Water fasting has been practiced throughout history and is considered the most ancient healing practice. There are tremendous health benefits to water fasting but it can be a challenging experience the first few times someone goes through it. The purpose of this article is to give you practical strategies to prepare your body for a more comfortable and effective extended water fast. Fasting is like exercise in that it is very uncomfortable and can even be downright painful when you first get started.
But just like exercise, as you develop your fasting fitness, it will get easier and more enjoyable. I love exercise and I enjoy the endorphin pump I get when training but the reason why I have build a lifestyle around exercise is because I enjoy how I feel when it is finished.
I would say the same about fasting. I do love the results and how I feel afterwards and that is worth it to me! I believe you will most likely have a similar experience. Read this article to find out how to make your water fasting experience better in every way. I am a huge fan of both intermittent and extended fasts. The main benefits you get from an extended fast that go beyond what you get with intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding include greater levels of autophagy and human growth hormone release and increases in stem cells within all the tissues of the body 1234.
These benefits allow the body to heal and repair older cells, tissues and organs at a much higher and deeper level than intermittent fasting. Everyone can benefit from one or two extended fasts each year to allow the body to break down older, weaker cellular components and rebuild new and healthier cells.
Those who stand to benefit the most from extended water fasting include individuals suffering from the following:. You can read about all the benefits of living a fasting lifestyle where you incorporate both intermittent and extended fasting strategies in this article.
I feel restored and rejuvenated after doing this and I feel a significant increase in overall energy and mental performance for a month or two after going through the fast. One of the common questions I will get is how long should I fast.
I believe that for many people a day water fast is all that is needed. If you are significantly overweight or have debilitating inflammation, you may consider doing a longer fast such as days or you can just do the day fast more frequently. For lean individuals with chronic inflammatory diseases, I will typically recommend a day water fast every weeks until the inflammatory condition improves.
Your body will get stronger and healthier through each fast. Over the course of months, you can see dramatic improvements by doing these periodic extended fasts. For individuals with a lot of weight to lose, I will often recommend a day water fast every other month or a 5-day water fast each month. This is a great regimen to follow along with daily intermittent fasting or alternative day fasting to see significant weight loss and dramatic improvements in insulin sensitivity and inflammation levels.
While most people stand to benefit from extended water fasting from time to time, there are certain individuals I would not recommend this too. This would include the following:. Individuals Who Are on Medications Especially diabetes medication, anti-seizure meds and corticosteroids as these can impact blood sugar levels.
It is important to prepare your body well for an extended fast. I typically recommend doing a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting for at least weeks before beginning an extended fast as it will put the body into a fat burning mode and make it significantly easier to do a longer fast. It is important to always remember that fasting is a muscle. The more we train our body responsibly to fast, the stronger we become and successive fasts become easier and more comfortable.
A ketogenic approach mimics fasting, so it is a great step to help build your fasting muscles.That made the fast a lot harder than it needed to be. They answer the questions I once had and am now often asked.
I did my best to write in simple English— not over-complicated doctor talk. Jason Fung. Start with these tips, then if you want more detail, read the book. Fasting may also be a bad idea if you have a hot date coming up, you have self-control issues, or have a big race, presentation, or building ahead of you.
See our Why Fast? And Why Not? It keeps your body and brain clean and hopefully working well for a long, long time. And there are not dentures for your body or brain yet. Even on a water fast, Dr. Fung says you can consume more than just water. When I added electrolytes to my diet in future fasts, those sensations disappeared. This powder on Amazon ticks all the boxes, gets great reviews, and only costs around 30 cents a serving.
Alternatively, go to your local pharmacy and pick out whatever looks good to you. We recently shared our favorite fasting-related articles, podcast episodes, books, and ideas with thousands of Unconventional Monthly members.
And if you like it, stay tuned for another Unconventional Monthly on a brand new topic at the end of every month.
Water Fasting: 12 Strategies to Prepare Properly
It requires serious self-control to refrain from that little habit we call eating. Related: Why Fast? If you continue with a healthy diet and periodic fasting, you will reset your metabolism which will cause a gradual decline in your fat levels and eventually lead to notable and very visible results.
A fantastic book that explains this process and can get you on the right path is The Obesity Codeby Jason Fung. Most notably, your stomach will deflate. If you have never had a day without food in your life, let alone multiple days in a row, fasting will boggle your mind in some surprising ways. You will:.
Fasting gives your body a break from everyday work so it can do some long-overdue spring cleaning. Fasting can also prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, or reverse it for those who have it. The complete explanation is simple, just a bit long.
You can read it in Dr. This makes you feel lethargic, foggy-minded, and always hungry. It accelerates. Adrenaline, testosterone, and growth hormone kick into gear so you can get out there and hunt for food effectively. Or you get more work done at your desk.
Your brain will be so jacked up that you might find it hard to sleep see the next tip to understand why. Quite the contrary. Aside from being a bit hungry though less than you might thinkyou might actually feel great. As explained two tips aboveyour body will be running at full blast and pumped full of hormones like adrenaline, human growth hormone, and testosterone.I'm doing a 20 day water fast.
