I Did a 3 Day Fast. Here’s a Detailed Account of What Happened….
Ever since I listened to the first Tim Ferriss podcast interview with Dom D’Agnostino in 2015, the idea of a 3 day fast has intrigued me.
In the interview Dom spoke about how fasting triggers quite a unique series of events in the human body including (but not limited to): hormone rebalancing, triggering autophagy, easing digestive stress, boosting immunity, killing cancerous and pre-cancerous cells and improving brain function. All are pretty useful benefits, but there was one in particular that I liked the sound of – triggering autophagy.
What’s autophagy when it’s at home?
Autophagy is essentially the body ‘cleaning up’. I’ve taken the following explanation straight from Dom D’Agnostino’s website…
Autophagy is the cellular process that ensures protein and organelle turnover by degrading what is no longer needed and recycling materials to be used again by the cell, either as energy or synthesis of new structures.
In English, during the life cycle of a cell bits and pieces are broken, stop working as effectively and reach the end of their functional life. Autophagy is the process by which the body clears out, recycles and disposes of these bits, ensuring the cells stay healthy and functional. It’s occurring in the background all of the time, but by fasting we boost the process and make it more effective.
It’s the physiological equivalent of spring cleaning the house, taking the junk to the tip and giving the clothes you no longer need to the charity shop. We all know how good that feels.
With the benefits too strong and numerous to ignore, my girlfriend Rachel and I did a 3 day fast. In this article I’m going to give you an account of what happened, what we learned and how you can do it too…
So Why a 3 Day Fast? Why Not 24 Hours?
There’s various bits of research that suggests 3 days is how long we really need to give autophagy the boost it needs. It’s also the amount of time that Dom suggests as a way to nip pre-cancerous and cancerous cells in the bud, which is a huge benefit to fasting, especially if you have a history of cancer in the family (which Rachel and I both have).
We all have cancerous cells in our bodies, but our immune system deals with them just fine. A problem occurs when the cancerous cells aren’t dealt with by our immune system and a tumour develops. Here’s where fasting is so helpful in the fight against cancer – the tumour feeds off glucose (sugar), so by not eating for three days you effectively starve the cancer cells, killing them or making them easier for our immune system to deal with.
You don’t need to eat all the time, because the rest of the body functions just fine on a mixture of stored energies in our bodies – glycogen, fat and if you’re in ketosis, ketone bodies. It’s the cancer that suffers, which is why Dom (as a cancer specialist) is so in favour of us fasting – he is seeing in his lab the profound benefits of fasting and how effective a low sugar lifestyle is against metabolic diseases such as cancer.
I took his suggestion of everyone over 35 benefitting from a 3 day fast literally, so that’s why it was 3 days.
My Fasting History
I’m not new to fasting – I’ve known about it for well over a decade and I’ve done dozens of fasts ranging from 18 to 36 hours. I’ve felt and seen the benefits of a period without food. Given I don’t really eat breakfast, I’m an accidental intermittent faster anyway.
It’s a process I’ve used with a lot of personal training clients to help them lose weight. It’s an effective dieting tool because it’s so easy to follow – rather than worry about calories, you just don’t eat! Kind of takes care of the matter for you.
Anyway, back to my point… I’m certainly not new to fasting. This was the first time I’d ever attempted a 3 day fast though.
I’d toyed with the idea of doing a 3 day fast before but timing (or perhaps motivation to avoid food) hasn’t been quite there. The reason this time was different though was because Rachel had a week off work and was willing to join me in this (she’d also learnt about the benefits so was interested in trying the fast out).
This was massive – if you’re going to do a 3 day fast, you’ll need support. It’s certainly not easy.
Defining a Fast
There’s some confusion as to what constitutes a fast. Michael Mosely wrote the 5:2 diet book and describes low calorie days as a fast. There are other low calorie nutrition approaches known as ‘fast mimicking diets‘, then there’s water fasts, intermittent fasts and the like. We weren’t doing any of these. Here’s the rules of our fast….
- No food at all. None. Not a crumb.
- Only water, black coffee, herbal/green tea and BCAA drinks allowed.
- Squeezing fresh lemon or lime juice into water was allowed.
- Sugar free chewing gum was acceptable.
I’ve seen some fasts where people have consumed MCT oil in coffee, but that’s not a fast in my eyes, given you can consume hundreds of calories per day that way. We allowed a BCAA (branch chain amino acids) drink in order to minimise any muscle loss.
