What I Learned from My First Water Fast

My 7-Day Solo Water Fast

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This past year I have woken up to fasting and its healing power.  For the past few years I have done quite a few juice fasts/feasts with decent results.  It usually clears my skin, gives me a good energy boost, betters my digestion, and occasionally will bring some repressed emotions to the surface.  I had been researching and learning about water fasting, and I decided although it was right for me, I needed to do it at a place where I could be monitored.  So I booked a spot at a center in Costa Rica in 2014.  I’ll be doing an extended water fast, most likely around 21 days.

Juice fasting has become somewhat normal for me. By that I mean it’s never a huge effort, aside from setting aside my social life for a period of time.  About a month ago, I joined a friend who was doing a fast as moral support, and four days into it I thought, I can do a day-long water fast! And that day turned to five, which turned to seven.  It was a profound experience to say the least, and I definitely detoxed!  I made an effort to write every day, though I must say, that got fairly hard to do!

My Fasting Journal

Day 1.
Not hungry because of juice fast. Feeling fine energy-wise (given the adrenal fatigue and constant lethargy beforehand).  I slept very well, 9 hours and had many dreams.  62.8 kg.

Day 2.
Feeling more tired, but enough energy to walk the dog, do some things around the house. Foggy mind, blurred vision and occasionally dizzy. Mind is racing. Strong headaches. I’m so bored. 61 kg. My tongue is getting white. Did a coffee enema.. A few long spaghetti strings came out, totally white. Salt water enema helped with the headaches. Slept well.

Day 3.
Slowing down physically, clearing up mentally. My skin is really clearing up, feels so smooth all over. Woke up with chancre sores in my mouth, on the side where my big cavity is.  Feel ok, but generally tired. Not hungry at all. Able to walk around and even go to the grocery store to buy more water. The food didn’t tempt me. I’ve been looking at food all day on Pinterest and Facebook, dreaming about the healthy paleo meals ill be making myself in no time. Headaches continue. Salt water enema, what a relief.. Stinks though. 59 kg

Day 4.
I feel horrible. Ketosis begins? Absolutely exhausted, unable to even get up to take the dog out. Poor thing was stuck inside all day. Took a hot bath and wound up sweating profusely. My sweat stunk. Extremely dizzy, I crawled to the couch, wrapped myself up in my bathrobe and blanket, and continued to sweat for an hour. between 57 and 58 kg. I realize how much drinking water affects my weight. I didn’t feel like drinking at all today. Did a coffee enema in the pm in hopes that it would make me feel better… It did. I released a few wormlike white strings, some as long as spaghetti and clear, gelatinous junk. Not nearly as much as I had during my juice fast. Salt water enemas make me feel much better.. No surprises, just very stinky water. Still dreaming about food. Never been so bored. Thick white tongue, bad breath. Didn’t sleep well at all. Very nervous. Knot in the pit of my stomach. I am so much calmer now, I was so angry before the fast. I feel more peaceful.

Day 5.
Much much better today. 58+ kg. I feel like I’ve gained weight?! My tummy is puffing out. My skin is so much better, a few new zits here and there but the eczema is clearing up so fast. It was supposed to be my last day but I feel ok to go 2 more. My obsession with food is getting out of control, I’ve been looking at paleo and raw recipes all day, but I’m not tempted to eat. If I didn’t have the bachelorette party and concert next weekend, I would really consider going for 10+ days. But I realize refeeding is essential, and I want to do this right. My tongue has a thick white coating, just as bad as yesterday, if not worse. I am daydreaming constantly, inspired, and ready for a change. Hardly slept, fell asleep at 2ish, woke up at 8:30, but woke up many times in between. I would put on videos and fall asleep. Woke up to strange/violent dreams.