Just finished a 20 day water fast
Just finished a 5 day water fast followed by 5 days of breaking the fast. I lost 18 lbs. I do about four 5-day water fasts per year. And weight loss has varied each time. Hard to say how much you will lose. I would guess lbs. Make sure you properly break your fast otherwise you can get very sick. For every day on the fast, you require a day to break the fast. So you will require 20 days to break the fast. Also, drink 8 glasses of water per day.
A lot of clueless people say to drink gallons of water per day. DO NOT! This can flush too much sodium from your body and lead to hyponatremia low serum sodium levels. One very real complication of hyponatremia is hind brain herniation and death. This can happen regardless of if the high water intake is occurring during fasting or non-fasting.
Most of it will be fat, some will be water. If you start eating salty American diet again, you will gain water back.
If you start eating fast food and junk food after the fast, you will gain back fat weight. But after putting 40 days into eating right 20 days for fast and 20 days of breaking the fast why would you ruin it by eating junk again????? I'm guessing your trying to lose a bunch of weight for one glamorous night of looking super fly but eliminating water will just make your skin look dry and after like 2 days without water you will be disoriented and miserable, so its really not worth it.
I'm about 5''6 pounds. Answer Save. Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.Care needs to be taken when breaking a fast so as not to overburden your digestive system. The best benefit of fasting is realized when a fast is broken properly.
Taking it slow and easy is not only kind to your body, but allows YOU the opportunity to integrate your new-found clarity on your relationship to food. During a fast, the body undergoes several biological changes. Enzymes normally produced by the digestive system have ceased to be produced or have been diminished greatly, depending on the type of fast performed, so introducing food slowly allows the body time to re-establish this enzyme production. The protective mucus lining of the stomach may be temporarily diminished as well, making the stomach walls more vulnerable to irritation until it also returns to normal.
Gentle reintroduction of foods, beginning with the simplest and easiest-to-digest foods, supports this process.
Substances known to be irritating to the system, such as coffee and spicy foods, must be avoided during the breaking process. Overeating immediately following a fast is much worse than overeating at any other time.
Because of these biological changes, overeating immediately following a fast is much worse than overeating at any other time. Your system needs time to readjust back to normal digestion and assimilation. Not taking the proper measures can result in stomach cramping, nausea, and even vomiting. An example of this is provided by a reader of this site, Nita, who was willing to share her experience of how not to break a fast.
The adjustment period necessary for breaking a fast is based on the length of the fast. Four days is considered adequate for any of the longer fasts, days for shorter fasts, and just a day or so for one-day fasts. Another rule of thumb is take half the number of days fasted to allow for breaking.
So a 4-day fast would require a 2 day period for the reintroduction of foods. The most nutritious and easy-to-digest foods are used to break a fast initially, gradually adding more diversity and complexity over time.
The type of fast employed will determine the type of foods you use to break it. While juice or fruit are good for breaking a water fast, obviously, they aren't very helpful in breaking juice or fruit fasts.
To help you determine when to introduce the different food groups, use the following list. It begins with those that are easiest on the system and can be introduced early on, and progresses to those that should be added later.However, the fasting period was brutal for me.
I experienced nausea and an increased heart rate. It was concerning. By the end of the fast, I figured out why. To skip the science and further information on a 3 day fast, click here. Otherwise, keep on reading I recommend reading through the whole article in its entirety for the full picture. Most people do a 3 day fast where they have some diluted fruit and vegetable juices, in combination with lemon water spiced with cayenne pepper for an enhanced cleansing effect.
Throughout history, people have undertaken fasts for spiritual or religious reasons. In the contemporary age, water fasting is becoming more popular in the natural health and wellness movements, as well as amongst biohackers. I was getting mixed messages from my research, so decided if I was going to go through the experience, I may as well do a full water fast.
This decision nearly destroyed me. There are significant health benefits to a 3 day water fast. Are you addicted to certain types of foods or stimulants? Examples could be sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.
If you are, make sure you progressively reduce consumption of them in the weeks leading up to your 3 day fast. The same goes for all types of processed and fried foods, dairy products and meat.
You should reduce consumption of these in the days leading up to the fast. Finally, 3 to 4 days before the fast, shift your diet to blended food and boiled vegetables only. I want to emphasize the importance of the preparation period. I paid the price. You should avoid the temptation to eat a big meal or any junk food. According to researchers from the School of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California, fasting for 3 days can regenerate the entire immune system.
Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from? Prolonged fasting forces the body to use its stores of glucose, fat and ketones, and it also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system. You may have heard of ketosis before.
Ketosis is the process of burning fat directly from fat tissue. According to Dr. Tallis Barkera holistic consultant, our bodies have two methods of metabolization.
The first is the usual way we metabolize carbohydrates. Most people never experience the second method, which is ketosis.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you.
