If you have toyed with the idea of doing a water fast but want to hear from a real person what it was like then dive in below! If you are serious about your health, read all the way to the bottom for an awesome coupon code to help track your healing progress.
5 Day Water Only Fast
Day 1: This day was a breeze. I had a few pangs of hunger but nothing I couldn't handle. My energy was up and I felt normal.
Day 2: This day I was a little hungrier that day 1 but it wasn't all consuming. I am used to doing 24 hour fasts at least two times a week so I believe that is why my body was more adapted and prepared.
Day 3: This day started out good until I made a HUGE mistake by going into the infrared sauna for 30 minutes. This is something that I typically do 5-6 days a week for my lyme disease/mold exposure symptoms so I didn't think too much about it. I was extremely shaky afterwards and immediately regretted it. I quickly realized how obvious it was that it would never be a good idea to do the sauna while fasting. I was weak and shaky for the rest of the evening. I did check my blood sugar levels to make sure they were not below 50. They were sitting around 62. I did not sleep well at all this night which is extra difficult when you are hungry.
Day 4: Roughest day by far. I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. I was nauseous and extremely weak. I could barely take care of my three year old and she watched way too much TV on this day. I can only assume it was from my poor decision to use the sauna the day before. My body was definitely still struggling from that experience. I tripled my Celtic sea salt intake, potassium, water and my magnesium body butter on my feet multiple times a day to replenish my levels and it helped a ton. By 7 pm I was feeling much better. Slept more solid this evening as well.
Day 5: Last day! I woke up feeling really good which I had read that by day five most people start to feel much better which was on point for me. I was hungry but it was bearable. My brain felt much more clear and my body felt stronger. I was excited that this was the last day and I broke my fast at 8 pm (to meet my 120 hours) with a cup of hot water infused with fresh ginger to wake up my digestive system and 1 cup of homemade herbal bone broth that is filled with minerals and herbs.
Day 6 & 7: On these days I woke up and started my day with some fresh pressed celery juice. I personally love the taste of celery juice (tastes sort of milky to me) so it was a welcome treat. It is extremely important when breaking a water only fast that you go very low and slow with what you consume as to not overwhelm your digestion and cause bloating/gas/upset stomach. My dad did the five day fast with me as well and he made the mistake of eating a very small bag of sunflower seeds as his first meal, it did not go so well for him. On this day and the next I consumed liquids only. My liquid consisted of bone broth mentioned above, fresh ginger infused water, my allergy tea because it is packed with nutrients and minerals, apple cider vinegar water, hot teas, avocado, cucumber/spinach/fennel/celery juice. I consumed ZERO fruit juices as I did not want to spike my insulin levels and flood my body with sugar.
Day 8: On this day I started to consume some more solid food. I had a couple of boiled eggs, some almond butter with celery, a little whole fat plain yogurt mixed with fresh blueberries, Bubbies fermented pickles, unsweetened homemade almond milk and some sprouted pumpkin seeds. For dinner I had a small serving of grilled chicken, sauteed spinach with garlic and a salad. It's amazing how your taste buds get a reset after an extended fast and you CRAVE all the healthy food. Everything tastes more vibrant and delicious.
Day 9 & Beyond: On this day I started to eat normal again. Plenty of healthy fats, organic grass fed meats, plain whole fat yogurt, tons of veggies, salads, nuts, etc... I plan to continue to stay in ketosis for at least a month by keeping my net carbs below 30 grams and my eating window only 4-6 hours (intermittent fasting). This will allow all the benefits of the fast to continue and stick. After 1 month of the above I will continue with what I was doing before which is diet variation with the 4:2:1 strategy: 4:2:1 Strategy That is 4 days of intermittent fasting with my eating times being limited to 4-6 hours a day aiming to eat lower carb but I won't be obsessive about it either, 2 days a week I will fast for 24 hours, and then one day of "feasting". I want to be clear that for me, feasting does not mean eating all the pizza and cheeseburgers I can stand. Although that does happen from time to time in my life and was happening WAY too much before I did the water fast. Right now I am laser focused on healing my body and getting rid of this mold and lyme inflammation for good. So feasting for me looks like around 150-200 grams of carbs in the form of healthy grains like quinoa/spelt/sprouted brown rice coupled with lots of starchy high carb veggies like sweet potatoes/carrots. This process allows your body not to get stuck in a rut. By changing up the low carb/fasting/high carb it keeps your body guessing so it doesn't plateau. I will also throw in one-two 72 hour fasts per month depending on how my body is feeling. Always listen to your body's intuition when it comes to fasting.
