Why did I do a water fast, and 3 days at that?
First off, it's not cause I was trying to lose weight. There are much healthier holistic ways of losing fat than drinking only water for 3 days, and losing weight is a lifestyle, not a sprint (but you already know that). Although losing weight is a bi-product of the fast, my main intention was for all the health benefits you can experience from a yearly fast. Fasting has been shown to reduce disease factors in humans, and kickstart cellular rejuvenation. You can read all about that from dietitian Whitney E. RD here. She is where I got the idea of doing the fast for 3 days.
But where did I even get the idea of committing to a longer fast?
From Ms. Ezgi Dogan of "Ezgis Essentials". She posted an Instagram post saying "you have about 5-20kg of stagnant decaying waste in your colon" and went on to give details about how when you don't eliminate these toxins from your colon, your body reabsorbs them and recirculates them through your whole system. Can you imagine what that does to you?
I've struggled with acne for the last 10 years, and typically, when someone reaches their 20's, teenager acne is a thing of high school past, but that's when my acne actually started! I contracted a parasite while studying abroad in Brazil at the time, and that's what set the acne in motion, but getting rid of the parasite should have resolved the acne right? Wrong.
So I changed my diet from one high in sugar and carbs (and probably a lot of preservatives), to one of more greens, higher good fats, and lower carbs (goodbye sweets, wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes, although I indulge every now and again), and that actually significantly improved not only my acne, but my energy/ fatigue levels, gut imbalances, mood, and even my hormones. I also supplemented my diet with probiotics and whole food supplements, and I drink raw apple cider vinegar in my water on the regular.
I still drink alcohol at every performance (people want to buy me drinks ok, I'm a musician), but it's nowhere near the level of when I was studying in Brazil, and I stick to vodka sodas, no sugary drinks, beer, or even cider. I will veer off to a single glass of red wine at Terroir though, but that's only on Thursdays.
Last plug, my mom is also a chiropractor, so I get adjusted on the regular as well. If you didn't know, chiropractic care has a slew of health benefits aside from pain relief. You can read about it here.
So that has been the diet and lifestyle that works best for me, and I feel healthier at 31, than I did as a 21 year old college student, but over the years, I still have suffered with acne on a semi-regular basis. Nowhere near to the extent as when it first started, but still, I should have none.
I feel like by the time you start seeing grey hairs, you should no longer have pimples, but our modern lives have under-nourished our conventionally grown produce, over-saturated us with daily toxins, and overwhelmed our minds with "health" information, so adult acne is becoming more prevalent than ever before and we we're lost as how to resolve it.
Since I had already cleaned up my diet, found the supplements that work for me, and live an insanely blessed low-stress life, I decided to give this fasting a try. Ezgi regularly discusses fasting and it's health benefits, but she mentioned parasites in her 12 Day Fast story on IG,
and how they are actually a natural part of life, but if your body is a poor host for them (as in, your body is balanced and free of toxins), they don't house themselves in you. So I considered "Maybe that's why I got a parasite in Brazil," because I was eating sugar and bread literally everyday (I lived around the corner from a bakery *queue drool*), and was drinking pretty much every week, because I had such an active social life. Not to mention I was so far from my friends and family and any Americans I connected with, who knew my cultural references and jokes, so I was very lonely and depressed.
But since healing from the parasite from Brazil, I considered "If we have 5-20kg of stagnant decaying waste in our colon just living a regular life, maybe it would do me some good to try a water fast." So I did!
Here's what I experienced
To be honest, the first day was hard, and the second day felt even harder, but on the third day, I knew my fast would be over by 7:00 PM (that's when it would officially be 72 hours), and then I could break it with a nice simple smoothie of berries, bananas, almond milk (unsweetend), chia seeds, and greens, with a serving of fresh dates and walnut butter on the side. I did eat some homemade tuna salad with a few almond flour crackers at 8:00 PM too.
Day 1: I actually decided 11:00 PM the night before that I would do the fast. My last meal was 7:00 PM and I wasn't going to eat anything after that cause I was tired of eating too late, and then waking up not feel refreshed and recharged cause my body was working all night digesting instead of repairing. I am used to intermittent fasting, so when I woke up the next morning, I wasn't rushing to the kitchen to feed my hunger. Instead, I filled my cup of water and started working on my computer. I experienced hunger pangs throughout the day, but since I'm familiar with intermittent fasting, and I don't usually rush to eat in the AM (unless I'm leaving ASAP and want to take my supplements), my stomach wasn't rumbling or growling. It was more like a stomach poke that said "Come on. Eat something."
By the afternoon though and later toward the end of the day I was thinking "Geez, this is a little harder than I thought it would be," and I could feel my energy levels wane. So I kept drinking water throughout the day, and focusing on my work and planned schedule for myself.
Day 2: I woke up and found I needed a little less sleep than usual (I feel best after 10 hours) and also noticed my eyesight was a little clearer. I could tell some of the inflammation in my body had gone down because I was less stiff and sore when I got up in the morning, and I could flow a little easier in my morning stretch and light yoga. I still was low in energy levels though, but I took it as part of the process.
