Water Fast

3 DAYS, ONLY WATER. (WELL, KINDA.)


To kick this off  - a quick disclaimer. I am neither nutritionist nor a doctor. This was an experiment that my wife Amber (TGK CEO, Founder) and I took upon ourselves after reading up on water fasting. If this is something you’re interested in, consult a health professional first. Please. Also, may be a good idea to forgo operating heavy machinery or performing brain surgery during an experimental fast.

{Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...}


INTRO (OTHERWISE KNOWN AS: ‘WHY THE HELL WOULD WE DO THIS?’)

CARTER
Like a lot of humans today, we’re busy. And, as small business owners, we’re stressed. We’re neither weird nor special - we’re just like most folks in this day and age with too much to do and not enough time. We pay less attention to ourselves and our bodies (“the cobbler’s kids always need new shoes,” the saying goes) than we should. Ironic, I/we know.

After reading “Wired to Eat” by Robb Wolf, and toying around with the idea of the ketogenic diet, Amber and I decided to try a fast. A friend of ours tried it, and he experienced some good results; then, our intrigue grew after reading up on Katie Wells’ experience. So, we decided to give it a shot. For three days. All with the idea that we’d see (err, feel) how this went, then potentially alter the fast itself (include bone broth, etc.) to our own needs or extend it, if that felt like a good idea. At the suggestion of our friend (Hi David!), we did not cut out coffee as we did not want to shock the system additionally for these few days as we’re avid coffee drinkers over here. However, we did limit to two cups per day. And one cup of herbal tea at night. Only other things that went in our bodies were a small amount of salt and water. So. Much. Water. 

Some websites suggest taking time off from work to gauge the effects of this fast. We work mostly from home, so no worries here. But, I can see how that might be helpful.

My aim here is to list our experience with the water fast. Not advise on the “how to” or the “why” – I’ll include an exhaustive list of folks who have already done us all the service of that work. That list follows at the bottom. The overview is that a water fast is a jump start on getting your body into ketosis and encouraging fat burning.

 


2 DAYS BEFORE / Sunday

We inched our way into this water fast. Two days prior we moved to Bulletproof coffee for breakfast, a nibble of sauerkraut and ham for lunch, and a ketogenic-style dinner. We also upped our water game and increased electrolytes.

 

DAY 1 / Wednesday

CARTER
I woke up very early (historically, I’m not a great sleeper, but this was earlier than usual for some reason; I woke up at 2:15a, then went back to sleep for three hours around 4:30a.) During the day, I drank two cups of coffee, lots of water, enjoyed a couple pinches of salt, and 1 hot tea at night. Was gonna go for a mountain bike ride, but my serious lack of sleep suggested that may not be a good idea. Felt a little light-headed after kneeling/squatting a couple of different times through the day, but overall felt good. Thought about food more than normal. Thought I noticed a little change in body composition, but may have been my imagination and wishful thinking. More productive, but could be because I had more time since I wasn’t eating. Watched “The Office,” showered, bed early. Makes you think about how much thought and time we spend on food. With no eating, no shopping, no going out to eat, cooking or cleaning up… you save quite a bit of time. Ketone reading: 2.4mmol/L. Weighed day before at gym: 180.8 lbs.

 

Water + SaltAMBER
A quick intro - So, my main priority for this fast was to get my digestion back on track and end some undesirable eating/drinking habits I have acquired over the past year.

I slept in a little. Drank two cups of coffee, then made several trips to the “salt trough” throughout the day. Mornings are always fine for me without food. I am a pretty natural intermittent faster. (What that means - I’m 15-16 hours between meals typically.)  I got extremely hungry and nauseous around lunchtime. Once that passed, I felt okay the rest of the evening. We did have a non-caffeinated herbal tea around dinner. I just needed to taste something other than water. Pretty normal routine in the evening… without the food prep and eating and wine. But overall, I felt good; if anything, I felt a tad loopy. Almost like I hadn’t slept. Ketone reading was 2.5mmol/L. I did not weigh myself prior to the fast.

