I Went on a 3 Day Water Fast and This is What Happened
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 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: 3 Day Fast Before and After
Are you wondering about 3 day fast weight loss? Well, 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.
3 Day Fast Benefits & Negatives
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 on 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 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 3 day fast, I strongly encourage you to speak to your medical care provider before starting any extreme diet.
I just got off my 70 hr fast and I had the same exact hate for it, lol. I felt weak. Day 1 was easy. Day 2 was okay and day 3, I had to leave work. Physically, I think I was okay and weak but mentally, I was struggling. I broke it just shy of 72 because I didn’t want to start eating too late at night. I broke my fast with fruit and it went right through me, which is normal, I guess. Immediately felt better though.
Yes! Day 3 was hard. I’ve actually done a few other 2-4 day fasts – by the third day I usually have to stop because I feel pretty badly. I’m trying to get up the mental strength to do 5 full days, but haven’t gotten there yet. Have you done any longer fasts?
I’m on day 4 of my water fast. The first day was pretty bad, I was in bed all day and was also pretty emotional. I couldn’t tell whether it had something to do with a depression relapse or it was just the lack of food. Day 2 was alright, I was tired but nothing I couldn’t handle. Day 3, I woke up energetic and clear minded. I felt like I could take on whatever my day would throw at me but by 3:30 pm I was exhausted -_- I got home around 7 and just ended up laying in bed for the rest of the night. I had a really hard time sleeping since my stomach was in pain the whole time. Day 4, I woke up with no energy or motivation to do anything with my life but of course I had no choice and I was also nauseous. I did some research on what could help with the tiredness or nausea and a lot of my findings recommended to consume a small amount of Himalayan Sea Salt, which I ended up doing and I immediately felt a switch in my energy but it didn’t last too long. It’s now 4:50 pm of Day 4 and I just want to lay down in my bed and do nothing.
Weight loss – I screwed up by not weighing myself at the beginning of this journey so I didn’t start weighing myself until day 3. I knew what my original weight was (I even thought I might’ve gained some weight after my last weigh-in) but when I weighed in yesterday, I was down 5.4 lbs from day 1. This morning I was down 2lbs.
It’s been quite a journey but I’ve learned that I have more willpower than I thought. I’ve definitely lasted longer than I’ve ever done with any “diet or healthy journey” I’ve been on. Also, my motivation to keep going is that I’ve made it this far, why quit now? And even if I wanted to quit, I can’t go straight to eating whatever I wanted unless I want to do some major damage to my body so might as well continue with this journey.
Wow, Janet! How many days are you going to do? Best of luck in your journey!
Haha thank you. I was hoping to last at least 7 days but I ended up breaking my fast last night. The sickness from the beginning stages of the “healing crisis” was just too much for me to handle, I mean I had multiple mental breakdown in a matter of 2-3 hours. Yes I was disappointed but I also think I made the right call to end it, I’m happy that I made past day one. Maybe it’ll try again in the future!
Sounds like it was time! It really is amazing how much more willpower we have than I think I realized!
You might miss a few bad symptoms by picking ip some Green Magma, (barley grass juice powder or capsules and some beet root powder or capsules. 3-4 servings of these a day won’t add much in the way of calories or carbs or water loss, but would take the edge off moods. It might get you through a longer fast , also. Some folks add carrot juice, too, but I’m not sure if that wouldn’t mess up the kerosine you are after. Bone broth would be a good addition on the longer fasts, too.
Ketosis , not kerosine.
It does get easier after Day 3. If you try it again, you may consider adding some electrolytes which will help you feel better. Some sea salt and potassium should do the trick. 🙂
Yes, I was just going to say that, do some more research on fasting. Most people use sea salt and potassium. That is the reason you felt unwell.Also, you want to clean up your diet BEFORE you fast, especially if you are not used to multiple day fasting.I understand that you wanted to do it after the pizza ect. but you would have had an easier time just going back to low carb for a week or so, then fasting. Whenever I eat high carb and try to do a longer fast I feel TERRIBLE. Don’t give up. You just did things backwards.
Great tips Kayte!
So glad you mentioned doing our own research and talking to a physician.
100%! I’m not a doctor of medicine so it’s important people do their own research before doing anything like this!
thanks for the information youssefweb7-online forever
I think if you’d have used some of the pink Himalayan salt, it would have changed the outcome. It would have helped with the “weirdnes” and lethargy.