Starting today I am going on a strict water fast to see if it helps my hives, IBS, and to see what it is like. This is a type of fasting where you only drink water, and completely avoid foods. It is the hardest of all fasts to do, however, it can also be the most beneficial if done correctly.
I have always wanted to do a really good fast. I have heard it can really help your digestion by allowing your intestines to rest and heal, and even improve your overall health. I have also read that it enhances the religious experience (I guess since you are in a state of hunger and relaxation). So needless to say, I am excited to see what will happen.
I have actually tried to fast before, but it was rather unsuccessful. I did this about a year ago, and I avoided all foods and drank only water. It only lasted for about 18 hours total, but hey, it was worth a shot. I ended up craving foods so badly that I had to eat.
I am the type of person that tends to get a little irritable, dizzy, and head-achy when I don’t eat regularly. So it is an incredible challenge for me to avoid foods completely and only drink water. In fact, I can already feel a little dizziness coming on as I write this…?
Water Fasting Benefits
First of all, just let me start by saying that no one should ever do this unless you are under a doctor’s supervision. I have my wife (a registered nurse) who will be with me to keep tabs and monitor things like my blood pressure & heart rate. So please don’t ever try this without a doctor approving and/or monitoring it.
Anyway, the main reason I am going to do this fast is for my stomach problems first and foremost. Today yet again when I woke up it was really gassy, bloated, and painful. I suspect I at least have some type of mild intestinal inflammation at best, and a more serious bowel disease (such as crohn’s) at worst. So I am going to completely avoid food to allow my intestines to heal, and not have to deal with the side effects of eating foods. I am dearly hoping that this will restore my digestion to a better level, and remove some of the bad symptoms I have had.
There is no doubt in my mind that my intestines are a mess. They have been bloated, cramping, and all sorts of things over the past week. My stomach is just so inflamed.
Another reason I am doing this is for the hives. I have noticed a correlation between stomach upsets, rashes, and Cholinergic Urticaria intensity. Therefore, I am hoping that by eliminating the stomach issues, it will also help to reduce the hives symptoms as well. It would be nice to live for a minute without getting stabbed by needles.
A third reason I am doing this is because I have a lot of personal things to consider in my life. I have been struggling with a lot of decisions lately, and I hope that by taking some time off and relaxing, sleeping, and fasting it will help me get better mental clarity. I have often read that fasting makes you feel more confident and think more clearly after it is all done, and I hope that is the case as well.
Last (but certainly not least), I am intrigued by any spiritual/religious aspects of the fast. Fasting is a common practice in almost every major religion. Many stories I have read suggests that it helps bring you closer to God, gives you more faith, and humbles you as well. I am always up for those things, so we will see how that goes.
Again, this is all done based on various articles I have read about the benefits of fasting, and a few people I have talked to on various forums. Some of the benefits of fasting include:
- Better mental clarity (especially afterward)
- Removal of “toxins” from the body
- Allows the bowels to rest and heal
- Can allow diseases to improve or be fought better by our immune systems (ever noticed how we automatically lose our appetite when we get sick? Our bodies have built in fasting).
- Better spirituality (allegedly)
With that being said, fasting can be harmful in some situations for individuals with certain diseases. So again, if anyone does this please consult a medical doctor first.
Also, please never do this as an attempt to lose weight. Fasting is a terrible way to lose weight because you will gain it all back in no time, plus probably extra due to metabolic changes.
How Long Do I Plan on Doing Water Fasting?
Last time I attempted this I only made it about 18 hours, which was a giant failure in my opinion (I wanted to do it for at least a couple of days). I can’t guarantee how long I will do this. First of all if I get too weak or sick I may have to start eating again. Secondly, I don’t know how long my will-power can last. So time will tell.
Ideally I would like to do a complete water fast for about 7 days, but I am not sure if I can do it that long. I am determined to make it at least 24 hours this time, but after that, it depends on my health and how I feel. It would be great if I could do it for about 7-10 days, but I will do it for as long as I can.
I have read that the first 2 days (48 hours) are the worst as far as hunger pains and headaches/dizziness are concerned. So if I could get past that point it would be wonderful.
One thing is for sure, I have not ate 1 single thing so far today. The last time I ate was about 8:45 pm last night. So I guess I have done this for a total of about 17 hours or so at this point with no food and only water.
I have been so sick feeling that I haven’t even had an appetite for most of the day. Only in the past hour or so, my stomach has started rumbling and I can feel myself getting hungry. I also feel slightly dizzy, although, I don’t have a headache yet (thankfully).
I will keep you posted as to what happens, how I feel, and how long I make it. I hope I can do this for a few days at least. If I do have positive results from this, I may start incorporating a regular fast every week or two. But that is thinking too far ahead. First I need to see if it helps and what happens.
Water Fasting Experience and Results
Okay, so I have updated this page with the results of my experiment. I wanted to update on how everything went, how I felt, and how I feel now.
The last time I attempted to fast at all, I only made it about 18 hours before putting my tail between my legs and shamefully eating. This time, I consider it a modest success: 48 hours (2 days) on a complete water fast! I set a record for myself.