My sweet grandmother was extremely worried about me and my health when I told her I was embarking on this journey. I assured her that I would never do anything that would be harmful to my body. Many friends asked me why in the world would I want to "starve" myself for five days.
My main "why" to go longer than the typical three days and push to five was so that my body could reach a state autophagy. That's a weird word right? Autophagy is a fascinating process to me. “Auto” means self and “phagy” means eat. So the literal meaning of autophagy is “self-eating.” It’s also referred to as “self-devouring.” While that may sound like something you never want to happen to your body, it’s actually beneficial to your overall health. When the body is low on sugar through fasting or ketosis, it brings about positive stress that wakes up the survival repairing mode in our cells. Autophagy has been linked to many benefits. I still have some days where my lyme and mold flare up and to be honest I am just flat out tired of it. I took this extreme measure to help knock down any remaining inflammation and damage done to my body.
Just because it was right for me does not mean that it is right for you. My "why" does not constitute as a green light for you nor is this medical advice in any way shape or form. There are several groups of people that should not fast: pregnant or nursing women, people who are under a healthy weight, individuals with clearly defined medical diagnoses such as heart stents, renal dialysis, or recent weight loss surgery. Always consult your doctor to make sure you and extended fasting are a good fit. I contacted my doctor and got the approval to proceed before I embarked on this quest.
Potential Benefits of Fasting:
Removing toxic proteins from the cells that are attributed to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
Reduce Loose Skin from prior weight loss or pregnancy
Clearer, healthier and smoother skin
Autophagy as mentioned above. Autophagy is similar to taking out the trash and replacing cell parts, like mitochondria. Mitochondria are your cellular engines. They burn fat and make ATP, your body’s energetic currency. There is a lot of harsh toxic build up in mitochondria that can damage cells, and breaking them down proactively saves future wear and tear on your cells. Autophagy of other cell parts helps the entire cell work more efficiently not just to burn fuel but also to make proteins. Healthier cells work more efficiently.
Recycling residual proteins
Prompts regeneration and healthy cells
Correcting your appetite control
Removing toxins from fat cells
Some studies suggest that many cancerous cells can be removed through autophagy, whether it is preventing or treating cancer
Helps regulate inflammation
Boosts immune system
The Myths of Fasting:
1. Muscle loss is the fasting myth that will just never die.
It was proven wrong in the 1860's and again in the 1880's and then several more times in the 1920's and 30's and again as most recently as 2016. The ratio of fat to muscle loss is 97% fat to 3% muscle during water-only zero-calorie fasts.
2. Slows down metabolism.
Most of us have been taught that restricting calories leads to a slow metabolism. That is indeed true of calorie restriction... but fasting doesn't work like that. Check out Dr. Fung's book, "The Obsesity Code" if you want to learn all the science and data behind it. Basically it's all about insulin. To have a healthy metabolism, your body needs to have fuel to burn. That fuel can either be glycogen (basically, the food you're eating and digesting that's readily available), or it can be fat (stored body fat). Your body can burn glycogen for fuel anytime, but it can only access the stored fat if your insulin levels are low. With fasting, however, your insulin levels drop, your keytones rise and your glycogen stores get depleted. Once your glycogen stores (glucose) get depleted your body starts consuming your own fat for fuel. Some people are also able to acheive this state by consuming very low carbs and entering into ketosis. This is why some people actually experience increased metabolism after several days of fasting.
