You may have attempted to go cold turkey, so to speak, from food and dove feet first into a water fast. The first few hours, you may have thought to yourself that you felt fine, felt amazing,  actually, and really thought that you would survive those measly few hours without eating. And maybe you did…but maybe you didn’t. Maybe you started salivating like a wild beast as the smell of freshly baked éclairs or jalapeño cheddar bagels wafted through your open New York City window and knew that you would die if you didn’t get one… or both. You definitely have to have both now and a 2-liter sprite to wash the stickiness of the chocolate and sun-dried tomato cream cheese from your traitorous throat.

You probably now feel sick, having over-stuffed your stomach in your desperation to avoid starvation. You’re bloated and your tummy hurts from gluttony and you feel like a total failure. Now that you have failed, you can never try fasting ever again. Food is just too good and skipping meals is only for poor people and people with eating disorders and you are healthy; not because you eat fruits and vegetables every day while avoiding fried foods and processed sugars, but because eating three meals a day is healthy.

And you are totally wrong.

  1. We don’t need to eat three meals a day to be healthy.
  2. Fasting is just like any other activity; it takes practice so try, try again.
  3. You can not only survive your 24 hour water fast, you can thrive during it.

In this post, we’ll be talking about the 3rd part of this trifecta: surviving your first water fast. There are a few methods that I recommend for doing this:

  1. Take a day off to rest on the day of the fast.
  2. If you’re already pretty active, do a light workout in the middle of your day to ward off the side effects of water fasting and boost detox.
  3. Baby-step your way into a water fast.

That’s right. You don’t have to give up food on the first day. It is actually a lot easier on you and a lot less stressful to do the baby-step method. Here is a plan to slowly work your way up to a water fast:

Week 1- Give up fried foods, junk, sticky cheeses, and desserts. I know that may sound a lot like dying, but, I promise you, I used to believe the same thing before I started fasting, and, just in case you were wondering, I’m not even close to being dead. During this first week you should be avoiding pizza, bread items, ice cream, bagels. Bread items can be heavy on the stomach, and by the end of this first week, you should already be starting to feel lighter.

Week 2- You have already shown remarkable control and should be very proud of yourself. This week, give up cooked foods altogether. If you can’t eat it raw, then you should be avoiding it. You can have things like, fruit salads, parfaits, veggie salads, smoothies. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as not only does your body need water, you are getting used to flushing your body with fluids.

The Next 2-3 days: Liquids only. I like to go through these days with lots of cleansing smoothies, pure juice, and tea. If you haven’t before, you might want to try Matcha green tea. It’s a heavier tea that actually is very filling because it is much thicker than other teas.

You are now ready for a water fast. The last couple of weeks have helped you already begin detoxing by slowly removing toxins from your body. These toxins are largely to blame for the side effects associated with water fasting, so, the fewer toxins you have in your body, the easier your water fast will go. You have also been spending this time building self-control by abstaining from certain foods, then from solid foods all together (fruit and veggies juices still provide plenty of nutrients without such a heavy burden of digestion). At this point, you have had two and a half weeks to mentally prepare for your water fast, you have seen that you do have the strength to get through it, and you are starting to gain the belief that you do not need to eat so much to avoid starvation.

The amount of time you take during this water fast is totally up to you. I would start with doing 24 hours to boost your confidence in yourself. During this time, you will want to keep busy and not obsess over the idea that you are not eating for a whole day. Go for a walk, binge-watch a new TV show, go to the park. Just don’t do anything too active, as you will be unsure as yet on how water fasting might affect you.

I have experienced dizziness, increased sweating, short bouts of euphoria (which make for excellent times to do a lot of writing!), fatigue, mania, and crashes. You can expect any of these side-effects among several others, but, as you practice fasting more and more often, you will see fewer and fewer effects as you cleanse yourself from the inside. Don’t be afraid to get sweaty, this just means you’re helping your body cleanse itself even faster. Also, don’t take any showers or baths that are too hot (this is totally for your safety, no one wants to pass out).

Just remember, when using the baby-step method, you have to baby-step into and out of your fast. By following the schedule I’ve laid out in reverse, you can reintroduce solids to your diet. But don’t be surprised if your cravings for all of those fried foods and sugary confections you gave up a few weeks ago don’t satisfy you. This is because you have taken several steps in the right direction to becoming a healthier and more self-aware human being, so, congratulations are in order. You are on your way to freedom.

Do you have any tips from your own experiences with water fasting? How do you prepare yourself for a water fast?

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