Fasting For a Purpose: A Five Day Water Fast

You have decided to embark on your first five-day water fast! Congratulations! You may be experiencing many fears surrounding this. These fears are mainly because of all the unknowns. How will l feel? What can I expect each day? My best advice is to set your healing intentions and write them down. Focus on them, and truly believe that this is going to help you on your journey to feeling amazing!

‘Start the practice of self-control with some penance; begin with fasting.’ – Mahavira

In this piece, we are going to focus primarily on the positive changes occurring in your body each of the five days, and we will mention some of the symptoms you may experience, so you know what you are feeling is expected. This will hopefully help to motivate you and keep you going throughout the five days! Keep in mind that everyone experiences different symptoms.

If a full-on water fast seems too intimidating for you, we have another option to help you ease into fasting. It’s called The Fasting Mimicking Diet. With this option, you are provided with the right amount of food to mimic fasting, and you still get many of the health benefits associated with fasting.

Join my FB group: Fasting for a Purpose. You can expect to receive an abundance of knowledge and support. It is a great place to share your journey with hundreds of other people who are also embarking on either a water fast or the Fasting Mimicking Diet, just like you! Have faith, stay strong, and read on!

What to expect on day one of a water fast:

Positive changes are occurring in the body on day one, even if you feel really hungry and irritable. Hang on through this, the body is slowly adjusting to these changes. The body is already switching its energy from digesting to healing. You are resting your digestion, and this is a good thing!

On day one of a five-day water fast, you may experience:

  • Significant white or yellowness in the tongue (I’ve even seen black with some people). This is a normal reaction to detoxing. The tongue changes can occur on any day during these (5) days, and the colors can change as well.
  • Your body will start to make more ketones. If you converted yourself to ketosis prior to the fast, you should be pretty fat adapted. Therefore, ketones may even rise faster for you on that first day!
  • Rashes are normal as well. Expect these anomalies and don’t be intimidated by them.

*Always check in with your doctor before stopping any medication. Some medications may still be needed, such as diabetic, and thyroid medications. These are okay to continue to take while fasting. With may find you need to take less of some medications. Always consult with your Doctor before changing doses or stopping a medication.

*Please note: very neurotoxic people (Lyme disease, heavy metals, autoimmune conditions, cancer etc.) may need a coach throughout this process-these people may not feel better during the fast and would benefit from following my multi-therapeutic approach, with a coach.

What to expect on day two of your water fast:

“Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Here are 5 amazing things that start to happen on day 2 of your fast:

  1. Cellular Autophagy: The body is getting rid of the ‘bad stuff’, specifically white blood cells that have been around for too long.
  2. Rise in stem cells: your body creates new white blood cells and gets rid of bad proteins in the muscle, stem cells replace those tissues. Muscle fibers heal and adapt much faster.
  3. Reset DNA: We all have certain bad genes that are turned on. Fasting turns these off the most (obesity genes, allergy etc.).
  4. Reset microbiome: There is a change in cravings, and a change of the ratio of good/bad bacteria, to help with losing weight and keeping it off.
  5. Rests the Gastrointestinal Tract. Struggling with digestive issues? Resting digestion will give it the time it needs to begin healing.

On day two of a five-day water fast, you may experience:

  • More hunger and irritability-there are physiological reasons for irritability: your glucose will be lower, and you are not yet fat adapted.
  • You may experience a lack of brain functioning and increased brain fog. Your brain loves ketones, but ketones are not high enough yet. They will continue to rise throughout the fast, and you will feel better, give it time.
  • You may start lacking energy, especially if you are not used to fasting, or are not in a ketogenic state.

Hold tight! Day three is often when most people begin to feel better, as they are now making more ketones and able to start utilizing them as well.

What to expect on day three of your water fast:

Here are some things going on in your body during day three!

  • Your ketones will continue to rise on day 3. Your brain loves ketones! Ketones fix the brain. This is why we use them for seizures, neurodegenerative conditions, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Ketones help to downregulate cellular inflammation, heal the gut, and also reset the DNA.
  • Hormone optimization: You start to get a growth hormone spike on day 3. On day 5 you will get the highest spike of growth hormone, but the hormones will begin to spike today. On day 3 you get more sensitive to all your hormones, and you may begin to feel better!
  • You should start overcoming headaches, weakness, and shakiness! Woohoo! It’s about time!
  • The body raises up the stem cells and knocks down the overreaction of autoimmunity.
  • You may have unexplained pains, meaning healing is occurring. For example, if you have an old knee injury, you may experience pain sensations in that knee. The body is ‘retracing’ or going back through old injuries and trauma and healing.
  • You may have increased energy and creativity: Remember, your body is no longer focusing on digesting food. It can shift the focus to other areas, and direct its energy on healing. This can give you a whole new level of clarity that you have not yet experienced.
  • Hormonal changes may occur, as the microbiome re-sets. Big changes are happening!

You may feel colder than usual. Why are you cold? It’s normal to be cold! Hormone levels may go down, but the cells become more sensitive to your hormones. Fasting lowers T3 thyroid hormone, (innate intelligence playing out here) to spare your muscle. So we feel cold! The body knows exactly what it is doing. Although T3 lowers, the body is more sensitive to smaller amounts of hormone. Its able to utilize the hormones available.