Temptation Strikes This day I think the hunger pangs were a little more prevalent, and by this point I was wondering if I should really do all 3 days. I even had multiple temptations this day, first by my
mom asking if I would get her coffee and a breakfast burrito (and I'm ADDICTED to coffee), then by my best friend asking if I wanted to get dinner with her, then by another friend asking me when I wanted to get Chinese food with him. And my mom had actually forgotten I was doing a water fast on her way to the office, and mentioned her Dinner With the Doc and said she would bring me back a salad, but then quickly corrected herself when I looked at her torn and probably forlorn by saying "Oh that's right, you're doing your fast." So this day was the one full of the THE MOST challenges, but I decided I wanted to commit and actually see this through to the end. I also found a video tip of other liquids to drink during a water fast, and opted for peppermint tea and 0 calorie unsweetened flavored sparkling water to intersperse between glasses of water.
I did actually have a full poop this day, whereas the first day, I had hardly anything, which surprised me after not ingesting food for at least 36 hours, so it showed me the fast was working on eliminating toxins, so it's weird, but this was actually an exciting and reaffirming milestone for me, strengthening my desire to want to finish. I had trouble sleeping that night, but I noticed a weird feeling in my gums laying in bed, like they were de-flamming a bit, which kind of felt good lol, and I think was the cellular repair that could have been happening in my mouth!
Day 3: Even though I had slept for maybe only 6 hours, I actually felt totally okay getting up that morning. Maybe it was because I knew by 7:00 PM I could eat, or maybe because the
worst of the fast had passed, and now I was in full ketosis. I may look skinny, but quarantine gave me a little extra fat I could use for an occasion just as this. My energy levels were still low though, and probably the lowest on this day, so that was something that never actually improved or went up for me, but I wasn't drained and fatigued like I was more often than not, even after 10 hours of sleep, before the fast, so that was exciting to see if that would change after the end of 72 hours. It did once I finally ate.
Unexpected Health Results
On this day I noticed my eyesight was the clearest of all 3 days, and also noticed the most
unique and unexpected physical effects on the outside of my body. My skin was looking much clearer and more even. The consistent bags under my eyes had actually receded significantly, and my teeth actually looked so much cleaner than they usually do (and I am very meticulous about my teeth), and I realized I hadn't used deodorant in 3 days, because I literally didn't have any body odor. Another unusual side effect, was that I had less mucus in my throat and less boogers in my nose when I woke up in the morning, of course I didn't notice this change until I broke my fast and woke up the next day. My mood was slightly improved as well, but this could be because of a multitude of things that I will go in to detail later in this post. (btw this isn't an after photo, it's just a nice shot of me I look healthy in and it fits with the narrative lol, but yes all the health benefits were real. Photo by Cody Simpson.)
Hunger pangs were difficult to deal with. I could ignore them easily, but wasn't easy overall,
just had to keep reminding myself how committed I was to the total goal. I was very drained. Although it was different from being fatigued I didn't have a lot of energy to do a lot of things. I did take my dogs for short walks and do some stretching and light mat work in the morning. I also didn't take any supplements on these days other then a little magnesium and sea salt in my water to prevent losing any electrolytes, because number one, a few of them require food (otherwise I will puke) and two, I didn't want anything to disrupt the natural process of the water fast. This was a literal experiment to see what would happen to my body.
Overall, I was extremely happy with the end result of the fast, and like I mentioned above, I broke it with a berries & greens smoothie, and also some fresh dates with unsweetened walnut butter at the official 72 hour mark.
Mental & Emotional Benefits I Experienced:
Although the physical benefits of the fast were noticeable, I think the most notable change was my mind, mentality, and my boost in confidence. There were significant emotional and mental benefits I didn't expect to have. For one, I was insanely more productive, because I wasn't using time and energy to ruminate over what to eat, when, how long it would take to make, and how long the cleanup process was going to be. I'm also an avid kitchen cleaner, so not spending 30 mins each day cleaning up the kitchen helped me shortcut physically and mentally to all the work I had planned for myself for those days.
I also recognized how I used food as a way to "get out of" or "put off" doing work I knew I had to do. Without food to distract my attention, I had to make a decision and own it and then act from there. I already thought I was decisive before, but turns out, I had some decisive cleaning I had to do mentally, and removing food from the equation helped me see that. I also recognized how much of the time, I consume food without conscience or consideration other than it's origins and "Is this going to make my skin breakout, make me fat, or make me gassy?" I hadn't considered at all how eating something specific would affect me on a cellular level, because I've been lucky enough to never have gone a day without food, so I was never faced with what my body would feel like without it, let alone, how it would feel from a specific food.
Additionally, there was no consideration for the time, energy, and resources that went in to everything to get that one piece of food in my hand. I always thought people who ate very little, or even just fresh fruits and veggies on the daily were insane, but turns out, they know how strong and capable our bodies our if our minds lead them there first. Now since having a cleansing and reintegrating food in to my life, I'm so much more cognizant of how each food affects my body, so I want to eat less and eat higher quality foods to maintain the good feeling I've achieved physically and mentally from fasting.
*Queue Mental Transformations*
I don't know if this was divine timing, hopping in to a new parallel universe, or simple coincidence that before I decided to do this fast, I had been replanning and remapping out my life for the next 5 years, to be clear and committed about where to put my time, focus,
and energy. While mapping, planning, and scheduling this new path, I was feeling both excited and anxious about the very real possibility of achieving these goals over the next 5 years. Part of this plan included day trading, and before the fast, I was referred to this book "Trading In the Zone" by Mark Douglas numerous times. Although the book is catering to those who want to be consistently successful day traders, and the psychological tools needed, I found I could apply the same principals to all aspects of my life.