In case you’re interested, here’s the BCAA drink we used. Tasted good, which helped a lot (you’ll find out why later!)
How We Approached the Fast
There’s no benefit from making the fast harder than it needs to be. You’re already going without food, so if you can make the process easier psychologically or physiologically (within the rules), then you should do – that’s my thinking anyway.
With that in mind I decided to not exercise. Walking would be fine and I’d imagine a gentle weight training workout would be OK, I just didn’t do it. Three days without training wouldn’t be a big deal. Rachel managed nearly 17,000 steps one day when she was without her car and felt fine, so low intensity exercise is not a problem.
To make up for my lack of exercise, I thought I’d combine the fast with a sauna. I would have had a sauna every day, but in reality time constraints meant I only managed 1. It didn’t seem to affect me negatively, so I think there’s nothing wrong with it. You’re not restricted on how much fluid you can consume, so a sauna is fair game.
My initial thinking was that we should hyper-mineralise by taking multivitamins and minerals, but in the end I forgot to re-order some so didn’t end up taking them. If I was going to advise someone doing a fast, I’d suggest they do this. Not that we suffered because we didn’t, but I just don’t see how there would be any harm in it.
I anticipated headaches – this is common apparently. There’s a lot of theories as to why this happens, but one of them is down to sodium balance. The advice is to add a pinch of salt to drinks (just a pinch – you don’t want to drink salty water). I took this approach and it worked well, so follow that advice. I had one or two very minor headaches but they quickly cleared with the salt approach.
We decided the first full day of the fast would be the Wednesday, so I trained hard on the Tuesday and had a high protein, high carb meal in the evening. By the time I stopped eating it was 10pm, so my fast started at 10pm on Tuesday.
I weighed myself 9 times throughout the process to track my weight loss. My starting weight was 95.25kg (209.6 lbs)
What Happened in the 3 Day Fast…
I wrote observational notes throughout the fast, knowing I’d be writing an article on it. I wrote my thoughts down as they happened, so I would be recording an accurate snapshot in time. I didn’t want this to be a reflection after the event, where memories are skewed.
The beginning of the first day was really easy. I wasn’t new to fasting so it wasn’t an issue in the slightest. The end of the day is where it starts to get interesting!
What you’re reading here is exactly how I felt at the time, taken from my notes…
End of Day 1…
When we were feeding the kids it was torture. I bottled it and went to do some work upstairs, leaving Rach to feed them! It was a homemade lasagne so that would have been a nightmare for me to be around – just too tempting. Luckily Rach is stronger than I am so could (just about) cope with it!
Temptation was MAJOR! I was avoiding it at all costs, but it was tested at one point. I forgot my wallet when I went to get fuel for the car, so I had to pay on my phone. That meant I had to walk into the shop, smell the baked goods, see the chocolate, crisps etc. When you haven’t eaten for nearly 24 hours, a chocolate bar is hard to ignore! Food packaging makes food look even better!
My stomach was rumbling a lot by the evening. At this point, 3 days without food feels like a looooooong time!
Bodyweight 93.5kg (205.7lbs). Weight loss for the day: 1.75kg (3.85lbs).
I woke up weighing 92.6kg, meaning I’d lost another 900g (nearly 2lb). We all lose weight overnight, so that was expected.
Interesting observation. When you tell someone you’re fasting, they make it all about them. Everyone says “Ooooh, you’d never get me doing that!” My internal monologue thinks “Don’t then. I’m not asking you to!” Most of us make things all about ourselves.
I noticed I was feeling the cold more. I don’t know if this was a side effect of the fasting or not, but I was more aware of the cold than usual and it wasn’t any colder than it had been. Not exactly robust science, just an observation.
Distracting tastebuds with any kind of flavour is helpful. This is a mint tea with mint leaves picked from the garden. Anything but another cup of crappy coffee.
Little aches and pains I carry around with me (side effect of training hard aged nearly 37) were gone. More on this later – it’s an interesting point I need to discuss.
I’m staring temptation in the face again – I have a meeting in a restaurant at lunch time. Waitresses are carrying plates of food around the place. It smells amazing. My tap water is boring.
Psychological tricks are starting to come in now. I’m counting down the hours until I can eat again. It’s half way through and whilst I’m not especially hungry, I’m missing the taste of food. Texture isn’t bothering me.
