** I am not a doctor. I am not advocating for anyone to start water fasting, fasting is NOT for everyone. I am only sharing my experience and thoughts. There are links in this post that will allow you to research water fasting for yourself and decide it it makes sense for your uniquely wonderful body **
Before we jump into water fasting, want to give you a tiny bit of background on my journey that lead me to water fasting. My first ‘fasting’ experience began with juicing back in 2012. From there I evolved to Bone Broth/GAPS Diet Fasting in 2015 and then to water only fasting in 2016.
I say ‘evolved’ because the one thing that I take great pride in is not becoming stagnate in my thinking or beliefs about healthy living. While juicing is a great way to consume highly concentrated vitamins from fruits and vegetables, I also found that it was way too much carbohydrate for my body and caused my metabolic issues to become much worse.
Let’s not candy coat any of this, while health is at the forefront of my journey the symptom that I most eagerly wish to eliminate is being overweight.
Juicing wasn’t the holy grail that I was promised, I endured juice only fasts for up to 45 days with just minimal weight loss, weight loss that quickly came back no matter what I did. (that’s the problem with low-calorie diets I came to understand later)
In my further research and quest for answers, I decided to work on improving my gut health, just incase it was a problem even though I didn’t have any symptoms.
I began 2015 with a modified version of the first phase of the GAPS gut healing diet, fasting on Bone Broth with diluted fermented vegetable juices. I felt better than I did while juicing. But nothing exciting happened, I dropped a few pounds but I still had to be super strict with my diet or else I would exponentially gain weight….
But I kept on reading and researching.
Let’s be honest, we all are looking for the path of least resistance. We went to loose weight or get fit, but we still want to indulge and have freedom to eat, at least something, without moderation.
So Juicing sounded amazing, you can loose weight and get extra nutrition, WHILE drinking awesome yummy juices! Sign me up.
Bone Broth fasting was the same thing, I could drink copious amounts of delicious, healthy broth keeping the hunger pangs away.
But now I understand that these were just ways I was trying to cheat the system. So much effort wasted.
When I started reading about intermittent fasting and complete water-fasting back in 2015, something clicked. I’ll call it common sense and logic.
I just makes sense that “man” has taken breaks from eating for intermittent periods of time in between when he had food available.
Like nearly 2 million years of proven success.
It’s only been in the recent 10,000 years with the introduction of the agricultural revolution that we have had continuous, stable access to food. And in that recent time period we’ve seen such a dramatic increase in disease and illness, specifically in the past 150 years with the introduction of commercially processed foods.
Not only are we eating 24/7, much of what we are eating is faux foods. Packaged and processed food like substances, that have tricked us for so long that the vast majority of people no longer understand what Real Food is! Kids today don’t know where broccoli comes from and think pizza counts as a serving of vegetables.
Oy Vey, what a disaster we’ve caused!
Along my journey for health, we’ve transitioned to a 95% real food home over the past 10 years but the introduction of fasting has definitely stepped up our health.
After we shortened our eating window I started looking at longer fasts and extended water fasts. I read everything I could. I looked at fasting from a medical and spiritual perspective and deemed that it’s the single most natural part of human existence that we’ve forgotten. The easiest and most effective way to heal our bodies and utilize our stored energy reserves (aka fat).
Here’s how I look at it. My body is like a modern day prepper.. It’s hoarding food in the basement because it’s worried about a zombie invasion. And because I am a female, my body is even more worried just incase I need to feed an extra little one. But there’s not a shortage of food. Food is always available so I keep storing more energy…. but never give my body a reason to use it.
What fasting does is allows my body a reason to clean out those energy reserves. My body gets to do what it was designed to do, use stored fat for energy.
It’s fool proof in nature.
Following my first extended fast, I was hooked. My weight only rebounded by 5% when I resumed eating and it was easy to maintain my loss when I paid attention to my body’s reaction to the foods I ate, eating a real food, lower carb diet, but I didn’t have to be drill sergeant strict.
5 Reasons I LOVE Water Fasting
- There is no way to loose weight faster or more consistently. And there’s no strenuous hours in the gym or complicated meal plans, included.
- Unlike eating a low-carlorie diet, where you body reduces your metabolism to meet your food intake, Water Fasting does NOT harm your metabolism.
- Studies have proven that a 72 hour water only fast resets your immune system.
