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How Does Water Fasting Work

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Water Fasting: The Fast Facts

How To Begin A Water Fast | This Makes Fasting Easy
  • Total time 7 days 15 hours . 9 pm Thursday to 12 pm Friday.
  • Total weight loss Approx 5kg . I then put on 6kg in the following two weeks.
  • Total intake Water , ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt per litre, 3 Z-Mag tablets per day, one teaspoon of Tri-Mag Supreme Night Powder each night. Total of ~600mg magnesium, 7.5mg zinc .
  • In short, the mental and physical effects were all positive.
  • I didnt set a timeline for the water fast but instead checked in with my body each day. A touch over a week in, Id had enough and subsequently broke the 8-day fast.
  • The benefits I gained from the 8-day water fast were complemented by other activities that I found to be extremely helpful to facilitate the fast including yoga, breathwork, meditation, cold showers, rest, light movement and leaning into/allowing stored emotions to come out.

Do A Lot Of Heavy Compound Weightlifting

When the goal is maintaining muscle mass while losing fat, nothing beats heavy compound weightlifting.

Its better than workout machines, pump classes, bodyweight exercises, Yoga, Pilates, and everything else you can do to develop your muscles.

What do I mean by heavy compound lifting, though?

Well, by compound, I mean focusing on compound exercises, which are those that target multiple large muscle groups, such as the squat, bench press, military press, and deadlift.

And by heavy, I mean lifting weights that are above 75% of your one-rep max .

The main reason heavy compound weightlifting is so effective is its the best way to overload your muscles, which is the primary trigger for muscle growth.

I think you can figure out how this benefits you when youre restricting your calories for fat loss.

In short, it allows you to minimize muscle loss while dieting, or, depending on your circumstances, even gain muscle while youre losing fat.

Want to know how to build an effective weightlifting routine? Check out this article.

Okay Tell Me More About Water Fastinghow Does It Work

Because you’re consuming nothing but water on a water fast, you’re depriving your body of nutrition for extended periods of time, which shifts your metabolism into a “fasting state”the precursor to the “starvation state,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an instructor in the department of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University.

This is where the body recognizes its not getting the fuel it needs, and resorts to using the body’s stores of protein and lipids,” says Lisenmeyer.

When this is done for even short periods of timelike 24 to 48 hoursit can start to veer into dangerous territory. Lack of nutrition for extended periods of time can result in mild symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, anxiety, drops in blood pressure, and even heart arrhythmias, confusion, seizures, or loss of consciousness, says Linsenmeyer.

Basically, you’re not giving your body what it needs to function properlyand it’s downright miserable.

It’s also not well-researched, says Linsenmeyer, which only adds to it being dangerous, because there’s no way to know how it affects the human body. Very little high quality research studies have been conducted on water fasting in humans, she says.

Also Check: Which Intermittent Fasting Is Most Effective

Why You Should Avoid Doing A Water Fast For Longer Than 2 Days

If you want to get to a healthy weight, look at water fasting not as a diet but a tactic that you try for a few days before returning to eating. Perhaps youve tried to exercise and use portion control. Maybe youve even eaten the highest quality foods that fill you up on the fewest calories. Not confident that those two options are doing the trick? This is where water fasting might come into play. But note: Theres no metabolic magic in fasting, and it may only work as well as caloric restriction, Katz says.

The problem with fasting, whether its water fasting or another type? Many people assume that if theyre not eating one or two days a week, they can eat whatever they want on the other days, and thats just plain wrong. Food isnt just about losing weight, Katz says. Everything in your body depends on the quality of your diet.

You might see that three- and seven-day water fasts are popular online, but thats longer than most experts advise. If you dont have any conditions that would make a water fast a no-go for you and youve cleared this approach with your healthcare team first Bhatia recommends not doing it any longer than 24 to 48 hours. This is when issues of brain fog and fatigue really start to set in, she says. Check with your physician first, and if at any point you dont feel well during the fast, call your doctor.

Whats Happening With Your Body: Easing Out Of Fasting Mode


How you choose to end your fast is critical. Depending on how long you fast, you may need to ease your way back into eating solid food. Fruit juices, cooked vegetables, and broths can help acclimate your body and digestive system to eating as internal mechanisms come back online.

How Should I Eat on Day 1 of Breaking a Water Fast? ????

Length: 6 minutes

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Weight Loss And Fat Burning

While your resting energy expenditure stays the same during a fast, your body quickly learns to switch to burning fats for this energy. By 18 to 24 hours into a fast, your body begins to rely heavily on fat breakdown for energy. This is a great thing if you have fat youd like to lose while preserving lean muscle mass.

After 12 hours of fasting, energy mobilized from adipose tissue stores was approximately two times that available from glucose production, whereas after 72 hours of fasting the energy released from adipose tissue was sixfold greater than that generated from gluconeogenesis . Klein et al., 1993

Our LifeOmic employees lost an average of 5.5 pounds over the course of a 5-day fast, or an average of a little over 3% of their body weight. The percentage of weight loss range was from 1.5% to nearly 7% body weight loss over the course of five days.

