What happened when I tried a three day water fast

First up, I decided to do this water fast for quite a few reasons, but losing weight wasn’t one of them – if you want that kind of info there’s tons on Google… Below I explain the why and how of what happened.
 Image: charissekenion.com

Image: charissekenion.com

Why did I decide to do a three day water fast?
I like to eat. I work out five or six days a week, and I’d be lying if I said that the reason I commit to so many sweaty hours is because I want a six pack. I really don’t – if anything I really want to feel strong, but also… I like to eat, and nobody can tell me that what I eat, or when I eat, or how much I eat, doesn’t affect not only my weight gain/loss, but also how I feel
Because I like food, and because I had just spent three days exploring Barcelona on my own, enjoying gelato and risotto and cheese of course, I decided it would be a good idea to clean up my system. For the longest time I have known that I have crappy digestion. I definitely try and improve upon it where possible – I am an intermittent fasting convert (look it up), meaning I don’t eat after 6pm, and I try to drink at least three litres of water a day.

Due to this ‘sluggish’ digestion, I often (though less and less) experience bloating, water retention all over, and spot-prone skin. In the past I also suffered from IBS, which is no fun at all. But a lot of that was attached to the fact that I was dating a horrible person – seriously, the minute I left, my IBS left too.
Also; I’m dire when it comes to discipline. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to the gym I have got consistency nailed. But when it comes to food, I’m all about enjoying it. I know my weaknesses – cakes (I love to bake) and chocolate, and I’m not good with deprivation at all. For me, food is a part of life that can be enjoyed and I don’t need to police myself. However, because I’m vain, I would love to wake up one morning without a single zit on my face, so the thought of a cleanse tempted me – even though I’ve heard that a water fast can make your skin go bad, before you see any ‘good’. 

Here’s how my water fast went
Day 1 Tuesday
I wake up and have my first drink of water, 450ml.
Usually I have 400/500ml of water first thing. If I’m going to the gym that morning ( I only do mornings – it just won’t happen otherwise) I’ll follow it with a cup of coffee, plus two teaspoons of Coffee Mate and coconut sugar ( can’t give it up, sorry) and I’m good to go. For the duration of the three-day water fast I decide to give the gym a miss. I’ve already missed out on three days as I’ve been travelling in Barcelona, so now seems the perfect time to start a fast, rather than jumping back into the gym only to stop again after a few days. At such an early stage, all I’m worried about right now is missing my coffee. I have two cups a day, three if I’ve baked that day because coffee and cake is a no-brainer. 

I’ve already decided I would take today off – I’ve backed-up my social client work and my next deadline is six weeks away. So, I decide to catch up with some trash TV; Real Housewives of Potomac (probably the worst one in the franchise but that’s why I watch it) and Basketball Wives. Just as I get comfortable I feel a pang of sadness - my usual trash TV behaviour always, ALWAYS involves coffee.


I nap for an hour. I don’t nap!

My hubby goes downstairs to make some food and of course I can smell every single ingredient wafting up the stairs to our room. What do I do to distract myself? I look up recipes for mac and cheese because that’s what I plan on eating on Friday when my water fast ends. I find a Gordon Ramsay recipe that blends cauliflower cheese with mac and cheese, and decide to give it a go instead of my usual family favourite. The rest of the day passes without incident. You know what – not eating is way less challenging that cutting calories. Who’d a thought it?

Day 2 Wednesday
I wake up with a stabbing headache that lasts about two minutes. I drink 450ml of water and stay in bed for an hour. This was a day when I thought I’d get on with some work but instead it’s turned into us having to quickly book a hotel for two days (seriously, do not ask). I cannot tell you how dizzy I feel on zero food, so having to find a hotel at the last minute, at a non-extortionate price, then pack a bag and ensure all my work bits are in there has been stressful to say the least. Even writing this I feel a bit fuzzy. And annoyed. But hey, gotta get on with it, fast or no fast.

It's late afternoon and I’m sitting in a hotel lobby waiting for our room to be ready. I cannot tell you anything apart from the fact that once I enter that hotel room I am going to BED.

Hubby comes home after eating a meal outside (so as not to tempt me to eat anything) and we spend the rest of the evening watching old films.