I’ve developed a ‘fasting hack’ – instead of thinking about the lack of food, instead turn it into a positive. My body is using its fat stores. My cells are cleaning themselves. I’m not missing food, I’m being restored!
Rach and I are discussing how we’ve found it. The odd thing is the lack of hunger. It makes you realise hunger really is transient – we haven’t eaten for 48 hours. We should be starving, but we’re not. If only other people would be willing to fast, they’d learn the same! You have to feel it yourself to believe it.
Whilst we’re not hungry, we’re REALLY ready for food – mostly to taste something again. Black, unsweetened coffee is grim. I’m bored of water. BCAA drink is helping, but it’s hardly nectar.
End of the day and I’m developing cravings for a very particular taste – the char on meat cooked on a grill. I’m craving salt. Nothing sweet though, which is a surprise. I’m not hungry at all, which has made me understand the difference between hunger and a craving. A craving is a psychological yearning for a food – hunger is a physical one. That’s my theory anyway.
Bodyweight 92.3kg (203lbs). Weight loss for the day: 1.2kg (2.64lbs).
I woke up and weighed myself. 92.15kg. Weight loss slowing down – probably because glycogen stores would be low/non existent so there’s less water loss.
I’m pretty tired (I’ve done three 5.30am starts on the bounce), but managing to avoid any cravings for sweet food. Arguably the biggest bonus of this approach is the black or white nature of it. I can’t eat, so I’m not overthinking things. No food is an option, so I don’t have to think about the ‘best’ choice. There isn’t one.
The end is in sight now and food is occupying pretty much every waking thought. Rach and I are talking about food all the time, I seem to be having conversations about it all of the time. It’s not helping my cravings, but such is life.
The last few hours are going sloooooow. It’s ticking by. I’ve gone this far, three hours won’t be too tough. I think.
End of day 3… Bodyweight 91.55kg (201.4lbs). Weight loss for the day: 0.75kg (1.65lbs).
Total Weight Lost: 3.7kg (8.14lbs).
Breaking My 3 Day Fast
I was so excited about breaking the fast. I was going through a load of different options about what I was going to eat, but the winner was a grilled chicken and salad kebab with garlic mayo and a portion of doner meat and chips. That’s right – two fulls meals for one person, in one go. Glutton.
It was obscene. I attacked it like a pack of hyena’s feasting on a wildebeest kill. It probably took me 10 minutes tops to eat the lot. I followed that up with a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a bag of chocolate orange mini eggs….
Then it hit me.
I’d written a cheque my digestive system couldn’t cash. I felt sick, I could barely move and had to lie down on the sofa. I looked pregnant, my stomach was making a gurgling sound like an old washing machine draining itself and I needed a nap… at 11pm. Well, I call it a nap, but in reality I probably slipped into a food coma!
I woke up about 20 minutes later and had to move around to help my body digest the food. It took at least two hours before I felt human again. Lesson learned – you have to ease back into after a 3 day fast!
Weight Loss on a 3 Day Fast
I’ll start by saying this – weight loss was not the reason we fasted. It was an obvious and a temporary side effect. Obvious because of course we were going to lose weight – we weren’t eating. Temporary because most of the weight we lost would be water weight.
We store sugar in our bodies in the form of glycogen. This is kept in two main places – the muscle tissue and the liver. Each glycogen molecule is stored with a 3-4 water molecule ‘buffer’. When we use the glycogen and don’t replace it (as we do when fasting), we lose the water. On the first day of fasting you have to nip to the toilet a lot, even though you’re not drinking any more than normal – it’s the water you’re getting rid of.
If you look at the weight loss, you’ll see the biggest drop was from day 1, where most of the water went. It slowed down after that….
Rachel started her fast at 72.35kg (159.2lbs) and ended it at 68.9kg (151.6lbs), so she lost 3.45kg (7.6lbs). What she didn’t do was abuse her digestive system by gorging on meat and chips afterwards, so bounced out of the fast feeling great from the start, whereas I took a few hours to recover first!
I had a pretty indulgent weekend – I was out for food and beers with my friends on Saturday night, so you’d expect me to have gained the weight back. I was actually 94.25kg this morning, which is still 1kg or 2.2lbs down on Tuesday night. I’d imagine the weight I’ve regained was the water weight alone.
Legacy Benefits of the 3 Day Fast
It has been 3 days since we broke our fasts, so we can reflect on the benefits. Rachel had an immediate one – she’d fundamentally changed her ability to eat a volume of food. Her breakfast the following morning after breaking her fast was a bowl of berries with nuts and yoghurt – it wasn’t a big bowl, but she couldn’t finish it in one sitting! She had to eat it over two days.
