Common things you’ll hear from others of whom don’t understand fasting:
“Fasting is a fad diet!”
“Why are you starving yourself?”
“Water fasting is dangerous”
Fasting isn’t a fad, it isn’t a diet, it’s not dangerous and you are not starving yourself. Fasting is one of the oldest dietary interventions in the world, and modern science confirms it can have a profoundly beneficial influence on your health. Millions of people worldwide practice fasting during the Lent season for 40 days and nights every year with no ill or adverse side effects long before the science supported it. This has been going on for thousands of year. Way longer if you include our great ancestors fasting during times of famine.
This is why I initially decided to fast, for spiritual reasons. I praise God that this fast was unto HIM and only HIM. I commend all of you who go through this on pure motivation alone. I felt hunger physically but spiritually I was FULL.
Before this I was an emotional eater. Food controlled my emotions. If I was sad, I ate; If I was happy I ate; If I was depressed, I ate; If I was bored, I ate. It’s the soul having mastery over the flesh that helped me kick my emotional eating habits. “We are not bodies having a spiritual experience, we are spirits having a body experience.” To me fasting is a way to purify body & soul, a way of removing both physical & spiritual toxins. I am such an advocate now and what to inform others on the benefits as well.
Here are my best pro-tips if you are thinking about water-fasting:
- Although I didn’t, I would suggest doing Keto or a juice cleanse before going into water fasting. Help build that discipline beforehand.
- If you can, try to start your fast on a week where you have a break from work as you wont have much energy the first few days and being around others and so much food will just cause unnecessary temptation. I am a teacher and every day during lunch, I would look myself in my room and read or pray.
- Give God your firstfruits every morning before you do anything else (open the Word, study, pray as soon as you wake up). Walks through nature, mountain hikes, etc. Also, stay off social media and seek silence. Ask God to reveal your character to you and help you overcome self (this one will be painful but necessary).
- Once you make it to Ketosis (Day 8-10) it will be so much easier so please just try to make it to week 2 and you will thank yourself.
- Join a Facebook Support Group. The motivation of others helped me on many of days when I was ready to call it quits.
- Download a Fasting App to help you keep track of your time.
- Do a salt-water flush (1 TBLS of Himalayan Pink Salt & 1L of hot water) to replenish electrolytes balance. I was feeling very groggy and dizzy until I figured this out. I did one every other day. Just make sure you don’t do this at work and have a bathroom nearby when you do as you will need it in 30 minutes or less.
- You must go number 2 when you are fasting and the salt-water flush is key. You will become very sick if you keep the detox in your body. So please, flush it out.
- Please get up very slowly every morning, especially in the early stages of fasting. I was late for work one day and got up really urgently and ended up passing out and my dad woke me up 5 minutes later. Scary experience but your body literally needs extra time to get up in the morning when it is fasting.
- You will have an insane amount of energy after Day 10 but please try to conserve it which means try not to workout and do strenuous activities as your body is trying to detox and that already takes up so much energy. I remember waking up at 4 every morning as all I needed was a few hours of sleep before I felt like I could run a marathon. I found myself being more productive than ever on this fast. Honestly, the best benefit as many people believe you will be weak and tired, nope not after that first week.
- I lost 28 pounds while fasting and gained only about 30% back. You will gain weight back if you are fasting for weight loss alone. Most of it will be waterweight but please be okay with the this reality. I honestly think fasting is not a good plan for effective weight loss because it can’t be sustained like you can’t fast forever. But it can kick those bad habits that can lead to a healthy lifestyle change.
- Try to stick to a Keto/Low-Carb diet and intermittent-fasting right after you end your water fast. You will already be in Ketosis and it will be so much more easier.
- I ended my fast with bone-broth and watermelon and after 30 days with no-food, it savored like the best meal I’ve ever had!
- I had detox acne bad on my chest where my chest looked like I had a measles infection. It cleared up right when I started back eating!
- I am a curly girl who follows the curly girl method and noticed my hair feel out a lot during the fast. Since I follow the curly girl method, I do not use a lot of protein in my hair, so mostly moisture. Since I was only drinking water (moisture from inside) and using moisture-rich hair products (moisture from outside), my hair got moisture overload which caused it to fall out. I only realized this after the fast and have had multiple protein treatments to restore it. So if you are a curly girl as well, please learn from my mistake.
- Also, there is a such thing as drinking too much water during a water fast. It’s called hyponatremia. You flood so much water in your system that it reduces the concentration of all the dissolved electrolytes and minerals, most notably sodium and potassium. I read that a college student died from drinking 2.5 gallons of water in one hour. He began having seizures and pink foam from mouth. In other words, don’t drink too much. Nobody needs more than 2 gallons across a whole day and that’s a soldier in full kit in Afghanistan. Average person only needs 3L per day.
- I drank tea alongside my water everyday as I consider tea, enhanced water. It did not break my fast nor decrease the benefits. It helped!
- You will have what is called “Keto Breath.” This was the worst part for me. My tongue got a white fur like layer of detox which smelled bad that I had to scrub away each morning with a tongue scrapper. It was literally coming off my tongue like fur and my breath would be back on bump in less than 30 minutes after brushing, gargling, flossing, whole nine! Nothing worked so just get use to it if you plan to water fast. Keto Breath is a good sign!
- I watched Mukbang videos on Youtube to help my hunger cravings. And I still do this to this day and there is research behind this that suggests watching other people can help you not eat. Fascinating!
- Contrary to popular belief, water fasting is safe for most people. Groups that should NOT fast include those who are underweight or malnourished, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Fasting does not deprive the body of nutrients. Most people have more than ample quantities of nutrients. That’s the whole point..to get rid of some of these nutrients – such as fat.