Day 3 Thursday
Daniel has to go to work, so I figured I’d do some work before I have to check out at 12pm – to check into a different hotel (sigh). I get up out of my hotel bed and boy do I regret it. Instantly I am seriously, perhaps dangerously, wobbly. I throw myself back onto the bed and decide to take a drink of water before I try to get up again. I sip 400ml, take a few deep breaths, and get out of bed again. Again, I’m super wobbly – it’s such an alien feeling. Like brain fog has taken over my entire body. Again I sit, and again I get up and it’s still the same. I notice I’m sweating a lot, as if I’m hungover, or have the flu. My forehead is hot and sweaty. I start to read up about water fasting again and remember that a while back, I’d heard Tim Ferriss (one of my favourite podcast hosts) say that when he does a three day water fast he starts the first day with three or four hours of walking, to push the process along. It’s way too late of course, but I start to wonder if that’s what I should have done. I tell myself fresh air will do me good, so I put some clothes and sunglasses on and head outside. 

By now the area that my hotel is in is buzzing with office types grabbing coffee, catching up or having a quick cigarette before work. I decide to walk along the canal instead of through them as I swear my co-ordination is seriously off-kilter. I start to think people must assume I’m drunk, because hungover would definitely describe how I feel. I check my Fitbit and see that my heart rate is pretty high considering I’m walking so slowly. I guess it makes sense. After 20 minutes of profuse sweating I decide to head back to my room; I’m going to need to gather all of my strength to make the trip to the next hotel, which is another 20 minute walk away. I drink a litre of water before I do anything else.

I’m on my way to the other hotel and the sun is beating down. I feel like I’ve been travelling 24 hours straight, and can only assume that I smell the same (hub says I don't so I'll take that...). I wait in the lobby for Daniel to finish work. When he arrives he can see I’m wilting. He tells me he's impressed that I've done 24 hours, let alone 72. I start to wonder if I should end the fast early; the following day I have an important doctor’s appointment early in the morning. I feel that if I don't end the water fast soon, I will have to cancel the appointment and wait goodness knows how long for another one. I decide to finish my fast eight hours early. I'm sick of feeling sick. I think if we were at home, things might have been different.

I’ve made my decision; I’m going to break my fast. Daniel works in a cool café that does the most amazing sourdough toast, and that’s all I want. I walk (wobble) there and tell his colleague that I need toast with a latte at the exact same time and why I need it. She’s very understanding and while she prepares my order she asks me what made me do a water fast. I explain, all the while sweating politely. I realise that I’ve done pretty damn well. Especially after reading that your first fast should be ‘just’ 36 hours…
Eating that sourdough feels like my taste buds are tasting food for the first time. I chew more slowly – I can taste every nuance of the bread. I spread on jam and the sweetness of the strawberries is so intense, I scrape some of the jam back off. My coffee tastes rich and creamy. I start to feel like all the cells in my body are waking up, as if they’ve been in hibernation. I can literally feel the food fueling my entire body.

Daniel went out to get Nando’s and brings me back some Peri Peri chips. Again, my tastebuds burst with flavour. Have Peri Peri chips always tasted this good? 

My feedback during:
Some of you might find this TMI, but I did not go to the toilet for anything other than a wee between 9am on the first day and 9pm on the third. And I'm someone who goes every single morning at 6am. Sorry!
My resting heart rate was the lowest it has ever been during the water fast, putting me in the ‘very good’ category according to my Fitbit.
I didn’t really have any crazy hungry moments, although I definitely got a little hangry when the hotel stuff happened. 
Excess bloat around my middle disappeared. I start to imagine myself as a surfer chick...
My skin didn’t go crazy, as expected.
I maintained 2.5 to 3 litre water consumption each day.

My feedback now:
I am 100 percent going to do a three-day water fast at least once every few months. It’s made me look at food differently, as in, I don’t have to have all the cookies right away. It’s also made it far easier to stick with my intermittent (10am-6pm) eating. I’m also going to incorporate 36 hour fasts every six weeks or so.

What do you think? Have you ever tried fasting? How long for? Let me know if you have any questions below...

Where's my energy gone?