Psychologically, we’d changed our thinking around food and hunger. We knew (because we’d experienced it) that hunger was transient. It comes and goes and our ability to resist fleeting feelings of hunger are now improved. We’ve had a system upgrade on that front.
You’re not as in ‘need’ of food either. Taking today as an example, I woke up and had a coffee. I then did a couple of personal training sessions, trained myself and came home to write. I’ve been sat at the computer all day and haven’t eaten a meal yet, which would normally be a total shock. I’m a certified glutton, so maybe that has changed.
It would make sense that our appetites have changed. Appetite is driven largely by hormones, so if we’ve had a digestive hormone re-set/re-balancing, maybe something has changed on that front. I don’t have evidence beyond the anecdotal, but it stands to reason that the fast could have done that to us.
Fasting and Injury Healing
Earlier on in the article (if you can remember that far back!) I mentioned aches and pains had gone and I wanted to discuss this issue further.
I need to stress that I wasn’t injured – I’m just nearly 37 and work my body hard. I weight train 4 times per week, I play football on hard surfaces 1-2 times per week and don’t get enough sleep. I don’t recover like I did when I was 21, because well, I’m not 21 any more! The aches and pains are totally normal and expected in someone my age, with my exercise habits.
But after that fast, they’ve gone. My lower back isn’t stiff. My right knee doesn’t give me occasional grief. My shoulders are fine.
I think that it may be down to an elimination of inflammatory foods. It would be easy to suggest that it’s because I wasn’t training, but I disagree with that and here’s why – I’ve gone without training for longer than 3 days before, but the niggles have persisted. I’ve never gone without food for three days before. When I did, the pain went too.
Autophagy being enhanced may have sped the repair of tissues, plus the lack of foods that increase inflammation may have been the dream team for helping to clear a few long-standing minor sources of discomfort. By not eating any known allergens (or anything else, for that matter) and combining it with recovery-boosting sauna use, it seems to have helped me recover.
The hyper-hydration as well probably didn’t hurt either. I was drinking 2.5-3 litres per day.
Lessons Learned From a 3 Day Fast
The 3 day fast made me question my assumptions of health, nutrition and will power. I still believe that willpower is finite and not a good way to diet – relying on will power is a sure-fire way to fail on a diet in fact. By fasting, you’re drawing a line under food – you’re not eating anything and so aren’t faced with such acute temptation.
If like me, you suffer with ‘unable to stop stuffing your face after the first bite syndrome’ then fasting could be the cure. When you’re fasting, you don’t even have the first bite, so bites 2-10,000 don’t exist. Something to think about.
Finally, I’ve decided fasting is a far simpler approach to weight loss. You don’t have to figure out macronutrient splits, calories or make choices around foods. You don’t give a shit what ‘colour’ day it is, how many ‘syns’ are in something or how many carbs are in it. If you’re prone to overthinking your food, this could be the way for you.
The biggest lesson is that your body is PERFECTLY equipped to deal with a short period (a few hours to a few days) without food. Hunger subsides – stop being a whiney little bitch about it. Make your peace with the fact that you’re hungry and you’ll notice that very quickly, it goes away.
It’s interesting how many people I’ve spoken to who claim they ‘go all shaky and stop functioning’ if they don’t eat three meals per day. I’m not saying they’re lying, but I am saying they’re probably wrong. Think about it – the human body has evolved over 2 million years. We’ve had a steady food supply for probably 150 or so. If, as they claim, their body shuts down after a few hours without food they’d have probably been eaten by an animal of some sort. Survival of the fittest.
Tips For Managing a 3 Day Fast
By this point I’ve gone on for nearly 3500 words, so I thought I’d share some insight and tips on how to do a fast. These worked for us, so I’m sure they’ll work for you too.
- Ignore or embrace your hunger and cravings. They’re a part of fasting. Get over it.
- Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be. Avoid temptation – stay out of shops, avoid people eating, don’t watch food programmes on TV.
- Keep your taste buds entertained as best as you can. Drink black coffee, mint tea, lemon water. If you rely on just water, you’re probably nuts.
- Have a friend do it with you. Rachel did it with me – without her I probably wouldn’t have lasted the three days.
- Drink a lot of fluids to fill your stomach. It helps a lot.