Our CEO dropped almost 9 pounds over the course of his five-day modified fast .

Fasting Tip: Doing light to moderate resistance activity during your prolonged fast can help to preserve muscle mass while helping your body to burn fats for fuel. Exercise will also further promote ketone production and autophagy, and may help you feel energized through the tougher periods of your fasting. Consider going for walks, rock climbing, swimming, or doing some strengthening or slow flow yoga.

Going on a multi-day fast, whether a water fast, a low-calorie or Prolon fast?

Download the LIFE Fasting Tracker app here.

Can I Drink Water When Fasting

When you need to fast because you are supposed to have some lab tests, you might have to fast for up to 12 hours before having the test. Certain tests require fasting, such as cholesterol testing, glucose testing, etc. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to fast before having a certain test done. You should definitely stay away from alcohol for a full day before having your blood taken. Yet, for any unsure questions, just ask your doctor and you may be surprised at the answer.

Also Check: What Does Intermittent Fasting Mean

My Water Fasting Results

One of the very super sensational feelings Ive experienced after 7 days of drinking water only was that I felt reinvigorated. It was like I came back from holidays LOL

I was more energetic than before, I felt healthier and I was more motivated to exercise. So, after a few days, I started jogging for 1 hour every morning.

I didnt crave for chocolates, pastries, or any of these stuff and was more focused on preparing healthy salads for lunch.

Weight Loss

Related Post: How To Lose Up To 20 Pounds With Water Fasting

Since there was no calorie entering my body, my ketone bodies were getting higher and because of this, my bodys source of energy was not glucose anymore.

Instead, my body looked out for energy directly from my fat storage. Because my body was now in a ketosis state, I was able to burn fat much faster than a typical low carb diet. Thats why I lost 22 pounds in just one week.

Natural Detoxification

During a fasting period, our liver is triggered to pull all toxins out of your body. And I could feel the improvement in my body and health although I have any health issues.


When your body is clean of toxins, your organism is like new.

As my body got cleansed during this week of fasting, I could really feel a boost in my energy level. I was more motivated to exercise and I started jogging for 1 hour every day.

Its not something I can explain but I was way more productive, more focused, and more concentrated in my work.

If Im Perfectly Healthy Why Should I Torture Myself By Fasting

How to make intermittent fasting work faster!

You brush your teeth right?

Well, fasting is the same thing, but for your body. It keeps your body and brain clean and hopefully working well for a long, long time. And there are not dentures for your body or brain .

Also, if you read through the other water fasting tips, hopefully youll realize fasting isnt torture. It may not be as pleasurable as eating cake or nachos, but it is an enlightening experience.

Recommended Reading: What Is Intermittent Fasting Mean

What Are The Benefits Of Autophagy

The main benefits of autophagy seem to come in the form of anti-aging principles. In fact, Petre says its best known as the bodys way of turning the clock back and creating younger cells.

Khorana points out that when our cells are stressed, autophagy is increased in order to protect us, which helps enhance your lifespan.

Additionally, registered dietitian, Scott Keatley, RD, CDN, says that in times of starvation, autophagy keeps the body going by breaking down cellular material and reusing it for necessary processes.

Of course this takes energy and cannot continue forever, but it gives us more time to find nourishment, he adds.

At the cellular level, Petre says the benefits of autophagy include:

  • removing toxic proteins from the cells that are attributed to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease
  • recycling residual proteins
  • providing energy and building blocks for cells that could still benefit from repair
  • on a larger scale, it prompts regeneration and healthy cells

Autophagy is receiving a lot of attention for the role it may play in preventing or treating cancer, too.

Autophagy declines as we age, so this means cells that no longer work or may do harm are allowed to multiply, which is the MO of cancer cells, explains Keatley.

While theres no scientific evidence to back this up, Petre says some studies suggest that many cancerous cells can be removed through autophagy.

This can include the muscles, liver, pancreas, and adipose tissue.

Ways To Use This Information For Better Health

  • Avoid sugars and refined grains. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats .
  • Let your body burn fat between meals. Dont snack. Be active throughout your day. Build muscle tone.
  • Consider a simple form of intermittent fasting. Limit the hours of the day when you eat, and for best effect, make it earlier in the day .
  • Avoid snacking or eating at nighttime, all the time.
  • Recommended Reading: How To Do The 16 8 Intermittent Fasting

    Water Fasting Vs Intermittent Fasting

    If water fast seems too extreme for you, you can reap a plethora of benefits from a short term fast. You dont need to fast for more than 24 hours to reap the benefits of fasting such as disease prevention, reduced inflammation, and weight loss.