Warning: brain dump ahead. This post isn't about beauty, or travel; it's an effort to put my week into words, in the hopes that placing those words/feelings somewhere, means I'm over my funk.
 Image: charissekenion.com

Image: charissekenion.com

How to put into words how I feel: bleurgh/meh/sigh. That should sum it up, right? It's just been a funny week, perhaps no surprise given how this month has gone. So far the past four weeks has consisted of:
The death of a family friend
The death of a friend of one of my best friends
The death of a relative of one of my best friends
The World Cup
Being on deadline
Chasing late invoices whilst having people (and HMRC) waiting to be paid
Losing out on a spot on a film course that I really wanted to do
Two periods
The one-year anniversary of my grandmother's death

Now, these incidents are in no particular order, and there is no way I am suggesting that the bottom of the list holds anywhere near the same significance as the top four incidents do. But, altogether, I guess these moments add up to something called stress? The four situations that refer to my friends are situations that I can only make an effort to understand. Hearing broken voices explain what has happened alerts something in my chest - I want to be able to make things better for them, but I can't. I can only listen, offer what I think are supportive words, perhaps send a gift to let them know I am thinking about them. But those journeys of sadness are ones that they have to carry out in their own way, perhaps solo, perhaps with a partner, or closer friends. Still, I think it leaves behind a kind of shadow, a reminder that Bad Stuff Happens - although at the same time, of course there is the old, 'life is short' adage to fall back on. After three of these situations happened within one week, I end up telling myself to take that day off, watch that film, visit that friend, because, as the month has proved, life is short.

Meanwhile, when life isn't happening, there's plenty on the telly to wrap yourself up in/distract yourself with. Despite being born and raised in England, I've never really felt English, but still, I found myself wanting the England team to win the World Cup - if for no other reason than hoping I'd never hear the words 'back in 1966' again. Suffice to say, they didn't win, so I switched to watching Wimbledon - only for Serena Williams. And then, Serena didn't win. 

While all of the above was going on I was on deadline for a client magazine - 48 pages collated and created by me and a designer. Although I've done it many times before, I always feel like the next issue should be better than the last, so there's always an element of stress attached, plus, a couple of client invoices hadn't been paid, so that was annoying. Not only did I have people to pay (as well as a fat VAT bill) I also wanted to use the money to pay for a film course I'd had my eye on. As I'm someone who prefers to pay the bills first, I put off booking the course until I knew exactly how much I needed to pay out. But due to clients paying late, by the time I did receive the funds in my account, all the course places had been booked. 

Add to this the fact that I've basically been on my period for most of this month so far (never happened before so no clue if it's a worry-worthy thing?) and I've been feeling pretty low. Not low in the crying-into-my-pillow sense; more of a I-don't-want-to-do-anything-but-watch-Netflix all-day kind of thing. Yesterday I allowed myself to indulge in feeling this way; I didn't start my day with a trip to the gym (major mood-enhancer, whether I enjoy my time there or not. I usually go five or six times a week) and instead, showered and ate homemade brownies for breakfast. Then I watched five episodes of season 2 of The Affair and waited for my husband to come home so that I could lean on his shoulder while watching more crap.

Now that I'm almost done, I'm wondering if you're pissed at me for writing this blog, because it's not what I normally offer up, but it just feels necessary. Plus, I'm going to end it with some rays of sunshine that I'm grateful for.

*My husband just made me breakfast.

*I'm headed to Barcelona next week to meet one of my fave Instagrammers and style queens, @thevicstyles, to photograph her on her travels. We've never met in real life but when she posted something about travelling around Spain, I DM'd her saying if she fancied company, I'd be happy to meet her along the way. Victoria has one of those faces that I can't wait to photograph, so I'm meeting her in Barca for a few days. As well as being stylish, talented and real, she has a brilliant Instagram Like A Pro course you should check out. I reviewed it a while back here...

*I have a week of not having to do much ahead of me because a couple of client projects have been signed off.

*I went to the gym today and did more weight than the guy who'd previously used the leg extension machine.

*I have week 4 of Sarah Akwisombe and Jennifer MacFarlane's Money + Manifesting course to watch.

Let me know what's bugging you this week, or how you remind yourself that nothing stays the same?