 

DAY 2 / Thursday

CARTER
Morning: Went to bed last night at 10p-ish; read a bit about a bikepacking trip; slept ‘til 5:15a. Woke up feeling fine. Not great, but fine. Drank two cups of coffee, then #WaterAllDay. Read up on some fasting tactics this morning - interested to see how we get through this and what we want to do moving forward. Meeting at 12noon, so we’ll see how energy levels are for that. I’m otherwise staying at home these three days. (I work from home most of the time anyway, so not a big change for me) Also decided to forego working out or riding my bike (which is what I’d planned to do Thurs and Fri). Evening: Amber and I discussed a bunch around this approach today; think we’ll try some other things once through with this fast. Things like other versions of Intermittent Fasting, revolving around a ketogenic approach seems a good thing to test. Ketones: 5.0mmol/L. Whoa. I’m in it. Also did Glucose reading (strips showed up a day late): 2.7mmol/L (48.6 mg/dL) - for a GKI of 0.54. Ratio of 1:1 is optimal for therapeutic ketosis; I’m running nearly twice that. In a good way!

 

AMBER
Went to bed at10p-ish. We’re married, so we have the same schedule for the most part :) I took a shower and read a bit before bed. I was so tired prior to going to bed; however, when it came time to sleep, I was wide awake. Did some sleep/meditation techniques and was able to begin to quiet my mind and rest. But, I felt like I was super-aware all night. Like I never got into a deep sleep. But I did dream. About going to a flea market and stopping by Bojangles’ for chicken strips and french fries. Which is super funny… because if you know me… you know I love chicken strips and french fries, but definitely not from Bojangles’. Anywho, I digress… I woke up this morning feeling fairly groggy and not super motivated to hop out of bed. I have been a bit dizzy and discombobulated. Water and salt have helped me to get through those feelings. Today, I don’t feel as dependent on the salt. I am also having herbal tea for “lunch.” Again, just need a different taste than water today. I don’t feel hungry, even sat through a lunch meeting with folks eating yummy sandwiches and salads from Rhino Market. Oddly enough, I was fine. The funny thing that I was hyper-aware of was everyone chewing and crunching. I am usually super aware of people smacking while eating their food, but today was 500 times worse with the chewing. I haven’t felt all that hungry today. Probably going to need a nap at some point. Eyes are pretty sleepy. Ketones: 3.9, Glucose: 4.3, GKI: 1.1, so doing well, but not in the "magical place" yet.

 

DAY 3 / Friday

CARTER
Morning: Went to bed around 10:45p. Woke up around 5a. Not awesome sleep, but I feel pretty good. The very slightest, faintest tinge of a headache still looms. Perhaps a bit queasy and “loopy.” 72 hours ends in time for dinner tonight! Dinner will be bone broth to step out of this slowly and not cause any upsets. Morning (Hour 60) Ketones: 5.9, Glucose 3.3 (59.4 mg/dL), GKI: 0.56.

Evening: Went for a one mile trail walk with the dogs; I felt great; think Amber was a little tired. Overall, was feeling better in the afternoon than the morning; and I imagine this is what people refer to as the time they start forgetting about hunger and find mental clarity. We ate dinner at 6p (72 hours after beginning the fast Tuesday evening); dinner consisted of crackers, blackberries, blueberries, sauerkraut and bone broth. Didn’t measure calories or anything, just made it less than we’d typically eat. That dinner was  amazing; loved having a different taste (other than water and coffee), and I felt great, all-in-all. Maybe a slight bit gassy. Had a smoothie of coconut milk, almond butter, frozen berry mix and frozen acai a bit later, probably around 8:30p. Ending weight: 172 lbs (9 pounds lost)

 

AMBER
Whoa… not a good night’s sleep, but I did feel energized this morning. I felt hyper-aware last night; dealing with a bad headache and  body aches. Slept in until 8a because I didn’t really go to sleep until 5am. Took my markers as soon as I woke up and WOW - Ketones: 7mmol/L Glucose: 3.8 mmol/L (68.4 mg/dL) GKI: .5 - woohoo! That’s why I wasn’t sleeping well, I guess.

My body composition has changed drastically in the past three days. No hunger this morning and food really is not top of mind. I was excited for coffee :) I did my first meditation on the fast towards the middle of the day. I was kind of all over the place, but also felt very grounding.

