I know you’re probably going to think I’m nuts. I’m sure you’re thinking, a 3 day water fast sounds crazy. Why would you do that? Well, I decided to do a 3 day water fast because after I got back from New York I just felt bloated, unhealthy, and not my best. I’d read some interesting studies about the health benefits of fasting, so I figured why not give it a try? Also, this year, I’m all about breaking out of my comfort zone, trying new things, and pushing myself. A fast definitely seemed like it would check off all of those boxes.
I initially planned to do a 7 day fast, but honestly, I quit after 84 hours. I just felt too unwell to continue. I’ll explain why in a minute. If you haven’t heard of a 3 day water fast, it’s exactly how it sounds. You eat nothing and you only drink water for 3 days. I chose to also incorporate tea and coffee, but I’ll tell you why later on. I’ve previously tried intermittent fasting, with good result (I finally got to my pre-babies weight late last year).
Although weight loss was not the only motivator to try a 3 day water fast, it was definitely an added bonus. After getting back from NYC, I was carrying a lot of water weight. I generally follow a pretty low-carb diet, so adding in all the alcohol and pizza I ate made me retain a lot of water and I felt (and looked) pretty bloated.
I planned to start my 3 day water fast on a random Friday in February, but I had to abort at lunch time because I failed to remember I had a very important donor meeting and my boss was there too. It would be super weird not to eat lunch when a high-powered executive and wealthy prospective donor offers to take you to lunch. So, I had to start later that night. My last meal was on Friday evening at around 6:00pm.
Day 1 of My 3 Day Water Fast
The first day, I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t feel terrible either. I was definitely tired and I actually took a nap while my kids were napping. I wasn’t craving food or feeling very hungry. Although a lot of people who do a 3 day water fast do not include caffeine, I chose to include coffee and tea (no sweeteners, artificial sweeteners or milk). To be honest, I couldn’t deal with a caffeine withdrawal on top of being hungry all the time. Plus, caffeine is known to be an appetite suppressant and a metabolism booster, so I knew the caffeine would ease the experience a bit.
Overall, day one was fairly easy. I felt tired, and I did end up getting a pretty bad headache that night. I just drank more water and tea and went to sleep really early.
Day 2 of My 3 Day Water Fast
I woke up and weighed myself. I was down 2.4 pounds and felt pretty good on the second day. Overall, day two was fairly simple. I didn’t have any negative symptoms, other than just feeling very tired. I didn’t have a lot of energy to do much of anything, and I had to drag myself to play with my kids, which wasn’t ideal for them, but I don’t think they noticed much of my lethargy. On day two, I still wasn’t feeling very hungry and I didn’t have any cravings. I actually found day two was the easiest of the three and a half days for me.
Day 3 of My 3 Day Water Fast
On the third morning, I was down another 3.2 pounds. To be completely honest, the third day was horrendous. I felt unwell all day. It also happened to be President’s day, so my kids were off of school. I was super short with them and generally just not that happy of a person. Also, I started having tons of food cravings and felt ravenously hungry. I do wonder if this would have passed if I had stuck with it another full day, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go through that anymore.On the third day, I felt so terrible, I just couldn’t take it much longer. I had such a bad headache, my stomach felt so empty that it felt upset, my legs were giving out underneath me, and I was tired of the fast.
Overall, I was happy with my results and felt confident I’d read enough on the refeeding techniques to maintain the weight loss (knowing it’s mostly water). I opted not to start refeeding until the morning of the fourth day. I’ve read some things that talk a lot about the health benefits of a 3 day fast, so I wanted to make sure I got at least 72 hours in. I made it to 84 hours, and then I broke my fast on day 4.
Day 4 of My 3 Day Water Fast
On the fourth day, I made a conscious decision to break the fast. After weighing myself (I was down another 3 pounds), and getting ready for work, I drank a cup and a half of bone broth. I read a lot of articles about the refeeding period and I opted to have bone broth because I wanted to keep my body in ketosis. A lot of people break their fasts with fruit, but that seems odd to me, since I’d just worked so hard to put my body in a ketogenic state. I also know that low-carb diets work the best for me for weight loss (a lot of trial and error), so it felt silly to take myself out of that fat burning state right after the fast. I also don’t like fruit that much, to be honest.
When I first drank the broth, my stomach felt a little odd, but I immediately noticed my headache that had lasted all night long slowly faded away. I also noticed, almost immediately, the tiredness in my legs and my overall tiredness was slowly starting to subside.
