I’m sitting here right now, and I’m drinking my cup of coffee and about to record my experience with my five day water fast. Before I get started, I just want to say that I’m not endorsing, promoting, suggesting in any way, shape, or form that anybody listening to this should run out and do a five day water fast. There’s a lot of controversy around fasting, and so what I want to do here is just share my personal experience and what I discovered by doing a five day water fast or detox or cleanse. There’s a bunch of different ways to look at it.
The first thing is you have to wrap your head around the fact that you’re not going to have any food or any coffee, at least that’s what I had to do. First of all, I had to wrap my head around the idea that I wasn’t going to be eating any food and drinking any coffee. I just had to prepare myself mentally to go through a lot of pain and be very uncomfortable.
The First Three Days!!
The first three days as you can imagine is just a tremendous amount of discomfort, dizziness, mental fogginess, horrible headaches, hunger pains, this question that just kept popping up in my head over and over again, which is, why am I doing this. In the course of those three days I had coaching calls every single day. What I did was is I just used the energy that I had specifically and only for coaching. I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t do any exercise. I basically just tried to follow my body’s lead. And because of the headaches and because I was uncomfortable and because I was lethargic and my mind was foggy, then most of the time was spent either napping or watching Netflix.
Those were basically the first three days. There wasn’t really anything to learn in those first three days because I was so out of it. I was just focused on getting to the finish line. But by the end of day three I started to notice something different. First of all, right around the end of day three beginnings of day four, your body goes into ketosis. What that means is that it starts burning fat. Normally what we do is we live off of our glucose stores, when you eat carbohydrates, when you eat sugar, your body burns glucose. But when you deplete your body, when you take out all the glucose, when you take out the carbohydrates, when you have nothing left in your body to sustain you, your body finally starts to burn the fat stores. That was pretty exciting, that was one of the things that I wanted to achieve during this cleanse, was weight loss.
So for the first three days I was averaging two pounds a day in weight loss. You can assume that most of that is water weight. On the third night when I went to bed, on day four I woke up and I noticed the largest amount of weight loss. I had lost five pounds in the last 24 hours since I weighed myself on the scale, which was another boost, another self-esteem boost, a confidence booster. Also what I realized on day four, that morning, was that the headaches were gone, the fogginess was gone, the discomfort was gone.
The Last Two Days!
Now the good news is that by day four I had cleared the deck, I really had nothing on my plate, so I could really focus on taking care of myself and paying attention to what was happening to my body, to my mind, to my spirit. It wasn’t broken. Just the opposite. I felt stronger than ever. And not physically strong because I was still feeling weak, I was still feeling low in intensity, but mentally I was strong.
I looked at the scale and at this point I had lost nine pounds. I now started going to the bathroom a lot and what was happening was is that the ketosis was kicking in, so my stools were all fat. For those of you that don’t know what that looks like, it’s just a yellow liquid where you can see fatty deposits in there, so you know, you know when you’re in ketosis, you know when your stools are just liquid and fat. You’re burning through your fat stores.
Now what I didn’t say in the beginning is that it’s not just water. I’m doing water with sea salt. It’s two teaspoons of sea salt in a liter of water every morning that I would pound. What the sea salt does is that it allows you to retain the water that you’re drinking, and then on top of that it also provides you with a lot of very necessary minerals and nutrients that you need for your body when you’re going through this fast.
It’s that day where I really started to recognize how strong I am, how strong I can be, how strong we can be. In 47 years I’d never gone three days without eating food and here I was four days into the fast and just having this epiphany, having this realization that I’ve not eaten anything, no food in four days, I haven’t had coffee in four days. So the surge of momentum just started to build. And then I got behind the computer and I started answering emails, and I started getting caught up with things that I said I would not touch until I was done with the fast, or I was feeling better, that I was going to spend all this time just loving myself and nurturing myself so that I could get through this.
One of the things that I discovered, a few things that I discovered is especially on day four I was freezing, I was cold all the time. One day I was taking a shower, I think it was on day three where I was taking a shower, and 5 minutes went by, then 10 minutes went by, and then I was like, “I don’t want to get out of the shower.” The water hitting my body felt very different. It felt so soothing, it felt so comforting, it felt like this is exactly what I should be doing for myself right now. And it actually felt a lot like when I used to do ectasy back in the day. You’re in the shower and it just feels so amazing, it just feels so comforting, it feels so soothing, and you just don’t want to get out of the shower.
