I just completed a 3 day fast this morning. I celebrated by munching on chocolates and having some of my mother-in-law’s outstanding banana bread. It’s a great feeling to have made it!
No, you do not die if you don’t eat for three days. In fact, fasting for 3-5 days can regenerate the immune system. Older cells are eliminated through a process called autophagy, and new ones generated. Fasting also has significant life extension benefits. I also feel a sense of accomplishment and I get a chance to hone my willpower, which is critical in all areas of life.
But aren’t you hungry? Yes, of course you are, sometimes. But that’s okay! You’ll get comfortable with it. I’ve done quarterly 3 day fasts for about 2 years and countless 24 hour fasts. Here are my top tips for coming through your fast comfortably:
1) Supplement electrolytes. You’re as good as your electrolyte supplementation. If your electrolytes are at a good level, you’re comfortable. If they get low, your life sucks until you replenish. The first day, I was beginning to feel a bit run down, but then I supplemented and I felt fine. Often the fatigue is related much more to electrolytes than to actual hunger.
I use a supplement similar to this, but generic (bought at a local store). I recommend 1 liter per day, consumed gradually. The mixed fruit or fruit punch flavors tend to be the best. Some sources recommend starting supplementation after several days, but I find I need it starting right away.
2) Keep busy! The more you do, the less you’ll think about being unable to eat.
3) Enjoy the freedom! You can do more without all the time involved with meal prep, eating, and clean up. I find myself focused and productive during these periods.
What are your experiences with fasting? Maybe you’re considering it and haven’t tried it yet? Leave a comment and let me know.