3. You are just starving yourself.
Nope. As long as you are not underweight, through fasting you are allowing your body to access stored fat to use as fuel, therefore your body is still getting plenty of fuel.
It’s true that your body can survive without food for several weeks. According to Scientific American, there have been reports of people going without food as long as 21, 36 or even 40 days without going into starvation mode.
Tip's and Must-Do's if fasting:
Electrolytes are a must.
This includes magnesium, potassium, and sodium to prevent feeling lightheaded or hypertension. This balances the body’s function as it crosses through the cells while going through the cleansing process. I drank 1/4 tsp of himalayan or celtic salt around 3 times a day in warm water. I loved it and pretended like it was broth. I applied my magnesium body butter on my stomach one or two times a day and then on the soles of my feet before bed. In my research and personal experience, the best way to absorb magnesium fully is to apply it to your skin instead of taking a pill.
I did not realize at the time that I needed to do the potassium and I believe that is why I crashed so hard on the fourth day. I follow the below chart now when I am fasting or in deep ketosis.
Hydration is key.
Water is a key ingredient when it comes to not only external exfoliation but also the internal exfoliation process. Aim for at least 64 ounces of plain filtered water daily. We use a berkey water filter that filters out chlorine and flouride.
Ketosis as a lifestyle for healing:
Fasting is one of the quickest ways to get your body into ketosis but you can also reach a healing state by dramatically lowering your carbs. Some great books to read on the subject that I personally recommend:
1. Anyway You Can - I love this book and it is such an easy read. Dr. Boz explains her mothers battle with cancer and how it went into remission by supplementing keto tools. Her story of courage, faith, and tenacity helps young and old achieve better physical, mental, and emotional health through ketosis. You can click on the purple title above for a direct link to the book.
2. The Obesity Code - Dr. Fung gets a little "sciency" with this book but if you are into that kind of thing then you will like how much of a deep dive this is. He really helps explain and expel the "calories in vs out" old school method of trying to maintain weight. You can click on the purple title above for a direct link to the book.
3. Delay Don't Deny- Gin Stephens does a great job of "dumbing down" the fasting lifestyle and making the science part of why and how it works much easier to digest. Her book is mostly about intermittent fasting, which is how I started out and is what I would suggest trying before jumping into a longer fast. You can click on the purple title above for a direct link to the book.
A Practical Awesome Tool:
A tool that I used while fasting was a "Keto Mojo Meter" to measure my ketone levels and blood glucose everyday. I absolutely LOVE it and I do it every single morning now. It is a great motivator for me when it comes to trying to heal my body, seeing hard facts via the numbers works great for me.
Being in ketosis helps your body to heal whether you are fasting or not. Testing via your blood is the most accurate way to know how many ketones you are producing (the urine test strips are extremely inaccurate). It's a fun tool if you are a data driven person like I am. Using this tool has allowed me to fine tune my keto lifestyle and know exactly how many carbs I can eat to stay in ketosis. Glucose-Keytone Index (GKI) (which is a measure of health, ketosis, healing and weight loss) is measured by dividing your blood glucose level (mmol/L) by your blood ketone level (mmol/L).
The Keto Mojo Meter comes with an awesome free app that tracks all of that information for you and automatically calculates your GKI via bluetooth so you never have to do any actual math (winning). I try to aim for a GKI of 5.0 or less for weight loss, a GKI of 3.0 or less for reducing overall inflammation/healing my body. For stressing cancer cells I aim for a ratio of under 2.0 which I have only achieved with extended fasting (over 36 hours). Below is a great visual of the varying levels.
Below is an actual reading from my keto mojo meter after doing a 20 hour fast and most likely experiencing deep therapuetic benefits for my body.
You can use this link here to get 15% off of your purchase of a keto meter (discount will be applied when checking out and does not apply to the meter strips).
I hope this has been helpful information and if you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out!