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.
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...