- Keep yourself busy – if you’re bored, your mind wanders to food when you’re hungry!
- Chew sugar free chewing gum. It gives you something to taste and chew without breaking your fast.
- If you keep thinking of food, make yourself busy. Take your mind off it.
- Remember why you’re doing it. It’s good for you. Keep that in mind!
3 Day Fast: Final Thoughts
It’s easy to be wise after the event, but I’m glad we did the fast. It was a physical and psychological challenge. It was tough, but it was rewarding. I learned a lot – about myself, about Rach, about food, about hunger, about psychology, physiology and I think it has improved my understanding of weight loss and cravings.
I don’t think everyone should do a 3 day fast off the bat – build up to it by doing 18, 24 and 36 hour fasts to teach yourself how to cope without food. Like exercise, your ability to tolerate it increases with exposure.
I’m not in any rush to repeat the 3 day fast, but given we’ve experienced tangible benefits from it, we’d certainly do it again. Rach and I both feel better for it and ultimately, that’s exactly why you do it. It’s not especially nice, but the benefits are. Physiologically and psychologically, we’re a bit better than we were on Tuesday last week!
Do it yourself and you’ll be better too.
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40 thoughts on “I Did a 3 Day Fast. Here’s a Detailed Account of What Happened….”
I generally don’t leave comments but your article has literally compelled me to write one. I love the detail, and how honest you were. I am just past 12 hours of my fast and was already feeling hungry. Bit after reading this “I am getting over it and dealing with it” Such an engaging and informative read. Thank you!
Thank you for your lovely words – it’s always nice to hear that my writing has inspired someone to make changes.
Congratulations on your fast. Stay strong, it’s not easy, but the benefits are there to feel an experience if you can keep going!
If you need any help or advice, feel free to give me a shout!
Hey Steve. Beautiful article. I’ve literally been asked to come eat while I type this message to you as they don’t know im on a fast right now at home.
Wanted to know if you have any pointers on the best way to break a fast. Best food etc?
Thanks, Gerard! Glad you liked it!
When it comes to breaking a fast there’s a couple of bits of advice I’d give…
1. Remember you won’t be able to cope with the same amount of food as before.
2. Try not to eat too unhealthily – your body will be thirsty for nutrients.
I made the mistake of eating a lot of food in one go as soon as I finished the fast. Half of my food was good (lean protein, salad etc), but I also had chips and chocolate. That was my mistake – I felt quite unwell for an hour or so afterwards.
If I were you I’d go with lean protein, low carbs and low fat. Drink water, then indulge yourself a little later!
I came across this randomly. And I love it.
What you say is so straight forward, and it is really motivating! It has made me decide that I want to take better care of myself and try this too. ( I believe the benefits outweigh being hungry) And if hungry, get over it! Haha brilliant.
Thank you for this!
Thanks for the kind words, Ameline!
It was a really interesting experiment to do and probably one that I’ll repeat again in the near future. It’s not easy, but it was worth it!
If you need any help, just give me a shout!
I was on the third day of a three day fast when I came across your article. I’m aged 50 years and also noticed that the “normal” aches and pains associated with being 50 are nearly gone, a nice side effect of self torture ?
Certainly is a nice effect, Ron!
How have you felt throughout your fast? What made you do it? I’m always interested in hearing other people’s experiences on a fast!
About how much weight did you gain back after the 3 day fast?
Awesome article by the way.
I’m going on 36 hours now and feel kinda light headed, do you have any pointers on that?
I gained back about 3lbs, which I’d suggest is about the water weight.
Glad you like the article – I try to write in a way that people will find helpful.
In terms of light-headedness, I’d suggest maybe some BCAA’s or adding some freshly-squeezed citrus fruit and a tiny pinch of salt to your drinks – the extra minerals can help.
I’ve been doing imf 18:6 since the pandemic began, have dropped some weight I picked up during a (long!) recovery after a achilles tendon rupture last year. I am about to try my first 3 day fast next week, will be in quieter NJ as opposed to NYC so hope that helps the “hangry” that I think I will feel…
there is some good advice here, thanks for the article
Glad you enjoyed the article, David! Glad you’re losing the weight you gained and I also think you’ve made the right choice by moving somewhere less stressful! Being angry certainly wouldn’t help feelings of control around food!
If you need any help, just give me a shout!
You definitely had me laughing with how you broke your fast. You wrote that you had done fast before, so I figured you would have much more control than that!