“Take away food from a sick man’s stomach and you have begun, not to starve the sick man, but the disease.”—E. H. Dewey, M.D
Fasting Stages & Associated Symptoms of Each
(Most of the symptoms, if they appear, are usually transient – lasting only a day or two)
Stage 1: Psychological Hunger (Days 1 thru 2-3)Stage 1: Psychological Hunger (Days 1 thru 2-3)
• Blood Sugar levels drop below 70mg/dl
• Liver glycogen is converted to glucose and released into the blood (enough for ½ day)
• The body reduces basal metabolic rate (to conserve energy)
• The heart slows and blood pressure is reduced
• Glycogen is pulled from the muscles
• Quick loss of weight is noticed, mainly due to loss of water
Typical Symptoms for this Stage:
1. Psychological hunger cravings (sometimes intense)
4. Breach of sleep
5. Acute reaction on look/scent/conversations about eating
6. Sucking pain in stomach
7. Discomfort of intestines
8. Muscle weakness
10. Dizziness or lightheadedness (from lowering blood pressure)
11. Digestive upset
13. Nausea and vomiting are possible
14. Bad breath
15. Mucousy stools
16. Glazed eyes
17. Heavily coated tongue (a thick white or yellow fur coating, which can be scraped or brushed off)
18. Skin odors/eruptions may appear
19. Bad dreams
Stage 2: Acidosis (Days 2-3 thru 7-9)
• Fats are broken down to release glycerol and converted to glucose
• The energy for maintenance of basal metabolism is almost entirely met by the use of free fatty acids and ketones
• Increased norepinephrine (adrenalin) levels prevent the decrease in metabolic rate (after Day 5)
• Appetite is suppressed as ketones are formed by the incomplete oxidation of fats
• High levels of growth hormone (HGH) maintain muscle growth and lean tissues (after Day 5 – also the best time to exercise, due to the high levels of HGH)
• The body vigorously throws off acid waste products
• Scent of acetone from the mouth and metallic aftertaste in the mouth appears
• The tongue is covered by a white-grayish patch
• Ketone bodies are increasing in urine and reach its maximum on day 7-9
• Rancid oils are purged from the body
• Toxic waste in the blood
• Cleansing and repair of organs and lungs begins
• The colon is being repaired and impacted feces on the intestinal wall start to loosen and are autolyzed
Typical Symptoms for this Stage:
2. Blurred vision
3. Possible dizziness
6. Muscle tightness (the legs are the worst affected as toxins accumulate in the legs)
7. Cold virus (aka the body eliminating toxins)
8. Emotional disturbances (if eating was used for emotional comfort)
9. Occasional daytime weakness, drowsiness as well as breach of sleep
10. Rare but possible sickness, nausea and vomiting
11. Moderate bradicardia (48-60 beats per minute), possibly leading to blackouts
12. Blood pressure drops (be warned to get up slowly and avoid sharp movements)
13. Mild hypoglycemia
14. Potassium and urea decrease
15. Oily skin
16. Possible pimples and/or boils
17. Clogged sinuses (from periodic expelling of the lymphatic system, expelling mucoid matter through the nose and throat, sometimes in shocking quantities)
18. Foul breath
19. Pallid complexion
20. Tongue is coated with a bad-tasting dryish mucus
21. Urine may be concentrated and foul (unless a good deal of water is taken daily)
Stage 3: Normalization (Days 7-9 thru 14-16)
• Enhanced energy
• An increasing sense of well-being
• Acidic blood chemistry is gradually corrected
• The body’s healing process is at optimum efficiency
• The body scours for dead/damaged tissue, secreting substances to dissolved the damaged cells, irritating the nerves in the surrounding region
• Toxin irritation of the muscles (especially the legs)
• Excessive bacteria in the mouth
Typical Symptoms for this Stage
1. Daily loses of weight decrease
2. Dreams on food subjects
3. Old injuries may become irritated and painful as a result of the body’s increased ability to heal
4. Sore/tight muscles (the legs being the worst due to toxin accumulation)
5. Canker sores
Stage 4: Accelerated Healing (Days 16 – 30)
• The body is completely adapted to the fasting process
• The body now has more energy
• The mind has heightened clarity and emotional balance
• Damaged tissue is now being replaced
• Cleansing periods can be short with many days of feeling good in between
• Symptoms of diseases significantly decrease or disappear completely
• Glucose, cholesterol, potassium, urea, bilirubin normalize
• There are now days when the tongue is pink and the breath is fresh
• The healing work of the organs is being completed
• The body works at maximum capacity in tissue proliferation to replace damaged tissue (after the detoxification mechanisms have removed the causative agent or rendered it harmless; while a short fast will reduce symptoms, a longer fast can completely heal)
• The lymphatic system is basically clean
• After day 20, the mind is affected with heightened clarity and emotional balance
• Memory and concentration improve
• Repair and regeneration of tissues
• Tumors are metabolized as food for the body
• Arthritic deposits dissolve
• Scar tissues tend to disappear
• Damaged organs regain lost function (if they can)
• Seriously ill people begin to heal
Typical Symptoms for this Stage
1. Shorter cleansing days
2. Rare discharge of mucus through the nose and throat
Stage 5 (30 – ?): Breaking the Fast with the genuine return of Natural Hunger
• The Breath becomes sweet and clean
• The Tongue becomes clean
• Body Temperature returns to normal, where it remains
• Pulse becomes normal in time and rhythm
• Skin reactions and other reactions become normal
• Salivary secretion becomes normal
• Eyes become bright and eye sight improves
• Excreta loses its odor
• Urine becomes light
• Hunger returns, indicating that the fast is to be broken; all other indications are secondary. Often one or more of the above secondary signs are absent when hunger returns, but one should not refrain from breaking the fast when there is an unmistakable demand for food.