This month I chose to do a five day water fast. That’s right folks, I spent five entire days consuming NOTHING BUT WATER! I’m breaking down all the details including a day by day recount of how this all felt and what the results were in this blog post.
If you’d rather listen to a recap that read it, you’re in luck because I also recorded a video recap for my Youtube channel, feel free to watch it below or keep scrolling if you prefer to read my recap.
I’d say this month’s Year of Fear challenge was based around two fears:
- Fear of being hungry – no one wants to feel hungry for any extended period of time. It’s an unpleasant feeling and I know that even the thought of doing an extended fast is immediately met with visions of hunger pains persisting for days
- Fear of failure and disappointment – I know my biggest hurdle with deciding to do an extended fast was feeling like I didn’t want to waste my time trying something I didn’t think I could accomplish. I didn’t want to feel like a failure or let myself down so I didn’t even want to bother doing it.
The Back Story
I’m in a group on Facebook called Black Girl Speaks and The Healing Begins. One day, a friend from college posted in the group that she had just completed a 120 hour fast only drinking water, sometimes with apple cider vinegar and electrolytes, and chewing PUR gum. I was intrigued and impressed. I’m honestly always impressed with people who have the discipline to deprive themselves of things or stick to a rigorous routine for any period of time. I admire people who have the level of self-control, willpower, and discipline. But I’ve never been interested in fasting, it’s just never been something I wanted to do, likely for the reasons I listed earlier.
But this time, I couldn’t get this woman’s post out of my head. I kept wondering if this was something I could have the mental fortitude to accomplish. Each time I thought about it, I quickly dismissed it as something I just likely could not do.
But on Monday morning, June 29th I woke up and said to myself “I think I’ll do that five day water fast today”. It seemed so random but as I thought about it, it was the perfect time to do it. That week represented a transition week. It was the final days of the first half of the year and the first days of the second half of the year. A perfect time to do something “drastic” to recommit to being disciplined and crushing my goals for 2020.
Like most people by midyear, I had gotten a bit stagnant when it came to the goals I signed up for in 2020 and although I had proclaimed my word for the year to be “DISCIPLINE” mine was starting to slip. Layer on the craziness of a pandemic and you just have a shit show. That said, this was a great week to do something serious and get refocused. So I chose to do it!
The added bonus was that the benefits I had read about extended fasting were tremendous! I read that fasting can:
- Reset your metabolism
- Allow your body to rid itself of bad cells
- Improve your brain function
- Extend your life expectancy
- Reduce inflammation and swelling in the body (goodbye back-pain)
Given I’ve been having some challenges with losing weight and recently had some increasing back pain, this was just perfect.
I would also note that someone mentioned in that fb post, that women should be careful about when they choose to fast because at certain times during our monthly cycle, fasting can contribute to hair loss 😳. I watched a video someone shared in the group by a woman who has posted her findings on when it’s best for women to fast, she stated fasting is best for women during days 1 – 12 of their cycle. As fate would have it, I was on day 2 of my cycle when I decided I should jump in. It was like all the stars were aligning for this to happen. The Universe wanted me to do this!
I decided to only drink water during my fast, no electrolytes no chewing gum. Just sipping water. I also decided to expand my fast to cover spending, social media, and television. So for five days, I did not eat anything, buy anything, watch tv, or use facebook or instagram!
I’m going to share with you my raw notes that I took each day, unedited and unfiltered:
- Last meal was around 9:30pm on Sunday
- Woke up this morning and decided today was a good day to fast. Since we are halfway through the year this week, and I’m on day 2 of my cycle then it’s pretty perfect timing. I’m going to shoot for 5 days
- 3pm – decided to expand this fast to be a spending and social media fast as well. Not spending money on anything nonessential this week and trying to limit to only paying bills. Also logged out of social media.
- 8pm – Haven’t really felt hungry, my stomach growled a little bit around 6 but I’m not exactly feeling like I’m starving or trying to stave off hunger.
- 6am – Thought I would wake up STARVING. I did not. I went to sleep around 9:30pm, woke up feeling fine. After going to the bathroom though I started getting really bad intermittent pains in my stomach and feeling a bit nauseous. It went away after about an hour. My mouth was also super dry. The nausea made me feel like I shouldn’t drink just water but the dry mouth made me feel like I needed more water.
- 9am – did a 20 min slow yoga workout on the peloton app and drank a few sips of salt water with lime juice. After the yoga workout I felt energetic. Still don’t feel hungry
- 12pm – still not hungry. Feeling fine. Not tired or anything. I’m burping A LOT. Also surprised I don’t have the urge to chew. I’m craving crackers but I’m not hungry. I know that sounds weird but I’ve definitely craved things before and not been hungry so I guess it’s not weird, lol.
- 3pm – my stomach growled a bit earlier. Not starving but I could eat. I feel the urge to taste food rather than the desire to consume it, if that makes sense. Like I want food for the taste of it but not because my body feels like it needs it. Felt a small bit of nausea again an hour ago, it came and went pretty quickly. I may drink some broth tonight, I’m concerned I may be flushing too much from my body.
- 6:30pm – Still feeling good. Not drinking as much water as I thought I would. I actually drink more water when I’m eating. By this time of the day I would normally have drank about 60 oz of water, I’m barely at 48 but I’m sipping slow and drinking only when I feel thirsty. I don’t want to “over water” myself and flush my system too quickly. Otherwise I feel fine, no additional pains, no nausea since around 3pm. Still don’t feel hungry and I’m not struggling not to eat. I think I can make it through tonight without needing any chicken broth.