I’m like you and that if I have that one bite, I’m gonna have all the bites, LOL. I did have a period where I gained weight and I needed to get it off, and fasting was the easiest way to do it. Here I am a couple years later, and I’m needing to lose a little baby weight, so I’m gonna do a three day fast. Here I go! And really, as you mentioned, the more you do it the easier it gets. You won’t have that need to eat like a monster when you break your fast. But yeah, constantly thinking about food is the hardest part. I just got done standing in front of my freezer and staring at meat for about fifteen minutes.
Yeah I’d done a few fasts, but never as long as 3 days! Oh my word, when I do it again at some point I definitely won’t be breaking the fast like that again – it was horrible!
How are you feeling on yours?
Great article I have 10 hours of the three day fast left, i have just drunk water, i did a 36 hour fast the previous week and felt light headed nearer the end, this time I rubbed into my skin a 50:50 water:Magnesium Chloride flakes so no dizziness whatsoever, my first grumble in my tum is now, but I am gutted I have had no weight loss 🙁 However I have done no exercise at all during the fast.
Great that you did the fast and remember – weight loss isn’t the main benefit. See how you feel afterwards. I’d be surprised if you didn’t weigh less after a 3 day fast!
I loved the article as it is so honest and informative, I would love to do the three day fast and my husband is keen to try it also but I am concerned for his heart, should we take magnesium and how much if so, I have heard longer fasts can affect muscles including the heart, we are in our fifties but reasonably healthy, thank you in advance, my brother did eight days fasting after a really bad accident, it worked wonders for his recovery, thanks
To be honest when it comes to the magnesium suggestion for your husband, I’m not the person to advise on that – I don’t know him or his case. You’d be better speaking to a Doctor who uses fasting as part of their practice. I’d image he’d be absolutely fine, but you’d be wise to check first.
I honestly think fasting is a great health improvement tool and one that more of us should use. Give yourself a bit of a run up, practice with 24 and 36 hour fasts firsts, then go for the longer one. It’s not easy, but it’s really worth it – your bother obviously agrees!
Good luck and if you need any extra advice, just ask!
I have done intermittent fasting now and in the past (doing a 1000 cal today). I have also fasted up to 48 hours before which wasn’t the most pleasant thing ever lol.
The biggest lesson learnt is indeed that hunger is transient. It seems that the body has an attempt at making you eat something before it decides to start burning the fat. For me hunger lasted usually a little over 30 minutes before it started to fade away again and would come back every 3 or 4 hours and have another go at fooling you into eating.
The hunger waves were a real eye-opener for me, I assumed hunger would just be a linear progression, getting worse as the day goes on. The reality is completely different!
48 hours fasting is a great effort – any plans to push on to the 3 day fast?!
Feeling more positive for fasting after reading your detail.. Thankyou?
That’s great to hear, Rajni! Good luck with it!
This is a great resource. I’ve been doing IF for a couple years, have done a few successful 24-hour fasts, and am planning to do my 1st 3-day fast next weekend. Thanks for your thoughts and tips! I didn’t see a link to the BCAA drink you used. Could you please share that? Cheers.
Here’s the drink I used…
I had the blue raspberry one and it was perfectly palatable!
Thanks for the interesting experiment and read. Very easy to read and straight forward. I also read your article about your diet of eating less than 1,000 calories.
I have done 4 fasting days within the last month as well as one day drinking only one glass of apple juice. The physical benefits are nice, but the mental benefits are the ones you can only understand by doing it. I have a greater appreciation for food, quickly realize how little food one needs to feel full, understand the difference between feeling full mentally and feeling full physically, have a greater spiritual sense (I have realized important things on a fast – just the same way it cleanses your body it can also cleanse your mind and make you think about important things), and my self discipline has been strengthened not only in food, but other areas of my life. There is a reason fasting has a spiritual/religious history.
The physical benefits are much more noticeable to the outside. Due to my fasting over the last month coupled with a low calorie diet I lost 14 pounds in the first 2 weeks (184 down to 170), followed by 9 pounds in the second two weeks (170 down to 161), amounting to 23 pounds in 4 weeks! Not a bad start to getting back in shape and realizing how much mental strength one can have that had been lost.
Not many people I talk with about this think it is a good idea or think they have the strength to do it. However, I have lived it myself as well and would recommend it to others as long as they are safe about it. The physical and mental benefits make it worth it.