In fact, I feel empowered that I was able to resist the strong temptations to eat for 2 whole days, and it gave me a small sense of accomplishment believe it or not.
Keep in mind, this may not be safe for everyone, and I was very careful to do this the RIGHT way. I also am lucky enough to have a registered nurse for a wife!
Day 1 of the Water Fast: What Happened?
The last meal I ate was about 8:45 pm on Friday night. I woke up Saturday feeling normal. I didn’t have a very strong appetite due to feeling bad from my stomach.
I didn’t eat the entire day Saturday (not even 1 snack). I drank plenty of water. About 6:00 p.m., I started to feel some hunger pains. These slowly intensified. About 8:00 p.m. I really started craving all sorts of food. The odd thing is that I was craving foods I haven’t had in forever, and it was mostly only junk foods (like ice cream, donuts, chocolate, etc.).
I kept getting these vivid images of Reece’s Pieces, Peanut butter cups, ice cream, chocolate, pizza, and even soft drinks.I craved them so badly, more than I have in months.
I resisted the temptation, however, and went to sleep. I kept myself busy the entire day by blogging, watching movies, and resting.
Surprisingly, I actually slept really well the first night on the fast. I found this strange because I thought I may not sleep well at all due to hunger. But in fact I slept about 8-9 hours, and slept well. My dreams were a little more vivid than usual too.
Day 2 of the Water Fast:
On Sunday I woke up with a fairly strong desire to eat. I was craving foods really badly, and especially junk foods. Thankfully, my stomach started to feel at ease finally, and the hunger pains even leveled off after a couple of hours.
When I first got out of bed on Sunday, my muscles were very weak, and I felt a little dizzy. I couldn’t believe how tired and trembly my legs felt. I decided to take a shower to try and make myself feel better, and it did wake me up and give me a boost of energy. Also, I got up a few times and almost blacked out. So I had to make sure not to just jump up out of bed, and I had to gradually get prepared to stand.
I went outside for a while on Sunday to get some sunlight, and that made me feel better as well. In fact, during this period I got a big boost of energy, and my hunger pains completely went away for a while. That was nice.
Why Did I Do the Water Fast? What Were My Goals?
My main goal was to ease the stomach bloating and pain I had been experiencing. That was the main reason I did this. I also wanted to see if it would help the hives at all, reflect on life a bit, and also see if there were any spiritual benefits involved in fasting.
Here is a breakdown of how each thing went:
The Stomach Issues– When I started the fast I had an incredible amount of bloating, cramping, gas, and so forth the prior week. The first day (Saturday) it was still pretty upset, despite not eating anything all day. I had some hunger pains as well, and even some bloating and gas remaining.
On Sunday, things improved nearly 100%. My stomach shrunk back, reduced the gas and bloating, and felt tremendously better. I still had hunger pains throughout the day at times, but over all it felt way better in terms of cramps and bloating.
This was the main reason I did the fast, and it helped me achieve me goal. So for that reason alone I am glad I did it. Now that I have eaten, my stomach feels better, and I have more energy. I also feel much more positive about life, as I found myself getting down in the dumps quite a bit lately (and the hives played a big part in that).
The Cholinergic urticaria– I also wanted to see what benefits (if any), that a water fast may have on Cholinergic Urticaria. Unfortunately, it didn’t do too much. On Sunday while I was outside in the hot sun, I got itchy just like usual.
I was able to fend off the hives by pouring cool bottled water on my body. But nevertheless, the hives are still there after the fast. They may have very slightly lowered in intensity, but at this point nothing too noticeable.
So overall it didn’t really make an impact on the hives like I had hoped (at least, not yet). It is still possible that they may slow down in intensity, but at this point I don’t suspect they will do too much.
Being Able to Make Decisions– It was hard at times to concentrate while I was on the fast. I have read on many sites that some people get a better ability to make decisions and concentrate with a clear mind. I was able to sort out a few things, however, it was hard to do it at times.
I feel like I am able to make much better decisions now after coming off of the fast (which some people also say). So I think that the decision thing was able to do better after the fast, and I felt better than before.
As I already said, it was interesting how my outlook on life changed a lot during the fast. What happened was this: I was sort of mildly depressed before the fast. This was due to hating where I live (I can never go outside and I constantly hear my neighbors), I hated the hives (which were bugging me a lot lately), my stomach was bothering me and I feared I may have a serious disease such as Crohn’s and I may never get to eat good tasting foods again. Since food is one of my greatest pleasures in life, this was really hard to think about.
During the fast, I was still somewhat down, but my mood stabilized. Due to the hunger, my mind sort of felt this strange dizziness at all times. I didn’t worry about things as much, and kind of felt spaced out (in fact, it was very similar to the feeling of when you take an antihistamine that makes you drowsy, minus the drowsy part).
The only thing my mind was thinking about was how badly I wanted food, and soon that was ALL I was thinking about. The other things that were bothering me (hives, living situation, etc.), just disappeared out of my mind.
