Going 3 Days Without Food: My Water Fasting Results

And the health benefits of not eating (for a few days)

3 Day Water Fast
3 Day Water Fast

Why Fast?

I grew up with the assumption that being healthy meant you were supposed to eat three square meals per day. I never even considered skipping breakfast except for a few times in college when I was running late for class. My life, it seems, has always revolved around my next meal.

Health Benefits of Water Fasting

Fat Loss

The benefit most commonly associated with fasting is weight loss. The weight loss occurs once your body goes from a fed state to a fasted state. With no food to burn for energy, your body begins burning body fat (stored fuel) to keep running.

Autophagy

A primary benefit of fasting is the process of autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s natural process of breaking down and recycling unnecessary or damaged cellular components built up in your body. It is an essential mechanism for starving damaged cells that can lead to disease, including those that form cancerous tumor cells.

Insulin Sensitivity

Research has also shown that fasting improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the hormone your body releases when you begin the process of breaking down your food so it can absorb the glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream. Glucose is the fuel source used by your cells so they can continue to function.

My Fasting Experience

For 72-hours straight, all I consumed was water except for one cup of black coffee in the morning. Fasting “purists” will claim that having one cup of black coffee each morning constitutes as cheating, but I allowed it for the sake of my sanity. I stuck with the same daily routine expect for opting out of weight lifting (explained later) during this experiment.

Day One

Tuesday was my first full day of going without food. My day was like any other except for not taking the time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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My sleep data from the Sleep Cycle app.

Day Two

I woke up feeling more alert than usual. I expect this is due to my brain running on ketones since I am in full ketosis by this point.

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Day Three

Last night I experienced some of the most lucid dreams in recent memory. I typically have a hard time recollecting any part of my dreams, but I woke up remembering long stretches and even minor details. The clarity of my dreams has me believing that my sleep quality has vastly improved.

Breaking the Fast

Since I only fasted for three days, I disregarded the risks of refeeding syndrome. Instead of slowly introducing food back into my diet, I decided to celebrate by going to one of my favorite Korean restaurants to scarf down some pork dumplings and bibimbap.

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Fresh dumplings for my first bite in 3 days. The experience was heavenly.
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So much for reintroducing food slowly. This meal was worth the risk.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the fast was much easier to complete than I expected. Other than a minor headache on the second day and not feeling fit enough to lift weights, it was a positive experience. If anything, it taught me that I could perform well, if not better, with regards to mentally taxing work while in a fasted state. I suspect this is a product of our evolution since having heightened mental clarity when hunting for food would provide a higher rate of success.

Engineer & Writer | Writing about the best books, tools for thought, and systems for maximizing creativity at lawsonblake.com

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