 


DAYS AFTER THE FAST

Breaking the fast

AMBER
At 72 hours - almost on the nose - we broke our fast. Primarily because we had prior obligations on Saturday that we wanted to enjoy. On Friday evening, I was ready for food, but I could have easily gone another 24 hours. We started with bone broth, a mix of chicken and beef. A small amount of sauerkraut and berries. I tried to eat everything very slowly and not too much. Carter was craving saltines so we had a few - for me, this was not a good idea. Let’s just say it went right through me. I read up on several other breaking-a-fast blogs, and they recommend bone broth, then the sauerkraut, then the berries and maybe even some protein. But space them out (by 30-ish minutes). Don’t eat them all at once like I did. Carter was fine. He has a stomach of steel. After that we ate fairly typical meals, although they were on the lighter side. And inched back into protein.

 

DAY ONE / Saturday

CARTER
Breakfast was a gluten-free waffle with butter, and a smoothie. (The smoothie was the same as above switching almond milk for coconut milk.) Lunch was a soup of mushroom, cauliflower, almond milk and bone broth. We’re eating dinner out to meet my uncle and aunt who are driving through town, so we’ll be looking for soft, cooked veggies or a salad… still deciding. Feel great today; slept for 10 hours (in a row - which is a big deal, ‘cause I don’t, typically sleep that well.) Also, notice difference in body composition. Lower legs & ankles lost inflammation, belly area quite different, face and neck “trimmed” up. Feeling  a lot more “solid” physically, and a lot more clear and focused mentally.

 

DAY TWO / Sunday

CARTER
Feeling better. Woke up crazy early with a wild dream. Went to a CrossFit class at 11a, and I noticed a significant lack of strength and stamina. But that didn’t surprise me. It'll come back. I’d gained a couple pounds back. Again, not surprised. Otherwise, feeling pretty normal.

 


CONCLUSION

One of the biggest things I learned  from this experience was how much we think about food. It’s all over social media, television commercials, you name it… it’s literally everywhere. All the time. I think we lose that observation as it’s so ingrained in our culture. We also rely heavily on food to guide our days, timing-wise. And for pleasure. I’m not against delicious food and enjoying meals with loved ones. It just dawns on me, how much time we spend thinking about what to eat, where to shop, how to cook, who will clean up the kitchen after a meal. Even eating out produces serious conversation, thoughts and questions that take time to resolve. That time is mostly around dinner time when you’re trying to relax, decompress, give your brain a well-earned break.

When you’re not doing those things, there is an overabundance of time. Each night during the fast, Amber and I would stare at each other like, “OK, what do we do tonight?” Without having food to think about ALL the time, we were able to be very productive with work, enjoy other things, be quiet, have personal time. Even more so though, we were able to experience DOWN time which might be one of culture’s hottest commodities.

 


MOVING ON

CARTER
Food is fuel. I’ve been reminded of that. My intention is to take this momentum and continue a more ketogenic approach – including some intermittent fasting – and combine with the regular activities I dig (running, mountain biking and crossfit).

 

AMBER
I have been eating “clean” for a long time. So, it was weird to come to the realization that I was not being mindful about my consumption. Discipline had gotten away from me quickly. I will be incorporating 3-5 day fasts as a once-a-month or every-other-month event. The biggest take away for me is that taking a monitored ketogenic approach to my daily nutrition is a good idea. At least for a little while. I’ve already nerded out and created a spreadsheet for tracking purposes. I love experiments. 




LINKS TO SUPPORT YOUR WATER FAST CURIOSITY OR EXPERIENCE:

Wellness Mama / The water fast

Waterfasting.net / What is the 3-day water fast

Purenootropics / How to survive a 3-day water fast

Global Healing Center / Health benefits of water fasting

Quantified Body / Results of 5-day water fast

Perfect Keto / Results of my 4-day fast to start a ketogenic diet

Perfect Keto / Water-fasting vs fast-mimicking

The Synchro Life / Profound benefits of fasting and autophagy

Josh Whilton / Autophagy

Nutritional Ketosis for Health / What is nutritional ketosis?

Keto Diet App / Measuring ketones

Keto Summit / Optimal ketone levels for ketogenic diet

Diet Doctor / Lose weight by achieving optimal ketosis

Heads Up Health / Tracking glucose ketone index

Dr Anthony Gustin / What is glucose ketone index?

Ruled.me / Measuring ketosis

National Center for Biotechnology Information / Ketone monitoring and measurement of ketoacidosis