At 8am, I went to Starbucks and had a cold brew and their egg white bites. Although some things I’d read said not to start eggs or meat too quickly, I’d read conflicting things that said on a three day fast, you don’t have to spend that much time before introducing these foods. The eggs were not only delicious, I immediately felt a surge of energy and overall wellness.
At 12, I had a turkey breast salad without dressing and a little bit of feta. For dinner, I had two grilled tilapia filets. I didn’t feel overly hungry, but I did wake up at midnight starving. I ended up eating a handful of almonds at 2am, because I just couldn’t take the hunger anymore.
Overall, I felt so much better on the fourth day. I was very happy I chose to end the fast after 3 days instead of 5 or 7, which I had originally planned.
Day 5 of My 3 Day Water Fast
On the fifth morning, I definitely felt more like myself. I was down another 3.2 pounds, for a total loss of nearly 12 pounds in five days. Honestly, I felt quite hungry on the fifth day, so I paid a lot of attention to watching my calorie intake. I didn’t want to see a big jump in my weight and I also know my body is still adjusting to eating again. For breakfast, I had a three-egg omelet with a little cheese and a heaping serving of steamed broccoli. For lunch I had grilled tilapia and broccoli, and for dinner, I had 1/2 oz of almonds and some peanut butter. I honestly wasn’t very hungry, which is why the odd dinner. I’ve also read nuts aid in digestion.
Day 6 of My 3 Day Water Fast
On the sixth morning, I was down another .2 pounds, for a total loss of 12 pounds. I’m encouraged to see my weight has stayed steady and I’m incorporating whole foods without a rebound gain. My food tastes have definitely shifted and the thought of eating anything heavy, sugary, and fatty just doesn’t appeal to me right now. That’s definitely a major benefit.
The Benefits & Negatives I Experienced
I’m only six days out, so I can’t give you more details on how I feel after this. However, I did want to talk about some of the benefits I felt and some of the negatives I experienced. The biggest benefit for me was getting rid of all that water weight I was carrying around after my trip to NYC. My clothes felt better, I felt lighter, and my digestion improved. The other major benefit was when I started eating, food tasted so much better. I gave my body a break, and after only three days, I remembered how fantastic foods taste. Steamed broccoli, with nothing on it, tastes great. Tilapia with a little bit of seasoning, is really fantastic. I personally appreciated these whole foods a lot more after taking a break from all the junk.
One interesting thing that happened the first feeding day (Day 4). I mentioned I went to Starbucks and had an iced coffee. I usually use two artificial sweeteners in a venti sized coffee. When I tried to drink it, it tasted horrible to me. It wasn’t the coffee, which I love, it was the artificial sweetener. I simply couldn’t drink it and I asked them to replace it with a new version without any sweetener. It’s amazing to me that my go-to drink suddenly tasted disgusting.
Based on what I’ve read, there are likely other health benefits I experienced by doing a 3 day water fast, but I don’t really feel comfortable talking about that since I’m not a medical professional. If you’re considering a fast for health reasons, please do your own research and talk to your doctor.
The biggest negatives from the experience, there are quite a few. The biggest one is that I felt pretty unwell about half the time and it was hard to live life and very difficult to be a good parent. I had a major headache for almost half the time, despite drinking coffee and tea. I didn’t take any pain relievers, because I didn’t know how that would affect me. Also, I was super short with my kids, especially on the third day. I’d even say I bordered on mean that day. That’s not fair to them. I was in a terrible mood and slept badly about two of the three nights. Even on the refeeding nights, I haven’t slept very well.
Would I Do a 3 Day Water Fast Again?
Maybe. I don’t like to say never, but I don’t plan to do a 3 day water fast anytime soon.
Honestly, it wasn’t very fun and the weight loss alone probably wouldn’t get me to do a fast again. However, I would do a 24 hour fast, which I’ve done before and those are really simple. I’m also planning to continue to incorporate intermittent fasting, as I’ve found it’s one of the best ways for me to drop weight in a healthy way, along with a healthy low-carb diet.
Overall, I’m glad I tried doing a 3 day water fast. I’m honestly kind of a wimp when it comes to pushing myself, so this felt like a pretty good test of endurance and brain power. This year, I’m all about taking myself out of my comfort zone, and this fast definitely did that. If you’ve done a fast, I’d love to hear about it! Drop me a comment and tell me about your experience.
I am not a medical professional. If you are considering a fast, I strongly encourage you to speak to your medical care provider before starting any extreme diet.