. Even after 10 days, completing another 4 felt impossible. It was like running an ultra marathon: even at mile 90, running another 10 when you are exhausted feels inconceivable. But I have started to realize that the closer I am to quitting, the closer I am to learning something valuable. The problem is that I tend to quit or stop too soon. I vowed to reach day 14.
If you want to replicate the emotional challenges of an ultra marathon, do an Island. 1 day per 10km. Just like an ultra, you will love and hate an Island.
“If you want to replicate the emotional challenges of an ultra marathon, do an Island. 1 day per 10km. Just like an ultra, you will love and hate an Island.”
On day 11 I had the biggest craving of the Island. I had spent all day running in hills, sweating my guts out. I was out for dinner with friends and someone ordered a noodle soup. The noodles smelled incredible! Later, I was riding home and passed a noodle stall. They too smelled incredible. I stopped to listen to my body; it was really craving the salt in the noodles. After a full day of heavy sweating, I was low on sodium, but the amount of sodium in a bowl of soup would make me sick. Lettuce or celery, which have a more suitable sodium to water ratio, would have been ideal, but hey, this is Mango Island. There is a difference between what my body wants and what it needs. If you are craving something salty on a fruit-based diet, you need to eat more vegetables such as lettuce, celery, spinach, or kale.
On day 12 I had the best mangos ever. Honestly, I was moaning as I ate them. They were like sex that is so good that you can think of nothing else. Finishing the meal was like an orgasm; I literally lay on my bed for 20 minutes, unmoving and exulting in the pleasure.
On day 14 I was again out with friends. I ate my final meal of mangos and threw my hands in the air. I had done it.
Mango Island for 14 days was tough, but I feel I learned the most and experienced the most towards the end. It also feels incredibly satisfying to have completed, stopping on good terms, which was something I wanted to do. I feel good about the experience, which leaves me optimistic for the future.
The video version!
PS. Watermelon was the first thing I ate after the 14-day island. It was good, but I wish it had been sweeter. Maybe I should have had mangos instead.