My 19-day water fast story - my journey through the spiritual world of being hungry!
Over the past year or two, I have done intermittent fasting, 24 hour fasts, 3 day fasts, 5 day fasts, 10-12 day fasts, and now this was my longer fast. A water fast simply means you drink water and no food.
These are some of the questions I regularly get asked about my fasting:
- Why did you start doing these water fasts?
- What were your health results from fasting?
- What were your side effects during your fast?
- I'm still shocked anyone can go that long without food, how did you do it?
- Okay so you didn't eat food, we get it, but did you drink anything?
- You didn't work out during this right?, you must have been so tired!
- What happens when you come off?
- Final results of your 19 day fast?
- Should I try this?
Why did you start doing these water fasts?
I've actually been fasting longer than that, but I did different types of fasts based on fruit and water that were less 'extreme' and have always been able to balance my life and health.
About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and a pinched nerve in my neck. I had been getting treated for the rotator issue for over a year, and for the pinched nerve for many years and doctors were not giving me the results I was looking for. I decided that I needed to let my body heal itself, instead of continuing to waste money and time with no results to show for it.
When you fast your body is able to recycle old cells for fresh troops, you also use less energy because your body spends 50% of time digesting. During a fast, your body can focus less on digesting and more on repair. We do this at night when we sleep, the problem is even if you manage to get 8 hours of sleep (most people struggle with this already) it still isn't enough considering the pounding we put on our bodies weight training. So consider fasting a window of time where your body can truly detox and repair without interference.
What were your health results from fasting?
Well, my body weight and body fat are way down since I started doing these fasts, you can tell that from my pictures. Overall since I started to utilize fasting in the past year, my body fat % is down probably 7% or so and my total body weight is down from my peak about 42 pounds. Also, I went from wearing a size 33 jeans to a size 28, so that is 5 pants sizes. (I will talk about this particular fast result at the end of this article)
But more importantly, my health has improved. My blood pressure, lipids, overall health is way better. When it comes to fitness I could not raise my arm in the air 18 months ago and had trouble even sleeping at night. Now I am doing monkey bars and pull-ups no problem. I credit lifting smart at the gym, mobility, and stretching, but I also give a big credit to fasting to help my body repair itself. Remember when you fast your body eats up that scar tissue and will freshen up cell repair, so that greatly sped up my healing.
What were your side effects during your fast?
From the 2nd half of the first day until day 4 the hunger is quite annoying. You aren't really hungry of course, so you simply need to get your mind off of that. Drinking a lot of water and keeping your mind occupied and busy is the simplest way to combat this. Once you get to day 4 the hunger is gone and it is downhill from there.
I didn't notice very much acne this time around vs. my prior fasts.
My tongue went white on day 3 and never let up the whole way. The white thickness seemed to get worse as I went along, I would use a tongue scraper to get it off.
The worse side effect was peeing so much. You drink a lot of water, and naturally, you will have to pee it out. Also, your body is pissing out ketones so much that it seems that you pee more than you drink in. This became an issue when it came to going anywhere because I would have to make sure there was always a bathroom on hand and I hate using public bathrooms. Let's say you want to go to the game, well it would suck to have to keep getting up to go pee and missing a play.
Around day 13 and 14 I did have a couple dizzy spells, but then they went away and I didn't have any the rest of the way. I blame this on dehydration. You have to dedicate yourself to drink water all the time, even at night. You will get up to pee and must drink more water thirsty or not.
I'm still shocked anyone can go that long without food, how did you do it?
There are some really handy tips that got me through the 19 days. The biggest one might have been not having food in my house, this prevented me from being tempted.
I had no problem going to a restaurant and having some hot tea or water and joining a friend. If you are always going to dinner with people you need to make them understand you aren't going to help them out with that flatbread they ordered. I avoided negative people who will only serve to bring you down out of jealousy. These are the types of people who really don't care about you, but actually, want you to fail. They should already by eliminated out of your lives. Ironically, I am the type of person who gets motivated by that sort of thing, so when someone would tell me that it would motivate me even more to prove them wrong.
The biggest misconception ignorant people think is that when you fast you are starving and want food so badly! When you are fasting your appetite is just not there, you don't feel hungry so looking at food or smelling food didn't bother me at all. You do feel thirsty and dehydrated though.
Okay so you didn't eat food, we get it, but did you drink anything?
I drank almost exclusively water. I did add some pink Himalayan salt, potassium, and magnesium to my water a couple times per day. On occasion, I would have hot tea, and I never drink coffee, so I didn't have that. There are debates on if coffee is okay on a fast. If it is plain coffee it could be okay, but you are best not drinking anything except water with some electrolytes in my opinion. Another drink you can put together if water is boring is adding some pure organic apple cider vinegar with a touch of stevia.
You didn't work out during this right?, you must have been so tired!
This is another awful broscience myth. I'm sure if you are out of shape that deciding to workout during a fast is a dumb idea, but for someone like me who lives at the gym working out while fasting is one of the most amazing experiences you will have.
For one you aren't bloated from food or do you have fluctuating blood sugar. Instead, your stomach is flat and light, and your energy levels stay high throughout your workout. You won't be able to lift as heavy obviously, but you will be able to go longer and harder without running out of energy. The key here is being hydrated though. People who complain about poor energy during a fast are simply not hydrating enough.
Also watching your amazing vascularity and daily results are very motivating. I was losing almost a pound of weight per day, so that was fun to see.
What happens when you come off?
This is one of the biggest questions I get asked am I am not sure why people ask this so much.
Well, what happens is because your digestion is shut down anything you eat will simply go through you in the form of diarrhea. What I have done though is take charcoal caps before eating to help with this. I recommend your first few meals be easy to digest watery foods like watermelon, papaya, mango, etc. You can also consume watery veggies like cucumbers, lettuce, etc. Stay away from spicy food, meats, dairy, nuts, and anything else hard to digest. The body is very resilient and I find by the 2nd day you will be having regular bowel movements.
Final results of your 19 day fast?
I lost 10 pounds the first 11 days, then 4 more pounds the remaining 8 days. That was a total of 14 pounds. My abs are clearly visible and I notice I have veins in places I have never noticed before like in my quads. I would say fasting is a huge weapon when it comes to health and achieving your fitness goals, and I will continue to utilize it to my advantage.
I decided 19 days was enough, but I could have easily kept going further.
Should I try this?
Most people do not have the discipline to even bother with this. If you do decide to try this, start out with doing 24-hour water fasts. So eat dinner and then don't eat again for 24 hours. See how you do. From there you can try 3 days, then 5 days, and work your way up like I did. The reason fasting isn't as hard as you are thinking is because, as I have repeated over and over, you simply do not get hungry after day 4.
There isn't a rule to fasting though, there are people who never tried it before who jump right in and go 20 days. But I believe my experience working my way up helped me greatly because I learned about my body and knew what it was capable of.
Remember fasting is something natural and every animal on earth fasts. Hopefully this article can help you if you decide to try it. Remember there is a difference between reading about fasting in some book vs. Actually doing it yourself.
Join the Evolutionary.org forums and ask your questions about Fasting!
- 24 hour fasting
- 6 Meals a Day VS Intermittent Fasting
- Will creatine ruin the fasting?
- Fasted training on AAS
- OK, stevesmi i tried fasting lets talk
- Protein intake while intermittent fasting
- I.M. Fasting and test
- Steve's hydration drink instead of sports drinks or while fasting
- BCAA and fasting
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