water fast

Diaries of a 72-Hour Water Fast During Lockdown

3 days of only water? No food at all?

And on lockdown? Why would I do that to myself?

Well, there’s so many health benefits to water fasting and seeing as I have no social life right now, maybe it is the perfect time to try. 

I’ve had plenty of friends who’ve tried water fasts but I’d never been game enough. I’ve done plenty of fasting detoxes and juice fasts before, just never only water and especially while on lockdown.

A good friend of mine here in Barcelona had done one a few weeks prior and was talking about it in a WhatsApp group. She asked if anyone would join for accountability. I was like HELL NO!

Food’s my biggest pleasure right now while stuck in lockdown – which is now my 8th week. No way was I going to remove the one thing that is bringing me THE most joy!

WHAT CONVINCED ME?

Thinking about it more, I changed my mind. Food was bringing me that much joy that I was literally thinking about it all day and was constantly getting up to go to the kitchen as a distraction or procrastination from the work I was meant to be doing. Doesn’t help that I’m sat at my laptop right next the kitchen 6 days a week and confined to a small flat.

I eat healthy 90% of the time, but I was just constantly grazing in between meals.

I was intermittent fasting 12-14 hours most nights but during the day, when was my digestive system getting a break?

My digestive system was starting to protest.

I knew it was because I was constantly eating and never had time to catch up!

I needed a RESET.

I was ready to take on the challenge. Being a Naturopathic Nutritionist, I should be trying it all and this was something I still hadn’t worked up to.

Give me a DETOX retreat where I’m fasting for 7 days on broth, water, supplements and the occasional watermelon juice any day!

I know there were lots of benefits to a 72 hour water fast so I was all in. Watch out for my next Blog “Should You Try Water Fasting?” which will explain all the benefits you can get from a 72-hour water fast.

There’s also a lot of controversy around it so I wanted to test it out for myself.

WHAT CAN YOU HAVE ON A WATER FAST?

  • Not allowed: Coke zero, or zero calorie flavoured drinks or crap like that
  • Allowed:. obvs! And you can add lime or lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, herbal teas, if necessary can add a bit of coffee to your glass of water, sea or Himalayan salts. If also needed, you can drink bone broth.

Also what I learned the hard way by feeling dehydrated by DAY 3, a zero calorie natural electrolyte powder is a good idea to take daily. Trust me – you don’t want to be dehydrated on top of fasting!

 

MY 72-HOUR WATER FASTING JOURNAL:

DAY 1

My fast started at 8pm. That’s the easiest way to start soon before sleeping and after an early light dinner.

Dinner was a smoothie to ease into it and not overload my system. Keeping it light and healthy would ideally reduce the hunger pangs the next day.

Eating less before starting is important to prepare your body for fasting. How you go into a fast or detox and how you come out of it is just as important as the fast or detox itself.

My first morning started with lemon & hot water as usual, just without the Apple Cider Vinegar as wasn’t sure it’s allowed. Later I found out it was.

DAY 1 VERDICT: ROUGH!

I’m not going to lie… it sucked and I felt like SHIT!

Apart from constantly thinking about food, the morning was fine.

I still managed to do a 1-hour Vinyasa yoga class, feeling stronger than I expected. I made sure not to push myself too much but felt so good to do it, especially sitting all day in lockdown.

I was going to stick to Yin or Restorative yoga because I know during fasts & detoxes it’s important to rest our bodies as much as possible to allow it the energy to cleanse and do the repair & maintenance which is the whole point! I made sure to keep all activity low to medium intensity at most.

As the day went on, I got more tired, more grumpy and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about food.

I kept feeling hunger pangs and getting up to go to the kitchen to grab something, only to realize a glass of water was as good as it was going to get. I started wondering why I’d signed up for this – seriously!

Herbal tea was the most exciting part of my day. All I was drinking was a loose 12-herb Liver & Kidney tea to deepen the detox, Turmeric tea and room temperature alkalized water.

That night was Netflix & early night in the hopes Day 2 would get better.

DAY 2

Had an EPIC sleep – 9 hours and was feeling fresh!

Day started well. Was feeling much more energized than Day 1.

Did a 12pm yoga class and felt stronger than I expected. I felt amazing after the class and super zen after the final meditation.

Lunchtime came and I felt the desire to eat. It really made me realize how conditioned I am and I think most of us are to revolve our whole days & lives around meal times.

Like ‘I’ll do the yoga class before lunch then I can eat after’.

It’s a strange feeling to not be eating or having to prepare anything. I don’t have to plan anything for before or after meals. I just do it whenever and there’s no meal-time to revolve my schedule around, or split my day and give me a nice little break.

Even on juice detoxes you have to plan and prepare the juices.

I also had so much more time not cooking or eating. Revelation right?! Suddenly I had 90mins or more in my day.

By the afternoon, I was feeling full of energy and my brain was super clear and focused. Perfect for productivity and getting shit done!

Ketosis had kicked in … yeah baby!

I was thinking about food still but way less. I guess my body was starting to realize it just wasn’t going to get any, so better just start giving up on that.

I did get the chills and felt cold a lot more on Day 1 & 2 which makes sense as my body was starting to burn fat for energy.

I was full of physical & mental energy until I went to bed and even had trouble falling asleep as my mind was so active + clear.

I was expecting to feel this good Day 3, not day 2! If this is Day 2 then bring on Day 3!

DAY 3

Definitely didn’t bounce out of bed like I though I might.

