My experience of a three day water fast

Fasting for three days was something I wanted to try ever since having success losing weight using intermittent fasting.

An opportunity arose last week when I found myself alone and without my partner suggesting that I was mad for not eating for three days.

Fasting has been something we have practised in society for years for secular and religious reasons, like a lot of cultural truths science is catching up on the benefits.

I know people who have done extended fasts before and I had heard of the cleaning benefits that fasts can bring.

Throughout my life, I've suffered from anxiety and upset stomach so fasting sounded like an idea that would help me clean house, so to speak.

I decided to give it a go.

Preparation 

I'll be honest. I didn't do as much as I should have done. That's my style I just decide to do something and see what happens.

But do make sure you do your preparation, it isn't as simple as not eating I found a great resource full of tips here.

The night before I had a normal meal, I didn't plan anything special, some risotto, no dessert and just water to drink.

I had my last intake of food at 19:00, set the timer on my phone and decided that I wasn't going to eat again until 72 hours was up.

Day one undiscovered country 

We have all skipped breakfast in our life so that bit was easy, just coffee and straight to work coaching for the day.

I was worried that I wouldn't be as focussed for my clients but by mid-afternoon, I felt ok, no big problems, hunger came and went throughout the day.

I didn't feel the need to eat and when I did I used the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Training by coming into the present moment, recognising my hunger and exploring it and sitting with it.

Then within a few minutes, the hunger passed and I was able to continue on with my day.

Challenging evening

Once a week I play a tabletop role-playing game called dungeon world with some friends. This comes along with food and drink as well as lots of geeks.

I've given up drinking for a while now but eating is still part of the evening's enjoyment.

An evening of chicken wings, chips and dips were difficult to ignore. But I managed to get through the evening with plenty of carbonated water which definitely helps you fill full.

Most of my friends were supportive, one thought I was crazy.

Day two entering the zone

I woke up early on day two feeling alert and well rested. My mind felt sharp and I easily slipped into my morning meditation. 

The biggest thing about fasting is that suddenly you have all this extra time. I used this time cleaning up from the previous night, and this was probably the time I was tested the most.

Cleaning away leftover food when 24 hours into a fast is extremely tempting and it took a lot of present moment awareness to avoid an automatic reaction to my urge to snack on the leftover food.

The rest of the day gave me no big issues or urges and by the end of day two, I was definitely on a high.

I had done some yoga which felt amazing, something that I hadn't done for a while. It made a lot more sense when I was fasting.

My mind felt clear and sharp and when hunger came it was easily overcome, I felt empowered by my ability to continue my fast and exercise control over my eating.

Day three the finish line is in sight

Waking up on day three I still felt fresh, alert and had a clarity of mind. Meditation was deep and I doubled my usual time to 40 minutes and finished feeling upbeat and happy.

My mouth felt clean and my teeth didn't have the morning fur that you normally experience. In fact, I wondered if I needed to clean them at all.

I had no fear now that I wouldn't be able to stay fasting right up until the end of the day and hit my target of 72 hours.

In fact, I knew that I could keep going another day.

In the end, I broke my fast when I intended to and felt like I had achieved something meaningful.

I'm not sure of the last time I was in a fasted state, if ever.

Those of us fortunate enough to live with an abundance of food probably have never been in a fasted state.

The biggest take away from my experience was that fasting felt natural, it felt like my body expected this and knew what it needed to do.

I know that I'm better eating less than I eat now and to focus on food that is less processed. Coming back to carbs has felt heavy and I'm realising that I need to focus more on protein and vegetables.

I know that fasting is something I'm going to do again, the psychological benefits are just as good as the physical ones. 

Once you know you can overcome hunger, craving and urges for food then you know you can keep to a more healthy diet.

Oh and yes, it took a couple of extra days but I eventually cleaned house.


Want to learn the tools, strategies and tactics of Acceptance and Commitment Training? Check out my ACT group training programme here.