Again, I’m out of it for all intents and purposes, on day three I’m just, I’m delusional, so a lot of this, I’m in the shower just kind of just absorbing the comforting of the shower and then I realize I’ve got no food to comfort me right now, but this is helping, this is soothing. Can I use this later? Can I use this later in my life for when I am uncomfortable, when I need to be soothed instead of reaching for sugar, instead of reaching for carbs, or instead of reaching for something after 6:00 P.M.? Can I just get in the shower? Can I try and recreate this moment later and add this to my toolkit of ways to comfort myself that do not in any way, shape, or form affect me in a negative way?
Also because I was so cold, I would wrap myself in a blanket and put socks on, and curl up on the couch and take naps or watch Netflix or whatever the case may be. It was just this constant awareness and mindfulness to be careful, to be nurturing, to be kind to myself, to really be in a place of self-care and love throughout this process, which is something that I’m never doing on a daily basis. I’m not conscious of it. I mean I can say that I love myself and I take care of myself, and I do, but am I making it my priority, am I making it a priority every single day to find a way to soothe myself and comfort myself in the most healthy way? Since I cannot put anything into my body, then what things can I put on my body, surround myself with, what energy can I create to get me through this?
The last two days, days four and five, if we do an inventory, the headaches are gone, the hunger pains are gone, the mental fogginess is gone, the need for food is gone. You’re replacing a lot of the comforting mechanisms that you use, for some of us it could be cigarettes, for others of us it’s sugar, it’s carbs, it’s heavy foods, it’s saucy foods, and I’m using things like warm showers and blankets and socks and naps and downtime and reflection.
The First Four Days after the Water Fast!
On the last day of the fast my wife and I went to the farmer’s market, the local farmer’s market, and we stocked up on fruits and vegetables for that week. Once you’re finished with a five day water fast, you cannot just dive right in to the same diet you had prior to. The reason is because you have temporarily diminished a lot of the protective mucus lining, that internal stomach lining that you have that helps you digest your food and protects the walls of your stomach. Since your stomach lining is practically gone, if you put anything heavy into your stomach, it is going to create a violently negative effect. Either you’re going to vomit it all up, or you’re going to run to the bathroom. The other thing they recommended was a bone broth, just drinking the broth from that bone broth soup, and again, that also has a lot of fat in it.
There’s a lot of misconceptions about the good versus bad of fat intake. But when you are consuming a large amount of good fat daily, then your body gets used to burning fat. My plan for the next four days was basic, fruits in the morning, salad for lunch, and bone broth throughout the day and at dinner time. And my stomach has never been so sensitive in my entire life.
What did I Learn from accomplishing in a 5 Day Water Fast!
- How to cope with discomfort
- How to comfort myself without food
- How to develop a whole new sense of self-esteem and self-worth
- How to be much more mindful, loving and nurturing with myself
- How to focus entirely on Self-Care for 5 days
- How strong I could be mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually (Mind – Body – Spirit)
- How to implement intermittent fasting
- How to eliminate cravings for unhealthy foods
What are the biggest takeaways? What did I learn from doing this five day water fast with sea salt? Well, the first thing that I learned was how to cope with discomfort. Those first three days were so uncomfortable, which is why I kept asking myself why am I doing this. So when I look back at this journey of self-discovery and I ask myself what I learned, is that I learned to be uncomfortable for three days.
And what does that remind me of? It reminds me of when I first stopped drinking and using. And it wasn’t just for three days. It was for months. I was uncomfortable every single day. I wanted to get high and use and get out of my head every single day. This is what those first three days felt like, just the general idea of, “Oh my god, this totally sucks.” But then the last two days I learned how to comfort myself.
Not only did I learn how to comfort myself. But I had the self-esteem boost of losing those first nine pounds, of being lighter, of looking thinner, of recognizing that I’m on day four and I haven’t eaten any food, and I have never gone four days without food in my entire life. This sense of accomplishment kicks in. Plus the fogginess is gone, the headaches are gone, the hunger pains are gone. This confidence kicks in like, “Oh my god, I did this, I’m doing this, I’m going to finish this five day fast. There’s no question about it.”