Woke up feeling super weak, light-headed and a little dizzy.

I was teaching an online yoga class later in the day so I woke up early to do my usual meditation, have my lemon & hot water and then practice my yoga class.

Sitting in meditation I felt my forehead heating up. I really wasn’t feeling amazing; still super light-headed and I had heart palpitations. My vision wasn’t great standing up like I was dizzy or low blood sugars.

Regardless, began my yoga practice and started to feel better.

I’m sure the hydration from lemon & hot water helped.

I read into it and seems I was a bit dehydrated – classic signs. Probably should’ve added salt & more lemon/lime to my water from the start. I definitely made sure I did today! Because I was lacking in electrolytes, a lot of the water had been going straight through me. What a waste!

Was feeling much better after my yoga class and my 3rd glass of water.

Energy was coming back and brain was feeling clear & sharp. Back in the game!

Or so I thought – by 4pm I was feeling tired again. It had been a big day and I still had to teach the yoga class! Not at all in the mood or like I had the energy for it but hoped it would make me feel better. Turns out it did.

My mind was still feeling sharp and clear but was getting a slight headache which made it a little hard to focus. By the time I’d finished teaching my 5pm yoga class, my energy levels were insane again and I felt almost like I was high on something! High on Life? Or just Ketosis?!

Main thing I noticed today – I hardly thought about food.

RESULT! This is main reason I did this! To stop the OCD obsession I had thinking about food all day and always wanting to eat. I needed to break that chain bad!

Countdown was on … last few hours! COULD NOT WAIT!

Part of me wasn’t ready to eat and wanted go a little longer because I was feeling so good, but then I also wanted to feel stronger again and didn’t want to lose anymore weight. I’d lost 2.5kgs in 3 days, which is a lot for me. Even though I know I’ll put it right back on – I don’t need to lose anymore. But I was super happy about my very flat belly – no signs of bloating and my digestive tract felt so light and amazing!

I didn’t even have a BREAK-FAST meal plan yet.

Keeping it light was all I knew.

Maybe weird but the idea of going grocery shopping to buy the food was actually more exciting than being able to actually eat again. Just to get out of the flat and choose food I know I’ll get to eat very soon was a very thrilling activity!

 

BREAKING THE FAST

Do what I say not what I did 😉

What would you want your 1st meal to be?

I broke the fast pretty well the first 24hrs, but then a friend was coming over the next night for a lockdown dinner & dancing party with my flatmate and I. Normally I wouldn’t have planned social engagements after a fast but you know… unprecedented times and all that.

She lives alone and was desperate for company and we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity for a little fun and a social night during lockdown. And besides, we’d both already had coronavirus so why not?

We made THE MOST DELICIOUS vegan tacos – everything apart from the gluten-free wraps was homemade. All very healthy but probably too many ingredients a little too soon. Then of course topped off with 3/4 of a bottle of wine was the deal breaker.

I definitely undid some of my hard work by drinking alcohol so soon.

My body to me: “What the hell are you doing to me? Starving me then drinking wine like it was going out of fashion 24 hours later?”

I guess I got a little excited at our 3-person lockdown party .. can you blame me?

So to make-up for that (or punish myself 😜) I just finished another 2.5 days (63 hrs) fast this past weekend, 1.5 weeks after the last fast. This time I was going to make sure that my body wasn’t shocked and to ease off the fast properly. I also took 2 weeks off drinking any alcohol since that night so the detox process would be much better and my digestive system much happier with me.

WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT AFTER A FAST?

You might be tempted to go all out and eat a massive meal full of all the things you miss like burgers or pizza and desserts, but this is not going to help your case. FYI – this is NOT the way to break a fast.

This is going to pretty much undo all the hard work you just did and most of the benefits your body just gained while putting stress on your digestive system. So why bother doing fast in the first place?

When breaking a fast, it’s super important to start slowly, ease back into eating and not overwhelm your digestive system.

Me and my post-fast smoothie. Try it – recipe below – so delicious!

 

Watch out for my next Blog “Should You Try Water Fasting?” where I’ll explain the best ways to come out of a water fast depending on your goals going forward.

MY 24-HR BREAK FAST MENU:

Dinner – 1st Meal:

Immune-Boosting Soup – delicious!

The 1st meal should definitely be liquids.

They’re much easier on the digestive system and the best way to ease back into eating again as the digestive system hasn’t been working for a few days!

Breakfast:

A delicious and filling smoothie which was packed with goodness.

Recipe (can halve it if desired):

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 cup sliced courgette / zucchini
  • ½ banana
  • 3 tbsp Raw Cacao powder
  • 1.5 cups Oat Milk or favourite plant-based mylk

Lunch:

Plain and simple – trying not to introduce too many foods at once.

  • 2 x plain rice cakes with homemade vegan lentil pate spread on top, soft boiled eggs + cucumber

Then came the vegan taco night. (Did I mention how frickin’ delicious they were?!)

WHO CAN FAST? IS THIS FOR YOU?

If you’re pregnant, nursing or under 18 years old then this is NOT for you.

Check with your doctor first if you’re on any prescription medication or suffering from any chronic illness.

Also if you don’t want to give up high-intensity exercise for a few days, you’re training for something, or you have some social activities planned that include food or anything but water then this is also NOT for you!

Read all about the Benefits of Water Fasting in my upcoming Blog “Should You Try Water Fasting?

 

 

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