Water fasting is a popular cleanse you can try, but it’s not for everyone. Find out if you have what it takes.
We all know the feeling: it is very easy to get off track when you are trying to go on a diet or just to eat a little better. Distractions are everywhere and before you realize it, you already ate too much.
It’s very difficult to control this pattern and it leaves you feeling heavy and uncomfortable.
So, we are always looking for a way out of this.
Going on a diet works, but sometimes you need to reset your body. You can do this in a very short time and flush out all the accumulated toxins from overeating, stressing and generally not taking good enough care of the body.
And some detox techniques are only for people with really strong will.
If you are one of those people, then water fasting could be the challenge you are looking for.
Before we discuss the details of water fasting, you need to know that this is a very extreme solution.
When we say it’s not for everyone, we mean it: refusing food is already difficult enough, and if you decide to do a water fast, you will have to commit to not eating for a while.
This is something that you shouldn’t do often, and that you should discuss with a nutritionist, your regular doctor or a health specialist before deciding to do it.
Like we said, it’s not for everyone.
Are you interested yet? Let’s see what water fasting is all about.
What Is Water Fasting?
You can probably guess by its name: water fasting means consuming only water for a certain period of time. It sounds simple, but there’s a catch: you can consume only water (not juice, coffee or any other liquids) and it should last anything between one to three days.
Now it’s getting tricky! If you think you can go longer than that, then you should definitely talk to a supervisor to help you, but it is not advisable to do that kind of overtime.
And we don’t say that just because you could get too hungry, but because if you have specific medical conditions, then you should not attempt a fast of this kind. People with kidney disease, diabetes of any type, pregnant women, older adults or children can’t do a water fast because they would be putting their health at risk.
Assuming you are none of these people, and you are still interested in water fasting, we are going to tell you about the benefits and the risks involved.
There are two sides for everything, and water fasting is not an exception.
Benefits Of Water Fasting
The reasons people have for doing a water fast are generally obvious: if you want to lose weight, cleanse or reset your body and restore your energy levels, doing a fast gives the body time to catch up with all the stored energy reserves. There are also religious reasons for doing a fast for a longer period of time.
But How Exactly Does Water Fasting Help The Body?
It helps lower cholesterol levels, regulate high blood pressure, lower sugar blood levels, and it can also boost weight loss. It also helps the body get back to its original state faster, so this can mean that if you have acne, your skin will clear out almost immediately, your energy levels can be restored and general discomfort or sickness can subside.
You should know that this will happen after an initial discomfort. Going without food will be challenging at first, but your body will get used to it and the initial hunger pang will go away.
However, this is still no reason to keep the fast going on for more than two or three days. You will eventually have to incorporate foods into your diet, just make sure you do it gradually.
In the second day of fasting, the body goes into a state called ‘’ketosis’’, where it fuels itself by using fat reserves. This usually happens after 48 hours of starting the fast for women and 72 hours for men.
Another interesting biological process your body can experience while water fasting is autophagy, when old parts of your cells are broken down and recycled. This is something that is believed to protect against diseases like cancer and extend your lifespan.
There are much more potential benefits to water fasting. But remember, there are no studies that confirm its impact on the human body, so you need to proceed with caution.
That being said, let’s talk about the other face of water fasting: the risks.
Dangers Of Water Fasting
There are many risk factors involved in water fasting and you should be completely sure you have none of them before starting your fast. Are you sure you passed the test? If that is the case, keep reading anyway. Water fasting can affect you in unexpected ways if you are not well informed.
The same way it can help you feel better, it can also make you feel worse in the long term. Especially if you already have a condition or a disease, water fasting could make it worse. Restricting your food intake for a long time puts the body in alert mode, and medical conditions could get more unstable.
You could also become dehydrated. It sounds impossible because all you are going to be consuming is water, right? Think again: a lot of the water your body uses normally comes from the food you eat.
So, if you are not eating, then your body is going to need more water, but if you are not used to drinking a lot of it, then you won’t be able to match your body’s needs. You need to be very careful during your fast and pay close attention to your body.
Now you know the benefits and the risks of water fasting. Are you still willing to test your discipline?
If your answer is yes, then here is the best way to start and end your fast.
How To Start Water Fasting
If you decided to give it a try, you can’t just stop eating on a random day. Your fast will be much more successful if you follow these recommendations and ease into it:
1. Plan Ahead
Try to eat smaller foods at least a week before starting your fast and increase the amount of water you drink daily. This will make the transition easier for your body, and you will give yourself time to actually see if you will be able to handle it. Depending on how it goes for you these days, you can adjust your expectations and make sure you have the best possible experience.
2. Avoid Intense Exercise
Once you start your water fast, your energy will change because you stopped eating. This means that it will be more difficult for your body to perform any kind of intense physical activity. And even if you are able to exercise, this will could make you dizzy, weak and even cause you to faint.
The best thing to do is to start your fast at a time when you don’t have to complete demanding activities and have plenty of time to rest and relax.
3. Listen To Your Body
This is the most important part of any fast. Water fasting is particularly intense, so you should pay close attention to everything you feel during your fast period.
And if you start to feel sick, extremely hungry or in any way worse than you can handle, then the best thing to do is break the fast. Don’t force yourself into something that you know could become a risk to your health soon.
4. Start Eating With Moderation
If you made it through two or three days of fasting, congratulations! You have the discipline that a lot of people only dream about.
And now you are probably looking forward to your next meal, but what you choose to eat is very important: don’t go for a very big meal because your body will have a very hard time processing it. You need to help your body get used to food again, so eat small meals made of things that you can digest easily, and make sure your food is natural.
These are very important steps you need to follow if you decided to try water fasting. Be aware that it is an extreme cleansing method and you should not do it frequently, mainly because it’s not sustainable for your body.
But there are ways to incorporate fasting into your routine in a more sustainable way.
If going two days without food seems too extreme for you, then you could consider intermittent fasting: limiting your food intake for specific periods of time within only one day. You can try having only two meals instead of three, or eating only within a specific window of time.
The key for any successful fast is finding a way to incorporate it into your routine that makes sense. This will make your experience better and you will feel even more accomplished.
The Bottom Line On Water Fasting
You can try it, but it’s not for everyone. Always listen to your body and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Remember, it’s all about feeling better.