A couple weeks ago, this is a question I posed to myself? Could I drink only water for 72 hours? And more importantly, why would I do this? I have toyed with cleanses and fasts before. While studying for the bar I did the infamous “Master Cleanse” for 10 days. This was a combination of maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. This concoction was advertised to “sharpen my focus” and give my body a “reset.”
Although I wanted those things, I also knew I was under a lot of stress and needed to do something that was cleansing versus the many alternatives. So, when I first entertained the idea of doing this water fast, I wanted to ask myself “why?”
Upon doing research and speaking to those with experience, I found that when we fast, we are giving our cells much needed time to heal. Typically we are in an over-fed state and when are cells are in that time, they don’t repair as well. When they are not dealing with foods, they can get themselves to optimal health. (Read this Quarters article and podcast ).
I went to a meeting on a Friday night. The fast was going to start the next morning and participants would alternate between a distilled water and a mineralized water. We would drink 4 ounces of one every 30 minutes. We would do the “fast” for 12 hours per day, then end the 12 hours with a cup of herbal tea. Although I felt a little overwhelmed, I also felt like this was a pretty simple routine to follow.
I skipped my normal coffee routine but could have my coveted lemon water. At 7:30am, I drank my first 4 ounces of water. It was a Saturday and my day was pretty open. I did yoga that morning, went to the Farmer’s Market, ran some errands and drank my water. Almost obsessing over getting the liquid into my body at the 30-minute mark. I did a detox yoga class that afternoon and followed it up with an infra-red sauna and hour float at Capitol Floats (see DA DEAL for January 2020).
That evening I drank herbal tea and went to bed relatively early. It was hard to know what to even do with myself, I even took a nap during the day. But the good news was that I felt little to no physical side effects.
This morning I drank lemon water in the morning and again started alternating at 7:30am. My kids were very interested in what I was doing and also a bit uncomfortable. It was interesting to notice how people react to something like this. I went to a friend’s Santa Breakfast party and found myself challenged not to eat or drink. Although I am typically not a breakfast person, there was enough sights and smells to make me want to break the fast. But I knew this was going to be the biggest challenge of the fast and decided I could overcome the impermanent nature of my cravings.
I kept alternating the water and that evening, once again, ended with a joyous cup of herbal tea.
Three days in and I was feeling great. I had accepted my new normal and even went to work committed to the fast. I knew I would wake up the next morning and enjoy some limited food, but I also was inspired by my determination. I was also proud of my body and knew that anything was possible. I did a yoga class at lunch and went through my day just as I had the previous days. That evening I cooked dinner for my children and enjoyed the last few hours of this experience. That night we had a wrap up meeting with all the fast participants. Some lasted 24 hours and some were still on the fast. It was heartening to see people who thought they could never do something like this, follow through and surprise themselves. It was also important that everyone listened to their bodies and stopped the fast when they felt it was right for them.
I woke up and after 84 hours of fasting, found myself a bit uncertain about the next step. I knew I needed to eat carefully, but I almost didn’t want to eat. I was not hungry and didn’t have the coffee cravings I typically had. I eased into some black coffee and a small apple. That day, I felt myself being very mindful about what I was choosing to eat and also very grateful for all the choices I have when it comes to food.