  • Autophagy is in high gear! Bad cells are being destroyed.
  • Hormone optimization: You start to get a growth hormone rise on day 3 of the fast.
  • On day 3 you get more sensitive to all your hormones, and you begin to feel better.

Words of advice on those tracking ketones:

Don’t use urine ketone strips for accurate ketone measurements. Remember, your body is now using your ketones, so they won’t show in the urine. Ketones circulating in the blood may climb up at first, and then lower some as you are actually utilizing them in your body. Breath ketones are better because it shows the oxidized ketones or ketones you are actually using. You may notice ketones in your urine in the beginning, but remember your brain starts using them, so you don’t want to keep seeing them in your urine as you progress through the fast.

Your glucose to ketone ratio should be at a 1:1 ratio (millimoles per liter-can convert online) today. Tumors started shrinking massively with a 1:1 glucose to ketone ratio. This ratio also helps to achieve higher levels of autophagy. Sometimes ketones will register high, and glucose will be lower. Stress can raise glucose, but you should see a trending down of glucose and rise of ketones.

As for glucose, according to keto researcher Prof. Thomas Seyfried, the “target zone” is when glucose numbers are in the 60s with ketones 3.0 mmol/L or more. Hitting the target zone is telling towards the destruction of bad cells. If these numbers are showing up, the body is cleansing those bad cells in just fashion.

What to expect on day four of your water fast:

  • Continued autophagy and new stem cell growth.
  • The continued drop in glucose and rise in ketones.
  • Continued hormone optimization.
  • Increased levels of energy and better brain functioning.
  • An overall sense of well-being.
  • Decreased cravings, hunger, and irritability.
  • Cortisol increases glucose. Some ways to combat this? Don’t overtrain, increase your intentional prayer/meditation, or focus towards healing.

What are some signs you may need to break the fast sooner?

  • Tongue turns back to pink? Time to stop.
  • Hunger returns? Time to stop.
  • If you stop losing weight for 1-2 days? Time to stop.
  • When breath stops stinking and detox reactions are gone? Time to stop.
  • Fatigue that lasts beyond a single day? Time to stop.

Innate intelligence knows when to tell you to stop!

What’s going on with my sleep?

Sleep disturbances are common for the first few days. Hunger pangs can keep you up, and all the changes taking place can be disruptive to your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. However, this should subside. Are you still having difficulty with sleep on day 4? Sleep is one of the things we look at for a diagnosis of neurotoxic illness. If your sleep is still disrupted on day 4, I recommended working with a practitioner to dig deeper. Disrupted sleep is also a sign your body is releasing toxins. So hang in there!

Remember, with every subsequent fast you get better, and feel better faster. Your sleep may not be good on this one, but the next it will be better. Just like pains will come and go as the body is getting better, so will sleep.

What to expect on day five of your water fast:

Yay! You made it to Day 5. Give yourself a big hug. Hopefully, you are feeling amazing at this point!

What to Expect for Day 5:

  • Stem cell production in high gear today (on day 6 when you feed the stem cells, the body will heal and create new white blood cells!)
  • Ketones may begin to drop, glucose may slightly raise
  • Massive growth hormone rise (goes up every day, but the highest surge is on day 5), and puts you in a fat burning mode for the next 36 hours to replace the glucose.

Break the Fast Safely!

Before you jump at the chance to throw a weeks’ worth of nutrition down your throat, remember that you’ve just been in extensive, quiet healing: the digestive tract is still in rest mode. A gentle transition is a key to getting best results from the fast and avoiding undermining efforts. My next piece will focus on how to safely break a fast, and what foods to introduce after fasting. In the meantime, check out my Fasting For a PurposeFacebook page and watch my videos to learn more about how to carefully break a fast!

References:

  1. Noboru, M. & Masaaki, K.(2011). Autophagy: Renovation of Cells and Tissues. Cell, Volume 147, Issue 4, 11 November 2011, Pages 728-741. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2011.10.026

  2. Chia-Wei C,  Gregor B.A., & Laura P. et al. Prolonged Fasting reduces IGF-1/PKA to promote hematopoietic stem cell-based regeneration and reverse immunosuppression. Cell Stem Cell. 2014 Jun 5; 14(6): 810–823.
    doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014

  3. Trayhurn, P., Thomas, M. & Duncan J.S. et al. (1995). Effects of fasting and refeeding on ob gene expression in white adipose tissue of lean and obese (ob/ob) mice. Science Direct. Volume 368, Issue 3, 24 July 1995, Pages 488-490. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/0014-5793(95)00719-P

  4. Kohl, K.D., Amaya, J. & Passement, C.A. et al. (2014). Unique and shared responses of the gut microbiota to prolonged fasting: a comparative study across five classes of vertebrate hosts. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. Volume 90, Issue 3. December 2014, Pages 883-894. https://doi.org/10.1111/1574-6941.12442.

  5. Halberg N., Henriksen M. &  Söderhamn N et al. (2005). Effect of intermittent fasting and refeeding on insulin action in healthy men.  J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Dec;99(6):2128-36. Epub 2005 Jul 28. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00683.2005
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