Then, when I broke the fast and ate foods, a rush of positive and happy feelings came over me. I felt happy about life again, because the main thing I wanted (food) was given to me, and it made me feel so much better (mentally and physically). So all the negativity disappeared, and I was happy as can be when I finally gave in and allowed myself food again.
Today when I woke up, I just felt a sense of happiness and peace. I feel like all of those issues will work out over time, and I am not as stressed or depressed as I was before the fast. So I am glad I did for this reason as well.
The Religious Experience– A final reason I did this was to see if there were any interesting religious aspects to the fast. I had read on many sites that people tend to be more spiritually grounded during fasting, and that intrigued me.
My experience was that it did provide a sense of spiritual feelings, but they were not overly-intense as some people described. It surprised me that I didn’t feel anything vivid spiritually, but I think I know why it didn’t happen for 2 reasons:
- I tend to really dwell deeply on the religious aspect of life every day, so that didn’t change when I was on the fast. I suppose this may have been different for people who don’t tend to dwell on religion/God often, and then go on a fast and have time to consider God more. So the fact that I already think deeply about God and religious issues daily didn’t change while I was fasting like it may for some people.
- I may not have fasted long enough to sense a deeper spiritual feeling. I only fasted for 2 days, so perhaps if I had went 5 or 7 or 10 I would have felt something deeper.
Anyway, what it did was it made me appreciate all that God provides for me. I had time to remind myself of the nature of life, mortality, and the spiritual side. Again, I often consider these things almost every single day (much more than the average person I suppose), but it was nice to do during the fast as well.
I am the type of guy who really loves science, and at the same time I also love the spiritual side of life. I believe in God and experience science much the way Isaac Newton did (although obviously I am not on the same intellectual level with Newton-he was an absolute genius).
Would I Ever Fast Again? Was Water Fasting Worth It?
I would absolutely fast again in the future, and in fact probably will before the year is over. The reason I would fast again is because it helped my digestion and stomach very much. So if I ever get stomach issues again, I will probably fast, and may do so on occasion or at least every year to help my intestines rest.
Plus, I may even try to go further (3-7 days) next time I do it. There is no doubt that my stomach really needed that fast, and it feels so much better. I have eaten a few times since going off the fast last night, and it almost feels normal again.
So the main reasons I would fast again are mostly for the health benefit of giving my stomach rest. However, I also appreciate the other positive things that come from fasting.
My Future Plans About My Digestion & Eating
After getting my stomach better, I plan to continue to improve my digestive health. One thing that fasting taught me was that I over-eat way too much. Don’t get me wrong, I am really skinny and everything (in fact, in my bodybuilding days I had trouble gaining weight).
But I think I eat too frequently during each day without giving a long space for my bowels to rest. For example, I am the type to get up, go raid the fridge for a breakfast snack. Then, about an hour later I will go and munch on some veggies or fruit. Then about an hour later, I will get another snack. And so forth. I do this all day, and then have a big meal. Then I snack about 1 hour after the meal, etc.
Instead, I should really stretch out my meals and eat about 3 good meals a day with no snacks in between. This way, my stomach and intestines can focus on digesting and resting, instead of getting food shoved down them hourly.
The fast helped me realize that while I may get hunger pains every hour or so, I can go on and not focus on them. In other words, I am not really starving, I just feel hungry because the food tastes good, or I am bored, or whatever. No more of that, and I am going to work on letting myself get truly hungry before eating a meal. I want to feel a burn in my stomach every time before I eat, and I haven’t been doing that for a long time. I was just eating and snacking for the taste.
I also have decided to start taking the one probiotic I often take that does seem to help (Digestive Advantage Lactose Intolerance Therapy). This is the only probiotic which has proven itself to help consistently with bloating, gas, and digestion (even with dairy). The only thing is, it does seem to work better on some days than others.
After thinking about it, I should be taking it every day instead of only taking it when I eat something that may have milk in it. So that is what I am going to do. I think it will help stabilize and smooth out my digestion way more.
In addition, I am going to eat a healthier diet, but allow myself some junk foods. It is best to have a balance. If I don’t eat any junk food, I start to get sad and crave it. If I eat too much, I feel like I am treating my body badly (and my body starts to respond badly with stomach problems and rashes).
Instead, I am going to eat healthy, and also allow myself some “junk” days. I want to balance them out so that overall I am eating healthy, while still satisfying my sweet tooth as well. The key that I have to remember is moderation. For every 1 day I eat junk foods, I need to eat healthy at least 2 days.
Conclusion: The Water Fast Was a Success
Overall, I am really pleased with the results. I feel better mentally and physically. I will definitely fast again if my stomach gets out of whack.
It was a great experience, and I am really glad I decided to go through with it.
Update Again: A lot has changed since this post was written. I now have eliminated all bloating and stomach pain by spending a very long time eliminating and testing foods in my diet. It turns out I had some food intolerances/allergies, and by removing them completely from my diet, my symptoms have disappeared. It has also eliminated my hives problem as well.
Water fasting helped me in the sense that it removed the foods from my body that was causing problems. However, the elimination diet I did was probably more beneficial because it allowed me to eat while removing and testing offending foods.