Let’s just get this out of the way. I’m doing a prolonged water fast. Not everyone should.
A water fast is hard on the body. That’s kind of the point. When you fast, your cells are put under stress. This makes you stronger, faster, sharper, and younger.
All of your body systems work together. If one goes down it can cause a cascade of failures. Who knows if you happen to have a bad heart? A bad kidney?
I tried the Keto diet for a while and discovered I had a bad gall bladder. I had to undergo emergency surgery.
Yeah, so doing a fast is a little extreme. Guess I’m just that sort of guy.
Ideally, I would be going to a doctor and getting a blood panel before undergoing something like this. I don’t have health insurance, so I’m just going to wing it. I have faith that God isn’t done with me yet.
I am what you would call an experienced faster. I have done every variety of fast that I have learned about. I particularly enjoy “Alternate Day Fasting,” but right now I’m doing a prolonged water fast. For how long? Because I’m experienced, I am better at listening to the signals my body is putting out. I will stop when my body tells me to stop. I don’t know when that will be.
Read More: Why I’m Water Fasting
I’m going to pay attention to what my body is saying… in a couple days. Right now, all my body is screaming is, “I’M HUNGRY. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WILL YOU PLEASE JUST EAT SOMETHING?!”
I give an evil laugh. I imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger in my head, “You think you should be eating, girlie man? Do you wanna have a Twinkie? Well, you CAN’T!”
I’m in day 3. The hunger should go away in 1-2 days. It’s not real hunger, anyway. I can tell the difference.
Fasting is something that you should ease into. You should not jump in cold turkey. You’ll probably freak out and quit. Follow the following steps if you want to follow in my foot steps:
- Consult with a doctor who is experienced with fasting and the medical benefits. Most doctors don’t have training in nutrition and fasting. A regular doctor is going to freak out and scare you off your goal. Find a doctor who is “in the know.” Tell him/her of your plans. I would have done this if I had medical coverage. Seriously. You never know if you have a hidden medical problem. “It was a bummer about Timmy and the bad appendix. Who would have thought?”
- When you have the clearance from your doctor, set a small goal. Start with something simple, like getting through a day without snacking. Three meals a day. Stick to three. Do this for a period of time (3-7 days).
- Skip a meal. You have mastered snacking. It was a dirty habit, anyway. You may found that you have more self-control. Now you can skip a meal. I don’t care if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Pick one and skip it. Congrats! This is “intermittent fasting!”
You might find that this works really well for you. If you like it, you can try other variations of intermittent fasting (IF). Just try them all and stick with one that works for you. If you want to go deeper, try the next step.
- Keep shrinking your window. Definitely don’t go cold turkey, but see how you handle a fast of one, two, and three days.
- Now, you are ready. The end goal is a seven day fast. Dr. Jason Fung is the world expert in fasting. (https://medium.com/@drjasonfung). According to him, multiple 7-day fasts are just as good as one, long fast.
Basically, I don’t recommend doing what I’m doing.
Like I said before, I’ve been doing this for a few years now. I will stop when my body feels “done.” That’s one of the reasons I’m not putting a time limit on this. I’m not pushing for X days. I might stop tomorrow if my body tells me. Who knows?
I don’t want to fall in the trap of pushing for a long fast just because I told y’all I am pushing for a long fast.
What About the Hunger?
This is a huge reason that people don’t fast. They have skipped one meal and been ready to eat their own face off. They can’t imagine skipping two… or three… or (gulp) 120…
People think their hunger will get worse and worse as time goes on. Like most kinds of “pain,” your body gives up in about three days. Last time I was in the middle of a long fast, I had no interest in food. I sat down with meals with friends. They chomped on their food and I was content to sit and drink my coffee. Really.
It also helps that you start to experience your “fasting high” at the same time that your hunger goes away. You feel great. Energized. Focused. Motivated. This is the time that your body goes into Ketosis, burning fat for food. Your body says, “I’m not hungry. Look at all this fat I have sitting here!”
The idea of regular food seems almost abhorrent. Why would I want to get off this ride? It’s starting to get good!
What Can I Eat?
Honestly, not much. That’s also the point. You want to convince your body that you’re not going to be feeding it for a while. If you reward it with something yummy, you’re training it like a spoiled child. “If I throw a big enough tantrum, Dad will buy me the sugar cereal.”
Trust me, I have tangled with this beast. Your body can become like the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.
Now, when I have been fasting for a few days, my body is quiet and in submission. If at any point, my body screams FEED ME again, I will honor its signal. That means something is amiss. You are allowed to take a break, eat what you are craving, and try again.
Let me break it into some easy to follow points:
- Coffee or Green Tea
- 100 calories or less per day
A lot of people ask about “zero-calorie” drinks. I say no for several reasons. Yes, they don’t have calories, so yes you are still on a fast. The short answer is “no sugar substitutes.” For those of you that are happy with that response, you can stop reading.
For those of you that still want to know why it’s a very long answer…
Why Can’t I Drink Diet Soda (WAAAA!)
Do a quick search for “are diet sodas good for you?” I’ll wait.
- Even if they don’t have calories, most artificial sweeteners still raise your insulin level. The “magic” of fasting happens when your insulin level is low. Yes, there are a few sweeteners that don’t raise your insulin level. If you must, use one of those.
- Artificial sweeteners lead to insulin-resistance. Your tongue tastes “sweet.” It yells down to your body, “Some calories are on the way!” Your body preps for a tasty treat (this is where the insulin raise comes from). Then, no calories end up in your body. Your body says, “Wait a minute! Where’re those calories you promised?” After repeating a few times, your body listens to the signals of the tongue less and less. Congrats, you have diabetes!
- If you have any food or drink with “flavor,” you will keep your body “in the mood for food.” We want to get through the “hunger jungle” as quick as we can. Anything you eat (even calorie-free) will slow your journey. Even though you are allowed a few calories every day (enough for a cream or two), try to avoid these for the first few days. I got used to drinking my coffee black—you can, too.
- Your body knows how to digest regular ol’ sugar. Don’t fake it out.
Yeah, science can jump in a lake–MW McCabe
Science let us get fat, full of cancer, tired, and run down. Now it has money behind it. You aren’t allowed to tell people how to get healthy. “The man” will sue your pants off.
Matt is doing a water fast.
This is day 3 of his experience. Current weight: 244.0lbs
Check back to see how he is doing. Or, you can sign up for his on once-a-month newsletter to watch his progress!