So the comforting aspect of all this that I had to learn how to do was taking long showers, wrapping myself in a blanket, taking naps, really being mindful of how much energy I’m using and for what purpose. Is this the most efficient way of using the energy that I have at my disposal? These are things that I never thought about in my entire life. It’s just go, go, go, go. And if I start to get tired, or I start to get overwhelmed, or I start to get stressed, I eat something, or I drink coffee, or I do something to stimulate my body, to stimulate my mind. And now I can’t put anything in my body. Now the only thing I can do is comfort my mind and comfort my body by either taking a nap and resting my mind, or taking a warm shower to calm me and soothe me and treat myself truly like a baby.
What I learned above anything else is how loving, nurturing, and kind I could be to myself because I had to be. I had to be understanding. There was no powering through anything. It was you get tired, you take a nap. You feel uncomfortable, you take a shower. You get cold, you wrap yourself in a blanket. You get tired, you take a nap. That’s it. How many of us take the time to do that for even a few hours in a day, let alone for five days where you decide, I’m going to take a sabbatical from work and I’m just going to love myself, I’m going to go some place by myself and get a massage and detox my body with fresh fruits, fresh juices, fresh vegetables, I’m going to cut out all the processed foods, I’m going to cut out all the sugars, I’m going to cut out the caffeine, I’m going to allow myself to just completely come down off my intensity cloud and reboot the system.
It’s in a fast like this that you’re your most delicate, you’re most vulnerable, and you’re most weakest state. And it’s when you realize how strong you really are, how strong your body is, how strong your mind is, and how when you let go, the body, mind, and spirit take over because the ego is no longer able to interject. Your body is an intuitive healer, and when you allow it to, when you give it the time, it will just automatically figure out what it needs to do, like it automatically figured out that I wasn’t going to be putting any food in my body and it had to burn the stored fat in my body.
Once you’ve done this reboot, another amazing benefit is that all the food cravings are gone. When you come back to eating, you’re not craving anything, you’re not really even hungry. You have to kind of force yourself to eat to kind of reintroduce the idea that it’s time to start eating or give your body permission to start digesting food again. So you have to go like a baby again. It’s fresh fruits, it’s salads, it’s bone broth, it’s things that are very, things that you would feed to a baby, things that you would feed to a child.
So for me, since I have battled with food and body issues my whole life, my plan is to simply not introduce these things back into my system. I’m not going to be reintroducing pasta and bread back into my system. I’m not going to be introducing processed sugars, desserts, sweets back into my system. And also now following the fast, I have the ability to do intermittent fastings. Again, it’s very reminiscent to when I quit using drugs and alcohol. Once you’ve abstained from drugs and alcohol for a certain amount of time and you do not introduce it back into your system, then the cravings go away. I no longer have the cravings to use drugs or drink alcohol. But it took time for my body to completely reboot itself after a significant time of abstinence.
Those two parallels between me quitting drugs and alcohol and then me quitting food for five days and then what happens once you allow your body to be abstinent from certain things for a certain amount of time, and allows your body and your mind and your spirit to recalibrate, and it allows you to step away from certain things, and as long as you don’t reintroduce them back into your body, then the cravings don’t come back. This is the thing that I learned the most during this fast, is that now I don’t crave certain foods and I’m not going to bring them back in, and I’m pretty sure if I bring them or I reintroduce them back into my life, the cravings are going to start again.
I also learned that mentally I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was or I thought I could be. Now I can do between a 12 and a 14 hour fast which means I’m done by 6:00 and I’m not going to eat again until 6:00 in the morning. Before I would eat at all times. If I woke up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t sleep I would eat. If I was up ’til late, ’til 11:00 at night at some point I would start eating. No control, no self-discipline, and today I feel like for the first time in my life I have control over the food I eat, the types of food I eat, the times I eat, how much I eat, and it’s no longer the focal point in my life the way that it used to be. This is what I learned in my amazing journey of self-discovery with the five day water fast.
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.