My 5 Day Water Fast
As a health professional I do not participate in fad diets nor do I recommend them to others. This is not a fad diet. Although weight loss is eminent it is not the ultimate goal when participating in a water fast. The benefits of doing a water fast extend far beyond aesthetics. Some of the benefits include:
Achieving a blood pressure low enough to eliminate medication (1)(6).Promoting brain macroautophagy (the recycling of dysfunctional tissue/cells) through achieving ketosis (2)(4). Macroautophagy via ketosis is associated with protecting against cancer and treating epilepsy (3).Treating obesity by reprogramming the body to feel satiated at lower caloric intakes (5)Regulate blood glucose and insulin response (7), also achieved through intermittent fasting.
There are many other benefits, but these four are the most intriguing to me and the most researched. However, besides journal articles the anecdotal evidence for the health benefits of water fasting are extremely intriguing!
All this said, every individual responds differently to fasting. Depending on how much your body needs to repair, the fast may be more/less difficult and side-effects may vary.
Below I have summarized my experience water-fasting. Thankfully I do not have any major health concerns going into the fast, but I did need to reset my blood glucose levels and my response to sugar. In addition, I added some anxiety/stress reducing activities to make the detox complete. The fasting and activities I chose created a great base for reflection and spiritual reconnection.
OVERALL Weight Loss (Post Fast)
TOTAL Weight Loss (6 Days Post Fast)
During my fast I took a couple of supplements, and allowed for the consumption of water and some tea. If you have major complications I would recommend getting in touch with a practitioner that can guide you through the fast.
The supplements I chose were meant to ensure I have a (relatively) easy transition into the water fast and have good energy levels throughout. I also used probiotics to maximize the benefits of the fast for my digestive system. Sea salt was an essential addition for me as I have low blood pressure. Sea salt is especially recommended for longer fasts, otherwise extremely low levels of salt in the body can result in cardiac arrest.
1/4 tsp sea salt
Rules & Activities: Limit social media and makeup use, prayer, colouring therapy, reading.
*If you plan on trying this out you don't need all the above, most people just need a multivitamin and Omega-3 for a short fast. For longer fasts it's best to take all the above (minus biotin).
The Diary: Pre and Post Fast
Day 1 (Friday August 4, 2017)
Today felt great
No hunger at all
Very productive, more than usual
Drank 1L water
Went for 1.5 hour motor ride to visit Kale Caddis (Alanya Castle)
Day 2 (Saturday August 5, 2017)
Didn’t sleep until 4AM last night, so I listened to 2 hours more of podcasts
Woke up at 9AM feeling dizzy, eyes hurt etc then slept until 3PM!
Had a slow rise, watched a show, and read for 20 min
Drank 2.5L Water + 1 cup of tea at a beach side cafe (did it for the views ;)
At 6PM I went for a 2 hour walk
Day 3 (Sunday August 6, 2017)
Slept better, still later than I wanted (2:30AM)
Woke up at 10AM feeling good, a little tired
Colour therapy for 1 hour
Went out for tea and shopping at 2pm and came back 9pm - walked 7km total (around 70min)
Day 4 (Monday August 7, 2017)
Realized I’m only ever uncomfortably hungry at night before I sleep. The best way to suppress this is to sleep on my side and not on my back as I usually do.
Had a slightly hard time sleeping, went to bed at 11:30pm and didn’t sleep until 2am
40min walking total for the day
Noticed huge improvements in my skin - maybe from the fast, maybe from wearing no makeup - no new blemishes, scars fading quickly, skin is glowing
Day 5 (Tuesday August 8, 2017)
Broke fast at night with 2 cups of Ayran
Later went for soup with some bread and olives
Felt so good to eat
Mind lit up when I drank the Ayran
No digestive issues after breaking the fast1200 cal total
OVERALL Weight Loss (Post Fast)
Day 1 Post Fast (Wednesday August 9, 2017)
First day post fast
Not dizzy anymore
Couldn’t sleep until 6:30AM
I think during the fast I simply didn’t need as much sleep and wasn’t accounting for that. Usually I need 8-9 hours of sleep, during the fast I needed 6-7 hours maximum.
Breakfast was a traditional Turkish breakfast (1200 cal)
Day 2 Post Fast (Thursday August 10, 2017)
Feel less hungry than usual (probably due to regulated blood sugar and insulin response)
Fasting has reset my hunger levels/ability to portion control
Slept 7 hours and woke up easily
Had a full active day - shopping (groceries and clothes)
Approx. 1 hour of walking
Food intake: 1 cup laban ayran + 1 cup fruit for breakfast, turkish delight and olive tasting (2 pieces), Ottoman lamb tomato sauce with 1 cup rice for lunch, 2 cups fresh orange juice, 2 tbsp knafe, 2 cups laban ayran - total 1600 cal and feel very full.
Craving a lot of meat, fish, ayran and olives - healthy high fat foods
Day 3 Post Fast (Friday August 11, 2017)
Consuming a balanced diet daily:
2 cups fruit or balanced breakfast
Minimum 5-6 cups of salad a day
A serving of protein* for lunch and dinner
1 serving of bread/rice/potatoes a day
1-2 cups of Ayran a day
100-200 cal dessert.
* Protein: Chicken, meat, fish, eggs, beans.
Day 6 Post Fast (Monday August 14, 2017)
OVERALL Weight Loss (6 Days Post Fast)
When we think we’re hungry we really aren’tFasting helps you break the emotional connection to food and build habits to replace eating food when boredThere is a new found appreciation for foodIt is extremely satisfying to see your health improve in such a short period of time
Your body will adjust within 4 days to whatever you make it adjust to, in any lifestyle change it is simply a matter of adjustment - the beginning is usually very physiologically and psychologically taxing but humans are more than equipped to deal with these changes (no matter how extreme).Our bodies are designed to withstand crisis situations better than we thinkIt’s actually easier to fast completely than try restrict specific foodsIn many cases I was more productive fastingMy digestive system enjoyed the break
I found it difficult to limit social media completely, and I realized that social media is seen as this entirely negative thing when in fact there are many positive components. I appreciated seeing emotional status updates from friends that were going through a rough time, and I appreciated keeping up with global news. I think it is important to stay connected with the people we love, and if that has to happen through social media then so be it. Besides, depending on who you follow, your feed just may provide the inspiration you need to stick to your cleanse.
Post Fast Reflections
In Turkey, as in Palestine, plate and cup sizes are smaller (8). There is a definite association between oversized plate wear and obesity as the studies have suggested. Side note: There are very little obese Turkish or Palestinian people. In the week post fast I found it much easier to stick to a clean diet, there were very little cravings for sweets/sugar. My response to glucose has normalized/rebalanced.Skin has cleared up almost completely (not sure whether to attribute it to the cleanse, to less makeup, or to sun exposure), skin tone has also improved.
To conclude I will definitely be incorporating more intermittent and long-term water fasting into my life. The benefits are numerous, and when the fast is planned there are very little downsides. I am surprised at how productive I was throughout the fast, and know now that I can do a fast while working. If you’ve done a juice or water fast let me know about your experience!