That’s fantastic to read – I’m really glad the fast has helped you regain a sense of perspective and control over food. On reflection, the thing that surprised me most was how many minor aches and pains went away with the lack of food, suggesting that a lot of them may be linked to what I was eating. As you say, fasting is a chance to sharpen the mind and it certainly did that for me.
Congratulations on the weight loss as well. You’ll have transformed your health with that.
Thanks for the article. I have fasted (3days) before the cold is definitely an issue (I work all day in a freezer every day for 10 years so normally deal with it well). I had no problems with anything else. I drank coffee with a tiny amount of milk but nothing else except water. No fatigue or head ache of brain fog.
Of interest I just quit being vegetarian after 3 years and proceeded to put on 7kg in 10 days, I ate everything in sight and started lifting weights and running but would not have thought it possible to gain that much. (I didn’t look as fat as previously which I found even stranger). Now only 4 days later 3kg of that has gone. I wish I’d taken some tests and recorded it better.
I am now going to do a 3 day fast starting Monday night. Thanks for the motivation.
Hi Steve, I planned a 3 day fast starting this morning as I’m a compulsive over eater! and I’m getting a lot of stomach pains lately!
I googled last night and came across your account. Brilliant, thanks for the tips, can I have peppermint tea and ginger and lemon tea?
How do you intend to make it? Literally put the ingredients into boiling water and let them stew?
That would be absolutely fine!
Thanks for the article. One line cracked me up, though…
“It’s interesting how many people I’ve spoken to who claim they ‘go all shaky and stop functioning’ if they don’t eat three meals per day. I’m not saying they’re lying, but I am saying they’re probably wrong.”
We’re on the 3rd day of our fast. My husband has no ill effects AT ALL. I’ve been headachy, hungry, nauseous, and unusually tired. BUT…I now know why. We stopped this morning to get a water with the magnesium, potassium, calcium electrolytes (no sugar, no fake sugar), and the side effects disappeared within half an hour.
For those of you fasting who are feeling not so well, it might be something as simple as that…
Hi Jeanette, and thanks for the response! That could be a great tip for the readers – keep essential minerals up. I didn’t suffer, but that’s probably from taking the multivitamins.
As for the line, yeah I wrote it because I noticed a lot of people tend to be a bit dramatic when you tell them you aren’t eating!
I have really liked this because i have been use lemon juice for months now buh the moment I used this atleast I can fit in my favorite Jean now thanks alot
Glad it worked for you!
I was searching for an article in google as I am contemplating to do a 3 day fast. I’m one month into IF and doing OMAD. I lost 14 pounds in 30 days.
I’m looking for some help on how to do the 3 day fast properly. Thank you for sharing your experience. With the weight loss results and other benefits, I’m really looking forward to doing it.
Not a problem – good luck with your fast and let me know how you feel at the end of it!
Hello there! Just found your blog and love it. You’re spot on about the fasting experience. I’ve done many fasts (20 hour, 24 hour, 36 hour, 3 days and a 5 days once). The difference between need for food and a psychological desire for food is fascinating, and you can’t really distinguish that there is a difference until you enter the world of fasting. I love that all the malarkey about going into starvation mode after a few hours is finally going away….it’s absolutely ridiculous. You can go quite a long time without food!
Anyways, you might find this very interesting. Please look up the “fasting benefits chart” created by Dr. Mindy Pelz. She shows hour-by-hour what is happening in your body during a fast, up to 5 days. Somewhere between 24 and 45 hours your body starts producing musculoskeletal stem cells, which repairs old injuries and aches and pains. Every single time I do a fast I start getting mild pains in areas of old injuries, even ones I totally forgot about. And over time, with more fasts, those have faded away. When the body isn’t constantly expending energy on digestion, it frees up energy to do all these amazing healing and repair mechanisms that we can never experience, if we are following the conventional “wisdom” of eating 3 small meals plus snacks constantly. Doing so is literally detrimental. We NEED to fast in order to survive and fight disease—it’s how we evolved. Take care!! <3
Thank you for the kind words – I wanted to share an honest experience of the fasting process, not some made-up version that makes it seem all sunshine and roses!
Hunger certainly isn’t linear, but it’s a difficult message to get across to some people unfortunately.
By the way, I’ll certainly check out Mindy’s work – sounds fascinating! The disappearance of aches and pains was a remarkable side effect of the fasting experiment! One I’m going to repeat, that’s for sure!
Hope you’re well!