Why I did a 4-day water fast?
For the past 5 years, I’ve been really interested in both nutrition and mindset. Fasting is a practice that combines the 2, so I got interested in it.
Fasting is not new. It’s been around for thousands of years and it is part of most spiritual practices. However, the science backing it up it pretty recent.
I won’t expand too much here but there are a lot of health benefits associated with fasting, like resting your digestive system and allowing the renewal of your cells. It really makes sense as our ancestors hunter-gathers could go for long periods of fast.
I’ve been fasting roughly a day a week for the past 5 months and wanted to try a longer one. I thought of doing 3 days, then understood it was meant to be easier from the 3rd day so I thought I’d push it to 4. I committed on social media to increase motivation.
I chose water only to make sure I completely rest my digestive system, with no nutrients at all to break down. Just to precise, a water fast means I only drink water. I was drinking about 4-5L a day.
For me, more than the health part, I was mainly motivated by the idea of restricting myself. So I get the freedom to eat when I want and I rediscover the pleasure of simply eating.
I have decently strong willpower, but I have to say it was not an easy experience.
Day 1 was super easy for me as I’m used to doing one day. I went surfing and worked normally.
Day 2 was good, I just felt a bit weak. I went surfing and it was great, but I wasn’t super productive.
Day 3, I started to really feel weaker. In the morning, I still went surfing because I wanted to push my body, and it actually was pretty good, but then in the afternoon, I was feeling lightheaded.
Day 4, I felt even weaker and really spent most of my day doing slow yoga poses, breathwork, reading and sleeping.
On day 3 and day 4, I couldn’t do much work. I’m telling you this because, in many reports of longer fasts, people say they get incredible clarity and focus from day 3… It wasn’t the case for me.
To break the fast on the evening of day 4, I had a juice that had ginger and chilli, then a light salad. Probably a mistake, I didn’t digest it well.
I read more about breaking the fast and it’s good to get fruits that have a lot of water. Many people recommend watermelon. I had dragonfruit, which is a very watery fruit here in Bali, and I digested way better.
The day after the fast, I was still very careful about eating healthy simple foods and not eating too much. I still felt a bit weak but more clear and more productive.
First, I’d like to state that even though I didn’t feel amazing during the fast, it was overall a great experience.
I pushed my mindset and willpower which was the point in the first place. I think my 1-day fasts will be easier than ever now. So if you put me on planes with unhealthy food during 24 hours, it’ll be easy to skip the meals.
I found it quite easy to not eat. I wanted to eat because I felt weak, but not really because I was hungry.
Another challenge is that eating breaks up my days and it’s often a social activity, so fasting made my days quite boring. But I think I need to learn to be ok with boredom, so that’s a good exercise.
Regarding feeling weak, it makes sense as it was the first time. I’ll probably redo a similar fast in a few months and maybe my body needed a bit of adaptation.
I hope it gives a realistic picture of what to expect.
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