A Guide to Water Fasting and Its Effects on Body

Updated on December 26th, 2019
drinking water pasting

We all have witnessed the health benefits of drinking more water. It improves your digestion and makes your skin glow. But only drinking water and not eating anything sounds crazy? Well, it has various health benefits. Despite being a complete lifestyle change, water fasting is beneficial in improving your physical fitness and mental health.

It is not just a recent lifestyle change which is adapted just because it’s a trend. Many traditions and cultures believe that this method keeps your mind clear and helps you heal spiritually. It is also beneficial in lowering the risk of some chronic diseases and helps build new cells. But there are still some health risks associated with it and is not suitable for all.

What Is Water Fasting?

In water fasting, you don’t intake anything but water. In other words, you don’t eat anything and survive on just water. It is performed for a set time frame, which may vary from 24 hours to 10 days. Water fasting is very popular nowadays as a means to lose weight or detoxification of the body.

Fasting is appealing to all who want to lose weight and wish to detox their body from toxins. Some even might adopt it as a healthy and trendy lifestyle. But most of us don’t know much detail about it. Here are some of the facts about fasting; you should know:

  • Fasting has been used for thousands of years as a religious practice in many cultures and religions. It is believed to clear your mind and body of all the toxic thoughts prevailing, making your body pure and righteous.
  • The biology of your body is to be praised, which helps you survive fasting. Body changes its metabolism completely when you stop eating. The bottom line is survival. For all your body knows, you’re stuck in a deserted area with no food.
  • It is also said that when you eat after fasting, your hunger emerges more violently and your body compensates with overeating. It is otherwise also observable that if you skip a meal, you tend to overeat in the next.
  • Fasting affects your body in many ways. You feel dehydrated, dizzy, and tired. Your mood swings take a toll, and you lose a lot of sleep because of starvation.
  • There is no proven research or scientific fact regarding the detoxification of the body through fasting.

What Is the Water Fasting Diet?

Many types of research on animals like rats and mice show that fasting is not only helpful in protecting against diseases like diabetes but can also be a factor in delaying aging. Water fast should be a planned activity and should be performed with the consultation of your health care expert.

Conditions in which you should avoid water fasting are:

  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Eating disorders
  • AIDS, TB or any other infectious disease
  • Lupus
  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Kidney or liver disease at a later stage
  • Alcoholism
  • Deficiency of enzyme
  • Heart diseases
  • Any other major medical condition

water fasting - infographic

How to Plan Your Water Fasting (Tips)

  • Selecting Duration and Time:

First, you should plan on how long you want to keep the fast. The period can range from a day to 10-12 days. Note that longer duration fasts should be done only under medical supervision. You also need to be mentally prepared before starting the fast.

  • Visit the Doctor Before Fasting:

If you plan on doing fast for more than 4-5 days, then consult a doctor. Despite health benefits, fasting is not for everyone. Have a checkup and ask your doctor if you should do water fasting or not.

  • Don’t Jumpstart

Start with eliminating processed food and carbohydrate from the diet before starting your fast. Eat more fruits and vegetables to make your immune system healthy. Also, reduce your meal size for a few weeks before starting your fast.

  • Amount and Quality of Water

Drink the usual amount of water i.e., 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women to stay hydrated. Drink pure form of water. You can also choose distilled water. Also, make a proper water drinking schedule and drink a small amount of water throughout the day. Avoid drinking more than what’s recommended as it might reduce minerals in your body.

  • Breaking Fast

Don’t overeat food just after breaking your fast. Start with juice and fruits. Eat small amounts every few hours and eat light at first. Also, eat healthy after breaking your fast as well to achieve your goal. Avoid processed and fatty food as much as you can.

  • Exercise

Women Exercise

Exercise less during your fast. Try some Yoga and meditation to save energy. Yoga even helps in calming your nerves and treating your mood changes during the water fast. After fast also you should continue regular exercise to stay fit.

What Happens to Your Body When You Start Fasting?

The following points describe how your body changes or reacts to water fasting:

  • Day 1

This day is perhaps natural for those who do 24 hours fasts regularly but can be very difficult for those who try out fasting for the first time. Some people might feel headaches or even nauseating. Don’t worry the nausea is just because of the acid produced inside your body for digestion. You might also end up drinking lots of water.

  • Day 2

This day can be even harder as the fasting becomes more real. Also, you may suffer headaches and body aches. Sleep deprivation is the most common change on day 2.

  • Day 3

Some might experience a burst of energy on day three as the metabolism gets adapted to less food. Some people might even experience extreme cold if you’re fasting in winter as food gives warmth to your body.

  • Day 4

You might get even less sleep on day 4. People start to realize that how much amount of energy is wasted on digestion and how one can survive even with 4-5 hours of sleep a day.

  • Day 5

Some people suffer constipation by this day. Add a pinch of salt in your water to prevent the reduction of sodium levels in your body.

  • Day 6

On day 6, you might feel body or back pain, which might linger for hours. You might even feel emotional changes. Also, your body will start to show weight loss. Your breath also starts to stink due to detoxification. Due to the release of toxins from your body, your sweat will also stink.

  • Day 7

Like any other day, you might feel some hunger pains. Also, you might experience some deep illness resurfacing or pain in some old injuries. It is perfectly normal as the body with this does some more in-depth cleaning and eliminates the sickness or pain permanently.

  • Day 8

You might experience pain in different parts of your body. There is nothing to worry about as the body gets time to heal itself, and the pain is just the part of it.

  • Day 9

By day 9, you start to feel more refreshed, and the world seems bigger and brighter. You might even notice your heart getting softer, and you think more about the emotions and feelings deep inside of you. The urine might also get darker during this time.

  • Day 10

Day 10 feels more energetic. You sleep well during this time. Also, the motivation surfaces to finish the 10-day devotion to detoxification.

Health Benefits of Water Fasting

water fasting benefits

Water fasting has various health benefits, including:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves heart conditions
  • Heals old injuries and illness
  • Reduction of oxidative stress
  • It also helps destroy cancer cells from your body as they also starve due to lack of sugar
  • Water fasting also results in Autophagy, which is the process of cleaning of old cells and building new cells.
  • Fat loss
  • Losing weight

Health Complications During Water Fasting

Despite having a lot of health benefits, water fasting has some health risks. It is vital to make sure that you’re physically fit and do not have any serious problem or disease. Also, the side effects can be dizziness, loss of sleep, constipation, and loss of concentration.

More severe ones might include cardiac arrhythmias, urate nephrolithiasis, and gouty arthritis.

Water fasting is an effective way to jump-start on your body healing and changing your lifestyle. Fasting reduces weight, reduces blood pressure, and also helps in detoxification. Body healing is not just physical but mental. Fasting is also a part of many cultures and helps provide spiritual bliss at the time of stress.

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