- By incorporating longer fasts (7-14 days) regular are showing the ability to prevent cancer in healthy, fasting is also promising to aid in the recovery of cancer and reduces the symptoms of chemo therapy.
- Your body gets much needed time to run it’s routine maintenance that helps to eliminate symptoms, illnesses and disease. If you are always super busy, it’s nearly impossible to find time to clean your house – that’s how 24/7 eating affects the body’s ability to other things when it’s busy digesting food.
Should YOU try a Water Fast?
Now, here’s the tricky part. I want everyone to experience fasting BUT it’s simply not the right decision for everyone. There’s folks that shouldn’t; like the obvious pregnant/breastfeeding mommas, folks with a history of eating disorders and those suffering with certain diseases/illnesses/on prescription medication SHOULD find a doctor who is pro-fasting to help them ensure their safety, etc.
AND I do NOT advocate for anyone to blindly embark on a water fast, it’s IMPERATIVE to do your due diligence; take a few days and become educated on the how’s & why’s, if for no other reason then to be able to speak intelligently and confidently on your decision to fast with others. (haters going to hate, expect to get back lash) A reason to fast is not because I have had success.
My Favorite Fasting Resources
I’m going to say it again, it’s your responsiblity to become educated on fasting. And I’m going to be honest that if are not willing to take the time to read a book about fasting, then you aren’t ready to fast. This is very serious business.
My Water Fasting Experience Recap
I’ve completed several extended water fasts ranging from 24 hours to 31 days (no I didn’t die, although there’s some haters circulating a post on the internet saying that I (specifically by name) died during my 31 day water fast, but I can assure you I am still alive and not typing this from the other side.
During my first 7 days water fast I lost 20 pounds and this most recent (2018) I lost 17.6 pounds in 7 days (my weight was lower, so I lost less) and a total of -23.8 in 14 days.
Water Fasting FAQs
What is a water fast? Water fasting is simply ONLY consuming water – no food, no meal plan. Please do NOT ask me what I’m “eating” – that question is old, tiresome and totally annoying.
I’ve completed several water fasts, I’m slightly more relaxed with my approach after significant research, however 90% of what I consume is just water. I also allow 1 small mug of watered down coffee, iced or hot herbal tea, sparkling water (mineral water, club soda, seltzer, etc), fresh lemon juice in warm or cold water and sole water.
I also have an occasional mug of diluted homemade chicken bone broth. And when I have a stagnate taste in my mouth or have a serious craving for flavor I’ll have a sip of fermented pickle juice or drop of hot sauce on my tongue.
Water Fasting vs Anorexia – Ok, I’m not going to mince words on this topic. Anorexia is a mental illness where there is a false perception of reality, causing someone to see their body as obese/overweight when it is NOT taking a compulsive and dangerous approach to weight loss too far beyond what is healthy.
Eating disorders are real and serious but they are NOT a conscious decision to abstain from food for a set period of time to allow the body to heal and utilize it’s stored energy by individuals above a healthy weight.
Will you regain the weight you lost after fasting? After you read the books I linked to above, you will understand WHY fasting does not damage your metabolism – HOWEVER ultimately your post-fast diet will play a huge role in your maintenance. I recommend maintaining breaking your fast with a ketogenic diet and paying attention to your body’s reaction to the carbs you add, using the post fast refeeding period as a way to create your own perfect way of eating.
How to Break a Fast? There’s lots of talk about refeeding syndrome (where when you resume eating you create a dangerous imbalance) but from the research and data I’ve explored, I have not found any proven outcomes with purposeful water fasting, Information regarding refeeding is focused on patients who were starved in prison camps or were fed intravenously – this is a new and emerging field of study.
My approach is slow and steady. I prefer to break my fast at dinner with 500-750 calories of ample vegetables, healthy fats and high quality protein. One of my favorite meals is a large tossed salad topped with wild caught sardines tossed olive oil/vinegar. Keeping in mind that you are fueling your now reset and clean body with nutrition, treat your body with conscious care. I will then increase my calories every day, but stick to plants and animals, again paying attention to my body’s reaction to how I am fueling it. Am I reacting to eggs? Does dairy cause bloat and gas? Are starchy carbs causing me to gain weight, etc…
What other questions do you have??
Feel free to comment on this and I’ll either answer it in the comments or add it to the FAQ. Any rude or insulting comments will not be approved.