We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what. Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities. We will get through this together. There is no more grueling type of fast or cleansing diet than a pure water fast.
A water fast costs nothing to do, and may be used to lose some weight, focus on your inner spiritual life, and possibly help your body flush out toxins. National Institutes of Health Go to source Short-term calorie restriction may help you live a longer, healthier life if done correctly — but fasting can also be dangerous. It's important to continue to drink water when you're fasting, because most people are already chronically dehydrated.
To successfully perform a water fast, drink cups of water spread throughout each day. For your first fast, start with one day of fasting at a time, and never fast for longer than 3 days.
If you have strong hunger pains during the fast, drink a glass of water and lie down to rest until the hunger passes. For more information on activities to avoid and common side effects during your fast, keep reading!
Article Edit. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Co-authored by Kristi Major Updated: February 19, This article was co-authored by Kristi Major. Kristi has over 18 years of personal training experience and more than 90 hours of re-certification study in fitness, health, nutrition, and supplementation.
There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Accomplishing Your Fast. Tips and Warnings. Related Articles. Article Summary.
Guidelines for Breaking a Fast
Part 1 of Do not fast if you have certain medical conditions.Water fasting is a period when a person eats no food and drinks only water. Fasting in this way may help with weight loss, but is it safe, and do the effects last long-term? People may undertake water fasting to lose weight, for spiritual or religious reasons, or to try and combat particular health problems.
Research suggests that occasional fasting may help with weight loss, although other methods may be more effective long-term. To make sure that water fasting is done safely, people should prepare properly and choose a good time to go without food, when the body does not require too much energy. There is no set time that water fasting should last for, but medical advice generally suggests anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days as the maximum time to go without food. Throughout history, people have undertaken fasts for spiritual or religious reasons.
But, water fasting is now popular in the natural health and wellness movements, often alongside meditation. People with risk factors for certain diseases could benefit from short-term fasting. These include:. These risks are often related.
When the body does not have access to carbohydrateswhich are its preferred source of energy, it will use fats. So, a fast can result in weight loss as the body uses up fats in the body for its energy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticsthe best way to lose weight is to take it slowly, combining a healthy diet with exercise.
It is also important to try and change some eating habits, such as reducing the number of sugary foods and snacks eaten. Although there are potential health benefits to fasting, there are considerable risks if a fast is carried out for too long, or by someone whose health or age puts them at risk of damage to their body. If someone has health concerns, or is planning to fast for longer than 24 hours, they should seek the advice of a medical professional and consider undertaking a fast under supervision.
I Consumed Nothing but Water for 5 Days. Here's Why, What Happened, and Why it Was Awesome.
Water fasting will not be safe for everyone, and should not be undertaken by older adults, those under 18, or those who are underweight. An alternative to long periods of fasting can be intermittent fasting. This means eating nothing or very few calories for a certain amount of time and then eating as usual for another set period. An example is the diet, where someone eats a regular diet for 5 days in the week, and a quarter of their daily calories on the remaining 2 days.
In a study comparing intermittent fasting and eating an ongoing low-calorie diet, both methods were found to be equally good for weight loss, as well as reducing the risk of cancerdiabetes, and heart disease. Intermittent fasting was found to be as easy to stick to as a low-calorie diet. Research based on studies with mice and rats suggests that fasting may protect against certain diseases, such as diabetes, and has the potential to delay aging.7 DAY WATER FAST - NO FOOD FOR A WEEK (Before & After)
Fasting regularly for short periods of time has been associated with lower rates of diabetes, a lower BMIand a reduced risk of coronary artery disease in people being tested for blocked arteries. There have not been extensive human studies on fasting, although research has found some positive impact on blood pressurebody weightand improved rheumatoid arthritis symptoms from small studies.
Fasting can have adverse effects on the immune system for older adults, so individuals should seek medical advice on whether occasional water fasting could be beneficial. Water fasting is not safe for everyone.
People who should not fast, or who should seek advice from a medical professional before fasting include older adults, those under 18, and those who:. If someone has not fasted before, they should consider starting with a 1-day fast to try it out and make sure there are no adverse effects.
Fasting for longer than 3 days should only be carried out after seeking the advice of a medical professional. During the fast, it is essential to drink enough water and to spread this out throughout the day. It may be tempting to drink more than usual when fasting, but this can be harmful and should be avoided. When ending a water fast, a person should not eat too much at once but build up gradually to avoid a stomach ache or feeling sick. Fasting deprives the body of the fuel it needs, so expect to feel tired and low on energy.
A lack of food can also make people feel dizzy, weak, or nauseous, and if these symptoms are particularly bad, it is important to eat something. Getting plenty of rest, sitting down, and avoiding intense exercise can help to conserve energy.
It is normal to feel irritable or tired from lack of food, but if someone begins to feel disorientated or confused while fasting, they should seek medical advice. Although there may be some health benefits to water fasting, reducing overall calories is just as effective for weight loss, and is likely to be safer.