Day 6.
Slept from midnight to 4. Managed to fall back asleep at 7 for a couple of hours. My eyes are heavy, I’m tired, cold and it’s raining out. This poor dog is gonna have to take full advantage of the balcony. He seems to like being lazy with me though. My daydreams are so vivid, I find myself planning my future constantly. I wish I could shut my brain off for a bit. I first woke up with a sharp pain in my ribcage, I thought it may be tobacco detox. The next time I got up for water I had a sharp pain in my shoulder. It’s hard for me to stand up straight. No real emotional detox, which I am surprised about. I am surprisingly much more mellow and patient with others. But I am fairly anxious, but that’s not really news for me.  Stinky rotten breath. Yuck. I’m using h2o2 to keep that under control. I have a constant sharp pain in the center of my throat, an area that always felt burnt back when I smoked. I’m so scared of the damage I caused by smoking so long. Woke up at 58 kg, drank about a liter overnight, but I’m surprised I’m not losing weight. Could it be the coffee enema? I’m tempted to do it again but I’m not sure it’s safe. Extreme heartburn!! Something I’ve never had in my life… But it’s keeping me from fully lying down. I might finish tomorrow. I’m so ready to eat and I’m tired of being so unproductive. Alex came over today to check on me wearing a cologne I’ve always disliked, but today? Today was another story. It made me so sick to my stomach, nauseous and gave me a severe headache that lasted nearly an hour. Needless to say I had to give him the boot and air the place out. I haven’t gotten out of bed all day. Bummer.

Day 7.
57 kg.  I decided to keep going. Fairly clear headed. My cavities really hurt. Skin is smooth, much clearer, some dry spots where dermatitis is. Walked to the docs today to ask for bloodwork… Felt lightheaded but did great talking her into getting me a more complete analysis. My heart was racing even though I walked slow. Stink breath. Thick tongue. I was so cold when I got back that I took a hot shower, which turned into a bath. Used the jet to massage my belly. There are certain hard spots, something I experienced on my juice fast too. They have a pulse. After my bath i peed reddish brown, which really freaked me out.  I immediately started investigating, and it has to do with the kidney flushing toxins, and/or dehydration. I fess up to the latter, I really haven’t felt like drinking the past few days. Yesterday I probably had two liters. I loaded up on water, slowly, and waited til my next pee. Fortunately it was a very light yellow, which really calmed me down. I’m still cold. No enemas today, I’m done for a while. I want my digestion to be in tip top shape all on its own. I feel the need to eliminate but it’s not gonna happen. And my stomach is gurgling like crazy.  I feel so inspired to start a Spanish health blog. Now if only the name would come to me. At around midnight I’ve been getting this sensation of extreme hunger, which only lasts about an hour. Last night it came accompanied with extreme heartburn. I couldn’t sleep til 4 am… I was nervous and couldn’t calm my mind. Tomorrow I eat!

Day 8.
REFFEDING 1. Woke up at 56 kg. sore, tired and very weak. I slept very well last night. I’d say from 11 to 4, and then 6 to 10. No pain, no other symptoms. I had a glass of water and probiotics, and soon after, enjoyed a half of a small orange. Truth is, I’m not at all hungry, and I could go on with this fast, but for many reasons I know it’s time. The orange had such strong smell and flavor, and the only part I really enjoyed was the juice.  I’ll be eating again in 2 hours, and I’m determined to get some figs by then. I have promised myself to eat only raw (except miso veggie broth) for four days. I’ve been dreaming about eggs and chicken broth, so this may be hard!  I ate fruit all day, and managed to spend a beautiful day out of the house. Stores were closed in Spain so we went to France. I was blown away by the food options there, organic and different types of fruit, veggies and dairy products. I spent the whole day poking around food stores (very slowly). I bought much more than I needed but managed to hold back quite a bit, keeping in mind I would be eating only raw for 4 days. I’m just amazed at how much our minds are centered around food. It has become a true obsession for me. I ate an orange, an apple, a pint of berries, 8 figs and a half of a liter of coconut milk. I stopped eating by 7. Got a bad headache at 9 pm.

Day 9
REFEEDING 2. I started the morning with figs and berries. I’m tired, but motivated to do things around the house that have been neglected for over a week! I slept well. Maybe from 1 am to 9. I woke up at 4 am just for a bit. I’ll probably have broth today because I’m so cold. Surprisingly I woke up at 56.2 kg. the ridges in my nails are smoothed out!

