“You’re going to DIE!” I could hear my mother’s voice in my head when I finally decided to go for it. After all, I was brought up to believe that I needed to eat three meals a day, every day.
I had decided to go on a five-day water fast. Yes. For five full days, I planned on living on water only. No solid foods, no sugary drinks, no coffee or tea, not even vitamins.
What prompted me to start a five-day water fast?
Recently, I’d come across a video made by Dr. Dan Pompa in which he talked about the benefits of a five-day water fast, and I was intrigued. An extended fast potentially produces tremendous benefits. Weight loss is just a by-product. The possibility of training my body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates was the main idea that drew me to the idea of fasting.
During my research, I came across many cases of people, old and young, that have participated in extended fasts, sometimes for months, who came out of it renewed. Some had lost the stubborn weight they hadn’t been able to lose before. Some were able to get rid of their chronic pains and illnesses, such as joint pain, back pain, arthritis, and diabetes.
My body is quite a mess. I have been overweight since I was 20 and no fad diet, exercise, diet pill, or medical program has helped in the long run. When I would get hungry, not only did I feel famished, I would feel physically sick to my stomach. Every time I skipped a meal, I would feel like I would throw up, and I couldn’t even stand. I needed to lie down and wait for my stomach to settle. The only thing that would help was to eat something high in carbs, such as bread, rice, or noodles, or something sugary, such as a chocolate bar. Later I came to realize that I had a leaky gut.
My goal, by doing a five-day water fast, was to truly challenge myself not to depend on carbohydrates.
My ultimate goal was to train my body to not only go into ketosis but also be metabolically flexible. Our bodies are naturally hybrid engines. When our body functions properly, it burns carbohydrates and can burn fats for energy as well. Ketosis occurs when our bodies burn fats as fuel. To be metabolically flexible would mean that my body could burn both carbohydrates and fats equally efficiently, according to whichever is available. My body, as it was, only burned carbs. This was why I felt so sick when I was low on carbohydrates. I wanted to turn my body into a hybrid engine.
How did I do it?
First, I chose five days in which I had no social obligations planned so I wouldn’t need to eat out and mingle with friends over drinks and food. Also, during those five days, my husband was out of town so I would be alone in the house. I expected that I would get cranky so it would be better if he was not around. I currently work at home so my work schedule was not a problem.
During the five-day water fast, I kept track of my physical and mental experience:
I woke up, drank a full glass of water, and went on with my daily routine. My thoughts kept turning to food, thinking about what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I figured that I needed to keep myself busy. I started going through my bookcases and rearranging books. Then I moved on to my closet, throwing out clothes that I have not worn in many years.
By lunchtime, I was famished. I wanted to eat, but I managed to drink water instead. I poured a glass of warm water and sprinkled a little bit of salt in it. That helped settle my stomach. I put up signs on my pantry and refrigerator door to remind myself not to open them.
I woke up cranky but decided to stay on my water fast. I felt a little brain fog. So I rested and watched a lot of television. I stuck with my slightly salted warm water throughout the entire day.
Day 3 started similarly to day 2. However, by the afternoon, things started to get better. My energy level went back up. My brain fog was gone and I could think clearly again. I started to work, went out for a walk, and did an hour of yoga in my backyard.
I woke up like a whole new person. I felt refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated. I felt lighter, invigorated, and energetic. I played a game of tennis. I felt like I could fast forever. Day 4 was when I expected autophagy to happen. Autophagy is a big word that earned Yoshinori Ohsumi a Nobel Prize in 2016. It refers to the process where your good cells start to eat up your bad cells, which is an absolutely wonderful thing.
I still felt hungry at times but the hunger went away quickly. According to my research, day five was when my stem cells were expected to increase.
I lost seven pounds, 1 inch off my waist, and two percent of my body fat. My complexion cleared up and I looked even younger. My hair felt silky and I walked faster than ever.
I no longer get so famished that I feel the insatiable need to eat carbs. I would call my five-day water fast a success!
‘Till next time, love what you live and live what you love.