    Intermittent fasting is a form of fasting that can be done at your own pace to fit your unique goals and lifestyle. Even an overnight fast of 14-16 hours is beneficial for your health. You can also try a 5:2 style of fasting where you eat few calories for 2 days of the week and eat normally the other five.

    Intermittent fasting protocols are more moderate and allow you to eat a greater variety of nutrients and foods during your eating window, making them more sustainable and easier on your body.

    Wont I Feel Like Dogsh*t The Whole Time Im Fasting

    Is water fasting the best way to detox?

    Quite the contrary. Aside from being a bit hungry , you might actually feel great.

    As explained two tips above, your body will be running at full blast and pumped full of hormones like adrenaline, human growth hormone, and testosterone.

    Your brain will feel great too.

    First of all, it will be getting more blood since none is needed for your digestive system. Secondly, once it has run out of sugar to burn for fuel, itll start running off of ketones from fat. Your brain on ketones, in my experience, feels like its on Adderallsuper focused, alert, and sharp.

    Recommended Reading: How Much To Eat During Intermittent Fasting

    Lowered Fasting Glucose And Insulin

    Youll likely find that your fasting blood glucose levels drop* over time throughout a prolonged fast, as do your insulin levels. Lowering your blood glucose and insulin levels is good for a variety of reasons. Chronically high blood glucose and insulin put you at risk for diabetes and heart disease. These molecules also tell your cells that times are good and signal them to grow while bypassing cellular recycling and protein cleanup processes that help prevent diseases like cancer and Alzheimers disease.

    Observational studies of prolonged fasting have found that fasting glucose levels typically begin to lower significantly between 24 and 36 hours into a fast, reaching a stable lowered level around 50 hours.

    Insulin levels drop to nearly as low as they will reach by the time you are 50+ hours into your prolonged fast, being cut nearly in half as compared to what you started with. But much of this drop happens quickly, even within the first 24 hours. So in case you decide to cut your multi-day fast short, youll still have significantly lowered your insulin levels and prompted your bodys cells to begin to pause their grow and divide programs and to recycle their components.

    *If you do have any blood sugar regulation issues or if you take medications to regulate your blood sugar, you shouldnt practice prolonged fasting without consulting your physician, as your medication levels will need to change over the course of the fast.

    What To Expect On A 5

    For National Fasting February in 2019, a group of LifeOmic employees voluntarily did a 90 to 120 hours of modified water fasting for science. For more than a year we had been researching and reading scientific literature reviews on the mechanisms of prolonged water fasting and its potential benefits for aging and longevity. But we wanted to experience a prolonged fast ourselves, measure its outcomes, and be able to better relate to our LIFE Fasting Tracker users. More recently, our CEO Dr. Don Brown, embarked on a 5-day modified fast. We describe what we experienced below.

    For our company 120-hour modified water fast, we used the Prolon fasting-mimicking diet developed by Dr. Valter Longo at the University of Southern California. Prolon is a plant-based low calorie, low protein and low carbohydrate diet that puts the body in a similar metabolic state as does water fasting. It mimics water fasting by restricting calories , elevating ketone levels in the blood and lowering levels of glucose, insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 and IGF-binding protein. Our CEO created his own fasting-mimicking diet. He put a couple of cups of mixed greens in a bowl and sprinkled on a tablespoon of olive oil, some salt, and a dozen almonds. This single, 250-calorie meal was all he ate everyday for 5 days.

    Recommended Reading: How To Get Used To Intermittent Fasting

    All These Fasting Tips Are Helpful But Im Still Not Sure I Can Do It How Can I Motivate Myself

    Try reading my own journal from my first-ever 3-day fast. Id never even gone a day without food beforehand, so for me it was quite the experience. Your experience wont be exactly the same, but maybe reading how mine went will inspire you or at least make you curious enough to try.

    Also take a look at my post on the surprising and motivating benefits of prolonged fasting.

    Or, if youre tired of reading my writing and stupid jokes, this video that Kim forwarded me today is pretty motivating:

    The Bottom Line On Water Fasting

    Does Water Fasting Really Work? | Dr. Robert Cassar

    Water fasting is, at bottom, a dressed up version of crash dieting.

    It will help you lose weight quickly, but most of what you lose will be water weight, some will be fat, and a lot will be muscle.

    Water fasting doesnt detox your body, slow aging, or help you avoid disease, and it poses a few health risks that the proponents like to downplay.

    The good news, though, is that you absolutely can lose weight quickly, safely, and healthily. All you have to do is follow the advice in this article:

  • Use an aggressive caloric deficit.
  • Eat a high-protein diet.
  • Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting.
  • Use high-intensity interval training to burn fat faster.
  • Take fat loss supplements that actually work.
  • Stick to that plan, and youll be much happier with how you look and feel than if you were to try water fasting.

    If you liked this article, please share it on , , or wherever you like to hang out online!

    Read Also: Are There Benefits To Fasting

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