Lessons Learned

After two days of refeeding, I made the mistake of jumping back into a regular diet, half cooked, half raw.  I gained my weight back fairly quickly, and felt as though I was detoxing for a long time afterward.  In hindsight, this fast was unnecessarily uncomfortable which could have been avoided had I known I wasn’t getting enough water.

  • Our bodies heal continuously, we just need to get out of their way and allow it to happen!  Seeing the changes in my mind and body, a new sense faith has been awoken in my ability to recover my physical and mental health.  Now I see more than ever that my health is in my hands. I can’t wait to fast again.
  • My dermatitis and the condition of my skin is directly linked with my digestion
  • A juice fast is not a fast.
  • Now I see that on day seven I was in the middle of a “healing crisis”, making it a bad moment to end my fast.  I have no regrets though, it would have been too much to handle on my own.
  • Until you have a lot of experience, never do a water fast for more than three days with the guidance of a professional.  Many doubts, symptoms and emotions come up which can provoke fear.  The point of doing a fast is to heal, and in order to do that and receive maximum benefit, we must be in a comfortable atmosphere where we can rest and feel cared for and supported.
  • If you still decide to do it on your own anyway, don’t do it alone.  Be sure you have someone you know and trust that will listen, support you and make sure you’re OK.  Inform yourself as much as possible about symptoms that may arise in order to avoid doubts and fears during the fast.  I did this fast after months of research, and even so, I wasn’t prepared to console myself through the roller coaster ride that is a water fast.
  • Relaxing your mind is as important as relaxing your body.  For my next fast, I will be more prepared with meditation techniques, and I will shut off my distractions.
  • Get your blood work done before and after the fast.  I regret not doing it beforehand to have a point of comparison.  My blood work was “perfect” according to my doctor, two days after my 7 day fast.
  • Inform yourself on the pros and cons of doing enemas during a fast.
  • Don’t take a hot bath while fasting!
  • If you don’t reflect much on your lifestyle and your diet, you will most likely fall back into the same customs that led you to feel bad in the first place.  Writing about your goals, intentions what you are willing to commit to will help remind you of what you really want to be doing once you get back into your day-to-day.
  • Once is not enough!  Healing is a process.  Most of us (myself included) look for a fast solution, that magic pill that will help us.  But experience tells us that health just doesn’t work that way.  If you’ve been mistreating your body for years with stimulants, smoke, alcohol, antibiotics y excessive meds, processed foods, negative thoughts, etc. you probably won’t be able to resolve those problems in a couple of weeks!  Finding patience to support yourself in the process y not giving up require a lot of strength.
  • It gets worse before it gets better.  Detoxing the body is a lot like doing a spring cleaning.  The house is dirty, so you begin to rearrange, haul out, pack up, throw out… and suddenly you look around you and everything looks so much worse than when you started.  There’s junk in the hallways, bags of things in need of a new home, garbage to be taken out… the dust has been stirred!  But you won’t leave it like that. You continue cleaning (though you may break down once or twice) until the house feels good to be in again.  It may never reach perfection, but that’s not the objective.  The objective is to feel as good as possible right where you are.
  • Refeeding is, without a doubt, the most difficult part of a fast.  It is absolutely crucial to do it in a slow and gradual way that supports your digestion until it’s back to normal.  But temptations are much more difficult to ignore, especially when your appetite comes back. This topic deserves a post of it’s own!

4 Replies to “What I Learned from My First Water Fast”

  1. Hi Ana!
    It’s Matt from Brunela in Santa Teresa! I wanted to let you know you inspired me to try water fasting 🙂 I did a three day fruit and veggie diet winding in and am currently on day four of just water. I’m shooting for 7-10 days. I have dreamed of food every night! So hungry!! It’s such a challenge, but I’m feeling good and in a good place. I’ve been looking at vegan recipes of what I’m going to make when I can eat again, so many good ideas! Thought it was funny that you did the same.

    Like

    1. Omg Matt! So proud of you!!! I hear you about the cravings, you start dreaming of foods you’d never think to eat otherwise! Do your best to stay off Instagram, it could turn a healing fast into a nightmare based on lack! Stay stong and in your body, I am here if you need support. Lost your contact info, email me at anasanablog@gmail.com. Thank u for reaching out, honored to be a part of your journey.

      Like

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