I Ate and Drank Nothing but Water for 3 Days - My First Water Fast
I never knew the amazingly restorative benefits that fasting could have on the body. I knew that people fast for various reasons, from athletic to religious, and what generally happens in the body when we fast. But I never knew that fasting could help so much with healing.
After talking with my nutritionists about all the great ways fasting helped them heal, I thought, “That’s cool… That’s not for me though.” (I mean, why would you want to not eat for 3 days?! That didn’t sound fun at all.) Then I read a newspaper article and learned that new research has shown fasting for as little as 3 days can essentially regenerate the entire immune system. I also learned that it’s not uncommon for oncologists to facilitate water fasts for their chemotherapy patients who are largely immunosuppressed.
The more I learned, I hadn’t only changed my mind and decided to give it a try, but I was actually excited for it! Which made me chuckle because well, who gets excited to not eat for 3 days?? But I was, and here’s why.
The science, simplified
The reactions I got when I told people I planned to fast with only water for 3 days were threefold: 1) That doesn’t sound healthy… 2) Omg, don’t die! and 3) But y tho…
Let’s start off with #1: Why fasting is not unhealthy
Fasting is a natural recovery process that our bodies already do in small amounts. For example, you’re fasting every night when you sleep, and when you’re sick, your appetite is suppressed because digestion is not a priority for your body. It’s a necessary process that allows our bodies to recover from physiological stress and to excrete toxins that we continuously accumulate from things like dietary excess (additives, GMO’s, excessive sugar to name a few), environmental pollution, and cellular waste.
#2: Here’s why I wasn’t going to die
We use energy from different sources in our bodies in a very specific order. Here’s how it works:
#3: Why? Because science
Recent research has shown that in addition to using stored glycogen and fat for energy during fasting, the body also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells (WBCs), a major player in our immune system. This is because the body is trying to get rid of the most inefficient parts of the immune system — old or damaged WBCs.
“The [immune] system tries to save energy, and one thing it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” said Dr. Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California. Essentially, fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new WBCs in replacement, rebuilding the entire system.
Considering ~60% of your body’s energy is continuously being expended on digesting food alone, imagine all the restoration that could happen by redirecting that chunk of energy away from digestion and toward repairing your immune system, even for just a few days! I was stoked.
Prepped for my water fast with a 1-day juice fast (I only drank fresh-squeezed juice all day). This is important to do, especially if it’s your first time, to taper off your digestive processes so that you don’t shock your body.
While you’re fasting, it’s important that you don’t have any major activities to do AKA expend too much energy, but this is especially important on Day 1. I took this to the extreme and treated myself to Cassie’s Eczema Healing Spa™ (Check out the pics from my relaxing DIY getaway below! Not actually trademarked ☹ lol). Most people say they feel most hungry on Day 1, then it passes after that. I didn’t really feel hungry at all this day, but I think it’s because I was so relaxed at Cassie’s Healing Spa, food never even crossed my mind!
Cassie’s Healing Spa came complete with mani-pedi services, aromatherapy, coloring and reading corner, soothing oatmeal bath, and only the best, natural products for maximum eczema healing. Purchase your membership today!
I’d been hardcore maxin’ and relaxin’ for the past 24 hours, but I still woke up super out of it. I felt pretty exhausted after a 10-hour-slumber and a little lightheaded, which worried me a bit tbh. I soon realized what I needed was to drink water, downed about ½ a gallon, and felt totes fine! I didn’t even get a stomach ache or feel bloated afterward. I felt refreshed and ready for the day. I was hungriest on this day, but what kept me going strong was knowing, “Girl, you already haven’t eaten food for 2 days… If you break now, what a waste!” And I ain’t no chump.
Day 3 started off easy peasy. By this time, I felt like a freakin’ #HealingBOSS. I was showing my eczema who was in charge — that’s right, Eczema. But the closer it got to the end of the day, the more I could not stop thinking about food. O_O I was counting down the minutes, but I still felt so proud of myself!
Breaking the fast
I broke my fast with a big, beautiful glass of fresh-squeezed juice (as you should — again, you don’t want to shock your body, causing you to feel sick.) It was TheBomb.Com and more.
Would I do it again?
I went from “Eh, it would be too hard” to “Ok, this is pretty cool” to “Oh heck yeah, LET’S DO DIS” to “Look at me goooo!” Yes, I would so do it again (and probably will) for these 3 reasons:
1) I surprised myself — This experience strengthened my mental fortitude and grit. 2 things vital to conquering any mental or physical challenge you face in life. I mean, I started a mere, apprehensive mortal and came out a #HealingBOSS… How cool?
2) I gave my body a break for the FIRST time EVER! Think about it — Your body is basically working from your first meals of milk all the way to your end-of-life… Have you ever given your body a true break? This experience was so cleansing and allowed me to see and feel the effects of detoxing my body, inside and out.
3) I know I’m doing everything I can, and it is empowering — By now, you probably know what a struggle this healing process is for me. (If you don’t, you can read my story of healing severe eczema naturally here.) Before I started this journey, I spent every second of every day thinking about my skin — how much pain I was in, how unattractive I felt, how debilitating it was. Since then, I still spend most of my day thinking about my skin, except now it’s about how I’m healing a little more every day, how I can help others through my experience, and how motivated, resilient, and unstoppable I am in reaching my goal… Eczema, come at me bro.
Current Update on Me
For the past 7 months, my old routine of diet and exercise was completely turned on its head. I’m so proud to share that since then, I’ve been working on my new and improved routine of living a healthy life, but the journey hasn’t come without cost. I’ve lost a lot of weight from learning to navigate this lifestyle change — I haven’t been this small since high school! (But don’t worry, I am still within normal weight range for my age and height, and I do have a normal BMI). My muscle mass has also significantly decreased from my inability to exercise for over half a year. As my skin is a lot better than even 1 month ago, I’ve been able to gradually increase my physical activity with things like walking a lot more, which has also made me feel a lot happier. These physical side-effects used to make me feel so sad and out of control of my body, but with more healing, I now feel hopeful and excited to regain the physical aesthetic I know I’m capable of. I’m confident that as long as I prioritize my healing, everything else will follow.
Recent photo of me at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I really noticed my body changing when my clothes started fitting differently. For example, these shorts used to be tighter on my legs. I used to feel a loss of control because of my changing body, but now I feel excited, looking forward to bringing the booty back.
*DISCLAIMER* If you decide to try fasting, it’s very important to start low and go slow — Start with a 1-day fast, then graduate to 3- and 5- days. If you want to fast longer than that, I would probably consult your physician. Going into the fast and breaking the fast are also just as important as your fasting days — Taper and build digestion with fresh juice and raw fruits and veggies accordingly. I followed the instructions from my nutritionist’s blog here.