- 8:00pm – my nephew cooked something and my room is near the kitchen so the strong and distinct smell of food is wafting into my room and driving me nuts. My mouth is producing LOADS of saliva and my stomach is now growling and hurting. Nausea has returned. Here’s where it gets difficult 🙁 **sips water**
- 8:25pm – lit an incense in my room to mask the smell of food. Better now.
- 6am – Didn’t sleep well last night. Woke up feeling sluggish. I did wake up in the middle of the night feeling as if I could feel my body “eating itself”. It’s like I could feel the work happening in my gut to break down either what’s left to the sugars or to break down the fat. It felt weird.
- 8:00am – Drank some warm salt water to address the nausea. Did yoga but had to stop a few times. Didn’t have a ton of energy. Not sure if that’s due to the fast or due to lack of sleep (or if the lack of sleep was due to the fast).
- 11:00 – I’m hungry. Not in a way that feels torturous, but in a way that feels like I miss my routine, the act of eating. I got a stomach growl around 10:30 it lasted about 2 mins and went away. Also, I keep getting hiccups.
- 12:00 – not hungry anymore 🙂 still sipping my water, lol. I came to the office today and brought some chicken broth with me JUST IN CASE I end up feeling like crap, I can warm that up and drink it.
- 4:30 – I want to eat something. I miss the activity of eating and the taste of food. I’ve been thinking about food for hours. My stomach isn’t hurting, not feeling any hunger pains. My taste buds want food and I’m annoyed bc of it. I’m struggling to not drink the chicken bone broth bc I don’t think I need it and I want to hold off until I actually need it. I’m hoping to make it through this entire fast with water only.
- 6am – woke up a few times overnight with my mouth feeling dry. My stomach feels empty but doesn’t hurt.
- 9am – Felt no nausea this morning at all. YAY! I think I may have had the keto-flu and it has passed. I feel more awake than usual, this must be what people are talking about when they say they feel less cloudy. I feel as if I can see better, hear better, I feel lighter in my body. I also feel like I drank some coffee.
- 4pm – Today, I kind of feel like I could do this for a full seven days! Feeling good and no hunger at all, not even stomach growling. Feels like my body is settled into running on stored fat and doesn’t really need anything from me.
- 9:30pm – officially done with day 4 and rolling into the last day. Still feeling fine today. I think I’m not drinking enough water because my skin looks horrible 😩
- 11:00am – woke up feeling fine. But I am already planning the food I’ll eat when this is over, lol. I’m thinking of eating raw foods for a few days, then graduating to cooked vegetarian, then to pescatarian, then adding meat and poultry.
- 4pm – Physically I could go for at least 2 or 3 more days. Mentally, I can not. My body feels fine but because I set an end date of 5 days, my mind decided it could only hold out for that long, lol. I’ve been planning my first meal for 3 days and my brain wants it to happen. At this point, I’m counting down the hours until 9:30pm so I can chug the green smoothie and eat the avocado salad I have planned for myself. My guess is it will be the best smoothie and salad I have every had…ever, lol.
- 8:30pm – only 1 hour to go. Not hungry but I am excited about eating!
- 9:31pm – I made it!! **body rolls** I’m about to MESS this avocado salad and smoothie UP!
Here are the things I think made this a successful challenge:
- I stayed in my room most of the time. Really only went out to work out or to refill my water cup, or to stand outside on the porch and get fresh air
- I kept busy. Doubled down on work, working on my business(es), and catching up on reading.
- Fasting from social media and tv also kept the temptation to a minimum. I didn’t get hit with food commercials or photos of people eating or cooking, etc.
- I didn’t tell anyone until I had finished Day 3. I didn’t want people either asking me about the fast every day (I didn’t want to be thinking about the fast, that would make it harder).
I lost a little over 8 pounds and 2.2% body fat. I’m not going to get too excited about this because I know about 80% of that will return once I start eating again.
The increasing pain I was feeling in my lower back has disappeared! I was truly motivated by a guy’s story that I saw on YT who had chronic back pain and did a 7 day water fast to heal himself. I’ve had back pain on and off since I was about 12 years old. Two years ago, I had a bulging disc and couldn’t stand up straight. I visited my chiropractor during my fast and she told me it was happening again. By the end of the week the pain was gone!
My favorite result of this experience was proving to myself that I can be disciplined! I often say that I struggle with finishing things and discipline isn’t my jam. I can’t say that anymore, I know for a fact now that if I choose to be disciplined, I am disciplined. Period.
I’m also just impressed with what the body and mind can handle. It’s just amazing!
If you’re thinking about fasting (and you’re no pregnant) I highly recommend you do some research and give it a shot, it’s not as bad as you may think. I’m happy to answer your questions in the comments but note, I am not a physician, a nutritionist, or a scientist. Just a woman who did her own research and got to the point where I felt comfortable doing this. I encourage you to do the same.
Below are all of the resources I used before and during my fast to get educated and to stay motivated:
What to Expect on a 5 Day Prolonged Fast – https://lifeapps.io/fasting/what-to-expect-on-a-5-day-prolonged-fast/
Easy Water Fasting Tips from a Guy Who Learned the Hard Way – https://theunconventionalroute.com/water-fasting-tips/
Complete Guide to Fasting for Cancer – https://cancerv.me/2019/08/28/how-to-fast-and-why/
Water Fasting: Benefits and Dangers – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/water-fasting
7 Day Water Fast (Youtube Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amCyI5JBRoc&t=623s
Do Women Need to Fast Differently Than Men (YT Video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0RFwiSvTJ8&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2qwUr8E3p1SDEOikwmOjqn-zkzUlJQeu2qFKXpgryV2A65SXr5qJsBa3A
Follow along with my #YoFChallenge on Instagram and you can see my daily fasting video diary in my Highlights!