So this weekend my sister and I completed a three-day water fast. I know, we party hard on the weekends. In December I completed a seven-day water fast so I knew what was up ahead. My sister was so funny trying to complete the three days.
Fasting is mentioned in the bible over 70 times! Jesus and Moses fasted for 40 days and we were struggling with three. Tiffany is convinced it was not a true 40 days because she was starving from day one.
There are many types of fasting. Some include food restrictions, intermittent fasting, and water only fast, etc.
There are so many benefits to fasting. Fasting can clear toxins, relieve anxiety, help reduce sugar cravings, increases energy, reduces inflammation, and helps promote digestion. When your fasting your body induces a cellular repair process and removes waste from the body. Because you enter a fat burning process your insulin levels are reduced (1).
Your body is made up of 60-70% water. Your cells, organs, and lymphatic system need water to function properly. By completing a water fast your lymphatic system can remove toxins from the body.
Some research has shown that intermittent fasting, when completed by cancer patients, reduced the side effects of chemotherapy (2).
When you start fasting your body switches over from burning sugar as its source of energy to burning fat. Here’s what Dr. Fung has to say about how many days you can fast:
What’s interesting is that if you take a pound of fat, that’s roughly 3,500 calories. If you eat somewhere around 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day, it takes two full days of fasting to burn a single pound of fat, which is very surprising to people. If you’re trying to lose 100 pounds, you could theoretically go 200 days of fasting just to burn all that fat … People worry about fasting for 24 hours. I’m like, ‘You could go 200 days.’ Then it’s like, ‘OK. Maybe it’s OK to go 24 hours without eating.'”
Other common obstacles people face when deciding to fast is what about starvation mode? Here is a question that gets asked a lot, “If I fast and enter starvation mode won’t my body start holding onto fat instead of burning it off?” Here is Dr. Fung’s answer,
“What they’re talking about is where the body’s metabolism starts to slow down so significantly that instead of burning 2,000 calories a day, your body might burn 1,000 calories a day. In that case, even if you’re eating only 1,500 calories a day, for example, you’re going to gain your weight back. That’s actually what happens when you reduce your calories. We know that … as you cut your calorie intake, your calorie expenditure goes down as well.
Starvation mode actually is guaranteed if you just try and cut your calories. But what’s interesting is that fasting doesn’t do that. What happens during fasting is that … after four days of fasting, the basal metabolic rate is actually 10 percent higher than when you started. The body has not shut down at all. In fact, what it’s done is it switched fuel sources. It switched from burning food to burning [body] fat. Once it’s burning [body] fat, it’s like, ‘Hey, there’s plenty of this stuff. Let’s burn our 2,000 calories’…”
Hence the increase in energy when fasting. If you start to detox then you can feel kinda drained for a few days. After that, you should feel a drastic increase in energy levels.
While fasting can benefit almost everyone, there are some people who should not do extended fasts:
- Underweight, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or less.
- Malnourished (in which case you need to eat healthier, more nutritious food).
- Children should not fast for longer than 24 hours, as they need nutrients for continued growth. If your child needs to lose weight, a far safer and more appropriate approach is to cut out refined sugars and grains. Fasting is risky for children as it cuts out ALL nutrients, including those they need a steady supply of.
- Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women. The mother needs a steady supply of nutrients in order to assure the baby’s healthy growth and development, so fasting during pregnancy or while breastfeeding is simply too risky for the child (3).
Dr. Fung has a book The Complete Guide to Fasting which is great if you would like to learn more. This is also a great and true quote from Dr. Fung,
“The most important message, I suppose, is that health is really yours to take back, to take back from all the drug pushers and the people who just want you to take medications and who tell you that you can’t do it and you’ll always have type 2 diabetes,” Fung says.
“The solutions are all there. It’s all within your grasp. It just requires the right knowledge … As physicians, the 19th to 20th century is all about drugs because we had a lot of infections. That was a great model. You take those antibiotics, you get better.
But now as we go onto the 21st century, it’s all metabolic diseases. They’re all dietary diseases. The problem is we’re trying to use drugs for dietary diseases. Then we wonder why our drugs are no good. It’s because the premise is entirely wrong. It’s like bringing a snorkel to a bicycle race. It’s just the wrong thing. We’ve got to move on.”
Everyone has their reasons for completing a fast. For me, I’ve been struggling with Eczema for two years. I had it under control and it has recently flared up. I am going to start an herbal supplement regimen that kills fungus. So I started with a three-day water fast. I added lemons and lemon essential oils to my water as lemon is great to help detox. The first day or two is the worse and you really do feel hungry. After that, it is amazing how you do not really feel hungry anymore. As I start the herbal supplements I will keep ya’ll posted on how it goes.
Since completing our water fast we are now doing vegetables only this week. Last night we had an amazing salad with Tessemae’s Organic Avocado Ranch Dressing and butternut squash zoodles with peppers, onions, and zucchini on top. This tasted like heaven in the mouth! Fasting makes you appreciate healthy food so much more! Everything will taste delicious!
If you have not tried Tessemae’s dressings you so should! It is dairy-free, gluten-free, cage-free eggs, and sugar-free dressing.
As fun as water fasts are, I’m going to enjoy my vegetables this week! I want to know have you tried a fast before? What kind of fast? How did it go and how did you feel afterwards?
“This is the fast that I have chosen … to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke. Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth.” – Isaiah 58:6